Reagan Blood Auction Provokes Disgust

British auction company claims it has a vial of the former president's blood

By Cary Berglund and Bill French
|  Wednesday, May 23, 2012  |  Updated 6:01 AM PDT
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An attempt to auction off Ronald Reagan's blood is no bad joke. But is it legal or authentic? Cary Berglund reports for the NBC4 News at 6pm on Tuesday, May 22.

Cary Berglund

An attempt to auction off Ronald Reagan's blood is no bad joke. But is it legal or authentic? Cary Berglund reports for the NBC4 News at 6pm on Tuesday, May 22.

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It was a moment in modern history that many people will never forget. In an era before seemingly everyone had a camera, the 1981 assassination attempt on then President Ronald Reagan was seen by millions.

But after President Reagan left the hospital and made his way back to the White House, some of what auctioneers claim to have been his blood was taken by a woman who worked in the Maryland bio lab where tests were carried out after the shooting.

Now, that woman's son has put the blood up for auction. He and the auction site claim it's the real thing. And enough bidders believe it to have pushed the price up to more than $11,000 with just a few days left for the auction.

"Nothing surprises me," said Joseph Maddalena, a Calabasas auctioneer who has nothing to do with the Reagan blood auction.

Maddalena says he sees weird auctions all the time, although this one is pretty extreme. Memorabilia from President Reagan has crossed his desk many times. But he says he wouldn't handle anything like this.

"I don't think people should profit from these things," he says. "I would never do it."

The Reagan Foundation is angry about the auction. Its executive director says he want to stop it.

"If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," the foundation said in a prepared statement. "We’ve spoken to GW Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway."

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