A fascinating post by Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Erica E. Phillips, “Auction of Reagan Blood Vial Canceled” fascinated me!
As the story goes, apparently after the assassination attempt on the President in 1981, blood was taken to ensure no lead landed there and one vial landed in the hands of what the WSJ calls “the owner.” How mysterious!
The “owner” who shall remain nameless I guess convinced PFC Auctions to hold an online auction where the bidding started at $2,400 and was up to over $30,000 when PFC Auctions pulled the gavel so to speak.
It seems, and rightly so, the Reagan family opposed the auction. Now, “the owner” has agreed to donate the vial of blood to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation—which is essentially a museum that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
“The owner” even offered “documentation from the Maryland laboratory identifying the blood as Mr. Reagan’s” according to the WSJ post.
If you’re really interested in the gory detail of the auction listing—you can find it here. By the by if you click on this link—I’m embarrassed to know you.
Who Would Want This?
Other than Billy Bob Thornton and a once weird Angelina Jolie, who would want this blood? I know there are auctions for all sorts of things connected to celebrities and famous people but blood? Hmm?
To me, when I first read the story, I imagined a sort of “Renfield” (Dracula) character holding the vial—sinister look and all, and the official document in his other hand as he denies eating bugs to Dr. Steward.
There is no way I would want a vial of anyone’s blood. My father passed away in 1982 and I have his fishing hat, his wallet and few Army mementos but his blood? No thanks, I’ll pass. (Not that he was famous but in my heart he was).
HIPPA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 focuses on the privacy and security of one’s individual health information. So, if I were famous and needed blood drawn for my doctor and instead of two vials, the lab tech took three and attempted to sell one, doesn’t this violate HIPPA laws?
I guess since the Reagan’s blood was taken in 1981, prior to HIPPA, the vial of blood was fair game.
Still, I’m glad the Reagan family hung in there and had the auction stopped. No one individual should benefit from anything from a past President of the United States (unless he or she is a relative and given a memento.)
I can imagine the winner of the auction heading off to Las Vegas to be on the TV show Pawn Stars and trying to sell the blood to “The Old Man.” I can only imagine the conversation!
The Old Man: “He was one of our greatest Presidents!”
Chumlee: “Didn’t he tear down the wall in China all by himself?”
The Old Man: “You’re an idiot Chumlee.”
And, the haggling would begin. There’d be an expert to ensure the blood was real and they’d check the authenticity of the “document” from the Maryland lab and if all seemed Kosher, The Old Man would indeed have probably bought the blood. I mean as far as the WSJ could find—it wasn’t illegal to sell the blood, just a nasty thing to do.
It does give one pause, however.
If you’re getting your blood drawn today, I’d ask how many vials they needed and get a “document” saying what was going to be done with all the blood and if any was left, I’d want another “document” saying it was destroyed or thrown away.
Oh, what folks will do for money these days? But if you want to place a bid on Ronald Reagan’s vial of blood—forget about it—the auction as they say; has ended.