From the LRB’s history of eBay:
The site has made the headlines most often for the wacky merchandise
that has been sold or listed over the years. The most famous instance
is probably the ten-year-old toasted cheese sandwich bearing the image
of the Virgin Mary that went for $28,000 in November 2004. In March
this year, two sisters from Virginia sold a cornflake shaped like the
state of Illinois for $1350. It was removed at first, since foodstuffs
have to be sold in sealed containers with best-before dates, but the
sisters got round that restriction by selling a voucher for the thing
instead. In May, a jealous husband from Bletchley put his wife up for
sale. He began the auction at a penny, but bids surpassed half a
million pounds before eBay removed the listing. A CD of the ‘income-tax
returns for 2005 of the entire Italian people’, which had been briefly
posted online by the tax authorities, was removed after a few hours.
Cohen mentions the ‘fully functional kidney’ that was listed on 26
August 1999, and shut down as a hoax eight days later, with bidding at
$5.7 million. In July 1999, bidding for a ‘young man’s virginity’
reached $10 million before it was pulled. Shipments of cocaine, votes
and souls have also often been listed. In 2001, the artist Keith
Obadike put his blackness up for sale (the description is reproduced in
Everyday eBay): ‘This heirloom has been in the possession of the seller for 28 years.’
They might have added book and conceptual artist Robert The’s listing for "the present moment," which went for $13.81.
More from Conversational Reading:
- Rain Taxi Auction Once again Rain Taxi is auctioning off cool, lit-lover collector’s items on eBay. Check it out. That Paul Auster signed chapbook you buy is money...
- Book Sales Up, Overall Share of "Entertainment Pie" Shrinking Take this as you will. Newly released numbers from Nielsen Entertainment present a mixed picture for books: a robust year, so far, with the industry...
- Rain Taxi Rain Taxi Review of Books is having a charity auction with lots of great items from the likes of Paul Auster, John Ashbery, Steven Dixon,...
- E-book 2.0 The Boston Globe says the e-book has finally arrived. No, really. Really. Well, anyway, Project Gutenberg is behind it with 300,000 free books, available starting...
- Papers The Sunday Times reports on the insidious work of American universities. ANDREW MOTION, the poet laureate, and Lord Smith, the former culture secretary, have launched...
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.