‘E-commerce’ stands for ‘electronic commerce,’ and eBay is a famous E-commerce Website. eBay is an American, multinational Internet corporation. It was established in 1995 with its headquarters in San Jose, California. The popularity of eBay has been continuously growing since its inception. It is an online, consumer-to-consumer, selling and buying market. It has both the fixed price and auction modes. One can buy the intended item on sale with just a click of the ‘buy now’ button. Auctions are both manual and automatic in which case the automatic mode keeps on bidding until the given limit is reached. Almost everything, except the illegal, offensive, and intangible items can be sold at eBay. There is also a provision to auction for charity. However, a noble cause alone is not enough for an auction at eBay. It has to be essentially legal also.
1. Piece of the Planet Mars
On October 3, 1965 a meteorite fell near a farmer working in a corn field in Zagami, Katsina, Province of Nigeria. It penetrated two feet in depth in the earth. The meteorite weighed about 1.8 kgs and was identified as coming from the planet Mars. It was classified as a Shergottie and named after a location in India where a 5 kgs similar meteorite fell on August 25, 1865. More than 23 meteorites are known to have fallen on the Earth at different times and locations. The meteorite was named Zagami after the location of its fall. It was kept in the Kaduna Geological Survey Museum and, after a few years, a large portion of this meteorite was purchased by a meteorite trader, Robert Haag. It was placed on eBay for auction in September, 2005, and was sold for $450,000. Parts of this meteorite are still present at different locations in various sizes.
2. Scarce Water
Elvis Aaron Presley, better known as Elvis, was a cultural icon of the 20th century and was often referred to as the King of Rock and Roll. He lived up to his image and had a very wide fan base. During a concert in California in 1977, Elvis drank a little water from a cup, leaving some of it in the cup. A 13-year-old boy, Wade Jones, who was a fan of Elvis, requested the guard to take it as a souvenir. He preserved the water in a freezer until 1985 when he placed it for auction on eBay. The water was offered in a sealed vial as Jones was not ready to sell the styrofoam cup. The water was sold for $455 on eBay. It must have been bought by someone who was a greater fan of Elvis than Jones.
3. The Precious Burial Plot
How callous some people can be when it comes to selling and buying is just unimaginable. The famous baseball slugger,Joe DiMaggio, after his divorce from Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, sold a burial plot located in Los Angeles Westwood Cemetery to Richard Poncher. After the death of Poncher, his widow, Elsie Poncher, exhumed his body and placed the plot on eBay for auction for an untoward reason. The plot was situated in the immediate vicinity of Marilyn Monroe’s last resting place, and she expected to get a high value for it. She sold it in a 10-day auction with a starting bid of $500,000 and finally sold it for $4.6 million.
4. The Kidney Auction
Selling or buying transplantable organs is a felony and a punishable offense under federal law in the USA. It is also against the policies of eBay. However, some weird offers are posted on the Internet. In such a case, someone identified as Hechero of Florida offered one of his kidneys for sale. He started with a $25,000 initial demand saying ‘You can choose either kidney. Buyer pays all transplant and medical costs. Of course, only one for sale as I need the other one to live. Serious bids only.’ The bids soared to highly exaggerated figures before eBay could intervene and stop further bidding. The vice president of eBay Marketing, Steve Westly, informed the public that he was working with law enforcement agencies for preventive measures. He further remarked, ‘eBay has zero tolerance for illegal items on the site. We do not know whether this was a prank or real, but what people should know is we treat this very seriously.’
5. Auction of Pulitzer Prize Medals
Three of the 19 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medals won by New York’s Newsday appeared for auction at eBay. They were awarded to the newspaper for their outstanding services for public service journalism. One of the medals was awarded in 1950, while the other 2 were awarded in the 1970s. The medals were sold in California for a total sum of $15,500. When the newspaper was contacted, the medals were stated to be safe in a vault. On checking, the vault was found to be empty, and after the police investigation recovered one medal. It was the first theft of the medals since the inception of the Pulitzer Prize in 1917.
6. Senator Harry Reid’s Letter
Senator Harry Reid’s letter signed by 41 Democratic Senators was sent to the Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays and broke the record for a winning bid for charity through eBay. All proceeds from this auction, including an equal donation by Mr. Limbaugh, increased the total amount to $4,200,200 to go to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Corporation. This foundation is a registered charity and provides financial assistance to the fallen law enforcement officers and marines. Mr. Limbaugh commented ‘Our winning bidder, ‘¦ Betty Casey. As trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, she gives significant sums to hospitals, hospices, colleges, and private schools. ‘¦She has also donated tens of millions from the foundation and her personal funds to the Washington Opera.’
7. Levi Strauss Denim Jeans
In 1853, a 24-year-old German immigrant left New York for San Francisco and started making jeans from a twilled cotton cloth called serge de Nimes, the fabric now known as denim. On May 20, 1873,Levi Strauss and a Reno, Nevada-based Latvian tailor, Jacob Davis, co-patented the process of putting rivets in pants receiving U.S. Patent No. 139.121. A pair of Levi Strauss denim jeans dating to 1880 was found in Nevada, Texas in 1998. It was auctioned on eBay in 2001 and was sold for $46,532.
8. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Diane Duyser from Florida made a grilled cheese sandwich many years ago, and just at the time she was going to eat it, she noticed the portrait of the Virgin Mary on it. According her, she had done nothing special to preserve it except wrapping it in a plastic bag, but the sandwich has never developed any signs of deterioration. The sandwich was placed on eBay for auction and was sold for $28,000. Duyser has stated that the sandwich has brought her good luck as she had won $70,000 at a casino located near her home in Florida.
9. Warren Buffet Lunch
Warren Buffet, the third richest person in the world, offered to dine with the winning bidder if the lunch, on a mutually agreed-upon date, took place along with seven guests. The anonymous winning bidder of the most expensive charity auction on eBay paid $2.6 million in 2010 for dining with Warren Buffet. All the proceeds of the auction went to Glide, a social service institution in the San Francisco Bay area. Mr. Buffet remarked about Glide ‘…maybe the most effective organization I’ve seen for people down on their luck. It takes people who have hit bottom and brings them back. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.’ The world famous Glide Memorial Church has been feeding the hungry for over 45 years.
10. The Gigayacht
TheGigayacht is one of the most luxurious yachts in the world and one of the most expensive items posted on eBay for auction for $140 million. The yacht was described as equipped with 10 multi-level suites, 8 guest cabins, a cinema, a fitness room, a helipad, and a chopper garage. The buy-it-now price for the 405-foot yacht was $85 million. The yacht was designed by Frank Mulder of Mulder Design. It has broken all sales records at eBay.
Scarcity creates demand, and it is said if the king is dying for want of water, a glass of water is worth his kingdom. It is said that a glass of water was, at times, sold for $100 during the Gold Rush. Scarcity can be various types, and one is the scarcity of being close to celebrities in one way or the other. There are, therefore, some ordinary articles on account of their association with celebrities that have been auctioned at exorbitant prices on eBay. People have frequently offered to sell some weird or bizarre items just to attract the attraction of others which serves to distract them even more than ever before.