£25bn SITE THAT HAS US ALL BUYING & SELLING
IT has become the world’s most popular way to window shop and is turning us into a
nation of online auction addicts.
As eBay celebrates its 10th birthday, it has grown from a computer geek’s hobby to
a £25billion business.
With 157 million registered users worldwide there are, at any one time, three million
items on sale in the UK alone and 22 million globally. The website gets 150,000 hits
Like a global car boot sale, you can put just about anything up for sale and someone
will make you an offer. eBay takes a small percentage as commission.
Here’s our 10 eBay Top 10s…
Priciest lots sold at auction
In 2003, a 340-year-old copy of Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre, which survived
the Great Fire of London in 1666, was snapped up for £5million.
- A 12-seater Gulfstream II jet went for £3.2m in 2001.
- A Ferrari Enzo sports car – one of only 399 built – sold for £544,000 in 2003.
In 2002 an 82-acre town, Bridgeville in California, was sold for £531,250.
- A silver VW Golf once owned by Pope BenedictXVI fetched £128,000 this year.
- A handbag once owned by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher fetched £103,000.
- A drill which helped dig the Channel Tunnel sold for £39,999.
- Lady Penelope’s Rolls-Royce from the original Thunderbirds TV show sold for £20,000.
- A 10-year-old sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary went for £17,500.
A decommissioned nuclear bunker in Pickering, N Yorks, sold for £17,100 in June last
Items you can’t buy on site
- KKK and Nazi memorabilia
- Credit cards
- Human remains
- Lottery tickets
- Surveillance equipment
- Mailing lists
The weirdest items sold
- A £5 note – which went for £6.99
- GMTV girl Kate Garraway’s half eaten banana fetched £1,650.
- Chewing gum spat out by Britney Spears went for £270.
A half-empty bottle of hair colour once used by tragic grunge star Kurt Cobain fetched
- The ‘meaning of life’ was sold by a man in California for £1.72.
A bottle of holy water allegedly ‘blessed’ by rocker Ozzy Osbourne was bought for
A branch of a tree that broke off during Elvis’s funeral at Graceland in 1977 fetched
- Wayne Rooney’s plaster cast after he broke his foot at Euro 2004 was sold for £2,000.
A ‘haunted’ painting in which the children allegedly come alive at night went for
- Mud from the Glastonbury Festival.
The great hoaxes
A grandma – offered for £1m. Accessories included a pair of dentures, three bottles
of foot ointment and a rocking chair.
- Leeds United Football Club. A mystery bidder pledged £10m.
- Test tube allegedly containing MRSA and sold for 50p.
- George Best’s pickled liver.
Bread crust thrown from a Buckingham Palace window.
- One punter tried to sell nothing for something… and failed.
- Time machine for £14.26.
- A wife for £1bn.
A pint of snow sold for £23.32. A disclaimer from the seller read: “I cannot guarantee
that it will not melt in transit.”
- Millennium Dome for £10million. Seller said: “Buyer must pay for postage.”
- Five bones from a racoon’s penis went for £2.64.
- Nail clippings from 70s murderer Roy Morris.
- A dead mouse in a bottle. Its reserve price of £1.50 was not met.
- Used condoms.
- The maximum bid for a used tampon was £1.25
- Pubic louse parasite.
Jeffrey Dahmer doll with a stomach which could be unzipped to reveal who he ate for
- A tin of faeces created in 1961 by an Italian artist.
- Tiles from the pool where Rolling Stone Brian Jones died.
Lots that were once the stars’
Three tablespoons of water from a cup Elvis sipped at a 1977 gig were sold last year
for £252 by Wade Jones of North Carolina.
A tooth said to have been pulled from Elvis Presley’s mouth failed to attract the
minimum £60,000 selling price in 2003.
- A ball from Elvis’s pool table went for £937.
- A hanging plastic fern from Graceland sold for £395.
Singer Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast sold on the website for £1,971
with his fork and syrup thrown in.
Former Big Brother contestant Emma Greenwood sold her pink suitcase from the show
- Rocker Bryan Adams’s dirty socks went for £551 to a fan .
- Christina Aguilera’s used bathwater and thong made £810.
- Socks with Christmas trees on belonging to Sir Cliff Richard, went for £80.
George Michael’s 1991 black Range Rover with the registration number J5 STUD sold
Countries with most ebayers
Most popular sale items
- A CD sells every 11 seconds.
- An item of women’s clothing sells every 20 seconds.
- Men’s clothes sell every 30 seconds.
- Toy cars go every 35 seconds.
A mobile phone is sold every minute.
- A laptop sells every two minutes.
- A handbag goes every 2.5 minutes.
- Gold jewellery is snapped up every 2.75 minutes.
- A car goes every four minutes.
- Football shirts go every five minutes.
Items that bosses took off the site
- Live 8 tickets. The charity tickets were available free by lottery.
A soul. In 2001 American student Adam Burtle tried to sell his soul. Bidding reached
- In January 2004, student Rosie Reid, 18, tried auctioned her virginity.
A kidney. Peter Randall of Kent tried to sell his organ for £50,000 to pay his daughter’s
Girls. In 2004 a Taiwanese man offered a starting price of £3,500 for three Vietnamese
- Debris from the doomed shuttle Columbia.
Videos of bare knuckle fights in Ireland.
Oxford University’s Brasenose College. Bids on student David Green’s prank reached
- Debris from the World Trade Center appeared within an hour of 9/11.
- Bids for footballer Kieron Dyer reached £10m after a Newcastle fan tried to sell him.