General News

Celebrities auction their goods

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Jun 14, 2001 | 1:21pm EDT

How would you like Elvis Presley's 1976 blue Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz parked inside your garage? Lovely thought isn't it? Dream no further--the car can be yours if you bid on eBay, and you have enough money in the bank.

The online auction house eBay Motors is offering a stable of celebrity-touched cars to the highest bidder in the "Cars of the Stars" auction, which closes on Thursday.

"The eBay Motors category is the fastest growing category on eBay," said Kevin Purseglove, a PR representative for eBay. "People who have sold their cars online have gotten more traffic than anywhere else."

Along with Presley's Caddie, John Lennon's 1970 Mercedes-Benz limousine, Tim Allen's 1960 Chrysler 300F convertible, Reggie Jackson's 1970 Chevrolet Nova and Jerry Garcia's custom 1994 Dodge van are also on the auction block.

Other auction houses are jumping on the celebrity bandwagon. According to the Associated Press, the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Los Angeles also auctions celebrity cars. Currently on auction are Wonder Woman Linda Carter's 1984 Jaguar XJ6, a 1975 Lincoln Continental once owned by Elvis Presley and a 1999 Chevrolet Suburban driven by The Sopranos' Tony Soprano during the first series of the HBO mobster series.

Elton John auctioned off 20 classic cars from his personal collection last Wednesday at Christie's auction house in London. The singer received $2.75 million dollars for his cars and released a statement claiming he was surprised at the results. "When the bidding kept going up and up way above the estimates, I was both thrilled and surprised. There's obviously a lot of money to be made from second-hand cars!" John said in the statement.

"Bidders have the chance to drive away in a car from some of our most beloved icons," Simon Rothman, vice president of eBay Motors told the Associated Press.

Purseglove adds that most of the cars auctioned off are listed on eBay by the estate, the celeb's next of kin, or automobile collectors who buy cars because of the individual who owned it or because of their passions for cars.

Since the birth of eBay in 1996, users have found themselves bidding on items ranging from clothing to music to antiques. Three years ago, cars were included on eBay.

According to Purseglove, celebrities are finding that they can get a great deal of attention by selling their items on eBay, simply because it's a flexible marketplace. It's easy to sell merchandise, and it attracts a lot of media attention.

Many sell their goods for a charitable cause. Tiger Woods is auctioning a 2001 Buick Regal he drove during the week of his Masters golf win. According to the Associated Press, the buyer will also receive an autographed plaque, a Buick Nike golf bag and clubs. All proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who regularly sells her show memorabilia to benefit the For All Kids Foundation, has gained significant recognition for her organization, Rosie's Charity Auctions, founded in 1997 to help support the intellectual, social and cultural development of at-risk children across the U.S. According to O'Donnell's Web site, the Foundation has awarded over 500 grants to nonprofit organizations for children and families across the country.

" [eBay] has a pretty good relationship with Ms. O'Donnell," Purseglove said. "Sometimes guests that go to her show will bring autographed items for her to sell online."

O'Donnell, whose eBay seller name is "4allkids," is currently selling a pair of size 9½ Nike sneakers, an I-Zone camera, autographed pictures of herself and guest Martin Short, and her notes from Thursday's show.

The National Trust in London is selling off the house where ex-Beatle John Lennon lived with his aunt for 18 years before he achieved stardom in 1963. The four-bedroom property, valued at 150,000 British pounds is expected to sell for a higher sum. Ron Burkey, the son of Ernest Burkey, who owned the house, told London's Sunday Mirror on June 11 that the house was for sale because his father hated the fans who turned at the gates of his home. "We'll advertise it on the Internet," he told the publication. "There are a lot of fans in Japan and America who are incredibly passionate about John Lennon."

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