Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For sale

Ebay has just removed an item from auction that had received bids up to 14 million dollars: the country of Belgium. Listed by disgruntled citizen Gerrit Six (a schoolteacher and onetime journalist), the ad began "For sale: Belgium, a kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)." The seller also noted that the country was second hand and came with $300 billion in national debt.

Conceptual novelty items on Ebay are not uncommon, either as artwork, protest or joke (or all three), for example:

John D Freyer sold all of his belongings over Ebay, then traveled the world to visit them in their new homes, then documented it all in this book: www.allmylifeforsale.

Wind and rain from Hurricane Katrina was bottled and offered for sale from a number of residents hit by the storm.

Montrealer Kyle MacDonald traded a red paperclip for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Trade-ups initially included a doorknob, a truck, an afternoon with Alice Cooper, and a bit part in a film. (http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com)

Artist Keith Obadike auctioned off his blackness in August 2001 (http://obadike.tripod.com/ebay.html), complete with a list of benefits and warnings.

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