Pope's old VW fetches heavenly price on eBay

6th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 May 2005, OLPE - A 6-year-old Volkswagen Golf once owned by Pope Benedict XVI has sold for EUR 188,938.88 in an auction that nearly set a record for the highest number of hits during an Internet sale, the eBay auction house said on Thursday.

6 May 2005

OLPE - A 6-year-old Volkswagen Golf once owned by Pope Benedict XVI has sold for EUR 188,938.88 in an auction that nearly set a record for the highest number of hits during an Internet sale, the eBay auction house said on Thursday.

The auction was valid, despite some technical problems, said eBay spokesman Nerses Chopurian. The technical problems apparently were caused in the final minutes of the auction when there was a high number of attempts to access the site.

The seller of the car, Benjamin Halbe of the eastern German town of Olpe, had bought it in January for EUR 9,500. The high bidder in the auction was Golden_palace_casino, an online casino in the United States.

The 21-year-old civil servant was pleased with his profit of nearly EUR 180,000, but was somewhat dismayed because at least three buyers willing to bid much more than EUR 200,000 for the car could not get through to the site, said Wolfgang Menne, who helped Halbe with the auction.

More than 8.4 million Internet users had clicked on the eBay website since the auction began on 25 April. Just a few days before the auction ended, the sellers inquired about the possibility of technical problems, and eBay said there wouldn't be any, Menne said.

Menne said he and Halbe would be in touch with eBay because they did not consider the auction complete. Halbe, however, wasn't totally disappointed.

"I'm very happy," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. He initially didn't expect the car to sell for such a high amount. He said he would use the money to buy himself another car, take a summer vacation and save the rest.

Golden_palace_casino is not an unknown bidder when it comes to spectacular eBay auctions. It bought a toasted sandwich bearing the image of Mary and a football that David Beckham used to score a penalty.

The sale not only fetched the highest price ever for a used Golf, it also was one of the most viewed Internet auctions in history. The record is 9 million hits during an auction for a wedding dress.

The auction spawned sales of other pope-related items, including glasses that could be worn while driving the pope's Golf, and a "non-pope Golf".

Halbe, who was hospitalised with an illness during the auction, also received more than 2,500 e-mails from people inquiring about the car, including some humorous questions. One person wondered whether the car's windshield cleaner container was filled with holy water and whether the car's exhaust was a puff of white or black smoke.

DPA

Subject: German news

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