Entries in Auctions (7)


Actual Schindler's List Being Auctioned on eBay

iStockphotot(NEW YORK) -- Schindler's list — the document, not the movie — is being auctioned on eBay with a hefty starting price of $3 million.

The auction was launched at 9 p.m. EST on Friday and will run until July 28, according to the document's eBay page.

Gary Zimet, the curator of Moments in Time, currently owns the list. According to its website, buys and sells original manuscripts, letters, and signed photographs. Gazin Auctions, which is run by Eric Gazin, is listed as the seller on eBay.

"Some real deep pockets shop on Ebay," Gazin told ABC News. "We feel this type of valuable needs to be exposed to a different type of auction."

Gazin said the auction is only open to pre-qualified bidders because he needs to vet that they actually have $3 million to spend. He has already received several inquiries, he said, but declined to provide the identities of those who were interested.

Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi party who rescued over 1,000 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz by employing them in his factory. The ability to have your name on Schindler's list of workers meant the difference between life and death. His story gained worldwide prominence with the Thomas Keneally's book Schindler's List followed by Steven Spielberg's 1993 academy award winning film of the same name.

The list is dated April 18, 1945 and contains 801 male names, according to the description on eBay.
Zimet told ABC News there are four lists of names of people Schindler employed, but this is the only one privately owned. The other three are housed in Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Zimet said he received the list from a contact in Israel who is a descendant of Itzak Stern, Schindler's accountant, who compiled the lists for him.

The list will be accompanied by an affidavit from Stern's nephew, according to the eBay page.
Zimet previously tried to sell the list in 2010 for $2.2 million, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported in 2010.

That same year, Marta Rosenberg an Argentine woman who had written books about Schindler, raised questions about the authenticity of the list.

In addition to challenging the authenticity of the document, Rosenberg argued that she should have ownership of the list because Schindler's wife Emilie had listed her as her sole heir after she died. According to court documents, the court issued a temporary restraining order on sales of the list, but subsequently decided Zimet could sell it.

"The providence is ironclad," Zimets said of the list's authenticity. "Her suit was laughed out of court."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Superman Comic Worth Over $100K Found in Wall of Run-Down Home

Hulton Archive/Getty Images(ELBOW LAKE, Minn.) -- A home renovator in Minnesota was knocking down walls in the run down house he had just purchased when he found a copy of one of the rarest and most valuable comic books in the world.

The comic, Action Comics #1, is the first appearance of DC Comics' Superman. The comic, along with lots of old newspaper and other magazines, was stuffed in the walls of the house, originally built in 1938 to serve as insulation.

The renovator, David Gonzalez, bought the old house for $10,000, and was curious when he saw Superman on the cover of the comic he had just unearthed from the walls. He did some research and took it to the comics auction house ComicConnection to sell.

“[It’s] probably the most unusual copy of this comic we've ever offered,” ComicConnection says in its online offering.

ComicConnection notes that it’s rare to find a “brand new” Action Comics #1, because most of the ones that still exist have been bouncing around auction houses for years.

Copies of Action Comics #1 that were in near-mint condition have sold for over $2 million dollars. Gonzalez’s copy showed obvious signs of damage from the 70 years it spent in the walls of the house, so it was worth significantly less, though it was still a valuable find.

The comic would have been worth more had an overeager in-law not gotten her hands on it. When Gonzalez showed it to his wife’s aunt she refused to give it back and the back cover ripped off.

"That was a $75,000 tear," said Stephen Fishler, co-owner of ComicConnect. Bidding for the comic is at nearly $113,000 as of Thursday morning.

Still, Gonzalez is happy with his find. He will only be getting half of the money the comic sells for, the rest goes to ComicConnect, but it’s still a great return on the $10,000 investment he made when he bought the old house.

According to ComicConnect’s website, Gonzalez plans to repair the home, but swears never to sell what they’re calling “the house that superman built.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


eBay Bans Magic Potions, Curses, Spells

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for a spell that will make your partner lust for you and only you? Or a black magic revenge incantation to curse your enemy? Or maybe a good old-fashioned demon-obliterating potion for $51 that promises to “destroy heavy demonic energies, entities, beings and forces” is all you need.

Come September, though, you’ll no longer find these quick fixes on eBay. Beginning Aug. 30, the online auction site will ban the sale of curses, spells, hexes, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions, healing sessions and more.

The ban on magic potions and curses has some users up in arms.  One, writing on the eBay forum, even called the ban discriminatory.

And last week a petition titled “Don’t Ban Our Psychics,” which has collected more than 800 signatures so far, went up online.  “Ebay don’t ban our metaphysical services! Fight for the psychics and the Tarot readers, the witches, wiccans, pagans, new age, healers, blessings, spells, voodoo, items of magic and most of all our clients and friends!” the petition read.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Airline to Auction Class Upgrades

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The opportunity to purchase upgrades has been around for a while now, letting airlines squeeze a few extra dollars from passengers at check-in while giving non-elite status fliers a chance for a more comfortable flight. What is new, however, is auctioning off those upgrades to the highest bidder, which is exactly what Etihad Airways is doing. reports that the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates is the first to offer upgrades for auction.

“With our newly launched online upgrade system, guests holding confirmed tickets on Etihad can now determine the amount they are willing to pay for an upgrade to the next higher cabin – Diamond First Class or Pearl Business Class respectively,” reads Etihad’s website.

The process for bidding seems straightforward. Ticketed passengers will be notified via email about potential upgrades. They then make an offer (offers are made per flight segment), enter credit card information and submit. There’s no charge for unsuccessful bids. You’ll be notified two days prior to your flight about the status of your bid.

“The success of an offer will depend on the amount offered for an upgrade, other competing offers as well as the guest’s status within the Etihad Guest program. As always, the higher the offer, the greater the chances,” reads the Etihad website.

Fliers with successful bids will earn an additional 10 percent miles bonus.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Baggage Battles': Airports Auction Lost, Misplaced and Forgotten Luggage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Ever wonder what happened to that piece of lost luggage that was never seen again? In some instances, the airport where it was left could have auctioned it off for profit.

One of the busiest hubs in the United States is Miami International Airport, where M-I-A isn't just the airport's call letters, but could easily stand for luggage that is "missing in action." The airport is home to an enormous graveyard of discarded duffel bags and carry-ons that have been cast aside. There are also forgotten bikes, laptops, surfboards, cameras, cellphones, even paintings and crutches -- all of which have gone unclaimed or don't carry identification.

"We take the time to make sure that we reconnect the item with the person if that's possible," said Miami International spokesman Marc Henderson. "But, you know, the airport is not a storage shelter. So after 60 days, it's like, OK, it's time to have an auction."

Last year, across the United States, nearly 2 million suitcases were reported to be either lost, damaged or delayed. About 10,000 bags go missing at Miami International alone every year.

To avoid losing your luggage, Henderson said it is as simple as keeping your bag with you at all times.

"I walk the terminal all the time. Traditionally on average one or two times a day, I will see a bag that is not attended," he said. "Somebody has walked away, have gone into a shop, they've gone into an eating establishment. They've left their bag there."

That's a "no-no," Henderson said, because of the heightened security at airports today. He also suggested not packing anything of significant value, or if you must, carry those items with you on the plane.

Miami International hosts a lost luggage auction twice a year to a standing room-only crowd who pays a $3 admission fee to get in on the bidding action. Most of the patrons are just regular folks who are looking to turn a quick profit.

Billy Leroy, who owns an eclectic props and antique store in New York City, was one of the bidders in Miami and is also one of the stars of the Travel Channel's new reality TV show, Baggage Battles, which airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The show follows three teams of savvy auction specialists who travel the world to place bets in high-stakes luggage auctions.

Dozens of these auctions happen at airports all over the country, with thousands of bags and millions of dollars at stake. Bidders can't open the unclaimed bags and have to rely on their instincts to place bets on what could be inside -- which could be anything from expensive jewelry or just laundry.

Only after bidders win the bags do they get to open them and find out if they have hit the jackpot.

"You've got to shoot from the hip and just vibe it," Leroy said of betting on the bags. "I mean, it sounds crazy but that's how I do it, that's how I make my business is by my gut feeling."

Faced with a mountain of luggage, bidders are given about an hour to pick up the bags, handle them and get a feel for what they might be carrying. Leroy also said he employs a "smell test," and said he won't bid on a bag that smells bad.

"Heavy is good, but carry-on is good too," Leroy said. "Expensive carry-on is good, and heavy, expensive carry-on is good, but heavy expensive carry-on could have dirty underwear in it."

But Leroy said that formula can sometimes backfire because an expensive-looking bag could be a fake.

Miami International has made as much as $100,000 in a single auction and it's not just off lost luggage bags. They also auction off singular items in bulk, where bidders can take bets on bags of jewelry or electronics that have been left at TSA checkpoints, or entire cargo loads of discarded items.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elizabeth Taylor’s Van Gogh Sells for $16 Million

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Late actress Elizabeth Taylor’s artwork sold for far more than expected when her unsigned Vincent Van Gogh piece “Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy” sold for $16 million at an impressionist/modern art auction held at Christie’s International in London.

The $16 million purchase price was double the painting’s estimate and was sold to a mystery buyer.  Taylor purchased the Van Gogh painting in 1963 and kept it all her life, hanging it above her mantle, according to the auction house.

The Oscar-winning actress and beauty icon who passed away in March at the age of 79 had acquired a fantastic collection of artwork created by artists like Van Gogh, Pissarro and Degas throughout her legendary career.

Another painting from Taylor’s collection, “Pommiers à Éragny” by Camille Pissarro, also more than doubled its estimated price and sold for $4.6 million. A third, “Autoportait,” by Edgar Degas was estimated to sell for $500,000 but sold instead for $1.1 million.

The works were sold on the first day of a two-day auction of Taylor’s collection. On Wednesday, Christie’s will sell an additional 35 pieces from the actress’s collection, including the works of artists like Renoir, Miro and Magritte.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rare Robert E. Lee Photo Found at Goodwill Is Auctioned

Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc. and Richard Schaffer(HARPERS FERRY, W.Va.) -- Some go to Goodwill for jeans, furniture, maybe even some good DVDs if they’re lucky. But when Richard Schaffer of Harpers Ferry, W.V., perused Goodwill he stumbled across a small photograph of Robert E. Lee that looked old enough to be real.

He eventually paid $23,000 for it.

“It looked like s*** honestly and that’s what appealed to me,” said Schaffer.

That was enough to make Schaffer, 45, take a second look. When the photograph was first posted on Goodwill’s online site,, it was only $4.

But then something happened. Suzanne Kay-Pittman, spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, said that the price started shooting up.

“In 18 hours, it was above $6,700,” Kay-Pittman said.

Goodwill took the picture offline and to Larry Hicklen, who runs several Civil War antique shops near Stone River battlefield. He dated it circa 1865-1870. He described it as a tin type photograph, probably not an original, but maybe a copy of original. He said that the pose had not been seen before but noted that the image was very similar to the famous “floppy tie” Civil War portrait. This photograph, however, had a slightly different facial expression and faces a different direction.

Good enough for Goodwill, the company reposted the picture on Aug. 31. Several days, 131 bids, and over 40,000 page views later, Schaffer finally acquired the rare piece.

Schaffer, a veteran antique collector, has still not laid eyes on the actual photograph and will not until Kay-Pittman hand-delivers it to him Monday at his Harpers Ferry restaurant, Secret Six Tavern. Then he will have it examined by his own private firm in Washington, D.C.

There are risks. The picture could end up being an absolute fake and be worth less than $1,000. Schaffer says that $23,000 isn’t all that much in the antique world and is just part of the gamble.

“You may win or you may lose,” said Schaffer. “It’s like the stock market.”

But if he wins, he would win big. He estimates that if the picture really is as rare as he believes, it could easily be worth six figures.

And if he loses, it will have just been an auction casualty. He says that Goodwill seems willing to work with him if the picture turns out to be a fake. Even if his money is not returned, Schaffer takes comfort in knowing that his money is going to a good place.

“It’s a very important charitable organization, truly one of the finest nonprofits in the U.S.,” said Schaffer.

Kay-Pittman notes that, through the sale of this one item, Goodwill will be able to train 69 people to go out and get jobs.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio