EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1022 - May 20, 2005     3 of 4

German Program Televises Casino's Latest eBay Purchase

By Mark O'Neill

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It was the auction that broke eBay records. And now it was time to pay up.

Benjamin Halbe, who sold a car on eBay that once belonged to Pope Benedict XVI, went on the live German TV show "Stern TV" (similar to the US's "60 Minutes") on Wednesday to collect his EUR 189,000 check from the new car owners, GoldenPalace Casino. The car was in the studio, the check was handed over and the casino got the keys.

This rather high-profile way of concluding the transaction is typical of the way in which this auction has caught the imagination and attention of Germans. In a country where eBay is becoming more and more popular, the "Popemobile" auction is just another example of how, with the right item at the right time, you can scoop up a hefty profit.

Halbe confessed to Stern TV presenter Gunter Jauch that he never expected the car to make so much money. Apparently he expected 12,000 or 13,000 Euros so he could buy a new second-hand car. Now, he will get a new car, a holiday, and donate 10,000 Euros to charity. The bank manager will happily take care of the rest.

The spokesperson for the GoldenPalace Casino, which has bought other off-beat items on eBay including a cheese toastie with the face of the Virgin Mary on it, appeared on the program with the check. He said the car would now go on tour to raise money for charity, including a Catholic-related charity.

If getting nearly EUR 189,000 for a EUR 10,000 car isn't good enough, Halbe got another piece of good luck. The German Finanzamt (tax authorities) have told him in writing that all the money is tax-free.

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

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