Amazon Makes Own TV Auction Bid

Internet superstore Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Fox Television are partnering to create a two-hour television special, “The Ultimate Auction,” for broadcast in December. The auction will be managed by Amazon’s live auction site LiveBid.

Among the items set to be auctioned are an autographed, handwritten copy of Clement Moore’s 177 year-old poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (aka “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”), and a 65 million year-old dinosaur skeleton.

The announcement comes just days after online auction house eBay confirmed that it was in discussions with the major networks, with ABC being the reported frontrunner, to launch a show featuring the site’s products and the people who put them up for auction.

Hey, Big Spenders

Bidding records could be set during the auction, as Fox anticipates that bidding on the rare artifacts will be done by billionaires, corporations and foundations.

The highest price ever paid for an item auctioned online was $1.265 million (US$) for a near-mint condition card depicting Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop John Peter “Honus” Wagner. The card was auctioned on eBay in July.

Just a Few Odds and Ends

Scheduled to be on “The Ultimate Auction” are:

  • A 1961 Soviet spacecraft, which was the first designed for human spaceflight to successfully orbit and return to Earth. Estimated value: $5 million to $7 million.
  • A pearl and diamond necklace and earring set, custom designed for Princess Diana, who wore it during the last public appearance before her death. Estimated value: $3 million to $5 million.
  • The world’s only known skeleton of the dinosaur known as Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis (“Pachy”). According to the official auction description, approximately 50 percent of the skeleton is present. Estimated value: $800,000 to $1 million.
  • The only existing postmarked letter from the doomed ocean liner Titanic. Estimated value: $100,000 to $150,000.

Charitable Donations

Fox said that some of the items on the auction block, most notably the dinosaur skeleton, will be auctioned on the condition that the winning bidder makes them available for public display.

A portion of the proceeds from some of the auctioned items will go to charities, public institutions of higher learning or cultural relevance, or other foundations.

Live Bidding

During the auction, scheduled to be taped on December 1st, bids will be taken in real-time from both members of the audience and registered LiveBid bidders.

When the show is broadcast on December 7th, television viewers will see both the bidding and background information on each of the auction items.

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