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things that just are

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Miracle on eBay
An eBay auction of a 10-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich embossed with what could be the image of the Virgin Mary was back in business today. Ebay had at one point removed the auction from its site, believing it to be a hoax. But the item's seller, Diana Duyser, a 52-year-old jewelry maker from Hollywood, Florida, insisted the auction was legitimate, and eBay reactivated it. Ms. Duyser claims to have kept the sandwich, packed in cotton balls in a plastic container, for the past decade, without a hint of molding. "It is like a miracle," she wrote in her expressive posting on eBay. "I made this sandwich 10 years ago, [and] when I took a bite out of it, I saw a face looking up at me," she wrote. "It was Virgin Mary starring back at me." She claims that the sandwich has brought her good luck, helping her win some $70,000 in local casinos, but she told the Miami Herald that she now wanted to "share it with the world."

Other eBay participants haven't taken the auction quite so seriously, however. Bids of nearly $100 million and $33 million have been made on the sandwich -- bids eBay quickly removed, having found them not to be legitimate -- and a cottage industry of miracle-sandwich-related items has sprung up overnight. An eBay search for "Virgin Mary cheese" turned up Virgin Mary cheese-sandwich t-shirts, a sandwich bearing the ghostly images of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, a watercolor painting of the Virgin Mary sandwich and a Gumby doll wearing a Virgin Mary sandwich mask, among other items. With little more than five days left to bid, the current high bid for the real sandwich -- legitimate or not -- was $69,107.69.

The ebay auction

From the WSJ Afternoon Report


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