Bidding for the boat

EBay has a mess on its hands after a rogue auctioneer tries to sell Elian's "genuine" raft.

Published May 3, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Elian's "genuine" raft is the latest, greatest tasteless offering to embarrass online flea market free-for-all eBay. The digital auction house for the lowest common denominator pulled the macabre offering of highly dubious authenticity, but only after bids soared as high as $10 million, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

It took the life of his mother and a handful of others, left young Elian sunburned like fried pigskin and now you can own it yourself. "This raft is still in the Govt. warehouse where I purchased it, but it will be cleared for release on June 1st," the description of the item stated. "This is a genuine piece of American history. The high bidder will become the owner of the most desirable piece of memorabilia from the new millennium."

As with so many eBay auctions, placing a bid is easier than proving the item's provenance. But National Committee to Send Elian Home to Cuba coordinator Richard Becker takes a stab at it in the paper: "That sounds about as credible as the Shroud of Turin."

By Daryl Lindsey

Daryl Lindsey is associate editor of Salon News and an Arthur Burns fellow. He currently lives in Berlin and writes for Salon and Die Welt.

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