People will buy almost anything signed by a celebrity. Jerseys, shorts, socks, helmets.
But a slab of old, sweat-stained gym floor from a high school? If the superstar in question is Kobe Bryant, they'll not only buy it, they'll pay an arm and a leg for the privilege to do so.
Kobe Bryant's signed Lower Merion gym floor — eBay
Just after 7 p.m. ET on Monday, a 3-by-3-foot square portion of the former gym floor at Ardmore (Pa.) Lower Merion High signed by Kobe sold for a whopping $2,550 on eBay. The item -- which was first brought to Prep Rally's attention by friend of the blog and fantastic Ball Don't Lie blogger Dan Devine -- was auctioned by an account which identified itself as "kobe_bryant_auctions," which has sold a grand total of just four items on the auction site, all of which appear to be Kobe Bryant memorabilia.
The auction was managed by a company called Kompolt, which advertises an ability to run high-profile, high-value auctions for a variety of brands and influential figures.
The signed gym floor was auctioned off as a fundraising effort for the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which somehow gained access to part of the dismantled former "Main Gym" at Lower Merion High, perhaps in connection with the school's decision to name its new gym -- which was dedicated in December 2010 -- after the Lakers' living legend.
Kobe Bryant signs the former Lower Merion gym floor — eBay
According to the eBay listing, the 3-by-3 plank of old wood is the only one from the gym where Bryant starred as a senior to have been graced with his autograph. Still, even with that scarcity, the pricetag they brought with them is pretty stunning. Considering the fact that Bryant donated just $411,000 to fund the new gym (the floor, the stands, the whole kit and caboodle) -- the charitable act which spearheaded the decision to call the new facility "Kobe Bryant Gym" -- an everyday collector paying more than $2,500 for one, 9-square-foot piece of an old gym seems a bit outrageous.
By the time the winner figures out how much it may cost to adequately display the prized item, he or she could be looking at a $3,000 investment, if not more.
Then again, it certainly appears that the winning bidder knew what he or she was doing. While their name was redacted for privacy purposes, past bidding history showed that he or she has won an impressive 811 prior auctions (by frame of reference, only two of the other 15 bidders on the item had won more than 100 auctions), nearly all of them for collectible items.
So, maybe a signed portion of the former Lower Merion "Main Gym" will be worth $5,000 some day?
With Kobe, you never know.
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- Kobe Bryant