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Mon, Jul 21, 2003 - Page 12 News List

No bites for Elvis tooth in eBay auction


A tooth said to have been pulled from Elvis Presley after an injury failed to attract the minimum US$100,000 selling price on the eBay Web site by the time a 10-day auction ended, officials said on Saturday.

Frenzied, but ultimately fraudulent bidding briefly pushed the price above US$2 million before eBay required potential buyers to register if they wanted to place bids, according to Anthony DeFontes, who represents hairdresser Flo Briggs of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Though the dental artifact, which was packaged with shorn strands of the crooner's hair, created an Internet frenzy -- 161,000 people viewed the web page within 48 hours, DeFontes said -- no legitimate bids remained when the auction ended shortly before midnight on Friday.

DeFontes said Briggs would likely break the tooth and hair into separate lots and place both back on eBay early next week.

"We really had no idea of what these things were worth," DeFontes said on Saturday. "This was a first outing."

The stalled auction ended a poor week for sales of memorabilia from American heroes.

A prototype of the original G.I. Joe action figure failed to reach the US$250,000 reserve price at a San Diego auction that was also held on Friday.

A few weeks ago, the baseball Barry Bonds whacked for a record-setting 73 home runs sold for US$450,000, less than half the US$1 million anticipated.

Briggs acquired Elvis' tooth to accompany strands of the singer's hair she bought from Startifacts, a Minneapolis-based company dealing in celebrity memorabilia.

She began her collection, which now includes snips of hair from US Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, by buying part of late Beatle John Lennon's mane to help promote her salon, the Yellow Strawberry, in Fort Lauderdale.

Briggs is selling off the collection because insurance companies are requiring expensive surveillance equipment be installed before they will extend policies covering the artifacts.

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