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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
10 things about eBay
Known as a nation of shopkeepers, the British have embraced eBay since it was launched in the UK in 1999. To mark the fifth anniversary of the online auction site's introduction to this country, here are ten things about eBay.

1. There are 114 million worldwide users, with 7.6 million in the UK. At any given time there are more than 25 million items on sale on the site, with about two million listed on the British site. In the UK someone buys a CD every 11 seconds, a toy car every 35 seconds, a mobile phone every minute, a teddy bear every two minutes, a piece of golf equipment every two-and-half minutes and a football shirt every five minutes.

2. Among the more unusual items to have been sold on eBay is a 50,000-year-old Mammoth. Weighing in at 250,000 kilos, Max was put up for sale earlier this year by his Dutch owner due to lack of space and sold for 61,000. A bargain considering he was one of the five best and most complete mammoth skeletons in the world, consisting of 90% of his original bone material.

3. One Scottish landowner used eBay to track down 10,000 worth of rare china taken from his estate in a burglary. The thieves got away with 18th and 19th Century china, made by Meissen, Worcester and Sevres, which had been valued by Christie's auction house. It appeared for sale on eBay 10 days later and the seller was charged with handling stolen property.

4. A teenage boy used eBay to successfully bid for more than 2m worth of goods. Andrew Tyler, 13, from the US, ran up the bill bidding for things including a replica Viking ship and a Van Gogh painting. Once eBay realised it was dealing with a teenager it cancelled the sales, infuriating sellers who thought they had found themselves buyers. As for Andrew, his parents have banned him from the internet.

5. The site relies on old-fashioned honesty between users. While most are as good as their cyber word, there are an estimated 200 fraudulent auctions every day on eBay in Britain, according to Which? Computing magazine. Scams including selling fake goods, which might look real in photographs on the site, and the attempted theft of personal details.

6. Despite people putting themselves, their wives, their virginity, a school, a castle and Britney Spears' used bubble gum up for sale, not everything can be sold on eBay. Items banned include fireworks, drugs, guns and lock-picking devices.

7. The most expensive item sold on the UK website was Lady Thatcher's handbag, which went for 103,000. The most expensive item globally was a Gulfstream Jet, which sold for 3.2m.

8. A vehicle sells every two minutes on the UK site and current bargains include a car built for Marlene Dietrich, on sale for 15,000. Other celebrity motors sold over the years include Joanna Lumley's Ferrari and cars owned by David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Jamie Redknapp. Jamie Oliver's scooter, which he auctioned for charity, was sold for 7,600

9. Profit can always be made from misfortune. The football used by David Beckham when he missed his penalty in England's final Euro 2004 match against Portugal sold for 18,700 recently. The seller claimed he was sitting in Row Z when he caught the ball.

10. And finally, some have found a spouse through eBay and haven't even had to pay for them. It can claim several marriages as buyers and sellers have discovered they have more than the items they are buying and selling in common. One couple who met on eBay crossed the Atlantic to be together. They are now happily married.


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