On auction — a little piece of Madiba magic

2010-07-17 00:00

IN the week running up to Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday there were over 850 items of Madiba memorabilia available on the online shopping and auction website eBay.

You could either bid or use the Buy-it-Now facility to choose items from the huge variety of DVDs, books, commemorative coins, magazines, stamps, photographs, prints, postcards, posters and pins — all with Mandela connections. Even blank ballot papers from the 1994 elections.

One of the more unusual items was a “very rare” Bulgarian communist badge from the 80s proclaiming “Freedom for Nelson Mandela”. Described as being in “perfect condition and 100% original”, it had a starting price of $23,99.

If you were in the mood for some retrospective dining, you could improve on the $12 starting bid for the deluxe, large format, six-sided menu from the gala dinner held on board the QE2 on March 31, 1998, when Mandela sailed on the luxury ship from Durban to Cape Town.

One of the more expensive items — going at $3 999,99 — was a “2008 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy Dual Cut Autograph Card of an unlikely and historical pair: South African President Nelson Mandela and New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner!!” The fact that the colourful and controversial Steinbrenner died on Tuesday would have upped the price.

But how did those two end up signing this card? According to the auctioner, “On June 21, 1990, Nelson Mandela let freedom ring at Yankee Stadium. His trip to Yankee Stadium was his first international stop after 27 years in prison. A rally was held at Yankee Stadium shortly following the end of apartheid in South Africa. Yankee Stadium rocked with a chant of ‘Amandla! Amandla!’ ... as the Mandelas appeared.”

A more modest outlay of around $3 could net you an 80s postcard of Nelson and Winnie Mandela on their wedding day, June 14, 1958. A few more dollars and you could sport the “fantastic Hard Rock Cafe … double neck limited edition guitar pin” featuring a portrait of Mandela. And who would be without the $5,20 “Nelson Mandela Magnetic Plush Finger Puppet”?

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