Auctions – Making a Killing

May 12, 2016
Posted by Jay Livingston

Anything can happen at an auction, especially when the item is unique. The baseball that was hit for a record-setting home run is indistinguishable from the baseball you can buy for $25 or less at Wal*Mart. But it’s worth more because of its close association with an important event or person.

How much more? If there has been a market for that kind of item, we can make a fairly good guess. Maybe we know what other home-run balls have gone for the same way we know the auction histories of Rothkos, Chippendales, and other collector’s items.

But what if the object is truly unique? What if the event, unlike record setting home runs, happened only once and will never happen again. And to add to the uncertainty, what if the bidders are similarly unknown – people who have never entered an auction?

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

Yes, George Zimmerman is auctioning the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin. I’m curious to see what happens. As far as I know, there’s no established or even occasional market for guns used in celebrated killings.

Some objects acquire their value because of they carry the magical power of the person they belonged to. A celebrity’s signature, a rock star’s sweaty t-shirt tossed to the audience. But I suspect that the bidders want this gun not because it was touched by Zimmerman. Even gunslingers, I would guess, don’t see him as a charismatic figure. Instead, the value lies in the sacred event. It’s like buying a piece of the Berlin Wall. The event in this case is the killing of Trayvon Martin and all its symbolic meaning. Even Zimmerman makes that point in the description of the item.

(Click to enlarge. Or see the text, in a readable font size, at the bottom of the page.)

Zimmerman also stresses the gun’s symbolic political meaning. He says that “a portion” of the money will go for political purposes.

How much is it worth to own the crucial artifact of that killing? We’ll know by tomorrow.

You can bid on the gun here. Bidding starts at $5000.

Text of the auction description

Prospective bidders, I am honored and humbled to announce the sale of an American Firearm Icon. The firearm for sale is the firearm that was used to defend my life and end the brutal attack from Trayvon Martin on 2/26/2012. The gun is a Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm. It has recently been returned to me by the Department of Justice. The pistol currently has the case number written on it in silver permanent marker. Many have expressed interest in owning and displaying the firearm including The Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. This is a piece of American History. It has been featured in several publications and in current University text books. Offers to purchase the Firearm have been received; however, the offers were to use the gun in a fashion I did not feel comfortable with. The firearm is fully functional as the attempts by the Department of Justice on behalf of B. Hussein Obama to render the firearm inoperable were thwarted by my phenomenal Defense Attorney. I recognize the purchaser's ownership and right to do with the firearm as they wish. The purchaser is guaranteed validity and authenticity of the firearm. On this day, 5/11/2016 exactly one year after the shooting attempt to end my life by BLM sympathizer Matthew Apperson I am proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds will be used to: fight BLM violence against Law Enforcement officers, ensure the demise of Angela Correy's persecution career and Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric. Now is your opportunity to own a piece of American History. Good Luck. Your friend, George M. Zimmerman ~Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum~

UPDATE: As you know if you clicked on the link, the 9 mm piece of history has been removed from the auction site. Neither nor Zimmerman has offered an explanation.

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