Sale of $7475 fag end leaves bidders gasping

By David Eames

A cigarette butt auctioned on the internet has smashed visitor-number records at the TradeMe auction house on its way to fetching more than $7400.

The Marlboro butt was purported to be the last fag smoked at Auckland bar Malt prior to the introduction of anti-smoking legislation on December 10.

Bidding was hectic for the resin-encased, wood-mounted gasper, which finally sold for a hefty $7475.

The auction has had a profound effect on Arsenalboy, the Aucklander who put the commemorative ciggie up for sale.

"This has touched a nation," he said. "It is a spiritual thing that has happened, it has brought a nation together like nothing for a long, long time."

The non-smoker said he had been approached by a number of news agencies for comment, and even had to fend off an invitation to appear on TV.

"I am not a person who feels comfortable in front of a camera."

Word of the auction had also spread across the globe, and made the august pages of German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Arsenalboy, who expected the butt to fetch $400 to $500, said some of the money was earmarked for charity.

"It will be given anonymously to specific people who need it."

TradeMe spokesman Mike O’Donnell said the butt auction had attracted 139,627 visitors, more than double the previous record of 60,000. The average auction attracts about 2000 visitors.

The successful bidder, Iron-age, had been involved in a frantic three-way tussle with TradeMe addicts Onion2 and Simon479 before bids closed yesterday.

A late-comer by the name of Meeni-me lodged a $7455 bid on Tuesday, but Iron-age trumped it by $20.

The Herald approached Iron-age for comment, but it appears he prefers to hide his (Marlboro) light under a bushel.

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