You just knew this would happen. In the days after Monday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon, all sorts of marathon-related medals, jackets, keychains, bottle openers, and other gear has shown up for sale on eBay.
The Boston Globe reported that as of Wednesday afternoon, there were five active auctions for 2013 Boston Marathon medals at eBay, with bids ranging from $114 to $306. More medals have since surfaced on the site. At least one has already sold for $400, and several others have been bid up over $350.
Dan Ashworth, the president of the company that manufactures the medals, told the Globe that he’s “disgusted” with the auctions, especially because the medals being sold may have been stolen in the chaotic aftermath of Monday’s tragic bombings. “It’s just disgusting,” he said. “Everyone was evacuated so the medals were probably just left there for anyone to take.”
It’s hard to tell if items being sold online are, in fact, stolen property. It’s also difficult to verify the claims of some—but not all—sellers, who state in their listings that at least a portion of the proceeds will go to worthwhile charities, such as One Fund Boston.
What does seem apparent is that after the attack, interest in Boston Marathon-related merchandise has soared. A recent search on eBay for “New York Marathon” and “New York City Marathon” returned 57 and 77 results, respectively. A search for “Boston Marathon,” on the other hand, turned up nearly 1,500 items. Keychains, jackets, T-shirts, medals, bracelets, collector pins, posters, and more from the marathon this year and in previous years have all been posted this week for auction or at “Buy It Now” prices. Many of the items make no mention of charities in their listings.
One of the more curious items popping up in a few eBay auctions is a Samuel Adams 26.2 Boston Brew bottle opener. Samuel Adams has offered the special brew, created in honor of the marathon, for several weeks now exclusively in the Boston area, and runners in the 2013 marathon received these openers in their swag bags. Bids on one opener started at $9.99, and shot up near $70 within a few hours.
Many people want to help the victims in Boston, and also visibly show their support for the city. But because it’s often unclear where the money spent in online auctions ultimately winds up, it’s probably wise to steer clear of anonymous sellers. Perhaps instead, check out the Boston Herald’s roundup of a half-dozen items for sale—T-shirts, bumper stickers, keychains—that benefit legitimate charities.
Or simply give money to charities you can trust.