Olympic torch to be sold at auction house after eBay 'hoax'
AN Olympic torchbearer who was faced with a £15,000 bill after trying to sell her piece of history has revealed that she may put it up for resale through an auction house.
Sarah Milner Simonds, 38, from Burnham-on-Sea, sold the torch on online auction site eBay last Sunday, the night before she carried it on her leg of the 8,000-mile relay event.
The winning bidder offered £153,100 – and despite being a legitimate account – failed to come forward.
Under eBay rules Ms Milner Simonds had to wait four days for the buyer to get in touch – but his time was up late on Thursday night.
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The sale must now be referred to the site's "Resolution Centre", to allow eBay to try to contact the bidder.
Until the auction site has looked into the matter, Ms Milner Simonds is not allowed to relist the torch for sale.
But she told the Post that she has had interest from several auction houses which have offered to sell the torch for her.
"This whole business with eBay has left me absolutely devastated," she said.
"When I listed the torch for sale I received lots of rude and hateful messages from people who were opposed to me selling it.
"That's led me to believe that the winning offer of £153,100 was just a hoax.
"I've already been asked to pay the £15,000 selling fee due to eBay, and am not sure what's going to happen with that.
"My partner and I are now in the process of contacting people thought to have offered genuine bids, but it is a long and tedious process.
"Several auction houses have contacted me to say they could sell the torch on my behalf, so I'm considering that as well."
Ms Milner Simonds planned to use the money from the torch sale to secure the future of People's Plot, a community gardening project she volunteers at.
Her work at the community allotment in London – where people can grow their own fruit and veg, and cook and eat the food they grow together – was the original reason she was nominated to carry the torch.