Pope's old car sells on Internet for nearly quarter million dollars

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Pope Benedict XVI's former car has sold for nearly a quarter of a million dollars after an Internet auction that saw bids rocket in the space of a few hours, organisers said.

The highest winning offer for the 1999 model metallic grey Volkswagen Golf when bidding closed was just under 189,000 euros (244,000 dollars).

Organisers eBay Germany said the sale had been validated. The new owner is an online casino that has paid high prices for novelty auctions in the past.

The winning price is some 20 times what 21-year-old Benjamin Halbe paid in January when he bought it from a used car dealer before realising its previous owner was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Halbe put the car on the market after Ratzinger, who is German, was elected pope last month.

In fact Ratzinger likely never drove it. According to Roman Catholic Church sources, he does not have a driving permit.
Ratzinger's private secretary bought it for him in southern Germany and it was taken to the cardinal's residence in Rome and registered in his name.

Earlier Thursday, the price passed the 100,000 euro mark, but quickly shot up by nearly 90,000 euros as the deadline neared.

The auction site eBay Germany said the number of hits on the sale page was more than 7.4 million, a record for the company in Germany.

AFP