Is the Identity of Banksy for Sale on eBay?

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An eBay seller using the name Jaybuysthings is currently auctioning off “the identity of Banksy.” The real name of the elusive street artist will be mailed to the lucky winner on a piece of paper. While bidding began on January 12, 2011, the lot already has over $1,000,000 riding on the line. We don’t have much information concerning exactly how the seller came to possess the identity of Banksy — he allegedly matched up the prices of his sold pieces to “corresponding tax records” — which leads us to wonder if this is yet another Banksy hoax. UPDATE. Since this morning, when we first posted about the sensation and/or scam, the original post has been taken down and several mock posts have sprouted up in its place. Below are some details and an up-to-the-minute time line of the transactions.

● The auction was previously started and ended by eBay because nothing “tangible” was being sold. Now Jaybuysthings has written the identity on a tangible scrap of paper and is selling that. ● Jaybuysthings claims he got the identity of Banksy by “matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records.” He states, “I will reveal no more details.” ● Jaybuysthings has a total of 7 bidders who have made, collectively, 38 bids. The second highest bidder, known as “w***g (1),” bid $999,999.00 and has been outbid by the highest bidder, “-***a (682).” (While we don’t yet know precisely what the high bid is, it’s definitely over $1,000,000.00). ● The last two bids by the highest bidder, “-***a (682),” were $666,666.00 and $888,888.00. ● The first bid by “-***a (682)” was $300,000.00. ● The item went on sale 7:22:22 Pacific Standard Time with a starting price of $3000 and a “Buy it Now” price of $25,000.00. At 9:57:37 PST, the first bid was made for $3100.00. In other words, for two and a half hours, someone could have bought the lot for $25,000.00 (the “Buy it Now” option disappears once the first bid is placed). ● Jaybuysthings has a blue star, which is the second lowest rank on eBay’s “12- star system,” the last of which is a silver shooting star. That means that Jaybuysthings has only had between 50 and 99 ratings for transactions he’s been involved in on eBay, relatively inexperienced as far as eBay users go, though with a rating of 94, he has almost earned a turquoise star. ● The highest bidder, “-***a (682),” has a purple star, two ranks above Jaybuysthings, which means “-***a (682)” has been rated between 500 and 999 times. “-***a (682)” is a more experienced eBay user than Jaybuysthings. ● The second highest bidder, “w***g (1)” has had one transaction for which s/he has been given feedback. S/he has no stars. ● The Third highest bidder has had no feedback at all. This account could have been set up for the sole purpose of bidding in this auction. Because of the privacy settings, information about when the account was set up is not available. ● An eBay bidder known here as “y***n (53)” made a bid in the amount of $350,000.00 and then retracted it in 2 minutes and 25 seconds claiming “Entered Wrong Amount.” No further bid in any other amount was made by “y***n (53).” Like Jaybuysthings, “y***n (53)” also has a blue star. ● Jaybuysthings gives “100% assurance” that this is “most certainly” the full name of the street artist known as Banksy.” Apart from the word of Jaybuysthings as pledged on eBay, and the use of superlatives like “most” in the phrase “most certainly,” Jaybuysthings gives no evidence that he has the identity of the street artist known as Banksy. ● Jaybuysthings has been a member of eBay since August 22, 2000. ● There is 1 day 7 hours and 7 minutes left as of the time of this post. ● At 10:49 pm on January 17, 2011, Jaybuysthings posted the address of a Gmail account set up for questions concerning this auction. That email address is TheIdentityofBanksy@gmail.com. ● Feedback Jaybuysthings has received by others from whom he has bought or sold things: “Great great buyer. AAAAAAA+++++++,pls give us the same,” “quick and painless,” and “Many thanks from Taiwan!!!” ● This item is in Brooklyn, New York Update 1: The listing is mysteriously removed. Update 2: Someone else begins selling The Banksy identity at “a FRACTION of the cost.” Update 3: There are now several auctions for the identity of Banksy. Update 4: There have been 4 bids on one of the new posts, the high bid currently being $4.45.