California Surplus Items Up for Bid on eBay

WASHINGTON (04/25/2000) - Mixed in with discarded engagement rings and baseball cards, eBay Inc. shoppers can now find surplus items from the state of California.

The state's Department of General Services is selling items including golf clubs, cameras, watches and bicycles, many of which were seized by the California Highway Patrol. Oregon also recently offered items on the popular online auction site.

Ken Hunt, the department's spokesman, said items have been up for about a month and so far things are going for more money than they would have had people bought them from one of the state's two surplus warehouses.

And there's been another benefit.

"It's generated a lot of interest, especially in the media, any time you mention eBay," Hunt said.

The state is limiting the eBay merchandise to smaller, specialty items.

Traditional surplus fodder like desks and shelving would be too expensive to ship, Hunt said. Although, if online auctions prove cost-effective in the long run, other state agencies might try bigger items, he said The agency that runs the state fair, for example, has expressed interest in trying the online method to sell arcade games.

If California decides to stick with online auctions, someone would need to be assigned the job of photographing and documenting the items, Hunt said.

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