The first item sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer. It sold for $14.83 in 1995 (when the site was still called Auction Web).
More about the first item sold on eBay
According to eBay, “Mark Fraser purchased the first item that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar listed on the site in 1995: a broken laser pointer.”
All of this was revealed at the eBay Seller Summit fireside chat. Back when the site was still called Auction Web, Omidyar listed the laser pointer over the Labor Day weekend and was shocked when someone purchased it for $14.38.
The buyer’s identity and motivation had long remained a secret.
Fraser finally came forward at the eBay event in 2005. He explained that he had been on the road traveling for work and giving a lot of presentations. He has seen laser pointers in the ’90s and wanted one, but at the time they cost over $100.
Being an electronics “geek,” Fraser assumed he could fix a broken one, making his eBay purchase a potentially wise financial decision. He had already tried to build one from scratch and it needed too many components, so this was a great find for him.
Fraser said he was still making eBay purchases and his broken laser pointer was the first in a long line of them. In fact, he’s made over 2000 purchases!
When he heard stories from eBay’s 20th anniversary celebration and the strange first purchase, he thought he was being “dissed,” so he contacted the company to explain how it all went down.
Funny enough – he still had the broken laser pointer. And yes, it’s still broken!
We assume that’ll end up in a museum someday – or at least at eBay headquarters somewhere! — WTF fun facts
Source: “Meet the Buyer of the Broken Laser Pointer” — eBay