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Olympic Torch Sells on EBay for $238,000 as Runners Cash In

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May 21 (Bloomberg) -- An Olympic torch achieved a price of 150,400 pounds ($238,000) on EBay as relay runners in the buildup to the London games look to raise funds or cash in on their participation.

Sophia Cowburn carried the Olympic flame on May 19 through Liskeard, a town in southwestern England. She bought the torch, which sells for 199 pounds, and then decided to sell it on to raise funds for the Invictus Trust, which helps teenagers with mental-health problems.

The flame arrived in the U.K. from Greece on May 18, and will be carried by 8,000 people in a relay that will take it within 10 miles of 95 percent of the population. It will reach the Olympic Stadium on the evening of July 27 for the opening ceremony. Each runner can buy their torch. The bidding for Cowburn’s started at 200 pounds on May 20, and went over 150,000 pounds in the last five minutes before the auction ended yesterday.

“The torches are the torchbearers’ to do what they want with,” London games organizers said today in an e-mailed statement. “We hope they find a good home.”

Cowburn said on the EBay page that the money would go to the Invictus charity.

At least three other torches are being sold on the Internet site. One, being sold with an official stand, has a starting bid of 100,000 pounds, with offers being accepted until 10:38 p.m. U.K. time today. No one has met the offer price.

Another torch and an official uniform were being sold, although no one had offered the starting bid of 95,000 pounds.

A third torch had one bid of 20,100 pounds at 4:20 p.m. local time. It had about six hours to run.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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