Nine days in to the scheduled ten-day ebay auction for her late husband’s extensive Transformers toy robot collection, California widow Phoenix Lindgren thought she had achieved the impossible: a million dollar bid.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
“I checked my email and there it was—the message from ebay saying someone had just used the “Buy it Now” option for a million dollars. You can’t imagine how excited I was in that moment,” says the 47-year-old of her experience. Mrs. Lindgren was quick to share the good news with her boyfriend of two years, Russell Watt, 26, who immediately started calling family members to share their joy.
“Russell was especially anxious to call his brother, Andy, who had been a naysayer from the start—Andy didn’t think we’d get more than $10,000 for the toys,” Lindgren said. The collection, believed to be one of the largest private collections of Generation One Transformers (or G1 Transformers as they are known on ebay), consists of 275 robots and licensed merchandise—comprising everything from Transformers ear muffs to an Optimus Prime electric toothbrush.
Instead of merely clicking on the “Send Invoice” button embedded in the ebay message, Lindgren thought her million dollar buyer deserved a phone call. “I realized the buyer’s address and phone number were in the email, so I grabbed my phone and called him in Ontario, Canada,” said Lindgren. “I wasn’t sure how to pronounce his name, but it was the buyer, Aret Camgozlu, who answered. When I told him who I was, he started by apologizing, and my heart sank. He said his 5-year-old nephew had been playing on his computer and had accidently “bought” the collection for a million dollars. I was devastated.”
But Lindgren has managed to find the silver lining in the situation. She has relisted the collection on ebay, and this time 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“Elton John was inspired to start his Foundation because of his relationship with Ryan White, who, like my husband, Anthony, died of AIDS as a result of being injected with HIV-tainted anti-hemophilic Factor VIII. In a lot of ways I’m grateful to Camgozlu’s nephew for allowing me to rethink the auction and contribute to such a worthy charity,” Lindgren said.
The new auction—which still offers a “Buy it Now” of $1 million—will run on ebay through Wednesday, August 1st at noon Pacific Time. At press time, bidding on the collection had surpassed $85,000.
More of the story and the collection can be viewed on ebay at: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230154823371