Friday, July 4, 2008

Sold for A$1,001.55!

The first copy of Parentonomics has sold for A$1,001.55; just short of US$1,000. Now someone suggested to me that I had been bidding in this thing. I most certainly was not but the possibility did occur to Child No.1 who then needed a lesson in legality and morality. That said, I do know the winner (and the person was not a family member) but will not reveal their secret identity. More critically, however, I did not know the other bidders; notably the second highest bidder who was as much responsible for the price as the winner was not someone I knew (that person has commented over at Core Economics).

Of course, we have a couple of these books lying around the house. One of them was kept safe but then as the kids played and pretended to read the others I wondered if we needed to get them put away. After all, who lets their kids play with $1,000 books?

The important question is: why pay so much for a book that will be released in just a month? Again, Child No.1 had remarked when the bidding passed $100, "who would pay one hundred dollars for just a book?" She said this with a derisive accent on 'book.' Of course, it isn't just a book. It is a donation and tax deduction (at least here in Australia). But, interestingly, it was purchased by one of the rare people who read the first draft of the book. So they had inside information and you can take this to mean that it is some sort of forecast of its expected future value! In August, compared to this, we are virtually giving them away.

Anyhow, thanks to all of those who put in a bid. Over $2,000 extra will now be going to the MS Readathon as a result even though only a couple of us had to actually fork out the cash. Child No.1 has suggested that next year what we can auction is her true identity. I am not sure how valuable that is (to someone other than us) but then again I can't wait to find out who Hannah Montana really is. So perhaps there is value out there for that.

[Update: Turns out this whole idea wasn't so original. Tim Harford put the first ever signed copy of Freakonomics up for sale in 2005. It was for charity and Steve Levitt matched the winning bid. It sold for US$610. That bit bodes well.]