You can now purchase a piece of Elon Musk’s college-era past, including photos of him goofing off, and a signed birthday card he gave an ex-girlfriend.
RR Auction, a Boston-based company, is currently auctioning off several Musk items on behalf of Jennifer Gwynne, who dated Musk, the Tesla
chief executive and one of the world’s richest people, when they attended the University of Pennsylvania together in the mid ‘90s. The auction ends Wednesday.
The item that’s commanding the most attention is the birthday card, which was sent by Musk to Gwynne, with Musk even referring to her by the pet name “Boo-Boo.” As of Monday morning, the card had received 23 bids, with the last one crossing into five-digit territory at $10,001 (the pre-auction estimate was $10,000-plus). In a separate RR Auction listing, a $1 bill signed by Musk has drawn bids above $7,000.
But by contrast, however, many of Gwynne’s Musk mementos are going for less than $500, including a number of photographs that show a younger — and decidedly carefree — Musk. A picture of Musk hugging Gwynne has received just five bids as of midday Monday morning, with the last one at $148.
According to RR Auction executive vice president Bobby Livingston, Gwynne reached out to the auction house in part because RR had success last year selling a different Musk item — namely, a set of papers graded by him in his role as a University of Pennsylvania teaching assistant. Those papers went for $7,753.
Livingston says the appeal of anything Musk-related is obvious: He’s an important figure in our world. But at the same time, Livingston notes, there’s a lack of Musk personal material available for those interested in collecting such things.
“You just don’t see much of it,” Livingston says.
Which may explain why Gwynne is seizing the opportunity to cash in some college photos and an old birthday card. But in her case, there’s a more pressing reason: She’s hoping to raise money to help pay for her stepson’s college tuition, according to RR Auction. In that sense, she’s not unlike a lot of Americans who are contending with the rising cost for higher education, even at a time when President Biden has offered $10,000 to $20,000 in financial relief for those with federal student-loan debt.
Read more: What Biden’s reported student debt cancellation plan could mean for borrowers
And: Biden’s student-loan forgiveness is a ‘game changer,’ but will it enable millions of renters to finally purchase a home?
MarketWatch reached out to Gwynne for comment via RR Auction, but a spokesperson for the auction house said she wasn’t immediately available. MarketWatch also reached out to Musk via Tesla and social media, but didn’t receive an immediate response.
Musk isn’t the only tech-world titan whose personal memorabilia is finding its way to the auction block. ComicConnect, a New York-based auction house that specializes in comics and baseball cards, is selling a signed Mark Zuckerberg Little League card later this month. The item dates from well before Zuckerberg’s Facebook
days — it’s actually from Zuckerberg’s childhood ,when he played with a youth baseball team.