MIAMI – The Internet auction house eBay Inc. (EBAY) reversed itself Tuesday and is allowing bids for half of a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that its owner says bears the image of the Virgin Mary (search).
Diana Duyser (search), of Hollywood, put the sandwich up for sale last week, drawing bids as high as $22,000 before eBay pulled the item Sunday night. The page was viewed almost 100,000 times before being taken down.
An e-mail Duyser received from eBay said the sandwich broke its policy, which "does not allow listings that are intended as jokes."
But Duyser, a work-from-home jewelry designer who has bought and sold items on eBay for two years, said the grilled cheese wasn't a joke.
The auction was back on Tuesday afternoon with a top bid of $5,100. The winning bidder also has to pay $9.95 for shipping. In mocking response, two similar items were later posted — grilled cheese sandwiches bearing the images of the Virgin Mary's used gum and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
A phone message left with San Jose, Calif.-based eBay was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Duyser thought eBay would be the best place to show off the sandwich, made on plain white bread and American cheese and cooked with no oil or butter. She said she took a bite after making it 10 years ago and saw a face staring back at her from the bread.
Duyser, 52, put the sandwich in a clear plastic box with cotton balls and kept it on her night stand.
At first, she was scared by the image, "but now that I realize how unique it is, I wanted to share it with the world," Duyser told The Miami Herald.
She said the sandwich has never sprouted a spore of mold.