eBay UK bans sale of Tower of London ceramic poppies

eBay UK have announced that they will not be permitting the sale of the ceramic poppies currently forming part of the display around the Tower of London.

They have said: “We are not permitting resale of the limited edition Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red ceramic poppies on eBay. Any listings attempting to sell these items will be cancelled before any sale takes place. Our marketplace is not an appropriate venue for the limited edition ceramic poppies in view of the significance of each individual poppy as a memorial to an individual British military fatality.”

Whilst it’s understandable that as the ceramic poppies are still in situ at the Tower, reselling for profit might be distasteful. It might also be in breach of eBay’s pre-sale policy. But how long will this ban last?

The poppies have been sold for £25 each, plus £5.95 for postage, and 10% from each plus all net profits will be divided between six military charities; The Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, Coming Home and Cobseo. It also seems that the people who have produced them have done so on a commercial basis.

And because they are now all sold, some people will be willing to pay more for them. Perhaps in years to come, they will appreciate in value too. They will possibly become a sought after collectable. And, of course, such items will be available in antique shops, car boots sales and other auction houses in due course.

Will eBay’s ban on these ceramic poppies be in perpetuity? The more obvious solution seems, in line with the original terms, to ensure that if they are resold, that at least 10% of the sale price goes to a good cause via eBay for Charity.

The ban is just another example of eBay bizarre, inconsistent morality on what can and cannot be sold. See also Olympic torches.