Olympic torch relay auction nets community project $241,900

An Olympic torch from the London 2012 torch relay is believed to have sold for £153,000 at an internet auction site.

The Olympic flame arrived on British shores on Friday evening (May 18), and is making its way through the south-west of England.

London 2012 torches are pushing
1952 Helsinki specimens close

Each of the 8,000 torchbearers taking part in the relay has been given the option to purchase their torch for £295, a savvy investment for Sarah Simonds, who now has to check whether the £153,000 bid is genuine.

Simonds, who is taking part in the relay on Monday afternoon, pre-sold the torch to raise money for a community gardening project called The People's Plot.

"I am thoroughly proud to be representing Burnham in the torch relay, but rather than look at the torch for years to come on my mantelpiece I have decided to auction it and put it to long-term benefit for the community," she told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

Although some believe the torch relay should not be used for commercial purposes, Simonds is not alone in deciding to sell, with a torch for the Invictus Trust charity having surpassed £60,000.

The value of the torches is somewhat surprising, considering their ubiquity - yet it goes to show both the passion Britain has for the Olympics and the power of immediacy when it comes to auction sales.

A far rarer torch from the 1952 Helsinki Games achieved €290,000 (£239,000) at Christie's in April 2011.

Just 22 Helsinki specimens were produced, making them highly-sought after.

A London 1948 torch made £6,463 at Christie's in 2000.

The marathon winner's cup from the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 made £541,250 in April, becoming the most valuable piece of Olympic memorabilia ever sold at auction in the process.

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