Memorabilia from daring hoax could make $1m for Japan disaster fund



Shameless self-publicists Richard and Mayumi Heene are putting their fame to good gain.

The couple behind the 2009 "Balloon Boy" hoax has announced they will auction the balloon to raise funds to help earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts in Japan.

In October 2009 the Colorado couple claimed their six-year-old son had floated away in a homemade helium balloon.

The boy was later found hiding in the family garage following worldwide television coverage and a rescue effort estimated by the New York Times to have cost $2m.

The Heenes - hoaxers turned good?
The Heenes served a period of time in jail and have been prohibited from making money from the story until 2013.


"All you people out there who have casinos and hotels, maybe you're a collector, and you want to attract people to your place of business, you could perhaps bid on this and use it as a tax write off and then folks will come in to see the experimental craft," says Richard Heene in a YouTube video advertising the auction.

Interested parties have to first answer seven questions, including "Would you like to see people travel everyday in Flying Saucers?" before submitting their bid online.

The Heenes hope to make $1m from the sale.

Should the winning bidder pay more than $10,000, they will also receive the balloon's original plans.

If the winning bid surpasses $50,000 they will get photographs of the craft being built, and should the final total surpass $100,000, the lucky winner will receive a DVD of the Heenes making their balloon.

Although the story behind the balloon and the auction's good cause will attract much publicity, the investment potential of the piece is highly debatable - will anyone be interested in 20 years' time?


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