Outrage as Somme commemoration poppies flogged on eBay
Limited edition golden poppies made to commemorate the men who fell on the first day of the Battle of the Somme are already selling on eBay - for more than ten times their original value.
The 19,240 handcrafted solid brass lapel pins, sold by the Royal British Legion (RBL), were designed as a tribute to every life lost in one single day of the First World War - 1 July - 100 years ago.
The stunning poppies were made using brass melted down from the shells of ammo recovered from the battlefield.
They also contain red enamel in the centre made from earth collected from the French battle site and went on sale for £39.99, with all proceeds going to the RBL.
Unsurprisingly the poppies, each one coming with a certificate commemorating an individual soldier who fell on the tragic day, sold out within hours.
Despite being made and sold for charity, and commemorating the hugely important centenary of the battle, opportunists had no qualms in instantly putting their poppies on eBay - with some looking likely to go for more than £500.
Shaun Welland, 51, noticed that people were trying to profit from the sad occasion when he was unsuccessful in managing to buy a poppy from the RBL in time.
He said: “I looked on the British Legion site but they had all sold out very quickly. Each one contains a card commemorating a fallen soldier from the first day, so there are only 19,240.
“I thought ‘I bet someone is trying to profit off that’, so I looked on eBay and lo and behold there was already one on there selling for nearly £400.
“I wanted to buy one, but I’m not too disappointed to not get my hands on one, I just thought it would be for a good cause and it is obviously a very important thing to remember.”
Shaun, who lives in the US but is originally from the Cotswolds, said he thought people trying to make a profit from something so important were “shameful”.
He said: “I think particularly at this time of the year when we remember the battle of the Somme, I think it’s inappropriate.
“Particularly as each one contains the identity of someone who fell, it’s just not appropriate.
“It’s insulting to the relatives of fallen soldiers and it’s something that doesn’t need to be profited on.”
Angry, Sean contacted one of the sellers on eBay so see what they had to say about their decision to profit from such an important and sad event.
He said: “The guy I contacted said he served in the navy which he said gave him the right to do as he pleased.
“But in my opinion the fact he served in the navy makes it even more shameful.
“I won’t be buying one from eBay, but if the British Legion makes any more I will - it’s for a good cause.
“I just don’t think it’s something from which people should be profiting.”
At the time of writing, at least five of the poppies are selling on eBay, with bidding on three of them at £495 and £470 and £460.
The other two are both already attracting bids of £205 and £256.99 respectively.
Although one seller has added on his page that 15 per cent of the selling price will be donated to RBL, the others don’t seem to be worried about their profits making it back to the charity.
A spokesman for eBay said it was closely investigating the sale of the golden poppies.
He said: “We routinely remove listings we find to be in breach of our rules.
“For example, we removed the sale of all ceramic poppies at the Tower of London when they appeared on the site in 2015.”
The RBL has also been approached for comment.