UNHCR launches celebrity auction to help refugee women

News Stories, 10 June 2002

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PARIS, June 10 (UNHCR) In a bid to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20, UNHCR today launched a 10-day celebrity auction on online auction site eBay, featuring signed memorabilia donated by famous women and objects designed by or for women. Funds raised will go to UNHCR and its programmes for refugee women, who form the theme for this year's World Refugee Day.

Items up for bidding include signed UNHCR baseball caps and T-shirts from UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, a signed script of Meryl Streep's next movie and two signed CDs and a video from UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks.

Other items range from jewellery created by actress Audrey Tautou as a girl, to signed works by designers Agnès B., Sonia Rykiel and Christian Lacroix. Jeweller Chaumet is donating a necklace with an estimated value of €15,000, while French champagne-maker Veuve Clicquot is offering a bottle of Champagne Millésime Or de 1969 signed by its chief executive.

Tennis fans can bid for a signed racket from Martina Hingis, while Formula One followers should look out for signed model cars from Michael and Ralf Schumacher. Also coming under the hammer is a weekend boat trip for 10 people on the famous Phocéa four-master, worth $60,000, courtesy of writer Mouna Ayoub.

Bidders can start logging on to the eBay website on Monday starting from 17:30 GMT. Items will be introduced gradually, with the full list going online at 20:45 GMT. The eBay homepage will display a UNHCR icon on which visitors can click to view a photo and description of each item, and to bid accordingly. All items start from the initial sale price of €100. Bidders who wish to view the items and bid in their own language can do so through their national eBay websites.

The online auction will end on World Refugee Day on June 20 with a live auction at the Espace Paul Ricard in Paris, where invitation-only attendees will gather to bid against Internet users around the world for the items on eBay. Famed French auctioneer Maître Cornette de Saint Cyr will conduct the event.

This event is supported by international eBay sites and local UN refugee agencies in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.