Why did a gorilla-shaped Cheeto just sell on eBay for $99,900?!

by Katy on February 13, 2017 · 10 comments

The following blog post first appeared over at ClarkHoward.com.

You may be aware that a gorilla-shaped Flaming Hot Cheeto just sold on eBay for $99,900. Yes, you read that right, $100 shy of a hundred-thousand dollars for a single snack nugget! Why did this particular Cheeto sell for such an exorbitant amount? Because it was described as being shaped like “Harambe gorilla.” (Although really I’d say that’s a bit of a stretch, which makes it the Rorschach test of salty snacks.)

I reached out to eBay seller Valuestampsinc to get more information on their listing, but most importantly to ask the question on all of our minds:

“Did that highest bidder actually pay?”

Sadly, the answer was no, or at least not yet. “They haven’t paid and most likely they won’t, unfortunately.” Adding that, “I think people just fell into the craze of things and had no intentions of buying it.” Such a disappointment for those of us who’d added Flaming Hot Cheetos onto our grocery lists.

Of course, it’s not the first time that a seemingly worthless item has been bid up to an exorbitant amount on eBay. Although many of these listings have been for charitable causes, others have simply caught the public attention and escalated the price beyond anyone’s expectations.

You may already be familiar with these infamous eBay listings:

Pharrell’s signature hat:

Singer/songwriter Pharrell famously listed his goofy hat on eBay in 2014 to support the charity From One Hand to Another. The hat ended up selling for a staggering $44,100 to the fast food chain Arby’s, whose logo is humorously similar. This prompted Arby’s to tweet to Pharrell that “We’re HAPPY to support a great cause and get our hat back.”

Half a grilled cheese sandwich:

Although this sale goes back to 2004, it’s an absolute must on any list of crazy eBay sales. Because when you accidentally grill the face of The Virgin Mary onto the surface of your lunch, and later sell it for $28,000 on eBay, it becomes the stuff of legends.

A snippet of Justin Bieber’s hair:

Ellen Degeneres turned straw into gold after being gifted with a thatch of Justin Bieber’s hair clippings back in 2011. (Peak Bieber-fever.) Listing it on eBay in support of The Gentle Barn Foundation, the hair eventually sold for $40,668, which included a trip to the Ellen show to meet the young Bieber.

An M&M wrapper:

Sold way back in 2004, this eBay listing went for an insane $2,815.43 to the Golden Palace Casino, who has curated a Museum of Oddities, (as well as some cheap publicity) by overbidding on ridiculous and infamous items. And yes, it was simply an ordinary candy wrapper, nothing more.

Whale vomit: 

Although the jury is still out on whether ambergris comes from the front or end half of a sperm whale, it’s still going to be the luckiest day of your life if you come across a lump of it. Described as a waxy ball that smells “like a cross between squid and farmyard manure,” this rare item is used in high end perfume. So when a British couple came across a lump of it while walking their dog last year, they gleefully wrapped it in a scarf and brought it home. Expected to sell for $70,000, it was certainly the find of a lifetime. No news on the fate of the scarf though.

Although you may never find your own chunk of ambergris or have enough elusive celebrity caché to bring attention to a wacky eBay listing, you can still strike gold from otherwise overlooked items. Although far from $100,000 Cheeto, members of an eBay seller’s group had these stories to share:


“A Sadler Tea Set of tea pot, sugar basin and creamer. 1940’s/50’s era worth about $250 normally . . . went ballistic . . . bidders fighting in the last few mins .  . . sold for $1920.00. It was amazing timing as it was desperately needed at the time.”


$2191.79 for a vintage Gillette Fat Toggle Razor.”


“I started selling on eBay in 2005 when Macy’s announced they had bought Marshall Field’s. I could visit my local Marshall Field’s store and buy literally anything with their logo and sell it on EBay for 2-3 times the amount I paid. The highlight was after Christmas that year when I found an unmarked large white box on a clearance table which turned out to be a huge snow globe shaped like the downtown Chicago store; I paid $15 and sold it on eBay for $520.


This last story is mine from back in 2004, when eBay was hot, hot, hot. I’d been to Goodwill and discovered a jumble of vintage Sasha dolls priced at $3-$5 apiece. (I recognized them from having owned one as a child.) I scooped them up and quickly listed them on eBay. I ended up making over $2000 from the dolls, including one that sold for $1000, as she was apparently a rare specimen. I’ve since found two others, although sadly the pre-recession days of wanton spending are behind us, so they only sell for $100 or so.

New to eBay and need a tutorial on how to get started? Check out this Clark Howard piece on how to use eBay’s Completed Listings section to research how much things actually sell for. You’ll likely be surprised, as what you think is valuable may not be so, but what you consider to be worthless may just be your Harambe-shaped Cheeto or maybe even your own priceless chunk of whale vomit.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvette February 13, 2017 at 5:01 am

End of scorching weather with a little rain, temperatures dropped from 100f to 60f overnight, had to find warm clothes!! Heat will build again next week, summer ends in April here, the autumn is delightful. A beautiful sunset saw the sky filled with swarms of dragon flies, amazing sight! Family of blue fairy wrens have nested in bushes outside my bedroom window, they are fascinating to watch , the blue male with his 3 lady friends, diving in and out of the birdbath on these hot days. Wish I could join them !!
1. Foraging local fruit has provided enough to make jams, chutney & marmalade for my pantry and to give away. Made 6 jars each of peach jam, raspberry jam, pear /lime marmalade and fruit chutney.
2.found $2 coin on ground .
3.picked up a limited edition botanical print in a custom frame for $5 at op-shop
4. Harvesting fresh tomatoes, zucchini, beans.. beetroot, onions and greens from vege patch, plus herbs that I am cutting and drying for the pantry.
5. Bought lamb mince below half price and made spicy lamb koftas, a salad of rocket/pear/walnut with a blue-cheese dressing and a tomato/coriander salsa , delicious. Finished off with homemade banana / choc and Brazil nut ice cream.


Denise February 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Presume you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, Yvette? I am jealous. Sounds idyllic.


Bee February 13, 2017 at 5:21 am

I started selling on eBay early in 2001. At that time, I sold about 10 items every 10 days. It was a great side hustle. When they started to grow, I had an extremely difficult buyer. In her feedback, 5 or 6 people actually said she was crazy. I decided that I didn’t have time to deal with this sort of thing, so I quit selling.
However, inspired by you and other NCA readers, I recently started selling again. Things are going well, but not like the pre- recession days. The vintage, art, and antique markets have not bounced back regardless of venue,”0 generally speaking.
Recently, I sold a lot of used wine corks. I would toss them in a jar after I opened a bottle of wine. Although this was a fairly rare event, I collected a 100 or so over the years. I guess they sell these corks as filler at decor stores. So I made money on my garbage! I was thrilled.


Lucy February 13, 2017 at 5:42 am

I sold on eBay for several years, but health issues coupled with the decline of sales in my category were getting discouraging. Then the freaking county decided that I was operating a pawn shop (?!?) and shut me down. All because of one crazy who had sold off some stuff at a live auction (where I bought some of it) and reported it stolen (collecting insurance). Then, by the worst luck, she bought one of the items from me via eBay, and someone recognized it as the very same one she had reported stolen, turned her in…..and I was investigated as having a part in her scam! Then I was told to register as a pawn shop and conform to those regulations (which, as I was selling from home, involved a loss of privacy) or not sell anymore.

But I made awfully good money during my time selling.


Vickie February 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

Wow!! I definitely need to open and account and sell some stuff. That’s crazy!


K D February 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

A fun post Katy. I love the variety of stuff that you post, you never know what you’ll see.

I sold some stuff from around the house on eBay for a while. It started when I discovered I had a Christmas ornament that was valuable and we got rid of quite a few items around the house. I also sold stuff for my MIL when she moved to a much smaller place. I tried my hand at buying used for resale and made a bit of money but not a lot, after expenses. One time I bought flip-flops at a yard sale and didn’t realize they were two different sizes until after the buyer left negative feedback. He didn’t contact me but I contacted him and returned his money. I think that was the beginning of the end for me. Buying for resale also contributed to clutter around the house.


Mrs. Picky Pincher February 13, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Oh nnnooooo people! I do think the Internet can be funny about these things, so the Cheeto is hilarious. 🙂


Mariana February 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I love ebay and sell a lot.
Anything I am receiving in random gift bags, gifts from work around the Holidays, fancy work events that my husband gets invited to etc – goes directly onto eBay.
In 2015 I made almost $8,000, last year probably around$2,000. This year I make $152 but I have several pretty expensive items to list but had no time to do so yet.


Roberta February 14, 2017 at 7:03 am

Ahhh! Why don’t these people bid up my listings? I’ve made a couple hundred selling things we’re decluttering (vintage books and magazines, dvds, LEGOs) but it seems like they always go so slowly! Do you have to relist things very often before they sell?


Karen February 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

I used to sell a lot there in the late 90s till about 2010. Then there was a flood of new sellers, so I stopped making good money there. In the good old days I sold Jerry Garcia ties, ones I’d find in thrift shops for 3 bucks that were apparently the rarer designs, for 50 bucks a pop on ebay. It’s so funny to me now because I didn’t yet have a camera, so I sold these very artsy ties just using detailed descriptions of the colors and patterns. Buyers had to trust me! But it all worked out and everyone was happy. I once sold a theatre program for a Hitchcock festival that became a hot item which sold for over 40 bucks. I had picked up a few of these programs after attending the festival, and I figured the Hitch nuts would like them. I’m thinking I’ll list some stuff over the summer after helping to sort out a relative’s house.


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