Just hours after the terrorist attack claimed the lives of 12 people in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, copies of the most recent edition were being sold for more than €70,000 online.
With a print run of only 60,000, issue no. 1177 completely sold out in France following the shooting dead of a number of the publication’s top artists and journalists in Paris on Wednesday.
While the magazine normally retails at a cost of €3, this week’s issue, which features a scathing cover image of controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq, was already being sold for thousands of euro online by Wednesday afternoon.
More than 80 vendors on eBay were offering the copies of issue 1177, many of which were available for immediate purchase for €50,000.
"Rare, latest issue Charlie Hebdo," one advert said.
While the adverts were receiving bids of more than €70,000, there is no guarantee that the sale will go through, given that eBay shoppers can withdraw after an auction's time limit has elapsed.
As well as the Michel Houellebecq issue, some of Charlie Hebdo’s most controversial copies were also on sale – including the November 2011 issue that resulted in the firebombing of the magazine’s headquarters.
Charia Hebdo, complete with an image of the prophet Muhammed on the cover, received bids of more than €14,000, with the seller pledging to donate the proceeds of the sale to help the victims of Wednesday’s shooting.
An eBay spokesperson said the online auctioneer cannot stop people from being interested in a certain type of item.
When contacted by the AFP, the company said: “"It's a tragic event and it's drawing lots of media attention, which encourages curiosity. The more people are interested in something the higher auctions go.”
While the company reserves the right to pull adverts that violate its terms of service, it maintains that it cannot do anything about the curiosity of its shoppers.
Charlie Hebdo’s publishers announced yesterday that the magazine will release a new memorial issue next week. The print run of issue 1178 will be one million copies.