A Crawley man who discovered a Virgin Mary-shaped Funyun under his car seat and then auctioned it on eBay last week has received yet another blessing from the onion-flavored snack food.

Someone has committed to pay him $609 for it.

“I thought it was a joke,” said John Mize, a Raleigh County law clerk who claims his Funyun find may be responsible for a recent string of good luck that includes graduating from law school, passing the bar exam, landing his dream job and getting out of a much deserved traffic ticket. “When I found out the buyer was serious, I was excited.”

He only hopes, though, that the high bidder — who remains anonymous — isn’t offering more than she can afford for the Funyun and its “baby Jesus” counterpart, which Mize also found under the car seat. The two items were the only surviving intact morsels in a pile of crushed yellow Funyuns and their powder.

In fact, during the 10-day auction, one bidder asked Mize how much he would pay for this Funyun. Mize answered: “You really can’t put a price on such a rarity. But I can tell you this, after owning the Funyun and experiencing the joys it has brought me, my family and those around me, I would pay as much as I could spare. I would like to make it clear too, that I DO NOT want any individual to bid more than they can spare. This is a season of giving and sharing that we are in. I would not want someone to make this item a top priority that would not allow them to meet necessary ends and enjoy the season as it is meant to be enjoyed.”

Mize offered the Funyun on Ebay for 99 cents. In a few days, bidding shot up to $11, and between Dec. 1 and the end of bidding on Dec. 2, bids went from $15 to the winning $609.

It’s not the first time sacred-shaped food items have drawn hundreds of dollars from Internet auction shoppers.

Last November, a grilled cheese sandwich that bore the image of the Virgin Mary was sold on eBay to Internet casino GoldenPalace.com for $28,000.

In March, GoldenPalace won an eBay auction by paying $1,209 for a nacho cheese Doritos chip that resembled the pope’s hat.

In August, GoldenPalace paid $1,775 to win an eBay auction for a pierogi that bore the image of Jesus Christ.

Also this year, the Internet casino paid $10,600 for a pretzel that some believe was shaped like the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. GoldenPalace swooped in about 30 seconds before bidding closed.

GoldenPalace did not bid on Mize’s Funyun. However, around 30 seconds before bidding closed he did receive a mysterious question regarding shipping. Mize was unable to answer it in time. (He said he does have a plan for safe and insured shipping.)

Although the sale, once it’s complete, will give Mize a profit, he says the goal of his auction was never to make a lot of money.

“It’s fun to watch your auction and to see how many people visit the site,” he said. “I liked sharing my Funyun story with so many people.”

One watcher even invited Mize to dinner. Another told him a joke.

“The only reason I wanted to auction it in the first place was to let it bring a little joy and fun into someone else’s life,” Mize said. “Maybe this Funyun can make another person’s day a little brighter.”

— E-mail:

bnaudrey@register-herald.com

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