The online auction site eBay has removed dozens of listings for wristbands given to people queueing to see the Queen’s coffin as online traders sought to cash in on memorabilia from the occasion.
Some used wristbands were attracting bids of up to £70,000 before they were removed.
An eBay spokesperson said: “These items are against our policies and we are removing them from our site.” Its event ticket policy prohibits the sale of most tickets, including those for events that are free to the public.
The Queen’s lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster opened to the public at 5pm on Wednesday, and 48 hours later about a dozen people had listed their coloured and numbered paper bands for sale on online marketplaces.
People joining the queue that winds its way around central London to view the coffin are given paper wristbands to mark their place. This allows mourners to leave the queue for a short period to use the lavatory or get refreshments, then return to their spot.
The wristbands, which do not guarantee entry and are strictly non-transferable, have been issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to help manage the huge numbers of people keen to catch a glimpse of the Queen lying in state. Bands have different numbers and colours each day. The DCMS website explains the process for queueing, saying the band is “a record of when you joined the queue”.
One seller’s gold wristband was listed with the description “Queen Elizabeth II Lying In State Gold Queue Wristband. Used – see photos from the day! Friday 16th September, 11-hour queue, same day as David Beckham (was about an hour before us). Joined queue before 6am.”
An orange wristband, which features the royal coat of arms and the abbreviation LISQ (lying in state queue), had a price of £1,000 after nine bids. The seller described it as “brand new” and “never been used”.
A similar band, with a starting price of £550, gained 22 watchers in its first 24 hours of being live.
Several sellers are including bundles of commemorative newspapers alongside their bands, and many have included photos of themselves wearing the wristband in the queue, to prove their authenticity. One eBay member listed his orange band with a note that: “I originally put this wristband at a high price. As you can see, it was same colour as my jacket! But have decided to let it run on auction. Something in me from the Queen said do it.”
The cheapest band listed on the site is priced at £10, and for £20 you can buy one described as a “bit wrinkled, but a piece of history”.