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Auction Raised Over $600,00 for Wheldon Family

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What started as a small idea blossomed into an international outpouring of financial support for the family of Dan Wheldon.  An eBay auction of sports memorabilia and other items that began last October raised more than $600,000.  The money will be placed in a trust established for his family after the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner died from injuries suffered in an accident during the season’s final race.

Organizers released a final total of $627,203 on Friday after all items had been officially sold and the funds collected.

The auction started when fellow IndyCar driver Graham Rahal offered to sell a race-worn helmet, shoes and gloves.  Rahal and a team of others began receiving donations, then reached out to other teams and athletes and the auction grew.  As word spread about his gesture, personalities from the sports and entertainment world began donating items for Rahal to auction off. Within just a few days, the auction grew too big for Rahal to handle alone. It was taken over by eBay, which waived all fees, and Auction Cause, an auction management agency.

“We’re beyond floored with the outpouring of love you have all shown,” the organizers said via their Twitter account. “(We) couldn’t have done it without you all! Words can’t express our gratitude! Every little bit helped and will make a difference for the family.”

Among the items sold were several race-worn helmets including one from NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson that generated 67 bids and sold for $20,000 and Dario Franchitti’s Vegas worn helmet that sold for $16,211.  Signed jerseys and other items  from some of sports’ biggest stars brought bids over and above what you’d expect as collectors and fans jumped on board.

“From the very beginning, I have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and the unwavering support of Dan’s friends, his fans and from the racing community,” Wheldon’s wife Susie said in a statement. “When Graham (Rahal) reached out to me with the auction total today, I was very touched by everyone’s generosity. I want everyone to know how grateful I am and how much I appreciate everyone’s kindness and their love. It means the world to our family, and I hope one day to personally thank all those who donated and purchased the auction items.”

As word spread about his gesture, personalities from the sports and entertainment world began donating items for Rahal to auction off. Within just a few days, the auction grew too big for Rahal to handle alone. It was taken over by eBay, which waived all fees, and Auction Cause, an auction management agency.

“We’re beyond floored with the outpouring of love you have all shown,” the organizers said via their Twitter account. “(We) couldn’t have done it without you all! Words can’t express our gratitude! Every little bit helped and will make a difference for the family.”

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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