A Chinese court in the Anhui Province canceled an auction this week for a Yu-Gi-Oh card linked to a multi-million dollar embezzlement case after its price was inexplicably bid up to $13 million.
According to a report by The South China Morning Post, and spotted by Kotaku, the card was initially put up for sale for $12 on Monday, but bids poured in once collectors began to suspect the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card was a special edition card of which only 500 copies were made available to participants of a 2018 lottery. The cards were delivered in 2019, are made of pure gold, and typically valued at around $2,000—if authenticated, which this card is not.
The lack of certification, however, did not stop bidding from hitting $77,000 within minutes and drawing over 18,000 participants and 2 million observers online.
"This auction has been suspended. The lot is seriously inconsistent with the actual bid price, and malicious bidding behavior is suspected," reads a statement on the auction site. The collectible card market has been unbelievably hot over the last few months, but even that does not seem to explain what’s going on here. Most high-value cards are graded, and mega-high-dollar cards usually are put up for auction with a lot of fanfare. None of that happened here, which is bizarre.
The card is just one of the many items seized as part of a corruption case involving Zhang Yujie, a man who embezzled nearly $10.8 million from a government fund he was managing; he was sentenced to life in prison in 2020, so the government has been auctioning other items—like his diamond and gold encrusted Playstation 4—ever since.
This wasn't the only auction of his possessions that was halted. On Tuesday, a USB valued at $7 was bid at $77,000 after rumors spread the drive could give access to his Bitcoin wallet, SCMP also reported.