Second hand wristbands given out to people queuing to see the Queen laying in state in Westminster Hall are being sold on eBay for four figures.
After paying their respects to the Queen, some mourners have speedily posted their used wristbands on the online marketplace, with the highest listed price so far reaching £199.99 (although many have accepted “Best Offers” meaning the exact sale figure is not listed).
Around 10 of the colourful bands have sold on the site so far, with many more auctions ending over the next few days.
However, bids on bands currently on sale are rocketing into the thousands – including a gold wristband, used on Friday 16 September – the same day as David Beckham queued to pay his respects to the Queen.
The seller says the former England football captain was around an hour in front of them in the queue, and that they joined the queue just before 6am.
Offering a selection of photos of their day in the capital to verify their visit – including shots of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye – the crumpled gold band has so far received bids taking it to £2,550. The auction still has around a day to run.
Another post shows a bright orange band fresh from today – Saturday – described as “genuine unused”, which has already reached a price of £1,040, despite the auction not ending until Tuesday. The seller has sweetened the deal with free postage.
Meanwhile, two dark green bands, which the seller says were used by her and her daughter on Thursday during an eight hour wait to file past the coffin has a top bid of £436, plus £3.35 postage from Derby (at time of writing).
Yellow bands from the accessible queue are also available to buy on the site, with one seller even offering to send “two newspapers collected on the day at Westminster” along with their two yellow accessible bands.
Some mourners had managed to take off their bands without breaking the seal, and were selling them “intact”.
One optimistic seller put their band – which they said was from the first day of queuing – up for £22,000, but later removed their post.
Despite the possibility of buying a wristband online, purchasers will not be able to use them to skip the queue as they cannot be reused.
The coloured and numbered bands 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 number and colour shades each day.
The DCMS website explains the process for queuing, saying the band is “a record of when you joined the queue”.
However, it adds that “having a wristband does not guarantee your entry to the Lying-in-State”.
The site goes on: “Wristbands are specific to each person joining the queue, and are strictly non-transferable. You must keep this wristband on at all times as it will be checked along the route.”
Bands make it possible for mourners to leave the queue in order to go to the toilet or grab food and drink. With some people queuing for around 24 hours, such refreshment breaks are essential.
When asked about the sale of used wristbands online, a DCMS spokesperson told Sky News: “Wristbands for accessing the Lying-in-State are single use, handed out by stewards and can only be used by the person they were issued to. Access will be denied to anyone found not to have followed proper process.”
The Queen has been lying in state since Wednesday, with her children holding a vigil on Friday, and her grandchildren due to hold a vigil on Saturday evening.