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Site auctioning celeb memorabilia

The proceeds from First Auction's wares, including a Thomas Dolby Web site and Courtney Love's guitar, will go to a San Francisco nonprofit.

    First Auction, an online auction site, has launched a celebrity memorabilia auction to benefit charity.

    The online auction features rock music paraphernalia from Courtney Love, Carlos Santana, Chris Isaak, Alanis Morrisette, Hootie & the Blowfish, the Allman Brothers, Seal, Steve Miller, and Blues Traveler.

    These items aren't likely to come close to the $19,250 bid for the cape worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman or the $21,850 that bought a lucky fan an authentic Madonna bustier at a recent Sotheby's celebrity memorabilia auction, but participants can comfort themselves with the fact that the proceeds from the online auction will go to charity.

    Music in Schools Today, a San Francisco nonprofit group focused on supporting school music programs, will benefit. "The money is going to go directly to children in the schools," said Meg Madden, executive director of the group, which works both nationally and locally to help bring music into classrooms.

    Although not in the same league as auctions for Judy Garland's ruby slippers in terms of furious bidding, online auction houses are gaining popularity as a way to unload unwanted items as well as bid on, say, Courtney Love's autographed guitar. Another online auctioneer, Onsale, has seen its stock surge from hovering around 5 in May up to 18-1/2 today as its popularity increases.

    Hoping to capitalize on the growing success of online auctioneering, Innerlinx Technologies today introduced LiveBid, a service that allows real-time Internet bidding, which competes with live bidding at "real" auctions.

    The LiveBid service is set to debut next month at a collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, where the original Batmobile will be a featured item for auction.

    And while the Batmobile, as well as some of the items being auctioned on First Auction such as Herbie Hancock's glasses and a Web page created by Thomas Dolby, have a somewhat narrow appeal, that doesn't prevent the bidding from getting heated. "I WANT THIS," wrote an emphatic bidder about Courtney Love's guitar. "DO NOT EVEN TRY."

    In addition to rock memorabilia, First Auction is accepting bids on lunches with Bay Area journalists Leah Garchik and Doug McConnell. A lunch with Garchik, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, is currently going for $99, which beats the $79 highest bid for McConnell.

    Garchik denied that competition between the two Bay Area personalities is heated. "I didn't even know who else was doing it," she insisted.

    When told that she was competing with grunge rockers and music icons, Garchik made a last stab at campaigning. "I promise that I'll try not to talk with my mouth full," she said. "But I can't promise that I won't have a big piece of spinach stuck in my teeth."