Originally created 05/11/05

Boy's cracker art seeks bites on eBay



ATHENS, Ga. - Artistic inspiration can come from some interesting places. For Oconee County mother and son team Pam and Sam Kennon, it came from a famous piece of toast bearing the image of Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride, and a tawdry scandal about the love lives of American Idol judge Paula Abdul and former Idol contestant Corey Clark.

Sam, who is 10 years old, translated the alleged couple's romance into a stick-figure portrait drawn on a saltine cracker, and Pam Kennon posted it on eBay's online auction Web site.

So far, about 3,147 eBay browsers have checked out the cracker and, with two days to go, the top bid is up to $30, Ms. Kennon said. That's a bit shy of the almost $16,000 bid on the toast last weekend, but Ms. Kennon said $30 is a start, and there's still time for the saltine as long as interest in the scandal doesn't go stale.

Ms. Kennon first posted the saltine early last week, but eBay canceled the seven-day auction after only two days because it violated regulations prohibiting sellers from using people's names in the titles of their merchandise. At that time, the highest bid she had received for the cracker was $50 and close to 10,000 people had at least taken a peek at the cracker, she said.

"I think it would have gotten up into the thousands if we could have finished up the original auction," she said. "That's just the way it was headed."

For now the saltine makes its home in the Kennons' kitchen - along with about a half-dozen draft copies of Sam's portrait and a deformed animal cracker resembling Jay Leno that sold for $60 just last week.

"I came up with the idea because eBay has this section full of crazy auctions," said Ms. Kennon. "You probably remember the grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary on it, and a while ago there was a Dorito shaped like the Pope's hat that went for thousands. I was kind of making fun of that with the saltine and the animal cracker."

Ms. Kennon started to use the auction site last summer to get rid of some of the clothes her four children had outgrown. From there, she said, the Web site basically became a home-based business that has financed more than one family vacation.