Marmite strikes gold in hospice auction

Last updated 13:10 23/01/2013
marmite
COLIN SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

SPREADING THE GENEROSITY: Joyce Hunt, left, watched by Nelson Hospice Shop manager Sue Bevin, with the jar of Marmite she donated that has raised $1110 for Nelson Hospice.

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A 500g jar of Marmite has turned into black gold for the Nelson Hospice Shop after an anonymous bidder bought it for $1110 in a shop auction.

It used to retail for just $7.19 but since the Christchurch earthquakes stopped Sanitarium's production, the shortage has spawned a Marmageddon for the sought-after spread.

While someone paid $2115 for a massive 25kg bucket of the yeasty spread in another charity auction last March, the Nelson bid could be a record for the 500g prize.

Joyce Hunt, who volunteers at the Nelson shop, donated the Marmite to the store after finding it in her cupboard. She had two other jars of the salty spread which she gave away.

She decided to donate the Marmite after hearing of a similar auction where a jar went for over $1000.

The amount raised by her donation was "wonderful" and had totally surprised her.

Shop manager Sue Bevin was also thrilled by how much was bid on the jar by a man who said it was for a good cause. The closest bid had been $60.

"It's a very generous donation, we would have to work very hard to get that," she said.

Sanitarium stopped its production of Marmite in November 2011 due to earthquake damage but is working at getting production running again.

The company said it was making progress and, after testing its production equipment over the next two to three weeks, hoped to be able to announce a a date for the return of Marmite.

The update on its Facebook post yesterday received more than 600 likes in the first 20 minutes.

A black market in Marmite sales has sellers on Trade Me asking for opening bids of $50 for a 500g jar, and bids for a 250g unopened jar with an expiry date of November this year had reached $30.50 today with the auction closed today. Some even offer jars past their expiry date.

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- Nelson

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