US Embassy in London Puts Surplus Goods Up for Auction – New York Times
LONDON — Are you in the market for 1,200 rolls of toilet paper? A broken Dyson vacuum cleaner? A Sony camera in unknown working condition — which doesn’t come with a charger?
If so, you’re in luck. The United States Embassy in London is holding an online auction in which you can also find a used Volvo S80, a photocopier, a printer table and 22 plastic chairs, among other items.
This is far from the first auction to be held in the embassy in London, but it might be the only one to have garnered so much attention online.
In January, the embassy moved from a building listed as having high architectural interest, in the upmarket Grosvenor Square in central London, to a fortified, high-tech glass construction on a redevelopment site near the River Thames.
The move attracted the ire of President Trump, who railed at the cost of the new building as a “bad deal” and canceled a visit to London to open it.
A used Volvo S80 is one of the items on sale in the embassy’s online auction.CreditU.S. Embassy London
There are four other active online auctions of surplus properties from American embassies.
“All of our embassies around the world regularly hold auctions in order to dispose of surplus property,” an embassy spokeswoman said by phone on Wednesday.
None of the items bear the United States insignia or are of historical value, the spokeswoman added.
But you can bid on a stained rug, used mattress or an X-ray machine from the United States Embassy in Yereman, Armenia; and an air-conditioning unit from the one in Tirana, Albania.
Get a light-green living room set on which diplomatic visitors to the embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, may have made themselves comfortable. Snap up two tangerine arm chairs sold in Ankara, Turkey.
There are several auctions underway of surplus items from other embassies, like these chairs from the United States Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.CreditU.S. Embassy in Ankara
Whether it’s in euros, pounds, or Turkish lira, the revenue from the online auctions goes back to the budget of the United States government.
“If foreign excess personal property is not disposed of by transfer or return to the United States, it may be sold if in the best interest of the U.S. government,” according to the country’s Foreign Affairs Manual.
The toilet roll set, for example, had attracted 32 bidders by Wednesday afternoon, and was going for almost $335.
The embassy spokeswoman said that embassy move had created a need for smaller toilet rolls.
“The new embassy has a different toilet roll dispenser,” she explained, adding that this auction was an opportunity to discard the toilet rolls from the old embassy building.
So hurry — the online auction will be running until Aug. 8.