[Update, April 25, 2011] By Monday, the bidding was at $370,073.58. Auction officials initially said the bidding would reopen at $512,231.70.
[Original Story] A charity auction to benefit Japan disaster relief that peaked at $20 million and was temporarily shut down will now reopen with the bidding reset to half a million dollars, according to an online post from auction officials.
Proceeds from the sale of a crystal Kawai CR-40 piano belonging to Japanese rock star Yoshiki will be donated to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. The auction began March 17, but was put on hiatus just two days later.
"Yahoo! Auctions has determined an exception was necessary due to an overload of unexpected high volume traffic, high bidding prices and the time required for bidder confirmation procedures; and has temporarily suspended the bidding process on this auction," according to a notice posted on j-grab.com, the website coordinating the bidding.
Bidding reached $20 million before the auction was put on hold, said Atsu Wada, j-grab.com spokesman. Insiders say there were concerns over the authenticity of the bids.
The last confirmed bid Yahoo was able to verify was $512,231.70. That will be the new starting price when bidding reopens April 25. The auction now ends April 28.
According to Yahoo Auctions, it has restructured its system and "bidders pledging over $609,756 must give prior I.D. confirmation."
Yoshiki, who is spearheading the Japan Relief Fundraising Auction with help from Yahoo Japan, is the first of many celebrities donating items to the project. Other big names include Britney Spears, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Cher, Marilyn Manson, Anthony Kiedis and Stan Lee.
The auction is a part of Yoshiki's relief efforts through Yoshiki Foundation America, a California non-profit, public benefit corporation.