By BRIAN CHARLTON
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 29, 2007; 6:04 PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They were the Michael Vick cards many animal lovers just had to get their paws on.
The eBay auction for 22 Vick football cards, chewed up and slobbered on by two Missouri dogs, ended Wednesday as the winning bidder dished out $7,400 _ with the money expected to be donated to the Humane Society.
The success of that auction, with 31 different bidders, created a craze of more than 25 other postings this week offering torn up cards featuring the disgraced NFL superstar.
But so far, the original post from Rochelle Steffen, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., has been the only auction to attract droves of bidders.
Steffen gave Monte, her 6-year-old Weimaraner, and Roxie, her Great Dane puppy, every Vick card she owned to destroy. The cards worth $1 to $10 were crumpled, crimped, chewed, torn and generally in a sorry state. Some even had corners missing.
"When I started this I only expected to get $100 for a local shelter," Steffen told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "But it's received so much attention. It's for such a good cause that jumps every boundary."
Steffen, 31, said she has been overwhelmed with positive responses, including from people who say her auction inspired them to donate money to animal shelters.
The Humane Society of the United States has seen a large spike in donations since Vick was indicted on federal dogfighting charges last month, said Ann Chynoweth, director of the society's Animal Cruelty and Fighting Campaign.
"Americans love football, but they love dogs even more," she said.
The backlash against Vick seemed to grow this week as he apologized after entering a guilty plea to a federal dogfighting charge in Richmond, Va. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 10.
The gnawed cards were by far the most expensive Vick items on eBay, with well-preserved rookie cards, autographed jerseys and other collectibles selling for far less.
"The thought of these cards selling for $7,000 underscores how much this situation with Michael Vick has really captivated Americans," said Tracy Hackler, associated publisher of Beckett Media, the Dallas-based publisher of several card collecting magazines.
Other ads on eBay offered cards chomped on by a pit bull puppy from Indianapolis named Diesel and a Cadillac, Mich., dog named Freak, among others. Another ad offered a jersey torn up by a yellow lab named Trixie from Harker Heights, Texas.
Another posting offered the services of a Destin, Fla., dog named Peggy Sue, saying she will damage mint-condition Vick cards. The ad said proceeds would go to the Canine Rescue and Rehabilitation. The high bid was $188.27 Wednesday afternoon.
While Vick was once considered by collectors as having some of the most-sought after memorabilia, the value of his autographs, cards and other collectibles have dramatically dipped, Hackler said. Even his 2001 SP Authentic rookie card, once valued at more than $1,000, is now being traded at $285 to $400, he said.
The Atlanta Humane Society says some former Vick fans have sent jerseys, often accompanied by financial contributions. Other branches of the Humane Society have said they will take donated Vick items to resell on eBay.