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Opening gala items on sale

MORE than 1,800 memorabilia items used for the opening ceremony of the Expo on April 30 will go under the hammer next month, the Expo organizer announced yesterday.

The items, including 37 motor boats, 231 sailboats and some of the 6,000 lit balls that turned red, yellow and orange, will be the first batch of Expo assets to be auctioned.

The opening ceremony reached a climax when the lit balls floated downstream of the Huangpu River, while more than 200 boats, each with a flag of participant countries and organizations, went upstream, crossing the colorful balls.

Other items that will go on the auction block in August are costumes of performers at the ceremony.

Each boat bears Chinese logos like "World Expo 2010 Shanghai China" and "Specialized boats for the opening ceremony."

Apart from being a collector's item, buyers could also use the boats for fishing or other water sports, said Fan Ganping, deputy director of the state-owned Shanghai International Commodities Auction, the official auctioneer for the Expo that also handled Olympic-related asset sales after the 2008 Beijing Games.

The items are being displayed at the Beizhan Wharf at No. 78 Tangqiaoxin Road in Pudong New Area from yesterday.

All the Expo assets - from calligraphies and paintings to administrative offices and facilities - will go under the auctioneer's hammer when the event is over to recoup operational funds.

The Expo assets also include real property such as temporary pavilions, exhibits and art works but also intangible assets such as Expo-related trademarks, the mascot, the theme music and others.

As well as an on-site auction, the company will sell Expo-related assets via online bidding, sealed bids and live broadcast auctions.

Auctioning items is a convention of international expositions, including the 2005 Expo Aichi in Japan, to recoup funds and promote international influence.


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