Despite having his bail revoked and being remanded to one of New York City’s toughest jails to await his sentencing in January, the eBay auction that former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli launched earlier month seeking to offload the only existing copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” has ended. According to its eBay page, the album received 343 bids.
And the winning bid was $1,025,100 – or about half what Shkreli paid for the album when he anonymously purchased it from the group in late 2015, shortly before the Daraprim pricing scandal transformed him into the “most hated man in America.”
The top bid had held steady for much of the last week, suggesting that a story published by Bloomberg alleging that several associates of the group have raised doubts about the album’s legitimacy may have impacted the final price.
Shkreli posted this message on his auction page:
"This is the one and only Wu-Tang album.
I decided to purchase this album as a gift to the Wu-Tang Clan for their tremendous musical output. Instead I received scorn from at least one of their (least-intelligent) members, and the world at large failed to see my purpose of putting a serious value behind music. I will be curious to see if the world values music nearly as much as I have. I have donated to many rock bands and rappers over the years to ensure they can continue to produce their art when few others would.
At any time I may cancel this sale and I may even break this album in frustration. I will donate half of the sale proceeds to medical research. I am not selling to raise cash--my companies and I have record amounts of cash on hand. I hope someone with a bigger heart for music can be found for this one-of-a-kind piece and makes it available for the world to hear.
Upon sale, I will represent & warranty any copies of the music I have will be destroyed. I have not carefully listened to the album, which is a double CD. There is also a finely crafted booklet which you can read about elsewhere. I will pay legal expenses for the buyer up to $25,000 to ensure the final purchase details are mutually agreeable.”
Of course, whoever bought the album – and it’s still not entirely clear how Shkreli will facilitate the sale from jail – may find comfort in Forbes report published last week by Zach O’Malley Greenburg, who first broke news of the album’s production and unique sales strategy – only one copy was ever produced – back in 2014. Greenburg, as one of the few people who’s heard bits of the album, attested that it sounds like a Wu-Tang record.