Mark Presley of Berwick, N.S., bought the nearly 180-year-old stick in 2008 from a retired barber in North Sydney, who had displayed it in his shop for over 30 years. Presley paid $1,000 for it but will be looking for much more than that when the 10-day selling window closes next week.
The monetary value of the stick is unknown as Presley has not had it formally appraised. The bidding opened Wednesday on eBay and there was already an early bid of US$10,000.
The amount was short of the reserve price, which is the minimum amount a seller will accept. Presley wouldn't reveal what he thinks the stick might be worth or the reserve amount.
"I actually think that the value I have affixed to it — in other words the number that I need to get it to feel comfortable about letting it go — is actually quite fair given the significance of the object," Presley said Thursday in a phone interview.
A few years ago, researchers from Mount Allison University used tree-ring aging to help determine the stick's approximate age. It's believed the stick was made in the mid-to-late 1830s and originally owned by W.M. Moffatt of North Sydney.
Presley posted the university project results on his website (www.themoffattstick.com) along with pictures of the artifact and details about its history.
The stick, which is made of sugar maple and has the initials W.M. dug into the blade, is currently being stored in a vault, Presley said.