College photos, memorabilia of Elon Musk auctioned for $165K

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. memorabilia / ˌmɛm ər əˈbɪl i ə / (n.) – objects that are collected to remember a person, event, etc.

    I collect memorabilia from all my trips abroad.

  2. candid / ˈkæn dɪd / (adj.) – related to a picture in which the people are acting naturally

    The wedding photographer took candid photos while the bride and groom were dancing.

  3. conquer / ˈkɒŋ kər / (v.) – to become successful in a place, situation, event, etc.

    He conquered the world of boxing after getting all titles in many divisions.

  4. resident / ˈrɛz ɪ dənt / (adj.) – describing someone who has a special skill or quality in a group or organization

    The shop’s resident designer for 10 years gave me the best dress there is.

  5. in touch / ɪn tʌtʃ / (idiom) – having continuous communication with someone, especially by calling or writing to each other

    I’ve always kept in touch with my high school friends even after graduation.


Read the text below.

College photos of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and memorabilia from his girlfriend at the time sold for $165,000 at auction, a Boston auction house said.

Boston-based RR Auction said it was a collection of never-before-seen photos and memorabilia from Musk’s college girlfriend, Jennifer Gwynne.

Musk later changed his Twitter profile to one of the photos. He’s currently in a public fight with Twitter to try to get out of a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company, with a high-stakes October trial over the dispute looming.

Gwynne told The Boston Globe she read about an auction of test papers that Musk graded and realized she had far more personal items she could sell, including candid photos, a birthday card from him and a necklace he gave her.

Musk and Gwynne dated from 1994 to 1995 when they were both at the University of Pennsylvania. They split when Musk graduated, moved to California and said he couldn’t talk on the phone because it seemed like a waste of time to him, Gwynne said.

“We broke up just before he started conquering the world,” Gwynne said.

The gold necklace with a small green emerald that Musk gave to Gwynne in late 1994 as a birthday present sold for $51,000. A photo of Musk and Gwynne posing with four other resident advisors before a school formal in 1995 sold for $42,000, the auction house said. The birthday card Musk signed to Gwynne, calling her “Boo-Boo,” sold for nearly $17,000.

The 18 candid photos were sold individually. Some show Musk in North Providence, Rhode Island, where Gwynne is from. She now lives in South Carolina and told The Globe she plans to use some of the proceeds for her stepson’s college education. She and Musk have not kept in touch.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Why do you think people bought the auctioned items that Musk gave to Gwynne (ex. to auction them at a higher price later on)? Discuss.
  • How would you feel if the items you gave to someone special were auctioned and sold for tens of thousands of dollars? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If you also hold valuable things of someone rich and famous, would you have also done what Gwynne did? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Gwynne said she plans to use some of the proceeds for her stepson’s college education. If you profited from something like this, how would you use the money? Why? Discuss.