The outfit was initially created in the Nineties for an overseas version of Noel’s House Party, the Saturday night programme that first propelled the pink-and-yellow-clad mischief merchant into the nation’s hearts and nightmares.
But when the show was cancelled, the costume went unclaimed by the production team, and it has languished in the home of a former BBC employee ever since.
However, the costume – which currently requires both of its arms to be reattached and its signature bow tie “secured” – soon racked up 178 bids, ultimately soaring more than 158,800 per cent upon the original listing price.
The seller, who has opted to remain anonymous, told their former employer that they were “shocked” at the attention the costume had garnered, saying: “I thought it would get to a level of £100 perhaps – and so I was as shocked really that it reached the level it did.
“I think it was one of those things that was driven by social media.”
But despite the winner placing 10 bids, they proceeded to back out of their purchase less than an hour after their final bid, according to the BBC.
The seller said they were not surprised at the winning bidder’s change of heart and appeared accepting of their own rapid change in fortune, telling the broadcaster: “I don’t think you can lose something you’ve never had.”
“Ironically, it was being sold not to make money but to make space,” they added.
While the auction has generated intense interest, the owner has reportedly decided not to immediately re-auction the outfit.
Although winning an auction commits the buyer to purchase an item under eBay’s terms and conditions, the company is unable to enforce this by law.
In the listing, the seller stated that there was “inevitable ageing” on the costume given that it was more than 25 years old, adding: “This means it is less suitable to be worn as the unit is not very supple as it was in 1996.
“In addition, the two arms require re-attaching to the body, one of the plastic [eyes] is cracked and the bow tie will need securing. Overall it’s not too bad for its age – but there is visible creasing and dust to the covering and some areas require a drop of glue to make good.”
Given copyright restrictions, the costume “can only be for personal home display use”, the listing stated.
eBay has been approached for comment.