PFLUGERVILLE, Texas -- The personal belongings of the nation's most prominent atheist went up for sale on Saturday, bringing $10 for a penny with "In God We Trust" crossed out and $2,000 for a Bible.
The Internal Revenue Service seized Madalyn Murray O'Hair's belongings to pay back taxes and creditor fees after she disappeared in September 1995.O'Hair helped knock out organized prayer from public schools in a 1963 Supreme Court case and founded several atheist organizations.
The penny was no shock -- she often crossed out words relating to God from her coins and bills -- but the Bible surprised several people.
"There is some irony in that Bible," Austin lawyer Jimmy Nassour said. O'Hair received it from a group of Oklahoma schoolgirls in 1968. "I was willing to go up to $500, but I got caught up in the moment."
Nassour said he may sell it to a museum.
An earlier attempt to hock her belongings ended in March 1997 when a last-minute federal bankruptcy petition was filed on behalf of O'Hair, her son Jon Garth Murray and granddaughter Robin Murray-O'Hair, all of whom were missing.
While the bulk of O'Hair's belongings sold hand over fist in the auction, her most personal items -- her diaries, birth certificate and photographs -- remain tucked away in a safe deposit box in a downtown Austin bank.
They are to be sold separately. It was not known how much was raised by the auction.