The World Wide Web appears to have infiltrated all aspects of my family's life. As one example, a rather unusual gag gift turned up at a recent family gathering. Its delighted recipient inquired aloud about its origins. As it turned out, the gift had been purchased on the Internet -- more specifically, from the online auction site, eBay.

Thus started a discussion about the items my family members had acquired -- and disposed of -- online. My relatives were enthusiastic in their agreement that you can find --or get rid of -- nearly anything on eBay.

During a recent Web surfing session, I decided to test that notion by seeing what the site could unearth for accountants. Inevitably, my search turned up enough accounting software, books and CPA exam prep materials to supply all of the accounting students in the country. But it also turned up some less conventional gift ideas.

So, if you feel like treating yourself to a trinket for surviving another tax season (only one day to go!), or if you are searching for a gift for the CPA in your life, here are a sampling of the items waiting in cyberspace.

For a $9.99 bid, you can vie for a chance to win a figurine of a frog seated at a desk covered with ledgers, an adding machine and a calendar with the date 15 on it, and a CPA certificate hanging on a wall behind it.

If you are willing to up the ante to $12, you can bid on a Tax Time wall clock that depicts a man grasping an envelope that says tax return and lunging at a mailbox. Or, if you don't feel like waiting for the auction to end, you can buy it for $14.

$20.95 will get you a shot at a framed Norman Rockwell print of "Daydreaming Bookkeeper" with an original, mint condition CPA postage stamp issued in 1987.

Other finds: An "Accountant Only Parking" sign that declares "all others will be audited;" a black silk tie festooned with money and accounting icons; a water resistant "World's Greatest Accountant" watch; and several bracelet charms emblazoned with the letters CPA.

One Wisconsin resident was looking to unload a WICPA mug that "needs a good cleaning" for $1.50 -- plus $5 shipping and handling.

A few sellers appear to be trying to make a buck off of the Andersen/Enron scandal. A Denver resident is hoping to cash in by auctioning a Palm V -- "previously owned by an Enron employee!" Several sellers were hawking Andersen paraphernalia. One was selling an Andersen T-shirt for a starting bid of $3.95, while another was trying to unload 10 Arthur Andersen "with compliments" cards for $0.99. Or how about a book on best practices authored by three partners from the defunct CPA firm? The seller of "Best Practices: Building Your Business with Customer-focused Solutions" obviously isn't too attached to it -- the starting bid is $2.00.

Happy bidding.


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