Once upon a time, before he sent cars into orbit, Tesla founder Elon Musk, 51, had a girlfriend in college. Now, the ex is reaping the benefits of a one-time lover.
Jennifer Gwynne, 48, of South Carolina, attended the University of Pennsylvania with Musk in 1994. The pair dated for a year before calling it quits.
Unlike the course of some young relationships, the deliberate choice to keep memorabilia from their time together has proved to be quite the investment for her. The move would be the latest relationship from Musk’s past to seek compensation for their time together.
Photographs, a 14-karat gold necklace, and a birthday card from Musk — signed to his “Boo Boo” — were up for grabs at an auction.
The reason for selling off the keepsakes? Her stepson’s college tuition. The idea came to Gwynne after reading that a set of test papers graded by her former beau sold at auction. The papers were simply marked with the initials ‘EM,’ she knew that her photo evidence and hand-written notes from the controversial ex-boyfriend would be worth much more.
While the pair haven’t spoken in nearly 30 years, Musk updated his Twitter profile to a photo of the couple that was submitted for auction. The move contradicted his college persona, which Gwynne noted he thought keeping in touch post-graduation would be “a waste of time” for the soon-to-be scandalous tech giant.
“We broke up just before he started conquering the world,” said the mother seeking funds to help pay for her stepson’s education.
In total, more than $165,000 has been raised off the sale of personal artifacts.
The infamous “Boo Boo” card went for a whopping $16,643, while the 14-karat gold necklace brought in a substantial $51,008.
Of the 18 photos the former girlfriend possessed, which include the couple together, hanging out with friends and solo shots of pre-Tesla Musk, a single photo of the tech mogul laying upside down went for $21,889.
Another relic from May 1995 that pictured a smiling Musk alongside his then-girlfriend, sitting on a bench outside the dorm building where they met as resident advisors, sold for $2,733.
The moment was captured by the 51-year-old's mother, Maye, who had made the trip to Pennsylvania to visit her son and his girlfriend.
“As I remember, the three of us were planning to drive to NYC to see the musical Tommy. The whole trip was a lovely gift from Maye," Gwynne told auction house, RR Auction, of the photo.
“But as we were getting ready to leave, something on Elon's car broke. So we ended up spending five or so hours at an auto parts store so Elon could fix the issue himself. He did. We made it to NYC and had a wonderful time,” continued Gwynne as she described the events behind each collectible.
The photo, along with the personal story, adds to the item’s value as it revealed the tinkering spirit that the Tesla founder possessed long before he became a billionaire.