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Iconic booth from ‘The Sopranos' final scene up for auction

The New Jersey booth Tony Soprano and his family sat in during one of television's most memorable finales is now for sale in a high-priced eBay bidding war.

'The Sopranos' booth
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Get one last order of onion rings for the table.

The booth used in the final scene of the "The Sopranos" was put up for auction Wednesday night on eBay, with the highest bid over the first day of the sale exceeding $50,000.

The owners of Holsten's in Bloomfield, New Jersey - where Tony Soprano and his family dined during the closing minutes of the HBO show's 2007 finale - decided to part with the Hollywood memorabilia while renovating the old-fashioned ice cream parlor.   

"The dining room that's there now was installed in the mid-1970s, and it's just taken a lot of abuse over the years," owner Chris Carley told NBC. "It's starting to crack and fall apart and not be as sturdy as it used to be. So, we decided after a long deliberation, to replace the whole dining room, which we knew would mean that we'd lose the original 'Sopranos' table."

The very table that has turned fans of the Emmy-winning mafia series into regulars at the shop over the last 17 years, with many traveling great distances to sit in the booth and take photos.

As the setting for arguably the most memorable and controversial finales in television history, the booth is now for sale in a high-priced bidding war. By Thursday evening - less than 24 hours after the auction began with a starting price of $3,000 - over 150 bids had been made.

"I'm actually shocked that it's gone up so high considering we started at $3,000," said Carley, who has co-owned the shop with Ron Stark since the 1980s. "I'm very surprised."

The auction ends Monday, which is when the shop's new booths are expected to be installed.

The winning bidder will receive both seats, the table and the divider wall with the plaque that reads, "Reserved for the Sopranos Family." And a great spot to eat some gabagool.

"We are currently renovating our booths at Holsten's," the eBay post reads. "This is your once in a lifetime chance to own the ORIGINAL booth that the Soprano Family sat in for the final scene of the famous show!"

Not included is the table-top jukebox HBO prop that Tony used to put on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" shortly before -- spoiler alert -- the screen abruptly cut to black, ambiguously leaving viewers to decide for themselves whether Tony was killed or not.

"That was probably one of the biggest questions we had for months and months," Carley said of the reaction after the episode aired. "People thought we knew something different. Was Tony killed? You saw what I saw."

But what does the owner of the shop where Tony was last seen actually think happened to him?

"I think he would have lived," Carley said.

Crew members from the show first visited Holsten's during the third or fourth season to take pictures of the shop, which is registered with the New Jersey Film Institute, Carley said. He didn't hear back until the final season.    

"I think [show creator] David Chase having grown up in Clifton had an idea of what he wanted, and when he saw the pictures that was it," Carley said. "They decided this was where they wanted to shoot the final scene, and we went from there."

The filming of the roughly five-minute scene was completed over five days, with scenes shot out of sequence to maintain the secrecy of the finale, Carley said.

The two shop owners even landed roles in the scene as chefs flipping burgers at the grill.  

"If you blink, you missed us," Carley said. "But we were in there."

The shop's cameo in the high-profile scene made the already-beloved Holsten's even more of a local attraction. The Monday morning after the finale aired, all seats were occupied within 20 minutes of opening. 

"We were busy for literally two months, it was non-stop day and night," Carley said. "Everybody was coming, everybody wanted to sit in the booth."

And they still do to this day.

"Of course, it's died off somewhat," Carley said. "A lot of people come from all over, stopping on vacation. We still get on-location bus tours every week on Saturday."

That's why when the announcement of the auction was made on Holsten's Facebook page, many begged the owners to reconsider. 

"Keep it!!!!" one user wrote. "It’s a great photo op and brought the company business. People want to sit EXACTLY where Tony sat, not a replica/replacement."

Carley said if it was feasible, they would have kept the booth in place.

"It wasn’t a choice we took lightly or wanted to do, it was something we were sort of forced into doing," Carley said. "It's actually not going to look any different. You'd have a hard time realizing that we changed everything."

The booth will be nearly identical. A new plaque will hang on the divider. The screen-used jukebox will sit atop the table.

Fans will continue to visit, the Soprano family will always be remembered, and more onion rings will be ordered.   

"Even though I'm putting something back that looks exactly like it, it's not the original, and I'll never lead people to believe that,” Carley said. “I'll say it's been replaced, it's just part of our history."

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