According to the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, the coffin belonged to the now-defunct Council Bluffs chapter of the International Order of Odd Fellows, which promotes anonymous giving to the poor, News.com.au reported.
The advert was placed by Dave Burgstrum on the Craigslist website for the bargain price of 12,000 dollars.
Burgstrum, who is one of a handful of remaining members of the Council Bluffs chapter of the Odd Fellows, wanted to sell the antique because he was trying to raise money to pay the property taxes on the fraternal organisation’s hall.
He told the publication that the coffin, which was made in the 1900s, had been used in the group’s rituals to represent death, and the bones had been in there for years.
Burgstrum said that the lodge records suggest the skeleton was donated by a doctor who retired in the 1880s.
However, Council Bluffs Police detective, Michael Roberts, said that human remains can’t be sold with proper identification.
The skeleton has been sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner.