The anonymous seller told the Los Angeles Times the buyer had committed a potentially costly error by typing in an extra zero in his bid.
"It was a mistake," said the seller, who canceled the sale Friday.
The Times said the coveted gold iPhone 5s retails for $200 with a 2-year contract and more than $1,000 without the contract. The new phone sold briskly after its release.
A large number of the devices turned up on eBay and other Internet sale sites shortly after its release.