An auction house is the way to go if you are looking to buy quirky stuff; things with a history and personality. Although we usually associate expensive artwork and vintage automobiles with that word, an auction also holds plenty of interesting items within the reach of an average citizen. With the advent of online shopping and people putting up their own possessions for sale and online auction, most notably on eBay, it has only become easier to give your "listing" the greatest visibility.
But not all things are created equal, and it is more so for auctions. Items that are sold at auction for impossibly high prices often have a history to them that values them so much above the rest: violins by Stradivarius, artworks by master painters; when it comes to these items, value is not something that can be objectively evaluated. However, there are scenarios, which really push the extent to which one can suspend one's incredulousness. Strange auctions are not a rarity, but the unexpected items that people auction are sometimes mindboggling, even more so when you consider the prices they ask for them, as well as that which people are willing to pay.
Here are some of the strangest items ever auctioned.
An iphone bag
This shopping bag, advertised as "Limited Edition" and "Holds 4GB and 8GB phones", really pushes the limits of believability, until you learn that it was finally sold for $305. A paper shopping bag sold for $305. Let that sink in for a bit. This inspired quite a few copycats; success, however, eluded them, to the collective benefit of humanity, one might add.
A Sense Of Humour
A listing from 2000 had someone put up their sense of humour for sale to the highest bidder since their friends and family had become tired of their puns, slapstick and practical jokes. The winning (and only) bid of $10, $9.99 after a 10% discount, apparently received a sheet of blank paper, which according to the seller represented their sense of humour.
Justin Timberlake's French Toast
This eBay listing from 2000 is of a supposed piece of French toast, and accompanying silverware and cutlery, eaten by the singer Justin Timberlake, then part of the band N*SYNC. Justin only ate one bite, according to the listing, which also promises "extra syrup" and free shipping". The bidding started at $1 and after 40 bids, ended three 72 hours later at $3154.
Vampire Transformation Spell
10 spells to become an immortal vampire was put up for sale, and at $500 per spell, it was an absolute steal. For people hell-bent on living out their "Twilight" fantasies, this was the ultimate opportunity.
Menu Card From The Titanic
Two understandably rare menus, one for lunch and another for a 12 course luncheon, from the doomed RMS Titanic were sold in 2012 for a record $160,450. The meal was not actually held aboard the ship but at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast prior to Titanic's departure.
David Duncan's Leica
The famous photographer, who worked for LIFE Magazine allegedly took the picture of his friend and master of Cubism, Pablo Picasso, with this particular Leica M3D camera, which sold in November 2012 for a record price of $2.19 million. Neither the photograph nor the film was included.
Because why not? The attempted sale of a country has to make the cut for the weirdest eBay auctions ever. The epitome of national rivalries, an Australian citizen listed New Zealand for sale in May 2006. The bid reached $3000 before it was taken down due to violation of eBay policy.
Albert Einstein's "God Letter"
In January 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind in which he discusses his views on the concept of "God" and religion. In the letter, Einstein opines that the word "God" is only an expression of human weakness and the Bible is a collection of childish, primitive legends. He goes on to discuss why he believes that all religions are superstitions that people gladly adhere to, himself included, and that he rejects the notion of any people having any extraneous qualifications that render them "chosen" or beyond other peoples. Einstein's "God letter" offers insights into the private thoughts of one of the world's greatest minds, and was stored in a temperature controlled vault since 2008 before being put up for auction on eBay in November 2012, opening bid set at $3 million.
The King's Soiled Underpants
Elvis Presley's old bible was auctioned off for $94,600, which might not sound that big a deal until you learn that also up for auction, among various other Elvis memorabilia, was a pair of soiled white briefs that Elvis wore underneath his white jumpsuit in a 1977 concert. The reserve price of $11,000 not met, the auctioneer was unable to sell the piece.