Whether it was for their sheer randomness or for fetching absolute fortunes, the following auctioned items will blow your mind. We’re going to take a look at, for better or worse, some of the most outrageous items ever auctioned.
Batter Up! -$3 Million
Comic-book writer Todd McFarlane splashed $3 million for Mark McGwire’s record-breaking 70th-home-run baseball. He has nine other baseballs that McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit in the ’98 season. It doesn’t stop there. He also paid $500,000 for Barry Bond’s 73rd home run ball in 2003.
A Tour De Force -$5.9 Million
With an initial value of $2.3-$3.9 million, Robert Delaunay’s Tour Eiffel exceeded all expectations when auctioned. On February 7th, 2012, the piece was sold for approximately $5.9 million at Christie’s auction house, London. The sale set a world record at the time. The painting, which was made in 1922, was just one of a series of pieces by Delaunay depicting the iconic monument. The abstract artist produced a dozen renditions of the image spanning from 1909 to 1928, but this one is the most recognized.
And It Was All Yellow -$10.9 million
This yellow diamond was graded “fancy vivid yellow,” the highest color grading of its kind. The 110.03 carat South African Sun-Drop diamond sold for over $10.9 million in November, 2011. But the precious stone’s discovery does not go too far back. It was found in South Africa in 2010, but tests show that it was probably formed between one and three billion years ago. It stood with other jewels like the Duke of Devonshire Emerald before being sold at Sotheby’s.
Britney’s Pregnancy Test -$5,001
Some of the items that have been sold on this list are just a little stranger than others. Take 2005 for example, when an alleged pregnancy test that belonged to Britney Spears was found outside an L.A. hotel. According to CNN, the pop star had stayed at the hotel with her then-husband Kevin Federline. Despite no confirmation on its authenticity or why anyone would want it for that matter, the item was sold on eBay for a respectable $5,001.
A Sale Of God-Like Proportions – $28.6 million
A 36-inch bronze statue of Artemis and the Stag was sold at Sotheby’s for $28.6 million, the highest sale price of any sculpture at the time. Predicted to value at “only” $7 million, the 2000-year-old sculpture was originally unearthed in the 1920s in Rome, Italy. The Greek deity Artemis was the goddess of animals and the wildland. A director of the auction house claimed, “I’d say it’s probably the best antiquity I’ve sold in my 37 years at Sotheby’s.”
John Lennon’s Tooth -$31,200
A strange auction sale involved John Lennon, the genius behind one of the biggest bands of all time, The Beatles. Lennon allegedly gave one of his teeth to a former housekeeper at some point during the 60s. In 2011, the fragile molar was put up at an auction in London and fetched $31,200. Dr. Michael Zuk, a Canadian dentist who purchased the tooth hopes that he will have enough DNA to clone the late Beatle, and raised the clone as his own son.
Ferrari’s Fast And The Glorious -$12.2 million
This 1957 Testa Rossa was sold at a record-breaking Ferrari auction, and this was mainly due to its extreme rarity. The Italian vehicle once designed by Sergio Scaglietti was never particularly successful in races, but its sheer beauty was enough to entice a final bid of $12.2 million. Generally speaking though, the Ferrari Testa Rossa was a standard race car model frequently used during the 50s and the 60s and was the dominant vehicle of its era.
The Three Dollar Question -$3.26
In 2000, at a mere $3.26, the meaning of life was sold on eBay. The mystical seller from North Carolina audaciously claimed he’d found the reason for human existence, and received eight bids for his efforts. “I have discovered the reason for existence,” he wrote on his eBay page, “and will be happy to share this information with the highest bidder.” But despite a successful transaction, neither the purchaser or the original custodian of the message have disclosed the contents.
The Original Hollywood Sign -$450,400
In 2005, the original Hollywood sign (displaying “Hollywoodland”) fetched an impressive $450,400. A man acquired the sign after the new one was put up in 1978 and was later purchased by the seller two years before the hefty auction. Dan Bliss, the previous owner of the iconic sign said, “I hope the winning bidder has exciting plans for it.” Hollywoodland eventually found a new home after its successor. But there is no denying that Hollywood has a better ring to it.
John Lennon And Yoko Ono’s Peach Sign -$154,000
Another item on this list belonging to John Lennon was sold for big money on November 15th, 2011. The famous peace poster that hung above Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Bed-In for Peace” fetched $154,000. The bed-in was held by the rock n’ roll couple in light of the Vietnam War. It was designed to be experimental for of a peaceful protest, similar to that of a sit-in. And John and Yoko performed two bed-ins in quick succession.
Twinkies, Anyone? -$59.99
After Hostess announced that it was closing in 2012, an eBay account holder put up a box of 10 Twinkies for auction. The box finally sold for a whopping $59.99. The “Gold Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” is instantly recognizable for its simple design. And if you also want to pay a hefty fee for a box of the delicious cake treats, all you have to do is search “Twinkies” on eBay and there is still a long list of the popular, albeit overpriced delights.
All Aboard The Barbecue! -$350,000
In 2015, a bus-sized barbecue pit fetched $350,000. At 75 feet long, 40 tons and with seven smokestacks, “The Undisputable Cuz” can cook up to four tons of meat at any given time. The vehicle is quintessentially Texan and according to previous owner Terry Folsom, “has 24 doors – 12 on [one] side, 12 on the other.” The Cuz also has space for kegs, with beer taps on the outside. And the colossal structure is in the record books: it is officially the largest barbecue facility in the world.
That Hat Looks Familiar… -$131,648
This royal wedding hat of Princess Beatrice was sold for a staggering $131,648. The daughter of Prince Andrew attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton wearing the interesting looking headgear. Unfortunately, many have commented on its striking resemblance to a toilet seat. Do you agree? Because many who saw the hat do. The item made so much noise in the media that a group of fans even started a Facebook page, receiving thousands of likes.
Pope Dorito -$1,209
There have been numerous occasions when random food items have either resembled religious figures or had patterns within them that depict holy people. These include a tortilla with Jesus’ face on it, a grilled cheese sandwich depicting the Virgin Mary and even a chicken breast resembling Pope John Paul II. And in 2005, another example fetched an abnormal amount of money. GoldenPalace.com purchased a Dorito that was shaped like the Pope’s hat. The casino website spent $1,209 to bring the holy Dorito home.
How About A Party Down Under? -$920
In 2006, four Australian buddies thought that it would be a good idea to take to eBay and put a promise on auction. In their pitch, they proposed a guaranteed weekend full of beer, good conversation and a lot of laughs. Unsure as to what type of response they would get, a purchaser was bored enough to part way with $920 and take up the offer made by the guys from down under. Just to clarify, flights were not included.
Does It Really Look Like Illinois? -$1,350
This single corn flake was put on eBay by a couple of sisters as they were convinced it was shaped like Illinois. A museum owner was determined to have it and purchased the corn flake for an irrational $1,350. One of the sisters, Melissa McIntire was thoroughly excited watching her corn flake grow in the bidding process. “We were biting our nails all the way up to the finish, seeing what would happen,” she said. “There’s a lot of relief involved.”
The New Owner Must Be Happy – $44,100
It took $44,100 from the highest bidder to acquire Pharrell Williams’ legendary brown fedora. Fast food chain Arby’s snapped up the iconic headgear as they believed it looked a lot like the hat in the company logo. Before winning the auction, Pharrell had worn the large hat at the Grammys a couple of months beforehand. Upon seeing it, Arby’s sent the Neptunes star a tweet, saying, “Hey Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs.”
A Buffet With Buffett -$2.3 million
At a charity auction in 2015, Warren Buffet offered to have lunch with the highest bidder. The lucky man was the chairman of Chinese company Dalian Zeus Entertainment, who won the chance to dine with the entrepreneur with a $2.3 million bid. The gaming company is not particularly famous outside of China, but had the funds necessary to win the auction. Zhu claimed that he used the investment as an opportunity to discuss with Buffet about value investing.
This Auction Wasn’t Tied -$1,445
When Rob Ford, the former mayor and city councilor of Toronto, admitted to the use of an illicit substance in 2013, no one could have anticipated the events that transpired two years later. The tie he wore during the incident was put up for a bid in 2015 and features a large number of logos from NFL teams. The tie was posted onto Ford’s eBay account and the wacky clothing item received 30 bids before finally being sold for $1,445.
William Shatner’s Kidney Stone – $25,000
Star Trek legend William Shatner literally had a piece of himself sold in 2006. One of Captain Kirk’s kidney stones fetched a whopping $25,000 for a housing charity. The actor famously said, “This takes organ donors to a new height, to a new low, maybe. How much is a piece of me worth?” And now we know how much. The proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity, which Shatner had previously raised $20,000 for the year before he started suffering unbearable back pains.
First Ever Marathon Winner’s Cup -$865,000
The Breal’s Silver Cup was the first ever marathon winner’s cup, unveiled at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The grandson of Spyros Louis, the Greek athlete who won the first Olympic marathon, offered the cup to Christie’s. It eventually fetched $865,000 at the auction house in 2012. “No matter where it ends up, it will forever represent the glory of my country,” Louis said. “I have no doubt that the new owner will treasure it as we have done.”
My Pet In Shining Armor -$1,150
The owner of a guinea pig kindly built a tiny suit of armor for his beloved pet rodent. Creating it with the intention of protecting his little friend, the owner eventually put the suit up for sale on eBay in 2013. In only 10 days, 47 bidders made a staggering 156 bids. Eventually, the armor sold extremely well for $1,150. In the product’s description on the eBay page, apparently, 100% of the profits would contribute to wards the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue.
The ‘Eglantine’ Necklace -$1,168,653
In 2012, this beautiful Belle Epoque diamond and emerald necklace was sold at a Christie’s auction. Originally estimated at $600,000 – $810,000, the item was eventually sold for a sweet $1,168,653. Designed by Cartier as a graduated dog rose garland, the necklace that is better known as the ‘Eglantine’ has five flower heads with petals connecting each one. It also includes diamond twigs and leaves. The item was part of a charity auction called Jewels For Hope: celebrating the jewelry collection of gem expert, Lily Safra.
Yves Klein’s Figure Painting -$36,482,500
Yves Klein’s figure painting FC 1 (Feu-Couleur 1), 1962 was put up for auction in 2012 at Christie’s, fifty years after the artist’s death. Whether you like it or not, FC 1 is widely considered to be Klein’s masterpiece and it shook the art world when it fetched $36,482,500. The piece is the amalgamation of Klein’s prime strengths and ideas, which include fire, anthropometry and the colors blue and pink. Part of the proceeds went to Oceana, an organization aimed at protecting the world’s oceans.
A Strand Of Elvis Presley’s Hair – $115,000
The King of Rock N’ Roll Elvis Presley was renowned for an impeccably groomed, full head of hair. In 2002, it only took one strand of the crooner’s hair to fetch an incredible $115,000. The strand of hair was included in a framed picture of Elvis, as well as a letter of authenticity. It was found at the home of a collector of Elvis memorabilia who passed away. Amazingly, the hair nearly remained undiscovered, as it was originally concealed behind the frame.
Facial Ad Space -$37,375
Web developer Andrew Fischer had a business masterstroke when after adding a temporary tattoo to his forehead and using it as ad space. In 2005, snoring treatment company SnoreStop loved the idea and placed a final bid for the facial ad space for $37,375. Fischer wore the temporary tattoo for 30 days, which gave him a reputation as the “Forehead Guy.” But he wasn’t the only businessman to use the technique, some have even gone as far to get permanent tattoo ads.
1933 “Double Eagle” $20 Gold Coin -$7.59 million
In 2002, Sotheby’s sold a 1933 “Double Eagle” $20 gold coin to an anonymous buyer for $7.59 million. The coin, which is an ounce of almost completely pure gold, is one of only two of its kind and is officially the most expensive gold coin on the planet. This Double Eagle has been in many hands and been to many parts of the world. Since being minted in 1933, it has been stolen, shipped, hidden and was almost destroyed in not one, but two fires.
The Emperor’s Bowl -$26.65 million
The “Ruyao Washer” is a 900-year-old ceramic bowl shaped like a flower, and was created by craftsmen chosen by the Emperor. In 2012, it only took 15 minutes for this particular bowl to be sold for a staggering $26.65 million in Hong Kong, which was over three times what it was estimated to sell at. Ru ceramics are considered to be the rarest in the whole of Chinese history and are named after the large kiln that was used during the Song dynasty.
Antonio Stradivari’s 250 Year Old Violin -$3.9 million
A 250 year old violin, originally crafted by Antonio Stradivari, was purchased for $3.9 million by a Russian lawyer. The violin broke the record for the highest-priced auction item and is one of the 250 remaining Guarnieri instruments. After the purchase, musician Pinchas Zukerman played the violin for the first time in 70 years at a private concert. Stradivari was a crafter of string instruments, including violins, cellos, guitars, violas and harps. It is believed that about 650 of his instruments still exist to this day.
Justin Timberlake’s Unfinished French Toast -$1,025
After a morning radio interview, Justin Timberlake famously left his French toast unfinished. The DJ then put the half-eaten breakfast up for auction and caught an easy $1,025 for his quick-thinking. ‘N Sync fan Kathy Summers needed to have a slice of Justin and could not contain her excitement when she found out that she won the auction with her bid. “I’ll probably freeze-dry it, then seal it…then put it on my dresser,” the 19 year old said.
Andy Warhol’s Brigitte Bardot – $11,645,000
Pop-Art legend Andy Warhol made this stunning portrait of Brigitte Bardot in 1974 and the painting has since been a hotly pursued piece of art. Previously part of Gunter Sachs’ art collection, the Bardot piece was sold at $11,645,000. During his career, Warhol only produced eight different versions of the Bardot portrait. Art critic Glenn O’Brien thoroughly praised the pieces, saying that “the Bardot paintings are among the strongest and most iconic of his 1970s portraits.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer -$30,802,500
An ardent recorder of his observations, Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer was sold in 1994 for a gargantuan $30,802,500. The 72 page document was originally acquired in 1717 and, apart from the Mona Lisa is da Vinci’s most famous work. The Renaissance man would document many of his thoughts and observations throughout his life, and this was the most important collection of them. The purchaser of the manuscript was none other than Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who released a digitally scanned version of it.
Latex Mask of Casey Anthony – $999,900
In 2011, an extremely bored eBay shopper purchased a latex mask of Casey Anthony for a staggering $999,900. It was considered to be “possibly the most frightening mask on the planet.” But it was not easy to sell the chilling mask. 16 early bids were canceled for reasons undisclosed. Ultimately, the person who won the auction decided to place the highest bid for one simple reason – to leave feedback, saying, “you should be ashamed of yourself…”
Francis Bacon’s Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror -$44,882,500
In 2012, Francis Bacon’s Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror was reportedly sold by Sotheby’s for a whopping $44,882,500. The important painting had remained in the same collection since 1971, but it had finally transferred into new hands. Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s head of contemporary art, referred to the work as “quite something.” he went on to say that “great Bacons do that to you, hit you over the head a little bit and the body of work that was shown in 1977 does that with great vigor.”
Marilyn Monroe’s Birthday Dress – $1,267,500
Marilyn Monroe famously serenaded John F. Kennedy during the President’s birthday party in 1962. But no one would have guessed that the dress Monroe wore that day would be the subject of an intense bidding war. The jewel-studded dress was sold in 1999 by the New York collectible company, Gotta Have It! The pale colored dress has over 2,500 stones and it was so tight that apparently the dress had to be sewn around the actress. Originally costing $12,000, Monroe’s dress fetched $1,267,500 at the auction.
You Better “Belieb” It! -$40,668
In 2011, Justin Bieber famously gave some of his hair to Ellen DeGeneres during an interview on her chat show, providing it in a plastic box with his signature on the top of it. The host put her gift up for a charity sale on eBay, donating all proceeds to the Gentle Barn Foundation, an animal rescue organization. After 98 bids, the hair of one of the most famous names in the world was sold for a massive $40,668.
Wine For The Ages -$813,333
In 2011, a collection of 55 wine bottles were bought by a Chinese collector. Each bottle was a different vintage year of Domaine Romanee Conti (DRC), dating from 1952 to 2007. The “superlot” fetched a huge $813,333. The mass purchase demonstrated the rise in interest in rarer wine collections from Asian collectors, rather than more high-production wines from standard regions such as Bordeaux. Working to costing nearly $15,000 per bottle, the auctioners said that it was the most expensive lot of that year.
Pablo Picasso’s Paint Or Bust! -$106.5 million
In 2012, Christie’s sold abstract artist Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust in just 8 minutes, fetching $106.5 million, the third highest price of a piece of artwork sold at any auction. The painting was created by the the surrealist in just a day. For nearly six decades, the painting was part of art collectors Sidney and Frances Brody’s personal collection. But after Brody’s death, the piece along with the rest of the collection was put up for auction.
The Virgin Mary Holy Toast -$28,000
This woman from Florida believed that a grilled cheese sandwich had the face of The Virgin Mary on it. She decided to put it on auction and in 2004 and the bizarre item surprisingly sold for $28,000. As previously mentioned, there have been a number of opportunists have apparently seen revelations of heavenly proportions on the most mundane of objects. This goes right up there as not only one of the most bizarre examples, but also as one of the most financially successful.
Scream Your Bid! -$119,922,500
Edvard Munch’s iconic painting Scream was estimated to sell for more than $80 million when put up for auction in 2012. In only 12 minutes, the final bid was made over the phone at a groundbreaking $119,922,500 and became the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction. Bidders from all around the world bid in their respective languages, but the winning bid came from mystery bidder, over the phone. The record was recently beaten in 2015, when Picasso’s Les Femmes D’Alger was bought for $179.4 million.