Bizarre Bids: 50 Unbelievable Auction Tales

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26Titanic Menu Auction

Titanic Menu Auction

In 2015, the final lunch menu from the Titanic was auctioned off for $88,000. A businessman who survived the sinking had saved it from the ship and kept it.

27. In 2022, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card, graded at 9.5/10, set a record as the most expensive sports item, card, or memorabilia ever sold, fetching $12.6 million at auction. The son of a reported driver of Topps products in the 50s discovered the card in an attic in the 80s.

28. Between 1854 and 1921 in the US, "orphan trains" transported over 250,000 children for adoption by new families. While many found new homes, sometimes the "adoptions" were little more than auctions.

29. There was a Marmite Crisis (Marmageddon) in 2012-13 in New Zealand after a cooling tower at the only factory broke down. People then dubbed Marmite "Black Gold." The value of jars increased to over NZ$800 on auction sites.

30. In March 2006, a man purchased an authentic official copy of the Declaration of Independence for $2.48 at a Nashville, TN, thrift shop. It was one of 200 "official copies" commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820. It later sold for $477,650 at auction.

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31Klitschko's Olympic Medal Return

Klitschko's Olympic Medal Return

During a charitable auction in Kiev, Ukraine, Wladimir Klitschko auctioned off his 1996 Olympic gold medal to a buyer who bid $1 million. After the sale, the buyer immediately returned the medal out of respect for Klitschko.

32. During the Norwegian Butter Crisis of 2011, Norway virtually ran out of butter, leading to prices for a standard 250-gram (8-ounce) pack rising to over $50 (€42). A black market emerged where sellers auctioned off butter.

33. When John Lennon was having his toilet replaced, one of the builders, John Hancock, decided to store it in his shed. About 40 years later, in 2010, Lennon's lavatory was auctioned off for £9,500.

34. In 1977, a Paris auction sold Napoleon Bonaparte's penis, which measured only one-and-a-half inches long, for $3,000. Today, Evan Lattimer keeps Napoleon's "little guy" in his New Jersey home.

35. K. Rowling handwrote seven original copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Each copy contains a different semiprecious stone. She gave six copies to close friends and auctioned her own for $1.95 million.

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36Million-Dollar Phone Numbers

Million-Dollar Phone Numbers

The cell phone number 666-6666 sold for $2.7 million at a charity auction in Qatar. It sold for $2.7 million. The Chinese number 8888-8888 sold for $280,000.

37. In 1919, the state of Alabama held a rooster auction to help finance a bridge. President Woodrow Wilson attended to auction off his rooster, which sold for $55,000.

38. There was a court battle between two fans over who caught Barry Bonds's record-setting 756th baseball. One of them spent $473,530 in legal fees to claim ownership of the ball. Later, the ball sold at auction, and he received only $225,000.

39. In 2011, a bundle of cash totaling $20,000 was auctioned off for a total of $21,350 as art.

40. Winston Churchill had his dentures designed specifically to preserve his lisp. The dentures sold for £15,200 at an auction in 2010.

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41Pho Bowls for Charity

Pho Bowls for Charity

Charity auctions in 2011 featured the auctioning of several remarkably expensive bowls of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). The chefs prepared "AnQi Pho" with type A5-Wagyu beef, white truffles, precious foie gras broth, and perfectly manicured noodles made of rare blue lobster meat.

42. Child auctions were commonplace in Finland and Sweden up until the mid-1930s. Orphans or children from extremely poor backgrounds were sold to the lowest bidder. The children were expected to work in exchange for a home and education.

43. Tobacco brides were women brought from England to colonial America, often against their will, and auctioned off for tobacco by the shipping company. Of the 144 tobacco brides brought to Jamestown between 1619 and 1622, all but 35 died within six years.

44. The carbon from a lock of Beethoven's hair was pressed into a diamond and auctioned for charity. It sold for $200,000 USD in 2007.

45. The submarine resembling a Lotus Espirit from the Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" went unclaimed for 10 years in a prepaid storage unit. When its lease ran out, a buyer purchased the unit for less than $100, including the submarine. In 2013, the submarine was sold at auction for £550,000.

46Star Trek Flute Auction

Star Trek Flute Auction

In 2006, Christie's auctioned Picard's Flute from the Star Trek TNG episode "The Inner Light" along with other Star Trek memorabilia. Christie's estimated the flute would sell for $300. The winning bidder paid $48,000 for the flute.

47. Someone in New York State bought an old bowl at a tag sale in 2007 for $3. When the buyer had it appraised several years later, they learned it was a 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl initially valued at $200,000 to $300,000. The bowl fetched $2.2 million at auction.

48. K. Rowling wrote a short 800-word prequel to Harry Potter for a charity auction in 2008. Thirteen authors wrote original works for the auction, but Rowling's piece alone sold for £25,000, surpassing the combined sales of all the other writers' works.

49. The founder of eSnipe, a website that places bids for eBay users during the last seconds of an auction, placed the site for sale in December 2000. An eSnipe user won the auction by placing the winning bid using eSnipe.

50. The auction for Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" took place in 1958, with a final sale price of £45. In 2005, it sold again for under $10,000. In 2011, experts authenticated the artwork as a Leonardo original, and it was subsequently sold in 2013 for $75 million, then again for $127.5 million. Finally, in 2017, the artwork was auctioned off for a staggering $450.3 million.

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