Bizarre Bids: 50 Unbelievable Auction Tales

1Namibia's Rhino Auction Drama

Namibia's Rhino Auction Drama

In 2018, Namibia auctioned off the rights to kill a rare black rhino for $350,000, with all proceeds dedicated to wildlife conservation efforts. The rhino, too old to breed, posed a potential risk to other members of the herd. However, the winning bidder, who secured the right to shoot the rhino, refused to fulfill his payment unless he could also retain the animal's head.

2. Throughout Seinfeld's run, a charity auctioned off the opportunity for someone to sit in the first booth at Monk's Cafe and be included in a scene.

3. The Great Slave Auction occurred in 1859 and consisted of 436 slaves auctioned over two days to over 200 buyers and sightseers. Heavily advertised, it netted over $9.9 million in today's money. It was considered the largest slave auction until 2022, when historians found a larger auction.

4. In the 18th century, England practiced "wife-selling," an unusual custom involving a man publicly auctioning off his wife to the highest bidder, often in a marketplace or tavern. Some people viewed it as a comical means of escaping an unhappy marriage.

5. In 193 AD, Rome's elite Praetorian Guard murdered the sitting Emperor and then auctioned off the role to the highest bidder. Didius Julianus thus became emperor by buying the title from the guard. Being drunk, he arrived late and had to shout his offers from outside the gates.

6Pope's Lamborghini Charity

Pope's Lamborghini Charity

In 2017, Lamborghini created a sports car specifically for the Pope, who blessed it and auctioned it off. The Pope chose several charities to receive the funds raised.

7. In 2007, singer James Blunt auctioned his sister off on eBay as 'a damsel in distress' when she was unable to get to a funeral. The winning bidder picked her up in a helicopter. They dated for three years and are now married.

8. In 2012, a 20-year-old female and a 23-year-old male auctioned off their virginity. Her highest bidder bid was $780,000, while his highest bidder bid was only $3,000.

9. In 1999, a Florida man auctioned his kidney on eBay. The post read, "You can choose either kidney. The buyer pays all transplant and medical costs. Of course, only one is for sale, as I need the other one to live. Serious bids only." The bids reached $5.7 million before the company abruptly ended it.

10. A man raised $275,000 for disabled veterans in 1864 by repeatedly auctioning the same sack of flour over and over again.

11Exquisite Thai Durian Auction

Exquisite Thai Durian Auction

Kanyao durians from Thailand often fetch prices of up to USD $600 each, with the highest bid for one exceeding $9,000 in 2017. These elusive fruits are challenging to find in stores, and gaining access to the durian farms that cultivate them requires influential connections.

12. Yubari King melons, renowned for their extraordinary sweetness, fetched a staggering ¥3.2 million (almost $30,000) at a Japanese auction in 2018. Frequently, people present Yubari King melons as lavish gifts due to their extraordinary sweetness.

13. The character Alex, who made a single appearance in South Park's episode "Red Man's Greed," was voiced by Alex Glick, the highest bidder at a charity auction benefiting AIDS research.

14. There are at least three known sets of Auschwitz tattoo stamps. While two sets reside in museums, one set caused significant controversy when it was sold at auction in 2021. It includes stamps with interchangeable needles for permanently branding numbers onto the skin, accompanied by an original Nazi instruction booklet.

15. In April 2023, Dubai once again set a record for the world's most expensive license plate, selling "7" for $15 million at auction. Some countries, like Hong Kong (where "R" and "W" fetched $3 million), auction rare license plate numbers to wealthy individuals. In the U.S., such plates typically go for $60.

16Self-Auctioning Art Box

Self-Auctioning Art Box

A Tool To Deceive And Slaughter is a modern art piece-a black box that perpetually attempts to auction itself on eBay. Every ten minutes, the box pings a server to check its eBay status. If sold, it creates a new auction, and the cycle repeats. Failure to plug it into the internet makes it worthless, and leaving it unplugged violates the purchase contract.

17. In 1961, Italian artist Piero Manzoni filled 90 tin cans with feces, named the collection 'Artist's shit,' and sold them for up to €124,000 per tin. In August 2016, at an art auction in Milan, one of the tins set a new world record, selling for €275,000, including auction fees.

18. During an experiment on the moon, Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott's drill became stuck. After reaching a depth of 5.3 feet, lunar soil particles jammed the drill. In 2016, the auction of the drill chuck fetched nearly $50,000.

19. In 1999, porn actress Houston had her labia trimmed and auctioned off the remnants for $50,000.00.

20. French artist Yves Klein sold a series of non-existent spaces in exchange for a weight of pure gold. In 1959, almost 60 years after his death, a receipt he wrote to prove ownership of his invisible artworks sold for $1.16 million at Sotheby's auction house in Paris.

21NASA's Lunar Bag Mishap

NASA's Lunar Bag Mishap

NASA auctioned the bag used by Apollo 11 astronauts to collect the first lunar sample for just $995 by mistake. When the buyer sent the bag to NASA for verification, the space agency realized its mistake and refused to return it.

22. Many "Vampire killing kits," allegedly from the 19th century, are sold in auction houses such as Sotheby's for upwards of $12,000. However, experts are debating the authenticity of these kits due to the presence of materials that suggest they were made in the 1930s or later, without any historical basis.

23. In 2006, William Shatner auctioned his kidney stone, donating the $25,000 it fetched to Habitat for Humanity.

24. Up until the 1960s, poor Swiss children could be auctioned to farmers, who then used them as a source of cheap labor.

25. Airlines auction off unclaimed baggage, which is then bought and resold by some stores.