eBay is one of the most famous e-commerce sites. E-commerce is short for Electronic Commerce. Just as the name implies, it is a market in which transactions are made electronically. You can buy anything from food to vehicles with just a couple of clicks. Thousands of transactions are made every day, most of them are pretty normal. However once in a while, a bizarre and unexpected item is put into auction.
John Lennon's toilet is among the highlights of an auction of Beatles memorabilia. Bids are invited for Lennon's toilet from Tittenhurst Park, his Berkshire home between 1969 and 1972. Lennon told a builder, John Hancock, to keep the porcelain lavatory and "use it as a plant pot" after he had installed a new one. It was stored in a shed at Hancock's home for 40 years until he died recently. The toilet is estimated to fetch £750 to £1,000. The auction organizer, Stephen Bailey, said: "The toilet might be worth something, and it might not, but it is certainly one of the most unusual items we've sold."
A pair of false teeth worn by Winston Churchill was sold at auction for more than $23,000 -- on the same day that plans were announced to put the British wartime leader's archive papers online for the first time. Churchill, famous for his rousing speeches during World War II, had several sets of the partial upper dentures specially constructed to hide his natural lisp and accentuate his signature slurred diction. The former prime minister "lived in fear of losing his false teeth" and would always have a spare set to hand, entrusted to his private secretary. The set which sold for £15,200 ($23,700) -- more than three times its expected price -- was put up for sale by Nigel Cudlipp, the son of the dental technician who made them, Derek Cudlipp. According to Nigel, his father said he could always tell how the war was going from the distance Winston hurled the teeth.
The most expensive item ever auctioned on eBay was a 405-foot yacht, appropriately named the Gigayacht. A Florida company named 4Yacht sold the monstrosity for a final purchase price of $168 million. To even acquire the boat, the seller had to make a onetime payment of $84 million (half the sticker price) to hold it for him. The Gigayacht was designed by former naval architect Frank Mulder, who has since designed an even more extravagant Gigayacht for sale on eBay. The new boat is lavish as they come, featuring fourteen multi-level VIP suites and a helicopter garage.
During a Christie's auction of entertainment items, Edward Scissorhands' scissor hands was one of the top earners, selling for an astounding $16,000! The prop, composed of steel, leather, painted rubber and foam-latex, was only expected to garner $5,000! The scissor hands were created and designed by Stan Winston.
At first glance, it looks like a rather uninspiring collection of rocks. But these stones can truly be described as out of this world – and look set to net their owner an astronomical sum. Scots meteorite hunter Rob Elliott is thanking his lucky stars after auctioneers put a $1.4 million price tag on his stockpile. The former electronics engineer is selling 170 meteorites from his 1,000-strong collection after spending the last 13 years scouring the world for examples. Tonight Mr Elliott, 48, said that it was time for someone else to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
A black jumbo watermelon auctioned in northern Japan fetched a record $6,100, making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold in the country - and possibly the world. The 17-pound premium Densuke watermelon, one of only 65 from the first harvest of the season, was purchased by a marine products dealer who said he wanted to support local agriculture. The fruit is grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido. In a country where melons are a luxury item commonly given as gifts, the watermelon's hefty price tag follows another jaw-dropping auction, where a pair of Yubari cantaloupe melons sold for a record $23,500. For seasonal, high-end fruits like the Densuke watermelon and the Yubari cantaloupes, Japanese buyers are often willing to pay top prices at auction for the prestige of owning the very first ones of the year.
On January 11, 2008, an auction for 4 golf balls that were surgically removed from a python’s gut ended. The balls were removed in an emergency room at Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The golf balls were initially used to coax a hen to lay an egg. The python then raided the hen house but mistook the golf balls as real eggs. The veterinarians that removed the golf balls soon put them into auction to raise money for a new wildlife hospital. The sanctuary didn’t receive any government funding and as demands rose, more space was needed to cope. After an intense bidding that went down to the last second, the golf balls, together with x-rays and photographs of the surgery, were sold for $1401 to an Australian man. The python would soon make a fast recovery and was soon released to the wild.
On November 2009, Bill Bennett sold a single cornflake for $1.85. He did it as an experiment but he didn’t expect any buyers. “There were no takers at first,” he said, “but then someone offered 1 cent and it grew from there. After a couple of days I agreed to sell it for $1.85.” He said the sale came just in time, as eBay had told him to withdraw the cornflake because he had no “Best Before” date on it. “But it’s sold now, I had some interesting inquiries about it, someone asked if it would mate safely with a Sugar Puff and another asked if it would be sociable if it was dropped in a fish tank,” he told BBC.
On February 2006, 4 men put themselves for auction for a fun filled weekend at February 18 and 19. They will not be liable for the travel bills but promised “some beers, some snags, some good conversation and a hell of a lot of laughs.” Mark, one of the 4 men, said the idea just came up one day while the four were together. “We were just having a few beers in Balmain and through it would be good idea for people to join us.” Mark also said that a celebrity has been included in the deal. He didn’t say who it was but he mentioned that it would be out of this world. The auction concluded at February 9 and a guy from Sydney, Australia won the auction with a bid of $45,000. The celebrity turned out to be Rob Kardashian.
On June 2008, water that was said to have been left in a cup Elvis Presley once drank from has been sold for $455. The few tablespoons came from a plastic cup Presley sipped at a concert in North Carolina in 1977 – which was kept by fan Wade Jones, who was then 13. He saw Presley drink from it and a guard gave it to him as a souvenir. He kept the water in a freezer until 1985, when it was put in a sealed vial. But he is refusing to sell the cup. Mr. Jones is willing to put the Styrofoam cup on display, possibly to coincide with Presley’s birthday on 8 January – for a minimum of $300 plus travel expenses. Presley drank from the cup on stage while introducing his band at the concert at Greensboro, Mr. Jones, now 40, said.
Food that contains people’s faces is common on eBay. Sandwiches that contained the faces of Spongebob, Hello Kitty and Ron Artest have been sold. However none of them was sold with the same price as a sandwich with the image of Virgin Mary ($28,000).
In November 2004, a seller put his 10 year-old grilled sandwich with an image of the Virgin Mary in it for auction. On Nov. 14, eBay pulled the auction stating that they don’t allow joke listings. However, the owner convinced eBay that the sandwich is real and stated the she herself would deliver the sandwich to the winning bidder. The posting became an Internet sensation, eventually getting more than 1.6 million hits. The new owner of the famed sandwich, online casino GoldenPalace, is putting it on display at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, also in Hollywood, Fla. It promises to take the partially eaten religious icon on tour. The seller says she took a bite of the sandwich 10 years ago, saw the image of Mary, and immediately decided that this blessed snack was not to be eaten.
On June 2005, during a live interview with Jodie Marsh, Kerrang 105.2′s Tim Shaw told the glamor model he was prepared to leave his wife and their two children for her. His wife Hayley was listening and said her husband’s flirtatious interview was the “last straw” in their strained relationship. After having a few drinks and while his husband was still on air on the radio, Hayley listed Tim’s Lotus Espirit Turbo for sale on eBay with a “Buy It Now” option of a measly 77 cents. The item description read: “I need to get rid of this car in the next two to three hours before my husband gets home to find it gone and all his belongings in the street.”
The car sold within five minutes. Mrs. Shaw said: ‘When he said he would leave me and the kids for Jodie Marsh, that was it for me. I am sick of him disrespecting this family for the sake of his act. The car is his pride and joy but the idiot put my name on the log book so I just sold it. I didn’t care about the money; I just wanted to get him back. There is no hope for reconciliation.’ AKerrang 105.2 spokesperson said the DJ was ‘absolutely gutted.’ Mr. Shaw was suspended from the station in February 2006 after he broke into program director Andrew Jeffries’ house during a live prank, damaged the property and wrote obscenities on the wall.
On May 2011, a man from Brisbane, Australia put New Zealand into auction. The starting price was a penny. After 6,000 hits and 22 bids later, the prize raised to $3,000. Even though it may seem funny, some people aren’t amused. Foreign Minister Winston Peters quoted: “I don’t think it’s fun. I think that kind of nonsensical stupidity, I’ll leave to the tabloid media.” Before the country could be sold, eBay closed the auction and rendered it invalid. The man trying to sell New Zealand would not appear on camera but says he has been to Auckland once and did not think much of it.
On September 2010, Martin Fawcett put his friend ghost for auction. Fawcett said that the winning bidder will also receive the ghost’s home, a regular glass jar. Fawcett claimed that her great-great grandmother died of cancer and he wants to donate the money to Cancer Research UK. In the description on eBay, he writes: “He enjoys being let out occasionally but please ensure to put him back as when left out for too long, he begins to get anxious. Twenty minutes a time is sufficient. I have not yet given him a name, so you can call him whatever you want, although he does giggle when I call him Casper.
Unfortunately, on the 6th day of the auction, eBay removed the auction because it was against the policy to sell intangible items or items whose existence cannot be verified on receipt of them, such as ghosts, souls, or spirits. Even though eBay said that the auction was for a good cause, they had to remove it because they’re strict regarding the policies.
On October 2008, an anonymous seller put Iceland for auction. During that time, Iceland owes $5.49 billion to Russia and the seller thinks that they can use the payment to reduce the debt. Bidding started at 99 pence but it reached $17.28 million in just a couple of days. Globally renowned singer Bjork was “not included” in the sale, according to the notice, but there were nonetheless 26 anonymous bidders and 84 bids.
“Located in the mid-Atlantic ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland will provide the winning bidder with a habitable environment, Icelandic Horses and admittedly a somewhat sketchy financial situation,” the notice read.
Bidders’ questions included: “Do you offer volcano/earthquake insurance?” “Is it possible that my payment will be frozen?” and “Will you accept C.O.D. as a form of payment?”
On June 2008, Ian Usher put his entire life for auction. The auction included his three bedroom house in Western Australia and everything inside it including his car, motorcycle, Jet Ski, and parachuting gear. He also offered complete introduction to his friends and a trial offer for his job. Mr. Usher said: “Everything that I have – the furniture in the house – all has memories attached to it. It’s time to shed the old, and in with the new. On the day it’s all sold and settled, I intend to walk out of my front door with my wallet in one pocket and my passport in the other, nothing else at all. My current thoughts are to then head to the airport and ask at the flight desk where the next flight with an available seat goes to, and to get on that and see where life takes me from there.” The company wherein Usher is working for is offering the successful bidder a two-week trial, which could be extended for three months and then become permanent. Mr. Usher said his friends in Perth were willing to be introduced to the highest bidder, allowing him to advertise his auction as offering a complete lifestyle. When the auction is finished, his entire life was sold for $384,000.
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