Thursday, Sept. 3, marks the 20th anniversary of eBay. The online auction site is celebrating its birthday with a two-day conference in California, but we’re celebrating by taking a look back at the most outrageous items that went up for auction — and then actually sold.
At any given time, there are 800 million listings on eBay, but few of them are as bizarre as the following 20.
- A grilled cheese sandwich, which purportedly bore a portrait of the Virgin Mary, sold for $28,000 in 2004. The Florida woman who had made it 10 years earlier said it never went moldy.
- Clippings of Justin Bieber’s hair fetched $40,668 in 2011. The pop star had gifted his hair to Ellen DeGeneres, who decided to put them up for auction. The proceeds went to an animal rescue organization.
- A latex Casey Anthony mask, originally made for a parody video, sold for $999,900 in 2011. It was billed as “possibly the most frightening mask on the planet.”
- Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast, left behind after an interview with a New York radio station, sold for $1,025 in 2000. A DJ put the leftover breakfast up for auction, and a 19-year-old superfan placed the winning bid.
- Ad space on a guy’s forehead, in the form of a temporary tattoo, went for $37,375 in 2005. A company called SnoreStop used web developer Andrew Fischer’s face to advertise its snoring remedy.
- A suit of armor for a guinea pig fetched $1,150 in 2013. The creator promised that the tiny hand-made suit (and matching helmet) would keep a “guinea pig protected and secure in all situations.”
- Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s tie, which he wore when he confessed to smoking crack at a 2013 news conference, sold for $1,445 in 2015. The so-called “crack tie” featured logos of several NFL teams.
- Pharrell’s infamous brown fedora, which he wore at the 2014 Grammy’s, sold for $44,100. The winning bidder? Fast food chain Arby’s, which had pointed out that Pharrell’s hat greatly resembled the one in its logo.
- A fun-filled weekend with four Australian men went for about $920 in 2006. The men said they wouldn’t pay for travel costs, but promised a weekend full of “some beers, some snags, some good conversation and a hell of a lot of laughs.”
- Princess Beatrice’s royal wedding hat, which some likened to a toilet seat, sold for $131,648 in 2011. Proceeds went to UNICEF and Children in Crisis.
- William Shatner’s kidney stone fetched $25,000 in 2006, raising money for a housing charity. “This takes organ donors to a new height, to a new low, maybe,” the actor said. “How much is a piece of me worth?”
- A lunch with Warren Buffet sold for $2.3 million in 2015. The chairman of Chinese gaming company Da Lian Zeus Entertainment placed the winning bid, and proceeds went to charity. (The previous year, a Singaporean businessman paid $2.2 million for the annual lunch.)
- A corn flake shaped like Illinois went for $1,350 in 2008. Two sisters from Virginia (not Illinois) put it up for sale, and the owner of a trivia website bought it for his traveling museum.
- A Dorito shaped like the Pope’s hat sold for $1,209 in 2005. The buyer? Online casino GoldenPalace.com, also known for buying the Virgin Mary grilled cheese.
- A barbecue pit the size of a bus, which stretched 75 feet in length and featured seven smokestacks, sold for $350,000 in 2015. Dubbed “The Indisputable Cuz,” it can cook four tons of meat at once.
- A box of 10 Twinkies sold for $59.99 back in 2012, following the announcement that Hostess was closing its factories. Panic spread, and many Twinkie-hoarding entrepreneurs hoped to cash in.
- The original Hollywood sign sold for $450,400 in 2005. The seller had bought the sign two years before from a man who acquired it after the city put up a new sign in 1978.
- The meaning of life sold for $3.26 in 2000. The seller wrote, “I have discovered the reason for our existence and will be happy to share this information with the highest bidder.” Eight people were curious enough to place bids.
- A single corn flake sold for about $1.63 (£1.20) in 2004. The seller, an English university student, said “there were no takers at first.” eBay had told him to withdraw the listing because he had no “Best Before” date, but he managed to complete the transaction just in time.
- Britney Spears’ (alleged) pregnancy test, acquired by an Ottawa radio station, went for $5,001 in 2005. It was apparently found in the garbage outside Spears’ Los Angeles home. The buyer, once again, was GoldenPalace.com.
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