The 8 Strangest Things Ever Sold at Auctions

Art Wise

It's a strange world we live in. A world in which people are willing to dig deep into their pockets and shell out money for half eaten toasts, chewed bubblegum, soiled underwear and used tissue. And the list doesn’t even begin or end there! A cursory glance at eBay gives a glimpse into the bizarre things people are willing to sell and buy. Here’s our list of some of the oddest things that have been sold at auctions!

1. Winston Churchill's Dentures

Did you know that Winston Churchill wore dentures to preserve his natural lisp? The famous orator who led Britain to war, always carried two sets of dentures with him as he “feared losing his false teeth”. He even prevented his dentist from being drafted into war so he could constantly fix his dentures! In 2010, Churchill’s partially gold-plated upper dentures were sold in an auction at Keys Salerooms in Norfolk for £15,200. 

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2. Non-Existent Art

Imagine this - you pay a hefty sum of money for a painting, and then you have to imagine what it would look like, because it doesn’t actually exist! Yes, all you have is a frame enclosing blank space. The Museum of Non-Visible Art or MONA, which promotes ‘non-visible’ artwork imagined by an artist, sold a piece titled “Fresh Air” for $10,000. All that money for nothing but air, that is generally free.

(Description of an imaginary artwork at MONA)

3. Kennedy’s Assassinator’s Wedding Ring

Lee Harvey Oswald is the infamous American sniper who assassinated President J.F. Kennedy in November 1963. On the morning of the assassination, Oswald took off his wedding ring and placed it in a cup on his dresser, before heading to work. In 2013, the ring was bought at an auction by an anonymous Texan buyer, for $118,000!

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4. John Lennon’s Toilet

Anything with the name “The Beatles” attached to it seems to sell for a song, even if it is a toilet. A porcelain toilet bowl which had been installed in John Lennon’s Berkshire home between 1969 and 1972, was put up for auction in 2010. It had been given by Lennon to his builder to use as a planter for flowers, after he installed a new toilet. The white and blue bowl sold for $14,740 – 10 times its initial estimate!

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5. Word Art by Christopher Wool 

There are artworks that make people go, “even I can paint”. Question is - would these sell for millions of dollars?! American artist Christopher Wool is known for painting stenciled letters on white canvases. An artwork where he spelt out 'Fool' in blue lettering, sold for $5 million, and another one stenciled in black, sold for $6.9 million. More outrageously, a similar artwork with the word 'Riot' sold for $26.5 million!

6. A Rare Taxidermy Ostrich

There are many strange and wacky things on sale at the annual Christie’s “Out of the Ordinary” themed sale. In 2013, a "Rare North Italian Taxidermy Ostrich" was sold by the London auction house for an impressive $33,150. The stuffed ostrich, dated 1785, was said to have resided in “Little Versailles”, a famous Italian compound.  

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7. Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday’ Dress

The iconic actress Marilyn Monroe delivered a "Happy Birthday" serenade to President J.F. Kennedy in 1962, wearing a pale, jewel-encrusted dress so perfectly shaped, that it’s famously said that she was sewn into the gown. The dress was bought for $1.26 million in 1999, by a Manhattan-based collectibles company called ‘Gotta Have It’!

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8. Cracker from Titanic Survivor’s Kit

In 1912, the largest ship afloat at the time - Titanic - sank in an unfortunate incident, and 1500 passengers died. Surprisingly enough, a biscuit cracker onboard the ship survived! James Fenwick, a passenger on a boat that came to the aid of Titanic survivors, took the biscuit from a survival kit on one of the lifeboats, slipped it into an envelope, and kept it as a souvenir. Possibly the world’s stalest cracker, it was bought at an auction in 2015 for $23,000!

Like the idea of owning a rare collectible of your own?

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