Rare and Unusual: The Strangest Items Ever Sold at Auction

This article explores some of the strangest items ever sold at auction, proving that there's a market for almost anything.

Rare and Unusual: The Strangest Items Ever Sold at Auction photo

In the world of auctions, the phrase "one person's trash is another's treasure" takes on a whole new meaning. From the bizarre to the downright perplexing, auctions have seen a parade of items that defy expectation and sometimes, explanation. This article explores some of the strangest items ever sold at auction, proving that there's a market for almost anything.

A Slice of Royal Cake

Imagine owning a piece of history, quite literally, in the form of a slice of cake. But not just any cake - a slice from the 1981 wedding cake of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Despite being over three decades old, this piece of culinary history found a buyer willing to pay thousands for the honor. It's a testament to the enduring fascination with royal memorabilia, even when it's perishable.

Invisible Artwork

Art can be a subjective experience, but what about art that's literally invisible? In an auction that left many scratching their heads, an "invisible" sculpture by an Italian artist was sold. The artwork, made of nothing but air, fetched a substantial sum, challenging traditional notions of value and the essence of art itself.

A Ghost in a Jar

Perhaps one of the most eyebrow-raising auctions involved a "ghost" purportedly trapped in a jar. The seller claimed the ghost had been haunting his home, and the only solution was to capture it and sell it to the highest bidder. While it's impossible to verify the existence of the ghost, the jar found a buyer, proving the appetite for the paranormal in the auction world.

Celebrity Hair

The fascination with celebrities can reach surprising heights, or in this case, lengths. Locks of hair from famous figures have fetched impressive sums at auction. From Elvis Presley to Justin Bieber, strands of celebrity hair have been sold, offering fans a very personal piece of their idols. It's a niche market that underscores the unique ways in which people connect with celebrities.

Meteorites from Space

Outer space has always captivated the human imagination, so it's no surprise that meteorites have become hot commodities at auction. These celestial objects, having traveled billions of miles through space, offer a tangible connection to the cosmos. Some meteorites, especially those with rare compositions or fascinating origins, have sold for astronomical sums.

A Town

Yes, you read that correctly. Entire towns have gone under the hammer, offering buyers the unique opportunity to own a piece of the American dream - or at least, a significant chunk of it. From ghost towns with histories of the Old West to small, picturesque villages, these sales redefine the concept of property investment.

Dinosaur Fossils

The auction of dinosaur fossils brings the prehistoric world into the present, allowing private collectors to own a piece of Earth's ancient history. The sale of a T-Rex skeleton named "Sue" for over $8 million highlighted the high stakes involved in acquiring these rare remnants of the past. While fascinating, such sales have sparked debates about the ethics of private ownership of cultural and scientific artifacts.

Famous Bridges

When London Bridge was sold to an American entrepreneur and relocated to Arizona, it marked one of the most unusual transactions in auction history. This sale demonstrates the lengths to which individuals will go to own a piece of history, even if it means moving an iconic structure across the globe.

The Right to Name a Baby

In one of the most controversial auctions, a mother offered the rights to name her unborn baby. While the auction was eventually pulled due to legal and ethical concerns, it highlighted the bizarre and sometimes troubling lengths people might go to in their quest for uniqueness or attention in the digital age.


The world of auctions is as diverse as it is unpredictable, with the value of items often determined by the stories they tell or the emotions they evoke. From slices of royal cake to invisible sculptures and even towns, the strange and unusual continue to captivate our imaginations and wallets. These auctions remind us of the endless variety of human interests and the extraordinary lengths people will go to preserve, own, or sell a piece of history, art, or even the intangible. In the end, these unusual auctions offer more than just oddities for sale; they provide insights into the human psyche, revealing our deep-seated desires to connect with the past, the intangible, and the beyond. Whether driven by nostalgia, fascination, or the thrill of the hunt, the market for rare and unusual items shows no signs of slowing down, ensuring that the world of auctions will continue to surprise and intrigue us for years to come.