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Strange Sales in Cyberspace The Meaning of Life - In 2007, nine

bids were made on the auction site eBay for ‘The Meaning of Life’. The highest bid was $10.50, though, perhaps unsurprisingly, this did not meet the reserve price.

A Man’s Whole Life - When Ian Usher

from Darlington fancied a fresh start in 2008, he decided to put his “entire life” up for sale on eBay. The auction included his house (and everything in it), his car, and his motorcycle, as well as his job and his friends. He made £192,000, despite expecting more.

A Grandmother - In 2009,10-year-

old Zoe Pemberton from Essex advertised her granny, Marion, on eBay, describing her as “annoying” but “cuddly”. Despite a number of offers, the listing was removed due to what an eBay spokesman termed “rules about selling people”.



present to Winston Churchill, went for he upper class equivalent of a £7,400. garage sale can also throw up In November 2005, Dominic Winter some gems. In 2011, a large also sold Napoleon Bonaparte’s canine pair of silk bloomers belonging tooth for £11,000. The French emperor to Queen Victoria were sold had the offending tooth removed during for £9,375 at Lyon and Turnbull’s auction his exile to St Helena after the battle of of antique treasures from Old Battersea Waterloo in 1815. House, the home of the Forbes family. The “Each item has its own story,” says US publishing dynasty had decided to sell Chris Albury, a resident expert at the contents of their London mansion in Dominic Winter. “As auctioneers we start deference to their love of Scotland and from the position of in recognition of believing nothing, their Highland THE ENVELOPE THEY but as we look at roots. WERE KEPT IN READ the evidence we According to “MY BELOVED are sometimes Philip Gregory MOUSTACHE convinced that an of Lyon and HAIRS” item is genuine.” Turnbull, royal He added that items are usually the most gruesome easier to verify lot to be auctioned as they are often was a handkerchief monogramme d stained with the or accompanied blood of Charles I. by letters of The King alledgedly authentication. handed the hanky “In 2008 we to Colonel John auctioned a lock Penruddock before his beheading in 1649, of hair belonging to Mary, Queen of after which Penruddock dipped the linen Scots; it was a family heirloom for Lady in Charles’s blood. Belhaven,” he says. “One of her ancestors “Buyers are often collectors of the had been an officer at Holyrood Palace in oddities but for Diana material, such as Edinburgh and was given that lock of hair the cake, often punters are speculating as a present for Queen Victoria. He kept that it will make more selling to avid an extra lock for himself. It kept coming collectors in the USA,” adds Albury. down generation after generation with a “We were also going to auction King letter signed ‘Mary R’.” Edward VIII’s toilet roll holder He added that there is a big market for – not his own, but one produced royal memorabilia in the US, though most for commercial sale which was buyers prefer to remain anonymous in then withdrawn following the order to avoid theft and too much media abdication.” attention. The same auction house The hunt is therefore on for the next sold Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s extraordinary item to come under the moustache trimmings for hammer. Be it dental, sartorial or gustatory, £150 in 2007. The hair there is little that the determined collector came with a portrait of the cannot find on sale at auction. The only author and the original thing that seems to be in short supply is envelope they were kept remaining dignity on the part of those who in which read: “My find their once prized possessions at the beloved moustache hairs.” heart of the haggle.

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...