The online auction website eBay was created nearly twenty years ago in 1995 in order to facilitate consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer e-commerce. While the site is a multi-billion dollar venture and handles the sale of millions of different “traditional” items yearly, over the years eBay has also seen it’s fair share of strange, shocking and even creepy items posted for sale. It seems that some people will do anything to make a quick dollar, and on eBay pretty much anything, from toast to foreheads and even lives, is fair game. Though there’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of weird things that have been sold on eBay over the years, here are ten of the weirdest.
10. A Ghost in a Jar – $55,992
A jar found in an abandoned cemetery reportedly haunted by a ghost was put up for auction by an Arkansas seller and fetched just under $56,000 when the eBay auction closed. The owner of the ghost was apparently being terrorized by the spectre in the jar and wanted to get rid of it – selling it being clearly the best course of action – and told buyers that he would not be responsible for what happens to the jar’s new owner. While the winning bid for jar actually reached $55,992, the winner of the auction did not pay for the ghost, either in fear of their newfound spectre, or in a moment of clarity given the cost of said ghost.
9. Illinois Cornflake – $1,350
Americans are no doubt patriotic, but sometimes it seems there may not be any limit to which some will go in order to show their pride for their country. In 2008, two sisters from Virginia sold a corn flake that was shaped like the state of Illinois. The winning bidder was a Texas owner of a trivia Web site who was collecting pop culture memorabilia and Americana items, including the corn flake, to add to a travelling museum. While the resemblance is actually uncanny (for a cereal), the fragility of the corn flake along with the price tag seems a bit much.
8. Haunted Rubber Duck – $107.50
Another haunted item that actually sold on eBay, the item in question was a rubber duck that made the owner’s child act possessed when around the toy. The child also threw the duck as far away from him as he could whenever he got the chance. The seller actually wrote an incredibly detailed account of his family’s ordeal with the duck, named “Yella”, including the intervention of the family Pastor. Incredibly, even after describing the demonic deeds of the duck and warning potential buyers that the seller will “not be responsible for the duck after shipping… will not field questions or help to explain its unusual mystique” and stating he “want nothing to do with it,” the duck still had 41 bids and sold after a week, making him a profit of $107.50.
7. Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese – $28,000
As much as patriotism and the supernatural may entice eBay connoisseurs to bid, religious items can certainly take the cake – or the grilled cheese in this case. A Miami woman’s 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich, which had a bite taken out of it, bore the resemblance of the Virgin Mary to many eyes, including the maker of the sandwich. Jewellery maker Diana Duyser believed she was staring back at the Virgin Mary after taking the first bite of that fateful grilled cheese and immediately put it in a plastic bag, where it never collected even one spore of mold for a decade. After finally deciding to sell the item, online casino GoldenPalace.com would stop at nothing to obtain the piece of what they call “pop culture” ultimately paying $28,000 for the sandwich.
6. Kari Smith’s Forehead – $10,000
Bountiful Utah mother Kari Smith wanted a better financial future for her son Brady, hoping to be able to help him pay for his college education. In a moment of inspiration, Smith decided that the best and quickest way to raise some money for her son was to become a walking billboard. Had Smith thought a little harder about it, she may have been able to raise some money for her child in a little less permanent and controversial way, but instead she decided to sell her forehead as advertising space. The 30-year-old auctioned off her forehead and vowed to tattoo any slogan across it to any company that would fork out her asking price of $10,000. Like the Virgin Mary grilled cheese, GoldenPalace.com just couldn’t resist, and after two days on eBay the online casino clicked “buy now,” paying Smith the full $10,000, while she maintained her promise of tattooing GoldenPalace.com in black ink across her forehead. When she asked the tattoo artist (who spent nearly ten hours trying to talk her out of the tattoo) if her forehead would go numb while getting inked, he replied “It’ll go as numb as your brain.” Well played.
5. Right to Name Baby – $6,800
In 2009, 36-year-old Arkansas woman Lavonne Drummond found her self unemployed and in a bit of financial trouble while pregnant with her seventh child. In order to ease the financial burden of raising a household as well as repairing the family vehicle and paying overdue bills Drummond had an epiphany on how to potentially make some quick money; selling the rights to name her unborn child, her second son, on eBay. The idea apparently “just came” to Drummond, and she quickly took to the auction site and posted the “item” for sale. Unfortunately for Lavonne Drummond, eBay was less receptive to her auction and shut the first four down, though they had reached a combined total of over $41,000. The fifth and final auction actually reached a sale at the end of August 2009 for the grand sum of $6,800, but the winning bidder told Drummond he was trying to help her auction and had no intentions of actually paying her, nor naming her baby. With her son due in mid-September, Drummond gave up after her fifth failed auction.
4. A Human Liver – $5.7 million
A Florida man was really set to hit pay dirt by selling his liver on eBay when the bid for his internal organ reached a staggering $5.7 million dollars. With available organs in short supply and donor lists severely backlogged, some of those needing a transplant resort to desperate measures in order to get a leg up on the wait list. Unfortunately for the Florida man whose liver was for sale and more so for those desperate or ill enough to be bidding on a liver online, eBay pulled the auction from its site quickly, stating that the auction violated its rules regulating the sale of human organs on the website.
3. Bridgeville, California – $1.77 million
260 miles north of San Francisco and with 25 residents, lays Bridgeville, a town with the dubious distinction of being the first town ever sold on eBay. The unincorporated town initially went up for auction in 2002 with a price tag of $750,000 after the Lapple family, owners of the town since the early 1970s, failed to sell through traditional real estate avenues. Eventually the town sold on eBay for the price of $1.77 million, to an anonymous Los Angeles based buyer that remained hidden during the negotiations of the sale, which ultimately fell through. The town was bought, albeit for a million less than the initial eBay offer, soon after to another businessman. Bridgeville was sold twice more, though not through eBay, over the next four years.
2. Ian Usher’s Life – $300,000
We’re all a little distraught following the end of a relationship, and many of us look for a fresh start to put our lives back into perspective, get some alone time, and move on. When Ian Usher’s wife left him, he took getting a fresh start to a whole new level when he decided to sell his entire life on eBay. Following his divorce in 2008 Usher put up his now infamous “life for sale ad” on eBay that included all of his worldly possessions, including his home and his car, his friends, and even a potential position as a sales associate at his job. Usher made over $300,000 on the eBay auction and began a life of adventure in which he wanted to complete 100 of his life goals in 100 weeks. Unsurprisingly Usher has also penned a few books, including A Life Sold, which Disney plans on turning into a feature film.
1. The Meaning of Life – $3.26
We all search for the meaning of life, no? Why are we here? What’s our purpose? Well, in 2000 a North Carolina native decided to help the rest of us out, and sell the meaning of life on eBay. The cryptic message accompanying the North Carolina native’s auction stated: “I have discovered the reason for existence, and will be happy to share this information with the highest bidder.” Apparently, the meaning of life is a relatively inexpensive item to purchase on eBay, either that or most of us really don’t care that much to know the answer. The bid started at a penny and netted the seller a mere $3.26 a week later, proving that there are much more important things than the meaning of life to spend one’s money on.