You can get pretty much anything on eBay. From a haunted rubber duck to canned unicorn meat, the online marketplace can be a bazaar for the bizarre or just a place to buy some cheap socks. Since its inception in 1995, eBay has been used to buy and sell just about everything (with the exception of illicit drugs which can be bought on darknet sites like The Silk Road).
It comes as no surprise that the online retailer is being used to auction off some ultra-expensive stuff; it’s a trusted, user-friendly means of online commerce. Although eBay isn’t quite Sotheby’s, yet, the site is clearly on their way to being a power in the auction world. As you’ll see, people have taken to the site to help them unload a variety of pricey items: from sports memorabilia to space rocks to luxury vehicles.
For those who haven’t used the site (have you been living in a Blast from the Past-style bunker? If so, where’s Brendan Fraser?), it’s quite easy. Users upload an item to sell and include a starting bid ($0.99, for example), at which point other users begin bidding on the item. Like any auction, bidding wars ensue. The item’s price is driven up based on how much demand there is for it. It’s like this cool microcosm of capitalism where the free market reigns supreme.
Sit back, relax and get ready to ball out as you peruse the 10 largest eBay purchases of all-time.
10. Barry Bonds’ 715th Home Run Ball
In 2006, a baseball hit by renowned slugger and known juicer Barry Bonds was scooped up on eBay for a cool $220,100. The ball commemorates Barry Bonds passing Babe Ruth to become the second-greatest slugger in MLB history (second only to Hank Aaron who had 755. Bonds later broke this record too, finishing his career with 762 dingers).
The ball was sold by Andrew Morbitzer who caught the ball at AT&T Park on May 28, 2006. The ball has likely lost value as Barry Bonds’ legacy is frequently called into question by baseball purists after multiple accusations of steroid use.
9. Zagami Martian Meteorite
The Zagami Martian Meteorite fell to the Earth in 1962, landing in Nigeria. One of the most sought-after martian meteorites on the whole planet earth, the Zagami was bought for the steep price of $450,000 in 2006. I know what some of you are saying: almost half a mill for some rock? I know, I’m kind of in the same boat but, apparently, it’s important. So much so that, according to reports, the future owner was being asked to loan the meteorite to various museums and planetariums. Hopefully the Zagami’s sale can aid in future research and learning.
8. 2003 Enzo Ferrari
In 2004, a gorgeous Enzo Ferrari was put up for sale on eBay and it was quickly bought. Only 400 Enzo Ferrari’s were manufactured, all of which were purchased before leaving the assembly line. The ultra exclusive sports car is the prize of a lot of car owner’s collections. If someone were looking to get an Enzo today, you’d be looking at a million-plus dollar price tag. This one was sold for $650,000. So, it looks like somebody was desperate to liquidate their assets and someone else lucked into a great deal. All’s fair in love and sports cars, I suppose.
7. Honus Wagner Baseball Card
American Tobacco Company, the former owners of Lucky Strike cigarettes, sold this historic card in 2000 for a reported $1.265 million. According to fable, the American Tobacco Company printed the card without the consent of Honus Wagner who didn’t want to endorse the smoking of tobacco. Due to the dispute, ATC halted production and distribution of the card, releasing only 57 to the public. This is why this card remains one of the most valuable sports collectibles. eBay auctioneer Michael Gidwitz bought the card for $600,000 and was able to double his initial investment with this sale.
6. Bridgeville, California
Bridgeville is an unincorporated Northern California town that has been put up for sale on eBay on two separate occasions. The town has a population of about 18 and has a total acreage of 83. In 2003, the town was bought on eBay but the deal fizzled due to the town’s haggard condition. The town, a former stagecoach hub, is now a sleepy, almost forgotten place. Bruce Krall, an Orange County commercial banker is the current owner of the Bridgeville land parcel. He has put a great deal of effort and energy into repairing the town and preparing it for resale.
5. War-Proof Bunker House
After buying an unused missile silo, realtors Gregory Gibbons and Bruce Francisco converted the space into a full-service war-proof bunker. The bunker is located in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Adirondacks are a perfect location for this type of bunker. After 9/11, the realtors took it upon themselves to create a safe home for a more petrified homeowner. The finished bunker and its attached home was originally listed at $18 million but only earned $2.1 million after being sold on eBay. A pretty significant loss for these two enterprising real estate agents.
4. Albert, Texas
Although the sale of Bridgeville, CA was basically a disaster, the same can’t be said of Albert, TX. In 2003, insurance broker Bobby Cave bought up the town for a steal at $216,000. He resold the town a few years later for $2.5 million, earning Cave almost $2.3 million. Albert is a historic town, a stop on an old stagecoach line and a part of the President’s Ranch Trail. Cave did his part to restore the entire town while keeping its historical integrity intact. Cave’s restoration must have been great, as he greatly increased the value of the town and earned himself a great deal of scratch in the process.
3. Lunch With Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is one of the world’s richest men, so you better believe that his time is valuable. Buffett is an Omaha native who has been a wildly successful businessman, currently serving as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an American multinational conglomerate holding company. Every year, Buffett auctions off his time to support a local San Francisco church’s program to feed the homeless and hungry. The auction typically receives huge bids, although in 2010 there was a particular anomaly when one bidder put up $2.63 million for the opportunity to meet with Buffett. Hopefully, for that price tag, the winner got some great investment tips from Buffett.
2. Gulfstream II Jet
The private jet is one of the foremost symbols of luxury. Utilized primarily by the mega-rich and mega-famous, the private jet is a sign of money and prestige. In 2001, Tyler Jet (a vendor of business planes) put one of their luxury Gulfstream II jets up for auction on eBay. The jet was used as a part of the site’s launch of their (then) new aviation section. The 12-seat, luxury jetliner was bought by an African-based charter aviation company for the whopping price of $4.9 million. The jets are typically sold for around $1 million, so the purchase is almost illogical.
Private jets aside, the most ballin’ thing someone could possibly buy is probably a yacht. Enter the gigayacht, the 405-foot, Frank Mulder-designed superboat that was purchased on eBay for an almost unconscionable $168 million. The yacht includes a gym, movie theater, spa, elevator, VIP suites, a children’s cabin, guest cabins and a helicopter pad. The yacht was bought by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, owner of private investment company Millhouse LLC. and the Chelsea Football Club. Abramovich’s net worth is valued at roughly $9.1 billion. He is the 12th richest Russian and the 137th richest person in the world.
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