“Worth it. Totally worth it.”
~No, guy…it isn’t
Most Americans buy their goods in the typical fashion—on sale from a Wal-Mart while fending off ghosts summoned from the Indian Burial Ground the store was built on top of. One-stop shopping. Of course some people have copious amounts of money and the strange obsessive ticks that you only see in inbred European nobility and coke-addled money men who struck it big in the 80’s, and they prefer to buy their items from auctions. Not useful items, like food, clothes, or cheap DVDs that trick you into thinking they’re blockbuster films, of course. No, these intrepid individuals like to throw money at things like Bonnie and Clyde’s guns, or a Brazilian girl’s virginity (oh how we wish we were making that one up).
When you think about the fact that millionaires literally competed with each other to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these following items, you can rest comfortably in your futon knowing that you can never be happy without money. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…
Five Strange Auction Items
People who have too much money tend to spend it in stupid, occasionally psychotic ways. We all know this. Sure, you could look at all the times that people have spent millions of dollars on obscure modern art, but when you’re spending over a million dollars on something, it’s pretty clear money isn’t a factor. That’s why we’re going to focus on items that cost more than $100,000 (or the amount many people pay for an actual house) but less than seven figures, because it’s not like we want to get gaudy with it. Let’s leave that to Russian yacht owners.
A Fossilized Egg: $101,813
Several weeks ago, Christie’s Auction in London auctioned off a giant egg of an extinct elephant bird. Now, before you try to justify this as a fairly cool use of a hundred grand (and admittedly, it’s better than the other entries on this list) keep in mind that this is not a dinosaur egg, nor is it a fossilized egg from the dinosaur era. The elephant bird went extinct only in the 18th century, “for reasons unclear” which is a nice way of saying that we totally killed them all to death.
But okay, let’s say for argument’s sake that you want to carry around a fragile, breakable giant orb that, hundreds of years ago, came out of a 1,000 pound now-extinct bird’s butt (we don’t know how egg-laying works). And you must have this egg, so it’s totally worth the money you were going to spend on two corvettes instead. What we can’t get our head around is why this guy at the auction house is holding up a regular egg as comparison. If you’re going to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a giant 400-year-old egg, do you really need to be shown how much bigger it is than an egg? Isn’t the fact that this egg is monstrous compared to the human hand holding it enough? When will you giant egg fetishists be satisfied!?
Either way, someone spent a lot of money for a very large item that they’re going to spend the rest of their life going “BE CAREFUL DON’T LET IT FALL” to their guests about.
Tress of Elvis Presley’s Hair: $115,000
People buy famous people’s hair. You probably knew that already and just chose to ignore that fact so you could feel at peace with the world you live in, but if this is a revelation for you, we are so sorry. Here’s a cha-cha-ing puppy to distract you from this new knowledge.
Anyway, yes, people buy celebrity hair, and someone shelled out 115 grand to…honestly we don’t know. What do you do with a famous dead person’s hair? Pet it and then repent? Get recognized by Guinness for having the largest celebrity hair collection, get reported as a con man, and somehow end up not in jail? Either way, this is just a deeply unsettling thing to own. The only time “I have Elvis Presley’s hair” was able to get anyone laid, it was when it was said by Elvis, about his hair, because he was Elvis. Everyone else trying to pass that line is just ensuring they learn how to get mace out of their eyes really well.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Cheap Peace Poster: $154,000
In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a “Bed-in for Peace,” where they spent two weeks in bed to protest the Vietnam War. It was held during their honeymoon, which means that their bed-in for peace was pretty much exactly the same as, you know, a honeymoon for boning. Either way, they made a sign for this historic occasion, which basically looks like a piece of cardboard where they hastily scribbled “BED PEACE” in poorly-filled-in Sharpie and signed their names. While we can admit that having John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s autograph is valuable, is it really that much more valuable to have it on something that they hung up on a wall while they banged for two straight weeks?
Oh, you’re right, it probably is. Moving on then.
The Phone Number 867-5309: $186,853.09
Did you know that the song “867-5309/Jenny” was never the most popular song in America? That’s right, it peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, meaning that whoever spent nearly $200K to get a phone number that’ll allow them to get prank called hundreds of times a day is doing it to represent a song that even at its apex was less popular than three other songs that we’ve likely since forgotten.
This particular 867-5309 had a New Jersey area code, meaning that whoever ended up buying this number gets to spend all their time wading through the kind of people in New Jersey who like to pass their time by calling a number sung by a one-hit wonder in 1982.
Let’s take a moment to really delve into this, to mourn the accidental tragedy of the life of the winner of this ebay user. He had enough money for a nice house in the burbs just burning in his pocket, but he stumbled across a news article about a 28 year old who decided to sell his phone number in the hopes of a Caribbean cruise. Yeah, $40,000 didn’t seem unreasonable (okay this section is the one you have to suspend some disbelief). But the price keeps going up. Damn, you hate getting that email saying you’ve been outbid, don’t you? Of course you do. Fuck those emails.
You only kind of wanted this number before. Now it’s the only thing you want. You must have it. The final bid is entered, and there you have it. 867-5309. You can hear the song as clearly as if it was playing from your computer speakers. Which it is. In fact, you’ve been listening to nothing but that song while locked in a room in front of your computer, frantically bidding again, and again, and again. But you’ve done it. You contact the seller, get him his money, and transfer the number to your phone. The world is your oyster.
And then, it starts. The calls. The calls just keep coming in. Sure, some of them are just pranks, but most of the time it’s just a small voice going, “Oh shit, someone picked up” before hanging up. When you try to give your number to people they just say, “Oh come on asshole, if you’re gonna give me a fake number, try being less obvious.”
This number hasn’t ruined your life. It has become your life. You are the number.
Or, you know, some asshole just bought the number, put it on a random phone, and forgot about it. Either, or.
Gold Kate Moss Sculpture: $900,000
There really isn’t a more accurate way to describe someone than, “Oh him? Yeah, he once spent nearly a million dollars to buy a gold statue of Kate Moss in a weirdly sexual yoga pose.” There really isn’t.