The world's weirdest auction items

It's difficult to miss the famous Hollywood sign in the rolling hills of Los Angeles, California.
close up of jar on white background with clipping path

Earlier this month, two samples of mould that Sir Alexander Fleming used to produce penicillin sold for almost £25,000 at auction.

Contained on glass discs, the samples date back to the 1930s and are of huge historical significance; but as the purchasers chose to remain anonymous, we'll never know their reasons for buying.

But the mould is by no means the oddest thing ever to have gone under the hammer - here are seven of the weirdest ever auction lots.

World's most valuable pink diamond up for auction

The original Hollywood sign
The first 'Hollywood' sign went up in 1923; it originally read 'Hollywoodland', but the last four letters were later removed. It was replaced in the 1970s, but the original was saved and kept in storage - and was auctioned on eBay in 2005. It made a reported $450,400.

A dirty toilet
Not just any dirty toilet, this one was the property of reclusive Catcher In The Rye writer JD Salinger, and was put up for auction months after his death in 2010. It was listed for $1 million, although it appears not to have sold.

Why did Harry Potter book sell for £43,750?

An ancient slice of cake
Several ancient slices of cake, in fact. A slice of Queen Victoria's wedding cake made £1,500 at auction in 2015. Meanwhile, several pieces of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake have gone under the hammer - not literally, obviously - making around £1,000.

Winston Churchill's dentures
Churchill's gold-plated dentures were sold at auction in Norfolk in 2010 for £15,200. They went to a Gloucestershire man who already owned the microphone Churchill used to announce the end of the Second World War.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's breath in a jar
In 2005, an unusual listing appeared on eBay - a jar claimed to contain Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's breath. Described in the listing as 'celebrity air', the price rose to over $75,000 - although there's no guarantee this wasn't just a prank.

Queen Victoria's size 26 bloomers sold at auction

Queen Victoria's bloomers
Three years ago, we reported on the sale of Queen Victoria's bloomers, which went for three times the estimate at £6,200. But the buyer certainly got plenty for his money, as the size 26 knickers had a 52-inch waist.

A person's whole life
Several people have tried this. The first was Australian resident Ian Usher, who attempted to auction off his house, possessions and job after splitting up with his wife. However, none of the highest bidders actually followed through. Since then, several other people have tried the same thing, but none seems to have had much luck.

10 incredible auctions
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10 incredible auctions

The most expensive watch ever sold at auction fetched just under $24 million in November 2014. The gold pocket watch was made by Patek Philippe, and is the most complex ever made without the use of computer technology.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication was commissioned in 1925, and took eight years to make.

The world's most expensive stamp sold at auction in 2014 for over $9 million.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is as rare as a stamp can get. British Guiana was one of the first countries in the New World to start issuing stamps, but in 1856, they ran out, and asked the local newspaper printer to produce extras.

There were two denominations: the four-cent, which is very rare, and the one-cent - of which only one has ever been discovered.

In May 2015, an anonymous London businesswoman snapped up the licence plate KR15 HNA for £233,000, making it the most expensive standard number plate ever to be sold in the UK.

Queen Victoria's bloomers sold at auction for £6,200, along with a pair of her silk stockings.

They have a 52-inch waist, and belonged to the monarch in the 1890s - "towards the end of her life when she had eaten a lot more than most people could afford to," said auctioneer Michael Hogben. In today's sizing, they'd be a size 26.

In 2014, a three-year-old slice of cake sold at auction for $7,500 (£4,800). The reason the stale cake was in such demand was that it was from the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The buyer said he intended to give it away as part of promoting his Silicon Valley start-up.

A British coin sold at auction for a record-breaking £430,000 in 2014. After fees, the buyer paid £516,000 - making it the most expensive modern British coin ever to be sold.

The coin is only one of two in existence. It was a 'proof' for a gold sovereign which was meant to be produced to commemorate the coronation of Edward VIII in 1937. However, Edward abdicated in 1936, so the coronation never happened and the coins were never made


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