20 Weird and Wonderful Items Sold at Celebrity Auctions
Devoted fans will pay eye-watering amounts of money for items that once belonged to their idols. (Or that they once touched, chewed, wore or, um… peed on.) Clearly, their worship has no bounds — or budget.
Here are 20 weird, wonderful and downright wacky things sold at celebrity auctions. Freeze-dried French toast, anyone?
Lady Gaga’s Teacup and Saucer
A china teacup stamped with Lady Gaga’s lipstick kiss (and a matching saucer) sold for $75,137.50 at a charity auction in May 2012 to help artists in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of the country the previous year.
The teacup, which went to an anonymous lucky bidder, was also inscribed with words translating to “Prayers for Japan.” It was used by Lady Gaga during a Tokyo press conference three months after the disaster, which led to the idea to auction it to raise money for the Tomodachi Arts Fellowship Program.
Britney Spears' Gum
Back when Britney was the biggest thing in pop since Madonna, fans were willing to pay serious money for anything that she’d been in contact with. That includes a piece of her used chewing gum, which was listed on eBay in 2004.
However, the listing was taken down because the seller — who retrieved the gum outside London's Sanderson hotel — used Spears' DNA as the main selling point, which was deemed to contravene eBay's Human Body Parts and Remains policy. A few tweaks to the wording later and the listing was live again.
Britney’s Used Pregnancy Test
If you think buying Britney’s discarded chewing gum is dubious, wait until you hear this. Her used (positive) pregnancy test, which was found in the wastebasket of the hotel room where she and then-husband Kevin Federline spent the night, was initially sold to Canadian radio station Hot 89.9, then bought by online casino GoldenPalace.com for $5,001.
Proceeds from the sale went to two charities: the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, which provides support to children with cancer and their families, and the Easter Seal Society, which helps children with physical disabilities.
Justin Bieber’s Snake
One of the most controversial celebrity auction items came from Justin Bieber. Only a year after his baby boa constrictor Johnson enjoyed the limelight on the MTV Music Awards red carpet in 2011, Biebs put the scaly pet up for auction at a charity auction. The winning bidder, a devoted animal lover, had plenty to say about Bieber’s decision to use a pet for an awards ceremony then get rid of it.
“I found it really disgusting that celebrities like Bieber would stoop to a level of using living creatures as a fashion accessory and then so easily discard it," Michael Kronick told E! News. But it all ended well for Johnson — Kronick donated him to a zoo to be cared for in the right way, with not a red carpet in sight.
Scarlett Johansson’s Snotty Tissue
If you think buying John Lennon’s tooth is, well… ewww — what about Scarlett Johansson’s mucus? A tissue ScarJo blew her nose into on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in 2008 attracted more than 80 bids at a silent auction. It eventually sold for $5,300 on eBay, with the funds going to the hunger charity USA Harvest.
Reportedly, Johansson gave Leno credit for the donation. She told him she had caught a cold from him and believed her illness had more "value" as it had been passed from one celebrity to another.
Elvis Presley’s Bible
This one is no great surprise. In 2012, the King’s Bible sold at auction for $94,000 in Manchester, England. However, his unwashed underpants didn’t have the same appeal.
They were also put up for auction with a reserve price of $11,000, but bidding only reached $8,000. So nobody got their hands on Elvis’ smalls.
Justin Timberlake’s French Toast
The year 2000 will be remembered for MTV “Cribs,” the must-have Nokia 3310, and the nuptials of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. It was also the year a piece of Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast was snapped up by a teen N*Sync fan on eBay for $1,025.
The fan, from Madison, Wisconsin, planned to freeze-dry the leftover, then seal it and put it on their dresser. Ewww.
Willie Nelson’s Braids
If you need more proof that collectors of celebrity memorabilia go wild for hair, country legend Willie Nelson’s braids went for $37,000 to an anonymous bidder. Nelson originally cut off his signature braids (then colored red) and gave them to his friend Waylon Jennings in 1983.
To give this story even more country color, the gift was made at a party thrown by June and Johnny Cash to celebrate Jennings’ sobriety. The sale was part of a 2014 auction of thousands of Jennings’ possessions — donated by his widow — at the Museum of Musical Instruments in his native Phoenix, Arizona.
John Lennon’s Molar
Here’s proof that diehard fans will pay big bucks for almost anything that once belonged to their idols. When John Lennon lost one of his molars in the 1960s, he gave it to his housekeeper, Dorothy "Dot" Jarlett, and suggested she give it to her daughter, who was a huge fan of the Beatles.
More than 40 years later, in November 2011, it was put up for auction and sold for $31,200 to Canadian Michael Zuk, whom you could say has another interest in the item — he’s a dentist.
Katy Perry’s Trampoline
Of all the quirky props used by Katy Perry during her “California Gurls” tour, the cupcake trampoline is one of the most memorable. In 2011, Perry auctioned off the item on eBay to raise money in aid of the Japanese tsunami, contributing $5,000 to the cause. However, the lucky bidder had to wait several months until the tour was over to get their hands (and feet?) on their new collectible.
Russell Crowe’s Leather Jockstrap
Russell Crowe’s “divorce auction” gave the public an incredible opportunity to splash some cash on some of the actor’s personal valuables and memorabilia, including the leather jockstrap he wore in “Cinderella Man” (sold for $6,500) and the breastplate he wore in “Gladiator” (winning bid: $117,000).
However, the top seller was the 1960 painting The Suitor, by Australian artist Charles Blackman, which fetched $337,000. The fact that the auction took place on April 7, both Crowe’s birthday and what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary with now ex-Danielle Spencer, made the event even more newsworthy. Whether he had to auction off his belongings to pay alimony remains unconfirmed.
Madonna’s Racy Messages
In the early 1990s, Madonna left saucy messages on then-boyfriend (and former minder) James Albright’s answering machine. These, along with 21 faxed love letters — including lines like, “Just watched the HBO special. It was OK. My booty looked good and you should see how good it looks in person. It looks Bootyful!" — were listed on the New York Gotta Have It! Auction website in 2009. Bidding for the answering machine tapes started at $25,000, and $3,000 for the faxed letters.
According to Paul Fraser Collectibles, it’s “not certain whether the items were sold at this particular auction” due to the “confidential nature” of the material, which could be viewed by appointment only.
Joan Rivers’ Dog Bowl
After comedian Joan Rivers died age 81 during a minor medical procedure in 2014, her possessions brought in a whopping $2.495 million at auction. Among the items was the dog bowl used by her beloved terrier Spike. Granted, it was no ordinary dog bowl — it was part of a silver Tiffany & Co. bowl engraved with her pooch’s name, and it fetched $14,000, nearly 30 times the estimate.
Spike, who died in 2001, was credited with saving Rivers’ life. When talking about the time she considered killing herself, Rivers said: “What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, ‘No one will take care of him.’ He wasn’t a friendly dog — only to me. I adored this dog. I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun.”
Ronald Reagan’s Blood
After the 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. President Ronald Reagan (he was shot by John Hinckley Jr. outside the Washington Hilton hotel shortly after speaking to labor union officials), he had blood taken at the hospital.
The vial containing his dried blood residue was initially sold at auction for $3,550 in February 2012, and a few months later it was put up for auction again. Online bidding on the item reached more than $30,000, but it caused such a stink that it was withdrawn and donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation instead.
James Blunt’s Sister
Yep, this is a weird one, but it has a happy ending. Before he was famous for catchy pop tunes like “You’re Beautiful,” British musician James Blunt tried to sell his sister on eBay. "The stupidest thing I've ever sold is my sister, on eBay,” Blunt told GQ magazine in 2007. "I was waiting for my first album to come out and ended up selling pretty much everything I owned on eBay. I had a mild addiction."
However, that’s only half the story. The idea behind Blunt’s plan was to help his sister get transport to get to a funeral in Ireland. Guy Harrison, a very wealthy man who just happened to own a helicopter, won the bid and took her to Ireland. Three years later, they got married. You couldn’t make it up.
Marilyn Monroe’s X-rays
In 1954, Marilyn Monroe was admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Florida for surgery for the womb condition endometriosis. While she was there, she had chest x-rays taken, and over 50 years later the owner auctioned off the set of three for $45,000.
They carried the star’s married name of Marilyn DiMaggio, as she was still wed to her estranged husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, at the time.
J.K. Rowling’s 'Magic Chair'
Much has been written about how and where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, back when she was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. It’s no surprise that anything she came into contact with during that time is considered gold on the Potterhead circuit.
For instance, the 1930s oak chair she sat in to write much of the book — given to her as one of a set of four when she was living in a council flat in Edinburgh, Scotland — sold for more than $394,000. (For the skeptics out there, the author decorated the furniture with gold, green and rose paints and hand-wrote the words, “I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair.” How much more proof do you need?)
John Wayne’s Toupee
Devoted fans don’t just pay big money for locks of their idol’s hair. Wigs are fair game too. One of John Wayne’s many toupees (he started wearing them in 1948) sold for $6,250 at auction after it was acquired from MGM upon the closure of its hair and wig department.
Wayne’s hairpieces are hot property, it seems. One of Frank Sinatra’s hairpieces sold at the same auction, but only fetched $3,437.50.
William Shatner’s Kidney Stone
After William Shatner collapsed on the set of “Boston Legal” in 2005, it was revealed that he passed a kidney stone. He held onto it (well, wouldn’t you?) and later auctioned it to raise money for housing charity Habitat for Humanity.
“This takes organ donors to a new height — to a new low, maybe,” Shatner joked. The $25,000 it raised for the charity is no laughing matter. GoldenPalace.com, which added the item to its weird and wonderful collection of celebrity memorabilia, said, "This is a bold new addition to our fleet."
Truman Capote’s Ashes
In 2016, the ashes of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” author Truman Capote went up for auction in Los Angeles and sold for $43,750 to an anonymous collector. Capote died in 1984 at the home of his close friend Joanne Carson (wife of the former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson), who was then given some of his ashes.
Carson kept them in a carved Japanese wooden box until her own death in 2015, saying they “brought her great comfort.”