If you’re looking for it, you’ll be able to find it on eBay. As broad and bold of a statement as that is, it’s pretty much true in any scenario if you consider the many weird auctions that found their way onto the popular auction house. For this Archive, we’re digging through countless auctions over the extensive lifetime of the auction site to find the top 10 weirdest things ever to grace the reputable pages of eBay.
Finding yourself with too many organs and want to unload a few of them? Try eBay! Throughout the years, several human organs made their way onto the online marketplace and, unsurprisingly, garnered an incredible number of bids before eBay stepped in and pulled the ad. One of the earliest instances occurred in 1999 when a user listed a kidney for $25,000. Bidding got as high as $5,750,000 before the auction was pulled. Regardless of whether the listing was real or a hoax, eBay’s then-vice president, Steve Westly, said the site would treat it and any future instances seriously. In 2014, police arrested a 21-year-old suspect connected to a scheme to steal the brains of deceased mental patients and sell them on eBay.
Everything has a price. Even the most unmentionable, intimate aspects of ourselves that we can never get back can be sold to the highest bidder. On more than one occasion, eBay users have listed their virginity for sale for quick money, though the auction house was always quick on the draw in shutting the bidding down. Rosie Reid from London and a Hungarian girl known only as “Miss Spring” were allegedly both 18 years old when they tried to sell off their first time. Though eBay discontinued the listings, both parties took their auctions elsewhere in order to pay down their debts. Reid sold her encounter for $10,495 while Miss Spring is said to have brought home $249,886.
Have you ever had those moments where you just wish there was somebody you could count on to take care of your menial tasks? While technically more of a manservant than a slave - considering he’ll be paid for his services - a 24-year-old eBay user listed an auction selling off his services for a period of 28 to 31 days. Besides payment, all the winning bidder was required to provide was shelter for the month span. In return, they’ll get a non-sexual servant that was willing to do just about anything, so long as his life wasn’t in danger. In a similar situation, Dave Robinson of Tonteg, Pontypridd attempted to sell his services to raise money for Christmas. For a week of work, Robinson was only able to sell himself for $13.00.
The Life of Another Person
No, we aren’t referring to an auction for the rights to kill a man. In 2008, 50-year-old Ian Usher from County Durham, England did the unthinkable and listed his life on eBay after going through a divorce and finding himself displeased with his employment. Feeling unfulfilled, Mr. Usher decided to let somebody else take control of his life, which included taking his vehicles, job, and other personal effects. When his life sold for $270,000, Ian moved to a deserted Caribbean island and took on a life of no creature comforts. In 2012, Tampa Bay resident Shane Butcher mimicked Ian’s auction and listed his successful gaming retail business, a waterfront home, rental condo, three cars, kayaks, and smaller items – all for a cool $3.5 million.
An Entire Town
If you had a spare $1.85M lying about in 2003, you could have been the proud owner of Bridgeville, a small Californian town. As the town’s populous continued to dwindle after an economic downturn, the Lapple family, who owned the town since 1972, sought to sell their property, always coming up short of a buyer. In a last-ditch effort, they turned to eBay and listed the town for $750,000. To their surprise, they received a bid of more than $1 million more than their asking price and were finally able to unload the town onto an anonymous businessman.
The Meaning of Life
And we’re not talking about the Monty Python movie. Most of us have questioned it at one point in time, but few of us have thought to consider checking out an online marketplace for the answer. In 2013, eBay user Rare_Odd from St. Petersburg, Florida started bidding at $.99 for what they claimed to be the meaning of life. “Ever wonder…” the ad starts. “What is life? What is its meaning? What is it for? Know!” Rare_Odd touted, using the wrong form of “its” in the process.” Those that won the auction (yep, there were actual bidders for this one) were also privy to non-descript “bonus manuscripts.” Sadly, we may never know as the listing is no longer available.
Making friends isn’t easy for everybody and the loneliness can reach painful levels, but what if you could turn to eBay to find your next best bud? In 2011, an eBay user and Professional Marketing and Selling guru from Osceola, Indiana listed a year of friendship from him. In the listing, the user, MarketYou, promised the winning bidder weekly e-mails, birthday and event greetings, and a friendship request on Facebook. Sounds silly, but the auction earned him 29 bids and just over $102 just to provide one individual with a long-distance, year-long friendship. A year later, eBay user Robert53572 sold his position on comedian Adam Sank’s individual Facebook friends list after the comedian was unable to accept any additional friends. The auction ended with zero bids.
Bodily Ad Space
Though eBay makes it easy to make money off our personal items, sometimes there isn’t anything left to sell or the return is not great enough. That leaves opportunists like Mark Greenlaw and Karolyne Smith with a crazy option – sell ad space on their body. The two, along with many others, put up for auction a swatch of skin on their body for companies to advertise on. Typically, the bidders were businesses on their last leg looking for an extreme means of boosting awareness. In May of 2016, Olympian Nick Symmonds also sold space on his arm, though his cause was about more than money. The athlete aimed to bring awareness to antiquated Olympic rules, specifically those pertaining to advertising in the games. You may be wondering wow Smith and Greenlaw made out? The Utah mother was paid $10,000 by GoldenPalace.com and Greenlaw sports the now-defunct URL of DefyingGravity.com.
Right to Name a Baby
Choosing the perfect name for your baby is no easy feat, especially when you already had to name 6 of them. Tack on a need for money and you have yourself the situation Lavonne Drummond of Smackover, Arkansas found herself in when she decided to auction on eBay the rights to name her child. The unemployed mother of 6 had listed her auction and watched as bidding went up to nearly $15,000 before eBay removed it for violating their terms of service. It took four attempts before the mother eventually gave up, her final attempt being thwarted by a bidder that refused to pay. The Arkansas mother was not the first to think to sell naming rights and was preceded by two additional failed attempts by two different families in 2001 and 2002.
An Imaginary Friend
Imagine how lonely you would be to need an imaginary friend on into adulthood. Now, try to understand how lonely one must be to be willing to spend money to purchase another person’s imaginary friend. It sounds like some kooky scenario for a really cheesy movie, but what we’re dealing with is real life. In instances dating back as early as 2007, people have turned to eBay to sell their invisible companions for exorbitant amounts of money. Granted, any amount of money is a lot for a ghostly buddy, but we’re talking final bids in the thousands. One individual is said to have successfully pawned off their childhood friend for over $2,500.