You Won't Believe How Much People Paid for These Weird Celebrity Items
Kurt Cobain's sweater — the famed green cardigan he wore for his MTV Unplugged performance in 1993 — recently sold at auction for $334,000. The piece is nothing special: It's an acrylic/lycra blend with stains holes, and discoloration. It's one redeeming feature? It was once worn by a rock star.
As fans have demonstrated again and again, they are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for pretty much anything that belonged to their heroes. Here are some of the most iconic and bizarre celebrity possessions sold at auction.
Michael Keaton's Batman Suit
Michael Keaton was the best Batman. There, we said it. Still, $41,000 for his Batman Returns movie costume seems a bit steep — and it's even worse when you realize that some fan paid that much money for just pieces of the suit.
Back in 2017, part of Keaton's 6-foot suit sold at auction for $41,250. The costume, worn in Tim Burton's 1992 blockbuster, was displayed on a mannequin with the likeness of Keaton. Original parts featured in the film included the cowl, cape and body. The gloves, belt and shoes were replicas.
James Blunt's Sister
Back in the day, James Blunt was a struggling artist just like the rest of us. When his sister had to get to a funeral in Ireland and neither of them could afford the plane ticket, he came up with a creative solution. He sold her on eBay.
Yes, you read that correctly: James Blunt listed his sister on eBay. And she sold. A kind billionaire samaritan won the bid and flew Blunt's sister to Ireland in his helicopter. Luckily, he turned out to be not at all creepy and the two actually got married three years later.
John Wayne's Toupee
John Wayne was the epitome of old-time manliness: tall, deep voice good on a horse, great hair. That last one makes it surprising to find out that he actually wore a toupee, and even more to hear that someone paid thousands of dollars for it.
In 2013, one lucky fan scored the Duke's hairpiece for a cool $6,250 at auction. The wig was custom made for an unknown MGM production, possibly The Unsinkable Molly Brown. It was acquired from MGM upon the closure of its wig and hair department.
Justin Timberlake's French Toast
In 2000, Justin Timberlake's half-eaten French toast was listed for sale on eBay. The snack had been left behind at New York radio station Z-100 after an interview — and an enterprising DJ realized that it was the perfect opportunity to make a few bucks.
A teen fan in Madison, Wisconsin (clearly a lover of both music and breakfast foods), snatched up Justin's leftovers for a cool $1,025. She planned to freeze-dry the toast, seal it and put in on her dresser, creating a very unique shrine to her favorite singer.
Britney Spears' Gum
Have you ever been sitting in public, say, on a park bench, and your hand accidentally grazed a piece of used chewing gum? Gross! There is nothing more disgusting than touching something that has been in someone else's mouth. Can you see yourself ever paying for that experience?
Apparently, lots of Britney Spears fans do just that. The singer has a habit of spitting her used wads out on the street, and several passersby have snatched them up and sold them online. They usually go for $5 to $10, although one auction in 2004 went as high as $14,000.
Gary Coleman's Track Pants
Gary Coleman, best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in Diff'rent Strokes, was one of the most successful child actors of his time. Unfortunately, his parents and business advisor mismanaged his money, and he ended up broke as an adult. In 2008, he was forced to sell a pair of his pants online to pay for dialysis treatments.
Bidding on the size 12 sweatpants from Gap Kids started rather low on eBay; days before the end of the auction, they were only up to $86. Luckily, kind-hearted Jimmy Kimmel stepped in and purchased the autographed pants for $500.
Harrison Ford's Whip
In 2017, a Prop Stores Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction offered several high-profile items up for bid, including Harrison Ford’s bullwhip from Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning sequel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Though the whip was projected to sell for at least $60,000, it only fetched a measly $47k.
A year later, Ford's fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark sold through Prop Stores Entertainment for more than half a million dollars at its London auction. The hat contained Ford's signature on the inner band and was made of rabbit felt.
Albert Einstein's Notes
Way back in 1922, Albert Einstein found himself in quite the embarrassing predicament: He went out for a meal and didn't have enough cash for a tip. Instead, he wrote the waiter notes on two pieces of paper, saying, "These will be worth something someday."
Lo and behold, 95 years later, those notes sold at auction for $1.56 million. Why the high price? Likely because unlike other memos of his, these were in Einstein's actual handwriting. The buyer was a Japanese businessman residing in Germany, the scientist's home country.
Audrey Hepburn's Personal Belongings
Audrey Hepburn is one of the greatest icons in the history of film, and more than a quarter-century after her death, the public is still in love with her. The money fetched from an auction of her personal effects — more than seven times the anticipated amount — demonstrates her lasting appeal.
The 2017 auction lasted for 10 hours, drew buyers from six continents and brought in roughly $5.1 million. The top lot was the working script from Breakfast at Tiffany's, which fetched almost $700,000. Other lots included a Burberry trench coat and a Tiffany & Co. bangle.
Justin Bieber's Snake
It seems like Justin Bieber is always in the news — and never for anything good. For example, in 2014, he released a couple of videos laden with the n-word. A couple of years later, he spat on fans from a balcony in Canada. And let's not forget about that time he peed in a mop bucket.
His most heinous act, however, was probably buying a snake just to use as a fashion accessory and then promptly selling it on eBay. Luckily, a true animal lover purchased the boa and donated it to a zoo where it will be cared for.
Michael Jackson's Underwear
If you've ever found yourself wondering whether Michael Jackson was more of a boxers or a briefs type of man, wonder no more. Back in 2008, a pair of his used, unwashed tighty whities were sold at auction for a cool $1 million.
Why so much money? Well, these weren't just any old underpants. The skivvies in question were reportedly collected as evidence during the King of Pop's 2003 child-molestation case. They even came sealed in an evidence bag and wrapped in police tape. It just goes to show that people will pay for anything.
Madonna's X-Rated Messages
If Madonna is known for anything, it's for being a strong, independent woman who doesn't care what ANYONE thinks. So we have to wonder if she was bothered at all when her saucy messages to then-boyfriend James Albright got leaked.
Her intimate voicemails, along with 21 faxed love letters, were auctioned off by the New York Gotta Have It! auction website in 2009. Bidding started at $25,000 for the audio recordings and $3,000 for the love letters. It's not clear whether or not the items actually sold due to the confidential nature of the sale.
Marilyn Monroe's X-Rays
The world was shocked when they heard that Marilyn Monroe might have had a little help sculpting her perfect face, but x-rays and medical records auctioned off in 2013 100 percent confirmed that fact. Among the lot were several x-rays, medical records and notes concerning her recovery from ectopic pregnancy.
The medical documents, which sold for $25,600 at Julien's Auctions "Icons and Idols: Hollywood" sale, revealed that Monroe had a chin implant as well as tip rhinoplasty on her nose. The notes came from the office of Dr. Michael Gurdin, M.D.
John Lennon's Molar
When John Lennon lost one of his molars in the 1960s, he gave it to his housekeeper Dorothy Jarlett to dispose of, but later suggested that she keep it. Her daughter was a big fan of the Beatles and might enjoy the unusual gift.
The tooth, cavity and all, was auctioned off in 2011 for $31,200 to a Canadian dentist. Although the molar was too fragile to test for DNA, experts say they don't doubt its authenticity, as it came from Jarlett. The dentist now displays the tooth in his office.
Willie Nelson's Braids
In 1983, Willie Nelson cut off his iconic red braids and gifted them to his close friend, Waylon Jennings. As legend has it, the impromptu haircut happened at a party thrown by June Carter and Johnny Cash to celebrate Jennings' sobriety.
Several decades later, the braids, along with thousands of Jennings' other possessions, were donated by his widow to the Museum of Musical Instruments in Phoenix, Arizona. An undisclosed buyer paid $37,000 for the braids at an auction hosted by Guernsey's in 2014. Other items sold included Buddy Holly's motorcycle and a handwritten note from John Lennon.
David Bowie's Hair
It would seem that celebrity fans have a thing for hair. In 2016 — the same year as his tragic death — a lock of David Bowie's hair sold at auction for $18,000. An employee originally used the lock to recreate the musician's famous mane for Madame Tussauds, a wax museum.
During his lifetime, Bowie was famous for his often-eccentric hairstyles, which he changed almost as often as other people change underpants. From his Ziggy Stardust mullet to his long and flowing 1970s locks, Bowie epitomized the idea that hair can be used as a tool for self-expression.
A Phone Signed by Rihanna
How much is your broken iPhone worth? $150? $200? If it's signed by Rihanna, it can go for a lot more than that! Back in 2014, Rihanna dropped and broke the phone of LA Police Commission president Steve Soboroff. He then asked her to sign it and sold it at auction.
The broken iPhone, which had "Sorry! I love LAPD Rihanna" written on it, reportedly sold for around $66,000. Half of the money raised went to the LAPD cadet program, and the other half went to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.
Air Breathed by Angelina Jolie
Back in 2010, Brangelina were all the rage. They were the couple people loved to hate: Angie broke up Brad's marriage to Jen Aniston, but she and Brad were just so good together. Plus, they had all of those adorable kids!
Still, we find it kind of surprising that anyone would be willing to pay for the air either of them breathed. How do you even prove that it's their exhalation? $523 seems like a lot of cash to drop on some air that may or may not have come into contact with your favorite celebrity — but who are we to judge?.
Joan Rivers' Dog Bowl
In 2014, comedian Joan Rivers died unexpectedly. She suffered cerebral hypoxia during a relatively minor medical procedure. The world was in shock, and they wanted to remember her in any way possible. Her fans demonstrated their love and support during an auction of her personal effects later that year.
One of the highest grossing items was a silver Tiffany & Co. dog bowl engraved with her pooch's name, Spike. It brought in $14,000, nearly 30 times the pre-sale estimate. Rivers had credited the terrier with saving her life after the death of her husband left her with crippling depression.
J.K. Rowling's Magic Chair
At first glance, J.K. Rowling's "magic chair" looks like a ratty old piece of furniture: worn finish, scratches, graffiti. But look closer, and there is a secret message scrolled on the back by Rowling herself: "I wrote Harry Potter while sitting on this chair."
The chair belonged to Rowling when she was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. Perched on its seat, she came up with the beloved characters and story so well-known today. The chair fetched $394,000 at a rare books auction in New York in 2016.
Hugh Laurie's Walking Stick
Dr. Gregory House is known almost as much for his cane as he is for his dark humor and narcissism. In fact, a large portion of House, M.D.'s plot centered around the doctor's use of narcotics to manage the pain from a years-old leg injury.
When fans had the opportunity to get one of Hugh Laurie's actual walking sticks from the show, they were all over it — and in 2009, a cane from the pilot episode of the show signed "Best!! Hugh Laurie XXX" quickly sold at auction for $8,000.
Scarlett Johansson's Snotty Tissue
In December 2008, Scarlett Johansson blew her nose on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She did so after joking that she had caught a cold from Samuel L. Jackson, and therefore her cold was pretty valuable, as it had passed from one celebrity to another. Her fans agreed.
Her used, snotty tissue was auctioned off on eBay (by Johansson herself!) for $5,300. The funds went to USA Harvest, a charity organization that picks up excess food from suppliers and delivers it to missions, shelters and people in need.
William Shatner's Kidney Stone
When William Shatner collapsed on the set of Boston Legal in 2005, fans were concerned. It was soon revealed that he was passing a kidney stone — a very painful ordeal. The stone was so big, Shatner was quoted as saying, "You could wear it on your finger."
Though he chose to keep the stone, it wasn't in his possession for long. The actor quickly reached a deal with GoldenPalace.com, who agreed to buy the stone for $25,000. They are known for their collection of oddities, including a grilled cheese sandwich thought to contain an image of the Virgin Mary.
Katy Perry's Trampoline
Katy Perry is known for her eclectic, high-energy shows full of wacky costumes, back-up dancers and props. One of the most memorable examples of the latter is the cupcake trampoline featured during her "California Dreams" tour, on which Katy herself could often be seen bouncing.
The colorful prop was auctioned off in 2011 as part of a group effort to help raise money for victims of a Japanese tsunami. The winning bidder paid just over $5,000 but had to wait several months until the end of the tour to receive the new collectible.
Britney Spears' Used Pregnancy Test
Britney Spears has some rabid fans. Let's just put that out there. She also has some serious privacy issues. In what is surely a breach of protocol, a hotel employee snatched Brit's used pregnancy test out of her bathroom trash and sold it to Canadian radio station Hot 89.9 in 2005.
The radio station then turned around and sold the test to online casino GoldenPalace.com for $5,001. Proceeds from the sale went to the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Easter Seal Society, both of which benefit children. That’s … sort of a silver lining.
Russell Crowe's Leather Jockstrap
Somewhere out there, there's a Russell Crowe fan sitting at home, snuggled up to a small bit of leather that actually touched his nether region. What else would you do with a used jockstrap, after all? The memorabilia came from the set of Cinderella Man and sold for $6,500.
The strap and dozens of other pieces like it were part of the actor's "divorce auction" — so-called because it landed on what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary with his ex. The highest-grossing piece was the 1960 painting The Suitor by Charles Blackman, which fetched $337,000.
Lady Gaga's Teacup and Saucer
A china teacup used once by Lady Gaga sold for over $75,000 at auction in May 2012. The cup bore the singer's lipstick stain and autograph after it was used during a press conference in Japan three months after the country's deadliest tsunami hit.
The auction was part of a more considerable effort made by dozens of celebrities to raise money for the Tomodachi Arts Fellowship Program. The top-grossing item was a Kawai crystal piano used by Yoshiki of the rock band Japan X, which sold for just over $100,000.
Ronald Reagan's Blood
People will try to make a buck off of anything. As proof of that, a vial containing the dried blood of U.S. President Ronald Reagan was sold at auction for $3,550 in February 2012. It was put up for auction again a few months later, this time reaching more than $30,000.
The blood came from an attempt on the president's life in 1981. After being shot, Reagan was rushed to the hospital, where he had blood drawn as part of normal procedure. The fact that someone tried to sell it is a HUGE breach of privacy.
Elvis Presley's Bible
Elvis Presley was a lot of things: talented musician and actor, karate master, narcotics officer. Apparently, he was also a very religious man. The singer's aunt and uncle gifted him with a leather-bound bible on his first Christmas at Graceland, and he read it every day until he died.
The book — with Elvis's notations, handwriting and underlining throughout — was sold at auction in 2012 for $94,000. Some of the other items purchased included a gold pendant chain necklace, cufflinks and a pair of Flagg Brothers shoes. His dirty underpants went unsold.
Truman Capote's Ashes
Truman Capote died of liver disease at the home of Johnny Carson in 1984. His ashes, housed in a carved Japanese wooden box, stayed there with Johnny's wife Joanne until her own death in 2015. The two had been great friends, and keeping his remains brought her comfort.
After Joanne's passing, Capote's ashes (and several other personal effects) went up for auction. The ashes sold for just over $43,000 to an anonymous buyer. While it may seem distasteful to some, those who knew him are certain that he would have loved the attention.