10 of the Most Unusual Things Put Up for Auction
6 In 2019, a Japanese sushi tycoon paid a record $3.1 million for a giant bluefin tuna.
Who knew the world of sushi could be so competitive that it would have fish auctions? But for Kiyoshi Kimura, a sushi boss, this was all in a day’s work. In 2019, he even paid a record-breaking amount to procure a giant bluefin tuna, more than twice the previous record of $1.4 million. The self-styled “Tuna King” was at the New Year’s auction at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market when he made this purchase.
However, what’s perhaps more amazing than the price of the sale is the fish itself. According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, this massive tuna fish was caught near northern Japan’s Aomori prefecture. This valuable and vulnerable fish then tipped the scales at a remarkable 612 pounds (278 kilograms). Certainly, such record-high prices are fueled by the sushi industry’s desire for publicity. However, a good portion of the bluefin tuna’s high value also comes from its scarcity. (1, 2)
7 John Lennon’s tooth was auctioned off for $31,200 in 2011.
Given how important it is for us to chew our food well, our teeth are certainly quite valuable. But are they valuable enough to cost thousands of dollars? Perhaps not. However, if they belonged to someone famous, say a renowned musician like John Lennon, they might actually fetch a good sum. This is why, in 2011, when a discolored molar that once belonged to Lennon was put up for auction, it sold for $31,200.
Typically, such artifacts would need to be backed up with DNA evidence. Unfortunately, at the time of this sale, the tooth was too fragile to be tested. However, since it came directly from Dorothy “Dot” Jarlett, Lennon’s housekeeper, the auction house deemed it authentic. According to reports, Lennon and Jarlett had enjoyed a close relationship with each other. So after he had his tooth removed, he handed it over to Jarlett as a souvenir. Lennon also seems to have suggested that Jarlett give the tooth to her daughter since she was a huge Beatles fan. The tooth then remained in the family until its sale. (1, 2)
8 The world’s largest whiskey bottle was auctioned off for about $1.4 million.
In 2022, the world’s largest bottle of whiskey, called “The Intrepid,” was put up for auction and sold for about $1.4 million. This was the product of a collaboration between Fah Mai, a Thailand-based investment company, and Rosewin Holdings, a London-based company that invests in whiskey and other spirits. The Intrepid was named for “11 of the world’s most pioneering explorers” who can be seen featured on it.
At 5 feet and 11 inches, The Intrepid is nothing short of a giant, especially for a whiskey bottle. As a result, it contains about 82.16 US gallons, or the equivalent of 444 standard bottles of whiskey. So, if you used two ounces of whiskey each, this would be enough to make about 5,000 whiskey sours! However, it doesn’t end there! The liquor contained in this bottle is a 1989 Macallan single malt that was matured in oak casks over 32 years at Macallan’s Scotland distillery. Also, according to the auction house, the liquor is pale gold and has a sweet taste with notes of apple. No doubt, its buyer is certainly in for a huge treat! (1, 2)
9 In 2015, a bankrupt RadioShack proposed that it would put its customer data up for auction.
RadioShack, during more than 90 years of operation, had collected numerous forms of customer data. This included a lot of personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers, and more. In 2015, when the company filed for bankruptcy under US law, it also proposed that it would put its customer data up for auction.
10 A Texas hunter once won an auction for a hunting permit to kill a rare black rhino.
The black rhino is one of the world’s most endangered species. In January 2014, a Texas hunter named Corey Knowlton bid $350,000 for a permit to hunt a member of this species in Namibia. The proceeds of this sale were then meant to go toward anti-poaching efforts. Knowlton certainly won that auction but soon became the target of major criticism from animal conservationists.
However, according to him, the hunt was not meant to be the work of a bloodthirsty hunter. Rather, it was a crucial part of Namibia’s efforts to conserve its black rhino population. So, sanctioned by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, this hunt was intended to take out an older rhino bull that no longer contributed to the gene pool but still posed a threat to younger males.
Unfortunately for Knowlton, not everyone was convinced by this argument. Organizations such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare vehemently opposed the hunt. Detractors also said that even though the money would go toward anti-poaching efforts in Namibia, it could not be considered humanitarian since it involved killing the rhino. (1, 2)
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