The end of a marriage isn’t exactly something one would celebrate, in most cases. But actor Russell Crowe, whose divorce will be finalised next month, has chosen to do so anyway — and in a rather quirky manner. Come 7 April, he will auction off 227 possessions accumulated over the course of his 15-year marriage, in a Sotheby’s Australia sale titled “The Art of Divorce“.
What’s particularly fascinating about his upcoming auction is its variety of unusual items: A leather jock strap he wore in Cinderella Man, life-size prop horses from Gladiator, a mosasaur skull he bought from Leonardo DiCaprio (priced at between S$36,065 to S$41,218, if you’re wondering)…the list goes on.
This isn’t the first time that such odd items have turned up on the auction block, though. Past years have seen some equally, or even more, bizarre things going under the hammer. Think dinosaur bones, meteorites and wedding cake slices. As baffling as it seems, people are actually willing to splurge on these items.
Scroll down for a list of the strangest items ever sold at past auctions. And if you’re so inclined, you can check out Crowe’s post-divorce sale here.
(Main photo: Getty; Featured photo: Heritage Auctions)
Would you pay US$237,500 (S$311,063) for a rock that isn’t a diamond or rare gemstone? Most of us probably wouldn’t, but the buyer of this iron meteorite sure thought it was worth the hefty investment when he bought it from a Christie’s online auction dedicated to meteorites. It does have an intriguing background, though: The meteorite is estimated to be four billion years old, and came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It fell into the Meteor Crater in Arizona some 49,000 years ago, but is in surprisingly good condition with a smooth surface and striking silver patina. It’s also pretty heavy with a weight of 31.9 kilograms.
Before news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s upcoming engagement took the world by storm, the most talked-about royal couple was undoubtedly Prince William and Kate Middleton, who got married in 2011. Three years later, a slice of their wedding cake — a fruit cake wrapped in paper and packaged in an elegant cream-coloured tin — turned up on the auction block at Julien’s Auctions’ sale in Beverly Hills, and fetched an astounding S$9,823. Last year, another slice appeared at Chiswick Auctions‘ sale and achieved S$1123 — a much humbler sum, but still a lot to pay for what’s essentially expired food.
(Photo: Chiswick Auctions)
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in the Medieval times? Or are you looking to fulfil some very elaborate (à la 50 Shades of Grey) fantasies? If your answer to these questions is in the affirmative, something like this 19th-century chastity belt might just be what you’re looking for. Fashioned in iron with two pierced plates and a padlock, the painful-looking contraption sold for S$4,565 at Christie’s London auction in 2015. We can’t help but wonder who bought it… and why.
(Photo: Christie’s London)
Art typically calls to mind vivid watercolour paintings, lifelike portraits, and graceful sculptures. But if that is way too mainstream for you, consider collecting anatomically-correct wax models of heads instead. This particular sculpture features a head divided into halves, with a skull on its left side, and an eye and muscles on the right. Used by medical students for learning purposes, it was obtained from an Italian school between the late 18th to early 19th century, and was created by a student believed to be a follower of renowned artist Clemente Susini. The latter is known for his anatomically-accurate recreations of corpses. This wax head sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for S$54,320 last year. We wouldn’t recommend placing it on your nightstand.
There’s no logical reason why anyone would want to keep a lock of a stranger’s hair — it’s plain creepy and doesn’t seem all that hygienic. But mention that it’s from a celebrity, and this changes everything. In 2016, a devoted fan forked out S$23,599 for a lock of David Bowie‘s hair at Heritage Auctions’ 2016 sale of entertainment and music memorabilia. The tresses were contributed by wig-maker Wendy Farrier, who was tasked to create a wig for Bowie’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in London in 1983. Farrier had snipped off a small lock of Bowie’s hair as a sample so she could accurately replicate its colour in the wig, and later kept it as a memento.
(Photo: Heritage Auctions)