This Year was the year of Oscar blunders, tweet covfefe, a total solar eclipse and the rise of Bitcoin. Surprising objects were also sold, as they should have been for a year in which the world felt stranger and stranger, and for large sums. From celebrity wicks to the world’s smallest bible, I have compiled a list of the 10 strangest items sold at auction in 2017.
1. The last Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” (The Savior of the World) was bought for an astronomical €382 million last November in New York, breaking the world record for the most expensive work ever sold.
The painting had been sold for 50 euros in the 1950s, when it was mistaken for a copy. It is now believed to be the last Leonardo da Vinci in private hands. It sold for €381,881,541 after 19 minutes of auction, despite the persistent questioning by some experts about its authenticity and condition.
2. The smallest Bible in the world
The world’s smallest readable and illustrated Bible, printed in 1727, sold on a second-hand online site for 2,400 euros this year. While small Bibles sold well in 2017, those that belonged to famous people were also sought in the past. Mark Borgman, our press secretary, says about the sale of rare Bibles: “Bibles that belonged to deceased celebrities or icons often reach large sums at auctions. Among the notable prizes, an Elvis Presley Bible sold for 66,000 euros in 2012, and a Ronnie Kray Bible marked with passages on the Last Judgment and Damnation, passed under the hammer in 2014. »
3. The oldest meteorite on earth
Part of a 4.5 billion year old meteorite was auctioned for nearly 16,000 euros at our meteorite auction this year, becoming one of the oldest lots sold in the world. Discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, it does not look like much, although it is exceptionally rare. It is a large specimen, weighing 26.5 kg.
4. A bowl of 31.9 million euros
Do not put it in the dishwasher! An extremely rare and ancient Chinese bowl sold for the record price of 32 million euros at auction. The thousand-year-old porcelain bowl from the Song dynasty in northern China (960-1127) was used to wash brushes. It was sold to an anonymous bidder over the phone at a prestigious Hong Kong auction house.
5. A lock of star hair
Earlier this year, a lock of hair from rock king Elvis Presley sold for €1,300. The wick, in perfect condition, had been kept by Elvis’ barber, Homer Gill Gilleland, who accompanied Elvis on tour for over 20 years.
The Beatles’ own hair also sold for more than €8,000 this year, as well as hair from Marilyn Monroe and Napoleon. According to Mark Borgman: “The market for hair strands from deceased celebrities is very lucrative, because fans imagine that by owning a strand of their icon’s hair, they own a part of them forever. »
6. The most expensive item sold in a flea market
A diamond ring, bought in a flea market for £10, sold for €737,176 at an auction in London. It was thought that the jewel would reach 393,000 euros, but it sold for almost twice as much in April. Her owner thought that the “exceptional cut stone” was a costume jewel when she bought it from West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, West London, in the 1980s.
7. A letter written on the Titanic
The last known letter written by a passenger on board the Titanic before it sank, making this poignant prediction “if all goes well we will arrive in New York on Wednesday”, sold for a record 141,000 euros in auction. The handwritten note, on three pages of embossed White Star Line paper, was written to his mother by Alexander Oskar Holverson, a first-class passenger, the day before the ship hit an iceberg.
8. A bag of moon dust
A bag used by American astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect the first samples on the moon sold for €1.5 million in New York. The 1969 Apollo 11 mission external decontamination bag was purchased by an anonymous bidder. It still contains traces of moon dust and small rocks.
9. A LEGO brick in solid gold
The most expensive LEGO brick in the world sold this year for 18,498 euros at our LEGO auction. One of the rare 2×4 bricks in 14k solid gold, it unleashed bidders when it was put up for sale.
Between 1979 and 1981, these special bricks were offered to LEGO employees to celebrate their 25 years in the main company in Germany. This commemorative brick is all the more special because it can be used with other LEGO boxes. A lucky American won the auction, and he is now the proud owner of this gold brick, weighing 25.65 g, and having the exact shape and size of a normal LEGO brick.
10. A half a million pounds of bluefin tuna
A bluefin tuna reached €580,000 at the first auction of the year at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. The 212 kg fish, caught off the coast of Oma in northern Japan, was purchased by Kiyomura, the operator of the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, with its president Kiyoshi Kimura outbidding his rivals for the 6th consecutive year.
Kimura, whose bidding earned him the nickname “King of Tuna”, found the fish a little expensive, but he said he was happy to win a nice looking tuna at an auction. Kimura added that he was looking forward to serving it in his restaurants. “I want everyone to taste this delicious tuna,” he said, posing with his bluefin tuna.