Bring out the cake and pop the champagne (or that $10 supermarket bottle of sparkling wine, we don’t judge here) because birthday celebrations are in order — eBay is 20 years old. Oh, how much the site has grown.
For two whole decades, eBay has helped us get rid of unwanted gifts without having to awkwardly ask that friend who gave it to you for a receipt. We’ve been able to sell clothes that we forgot to return before the end of the 28-day exchange period and buy everyone else’s reject items, even though we probably have no use for them either.
Way back in 1995, a guy called Pierre Omidyar whipped up some complicated internet codes to create the magical wonderland that we now know as eBay, and in honor of its 20th birthday, we’ve put together some of the weird and wonderful (but mostly weird) crap that we’ve found on the website.
Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten French toast.
An enthusiastic N-Sync fan bought JT’s leftovers for $1,025 in 2000. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Justin Timberlake fan and can proudly recite all the lyrics to "Bye Bye Bye" without batting an eyelid. But I draw the line of celebrity fan-girling at leftover French toast.
A cornflake shaped like the state of Illinois.
Yes, a cornflake. Two sisters managed to sell it for $1,350 in 2008 to a guy who was starting a collection of "pop culture and Americana items." What I want to know is how the sisters managed to find the cornflake in the first place. Did one go shovel a spoonful of cereal into her mouth only to have the spoon ripped from her hand when the other recognized its outline? Or did they spend weeks sorting through boxes of cornflakes hoping to find one that looked like something? So many questions.
Jeremy Corbyn’s paper cup.
After 23 bids, this one was sold for £51 (or about $67) only last month. Apparently, Jeremy Corbyn’s DNA isn't worth anywhere near the amount of a state-shaped cornflake. Not only is this really weird, but a bit awkward, isn’t it?
A broken laser pointer
Here’s a fun fact for you: This was the first-ever item to be sold via eBay. Definite proof that even if it’s broken, someone out there will probably still buy it from you. One man’s broken laser pointer is, well, another man’s $14.38 broken laser pointer.
"You & I" by The Scorpions.
While we’re on the topic of firsts, this CD was the first item sold on the UK eBay site in 1999 for the grand sum of £2.89 (or $3.87). And for the millions of you who probably have no idea who the Scorpions are, here’s a sample:
Max the woolly mammoth.
Don’t get too excited — it wasn’t a live woolly mammoth. It was Max’s skeleton that was up for auction in 2004 and was successfully sold off for £61,000 (or about $80,099). I can definitely see the appeal of having your own prehistoric skeleton for your viewing pleasure if you fancied turning your house into a one-exhibit museum. You have to admit, it would be pretty cool.
Princess Beatrice’s giant pretzel.
I wish it was an actual pretzel that I’m referring too, but sadly, it’s just that giant pretzel-looking thing — Is it a bow? Is it a Twizzler? —she wore as a hat to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding a few years ago. It sold for a whopping £81,100 (about $106,492) and was donated to Unicef and the Children in Crisis charity.
Ghost in a jar.
We’re a bit skeptical about this one, but rumor has it that someone spent £31,000 (about $40,706) on this jar of ghoul. To set it free or harbor it from the hands of evil, we’re not too sure. But who needs the Ghostbusters when you’ve got a Mason jar handy?
James Blunt’s sister.
Don’t worry — they didn’t fall out or anything. James told GQ magazine that he did it to try and get his sister to a funeral in Ireland when the planes and ferries weren’t running. The guy who won the bid conveniently had a helicopter, and now the two are married. Back in the day, eBay was basically a dating website.
Britney Spears’ used chewing gum.
What are you supposed to do with used gum? Frame it? Freeze it? Chew it as well? I just don’t understand. And what’s even more ridiculous is that some poor crazed Britney Spears fan paid £14,000 (about $18,383) for it. Another pressing point: Who actually has that much spare money to spend on gum?
A lucky grilled-cheese sandwich.
This sandwich had the image of the Virgin Mary on it. The owner kept hold of it for 10 years before selling it for £18,000 (about $23,636), and it never even went moldy. That fact is admittedly quite impressive, despite the absurdity of paying the price of a deposit on a house for a sandwich.
A "cheating, lying, adulterous" wife.
Ouch. This is definitely beyond awful and unnecessary, but Paul Osborn decided to put his wife for sale on eBay after she cheated on him with a colleague. The starting bid was 1p (or $.013), but Paul warned fellow eBayers not to bid on her anyway, which kind of defeated the purpose. Nevertheless, this is not the best way to go through a break up.
I wouldn’t personally advise this one either, but each to their own, I guess. Twenty-seven-year-old Elizabeth Raine (not her real name) chose to auction her virginity along with a 12-hour date. The bidding got all the way up to £500,000 ($656,550), but she ended up taking down the offer to focus on her career. Wise choice.
A "cuddly but annoying" grandmother.
This is both adorable and hilarious. Ten-year-old Zoe Pemberton put her granny up for auction in 2010. Poor old Marian was being bid on for £20,000 (about $26,262), but eBay decided to intervene and shut the bid down. Even the company had to admit it was "quite amusing."
Air from a Kanye West concert.
The absurdity continues. Someone took it upon themselves to bag themselves some air — yes actual air —while they were at a Kanye West concert earlier this year. They originally tried to sell it on eBay for a casual $5, but for some reason, it got pretty popular and the bidding flew up to $65,000. That’s some expensive air. Kim Kardashian was on hand to comment:
Here’s to 20 more years of selling air, family members, and celebrity leftovers.
This post was written by Jazmin Kopotsha . For more, check out our sister site The Debrief.