Friday, 29 August 2008

Diana wedding cake slice makes £1,200 at auction

A piece of 27-year-old cake from the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana has been sold to an anonymous bidder at auction for £1,200.

The slice of marzipan and icing -- decorated with the royal coat of arms -- came from one of 22 cakes distributed to royal staff after Charles and Diana's nuptials in July 1981.

It was given to Moyra Smith, a member of the Queen Mother's household, who kept the topping in cling film as a souvenir. When she died, her husband Don saw no reason to keep it.

"He had no particular feeling for it and will donate the money to several charities," said auctioneer Dominic Winter in Gloucestershire, who sold the item on Wednesday.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Fundraising company auctions its services

Company Solutions Ltd is trialling an innovative way of selling some of its fundraising services.

This Summer it is auctioning two services to the highest bidder. Charities are invited to place bids on 20 training course places or 100 grantmaking trust applications.

The top single or multiple bids will win the prizes, "depending on the number of bids and value".

Gareth Edwards of Company Solutions says "If charities like the concept, we will be repeating it regularly".

The normal price for the training courses would be £1,386.50 including VAT, and £1762.50 including VAT for the 100 trust applications researched and carried out.

Selling fundraising services or products to the highest bidder is unlikely to appeal to many of the larger fundraising agencies with a certain degree of fixed costs, but for a smaller agency it might help it stand out from the crowd and give charity clients the sense that they are acquiring services at a discount.

I know Gareth Edwards from the Green Party and can recommend him

Monday, 25 August 2008

Suitcase Full of Explosives Found in Auction

Another item for my series of peculiar things that turn up at auction. I have conducted over 2,000 auctions, but, thankfully have never come across something like this.

A recently deceased Navy veteran's belongings were ready to be sold at an estate auction on Saturday morning.

Just before the start of the auction, auctioneers opened a padlocked and rusting suitcase and discovered three blocks of military-grade C-4.

The C-4 was estimated to be at least 15 years old, degraded and unstable. Two tubes of a similar explosive, a blasting cap and dynamite were also discovered in the suitcase.

They were placed in a special container and destroyed by the bomb squad.
Faulkner County Sheriff Karl Byrd stressed that owning dynamite or plastic explosives without the proper permissions is "definitely illegal".

No one was injured in the incident.

See also previous postings:

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Mary, Queen of Scots hair for auction

From the Lyon & Turnbull auction in Edinburgh:

Sale No 219 - Scottish Silver
26 Aug 2008 14:00 - Edinburgh
Lot 262
A mid Victorian velvet casket, set with a memoriam locket of Mary Queen of Scots hair, 15.5cm x 12cm x 9cm
Estimate: £2000 - 3000

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Capt. Cook’s boomerang for auction

A BOOMERANG collected by Captain James Cook on his expedition to Australia is being put up for sale in London next month and is expected to fetch up to £60,000.

The boomerang, along with two wooden clubs that belonged to Aborigines Cook met in 1770, are believed to represent one of the first points of contact between Aborigines and Europeans.

Captain Cook had little idea what a boomerang was (he believed it was a wooden weapon) when he returned to England and left it to his wife, Elizabeth. She gave the boomerang and clubs to the executor of her will, John Leach Bennett. They have since remained in the Bennett family, which has now decided to sell them.

Christie's auctioneers believe the boomerang, which measures just under 56 centimeters in length and has no markings on it, will be highly sought after by international collectors when it goes on sale on September 25.

So far only six other Aboriginal artifacts — three fish spears, a lance or javelin, a spear shaft and a shield — have been traced to Cook's first visit to Australian soil.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Damages award for man who bought marijuana-stuffed SUV at police auction and subsequently got arrested for possession.

A federal judge in San Diego has awarded $551,000 in damages to a man who bought a car with 37 pounds of marijuana hidden in it at a government auction.

Francisco Rivera Agrendano spent a year in a Mexican prison after he was busted at a roadblock near Ensenada while driving an SUV that turned out to have packages of moldering pot stuffed in the door panels and seats.

The San Diego Union-Tribune said Monday that U.S. District Judge Emily Hewitt wrote in a her recently released opinion that U.S. Customs officials could not explain how they missed so much contraband when they originally searched the vehicle; however she dismissed the contention that agents didn't tear it apart too much so they could maintain the resale value.

Federal attorneys were not required to go into much detail on their search procedures in order to prevent their techniques from being made public.

Rivera told The Union-Tribune in Tijuana that he was pleased with Hewitt's decision but said the amount wouldn't cover the expenses of his ordeal. Hewitt's order specified how much of the award would go to legal expenses, lost income, the price of the SUV and psychiatric treatment.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Beatles first contract expected to make £250,000 at London Auction

The Beatles' first fully signed contract with manager Brian Epstein is expected to raise £250,000 when it comes up for auction in London in September.

Epstein's personal copy of the historic document will be included in auctioneer The Fame Bureau's Sept. 4 sale of rock and pop memorabilia at the Idea Generation Gallery in east London, said an e-mailed statement issued on behalf of the specialist auction house.

The contract, which entitled the manager to 25 percent of the band's gross earnings, was signed by Epstein on Oct. 1, 1962, after he secured the Beatles' first record agreement with EMI.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (under his birth name Richard Starkey) had signed the contract earlier that year, on Jan. 24, 1962; Epstein withheld his signature until he had clinched their first deal. The fathers of Harrison and McCartney were also signatories, as their sons were under 21 at the time, said the statement.

``This is the most important pop music document that's left in private hands,'' said Ted Owen, managing director of The Fame Bureau, in a phone interview. ``It's a life-changing contract for the Beatles.''

The contract has been put up for sale by a businessman from northern England who collects pop memorabilia, said Owen. It last came up for auction at Christie's, London, in May 2004, when it fetched £122,850 with saleroom fees.

The Fame Bureau auction will also include the Bechstein piano used by the Beatles to record ``Hey Jude,'' estimated at between £300,00 and £400,000.

In October 2000, at a joint New York and London auction organized by Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood and Ted Owen, singer George Michael paid £1.67 million with fees for the piano on which Lennon wrote ``Imagine.''

In 1985, Sotheby's sold Lennon's hand-painted Rolls-Royce Phantom V for $2.3 million.
A 1965 Fender Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix set alight at the Finsbury Astoria theater in London in March 1967 is estimated at £500,000. According to The Fame Bureau, this was the first guitar that Hendrix set fire to during a live performance

An auction tale of huge knickers and a small condom.

An Australian woman has taken revenge on her cheating husband by auctioning his mistress's "huge" panties and his "size small" condom packet on eBay.

The seller, named only as Anna from Queensland state, says next in line for auction will probably be her husband's Harley Davidson motorcycle "at a start price of 99 cents and, of course, with no reserve!"

A photograph shows the lacy black underpants, described as "size humongous" and the "size small" condom wrapper, which the woman found in her bed after her husband's alleged affair with a woman named Kylie.

Anna says of the panties: "They are so huge I thought they may make someone a nice shawl or, even better, something for Halloween perhaps."

She describes how she returned home early from work after her "soon to be ex-husband" of 22 years mistakenly sent her a romantic text message meant for the other woman, to find him discouraging her from entering their bedroom.

In the room she found the empty condom wrapper under his pillow and "The Tart's panties at the foot of the bed".

The listing was initially taken down by eBay because of its policy of refusing to sell secondhand underwear, spokeswoman Inessa Jackson told Brisbane's Courier Mail.
"We let her know about the policy and instead she's now selling a photograph of the offending knickers," Jackson said.

"eBay does connect colourful buyers with colourful sellers and I wouldn't be surprised if someone did buy these items, though I couldn't speculate on who would buy them or why.

"This is obviously very therapeutic for this woman and it must be a great channel for her views on cheating and the sanctity of marriage."

The photograph, which had a starting price of just 69 US cents, down from the original 99 cents asked for the actual items, had received 47 bids by Thursday, with the top offer standing at 127.50 US dollars with four days to go.

The listing, along with the wife's story, has been added to eBay Australia's Best of eBay site at

Sunday, 10 August 2008

New combined Online Auction and Social Networking combined site.

New Online Auctions and Social Networking Website Launches at

A new website launching this week aims to wed the unlike web worlds of online auctions and social networking by being one site that does it all.

It just might be the best of both worlds. Or all three worlds for that matter.
Three worlds, because the recently launched has not contented itself with combining the vast marketing reach of the Internet with a decidedly down-to-earth customer service approach rooted in fostering personal relationships.

It also aims to wed the unlike web worlds of online auctions and social networking by being one site that does it all.

The result, the site’s creator said, is a one-stop destination built on a “community of sellers, buyers and social visitors,” rather than taking on the traditionally utilitarian and impersonal feel of most auction sites.

“It has the bells and whistles of MySpace, plus it has auctions,” said Brian Schwartz, the Boynton Beach entrepreneur behind

“One of my goals is to bring more transparency into the online auction market,” he said.

That market has seen some turmoil this year, with such upheavals as a fee hikes at eBay that had sellers up in arms and questioning the viability of continuing to sell their wares as profit margins shrank.

Sellers at do not pay the “listing fees” other sites charge and commissions are capped at five percent, as opposed to as much as 12 percent elsewhere, Schwartz said.

As important as the economics, however, is the social aspect of, he added, noting that relationships can develop when buyers and sellers and browsers mingle in the marketplace.

“Shopping should be a social event,” he said. “Isn’t that how we live in our actual communities?”

Friday, 8 August 2008

Elvis jumpsuit makes $300K in online auction

Elvis Presley's favorite performance costume, the peacock jumpsuit, sold for $300,000 Thursday, making it the most expensive piece of Elvis memorabilia sold at auction.

The online sale by auctioneer Gotta Have It! ended at 3 a.m. The pre-sale estimate was $275,000 to $325,000.

Presley paid $10,000 to have the outfit made by Los Angeles designer Bill Belew, who created all of The King's stage wardrobe between 1968-1977. It captured the rock 'n' roll legend's fascination with peacocks as a good luck symbol and the auction house said it was among his favorite Belew designs.

Elvis first wore the costume at the Forum in Los Angeles on May 11, 1974, and later for the cover of his album "Promised Land."

The previous record for an Elvis collectible is $295,000 for his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II.

The most ever paid previously for one of his stage costumes, the so-called aloha cape, which was worn during one of his last television shows, was $105,250. Both were sold at a 1999 auction at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., run by Guernsey's.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Queen Victoria’s knickers make £4,500 in auction

A pair of Queen Victoria’s bloomers, with a 50-inch waist, were snapped up for £4,500 by a Canadian woman at Mackworth in Derby on Wednesday.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said Queen Victoria’s underpants belonged to “a very big lady of quite small stature with a very wide girth.” She was said to be 5 feet tall.

The handmade knickers — which date to the 1890s — bear the monogram “VR” for Victoria Regina. They are open-crotch style, with separate legs joined by a drawstring at the waist, a popular style in the late Victorian era.

The royal drawers belonged to a family in western England whose ancestor was a lady-in-waiting for the queen.

Also up for auction was Queen Victoria’s chemise, with a 66-inch bust, which sold for £3,800. Her nightgown sold for £5,200.

1909 baseball card makes $1.62 million at auction

An Arkansas man bought a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card for $1.62 million at a memorabilia auction in Chicago.

The new owner of the T206 Wagner card was a man from Little Rock, Ark., according to auctioneer Doug Allen, chief operating officer of Mastro Auctions of Burr Ridge.

The record price for a baseball card is $2.8 million—paid in 2007 for a near-mint condition Wagner card released in 1909 by the American Tobacco Company.

Wagner's card was among the first of hundreds of cards of major league players produced by the American Tobacco Co. and included in packages of cigarettes.

Unlike other players, however, Wagner quickly demanded his card be withdrawn.

Theories vary as to why, with one being that he didn't believe American Tobacco paid him enough.
There are fewer than 100 Wagner baseball cards in existence, said Julie Stoklosa, a spokeswoman for Mastro Auctions, and fewer than 10 are in excellent condition.

Allen said even the lowest graded Wagner baseball cards can fetch more than $150,000.

Friday, 1 August 2008

George Best Faberge egg for auction, in Manchester on Sunday

Football Collectors from across the world are expected to go to Manchester when a Fabergé Egg tribute to late Manchester United legend George Best goes up for auction.

The egg followed a similar sporting tribute to Jimmy Johnstone of Celtic.

The rare egg will feature at a special sale of football memorabilia and is expected to fetch at least £45,000. Auction organiser David Goldemann said: "Fabergé has only ever made tribute eggs to four Westerners - George Best being one. This is a very rare egg and we are really excited to have it at our auction in Manchester. I think it will attract a lot of interest from the serious collectors."

Peter Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the Imperial Court of Russia, became renowned for his exquisite series of jewelled Easter eggs, the first commissioned by Alexander III for the Tsarina in 1884. The George best egg was made by his great-grand-daughter Sarah.

Only 68 of the George Best Fabergé Eggs were made and this is only the second time one has come up for sale. The egg, made of 24 carat gold and just nine and a half inches tall, features a detachable top half. When this is removed, a gold figurine of Northern Ireland and United striker George Best kicking a football is revealed. It has been on display at Belfast City Airport, in George Best's home town, for a number of years now, but the owner has now decided to sell.

The auction is being held at the Greater Manchester Police sports and social club in Chorlton on August 3 - with lots of other football memorabilia also up for sale.

Catalogue can be viewed here: