Honus Wagner baseball card
If you had $1.2 million to burn, what would you buy -- a nice house, a fleet of slick cars, your own island?
How about an unusually small -- and valuable -- baseball card?
That's exactly what collector Brian Seigel did in 2000, when he paid $1.1 million, plus a 15 percent buyer's fee, to acquire the T206 Honus Wagner (PSA 8 NM-MT, to be exact) card. The item isn't only coveted among baseball card aficionados -- it was also the most expensive item purchased on eBay that year.
The card, issued in 1909 by the American Tobacco Company and measuring 2.5 by 1.5 inches, was previously owned by well-known sports memorabilia collector Michael Gidwitz, former Los Angeles Kings owner Bruce McNall, and ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Experts say the card's "quality, rarity, and legend" make it the most illustrious baseball card on earth.
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Power lunch with the Oracle of Omaha
The winner of eBay's most expensive charity auction ever, who asked to remain anonymous, paid $2.6 million in 2010 for a lunch date with Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) CEO Warren Buffett, also known as the third-richest person in the world.
The annual Warren Buffett Power Lunch Auction has raised more $9 million for the world-renowned Glide Memorial Church, an organization in San Francisco, Calif., that has been feeding the hungry for more than 45 years.
The record-setting price for lunch with Buffett topped the 2010 winning bid by $100.
Anyone want to buy a town? Bridgeville, Calif., and its 30 or so residents have been on the auction block three times since 2002, when the northern California community became the first town ever to sell on eBay. The winning bid -- $1.77 million. That got you an 83-acre town including eight houses, a cafe, and a post office.
Oh, and a hell of a view. Laguna Hills, Calif., mortgage banker Bruce Krall, who owned Bridgeville from 2004 to 2006, said in an interview with The Orange County Register that in the town "at night, when the clouds roll in over those mountains, it's spectacular."
But being owned is unpredictable -- and potentially tragic. Bridgeville's most recent owner, a 25-year-old college student, committed suicide in Los Angeles in 2006 only a few months after buying the town from Krall for $1.25 million.
Atlas F missile base
Nestled in peaceful Adirondack State Park in upstate New York, not far from the placid shores of Lower Saranac Lake (where Mark Twain once summered), is something incongruously warlike: a former U.S. missile base. An anonymous couple bought the de-commissioned facility, where the Defense Department once housed an intercontinental ballistic missile silo, over eBay in 2002 for $2.1 million.
The complex, build by the federal government during the Cold War era, was designed to withstand a direct nuclear hit. Gregory Gibbons, one of the site developers who listed the property on eBay, described the silo before the auction as the "perfect solution for the right family or corporation," noting the "escalating threat of world terrorism and an increasing need for security." The mountain getaway included its own private airstrip, a Jacuzzi, and the kind of tranquil living space afforded by three-foot thick walls.
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An even better preserved Atlas missile-launching facility was listed for sale on eBay in April of this year. "Don't just buy a bunker," reads the listing, "buy a complex that's designed to withstand anything." Jeff Flaningam, the seller of the item and owner of Veritas Forge product development company, set a $300,000 minimum starting bid for the silo, while adding that the site's owner would consider trading the property for a "luxury diesel coach plus cash."
Any self-respecting James Bond villain can't be without one of these -- a ginormous boat with a built-in helicopter garage. And that 405-foot "giga-yacht," built by Frank Mulder of Mulder Design, could've been yours for a measly $140 million.
Listed on eBay in 2005, the yacht came equipped with 10 multi-level suites with panoramic windows, eight guest cabins, a salon, a cinema room, a fitness room, an office area, and your very own mega-laser (OK, we made that last one up.) The chopper garage offered "the ultimate in protection and functionality for your helicopter, to better reach those remote areas," according to 4Yacht Inc.
The winning bidder? Anonymous, of course.
In 2001, a private jet was sold on eBay for $4.9 million in what at the time was the highest known sale price for any item ever auctioned over the website.
The luxurious Gulfstream II, which seats 12, was sold by business plane vendor Tyler Jet to a charter-flight company headquartered in Africa.
Ian Usher's worldly goods
Ian Usher, a British skydiver who sold his "life" on eBay in 2008, said he was a "little bit disappointed" by the winning bid of $309,292.
Precipitating the auction was Usher's marital problems and ensuing midlife crisis. Hoping to clean the slate, he decided to sell all of his possessions. That included a three-bedroom house, parachuting gear, a beat-up Mazda, personal introductions to his friends, and a trial position as a sales assistant at the rug shop where he worked.
Some four years later, the 48-year-old told Britain's Daily Mail in April that he was doing OK. He said he had bought an island in the Caribbean and fallen in love with a Canadian woman. The estimated worth of his new life remains unclear.
'Shoeless' Joe's baseball bat
A baseball bat used from 1908 to 1920 by former Major Leaguer "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was auctioned on eBay in 2001 for $577,610. That made it the world's most valuable bat, which was sold by his nephew.
In 1920, Jackson and seven other Chicago White Sox players were suspended from professional baseball after they were alleged to have thrown the 1919 World Series in what came to be known as the "Black Sox" scandal (despite a court later acquitting him of any involvement in the affair). That ended his career. Jackson's favorite bat, which he used to hit a remarkable .356 over his 13-year career, was a 48-ounce, 32-inch slugger made of hickory. Known as "Black Betsy," it was the only bat he never discarded.
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An Enzo Ferrari supercar, one of only 399 on earth, flew off eBay's lot for just over $1 million in 2004, when a Swiss bidder's winning click beat out the previous bid by roughly $55.
The price-tag set a record for the most expensive item sold over the online auction site in Europe.
In Dubai, where being in debt is illegal, police recently confiscated an Enzo that formerly belonged to a British citizen who had left the car behind after fleeing the country. Cops seized the vehicle after it had baked in the sun for 20 months and collected roughly $27,000 in unpaid traffic tickets. The Dubai police plan to auction the car, which is valued at $1.6 million.