Aretha Franklin

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There’s no Telling What You Might Find at an Auction

Weird things found at auctions

There’s absolutely no telling just what might wind up being offered up for sale at auction. There really isn’t. A number of years ago I attended a government surplus auction wherein one lot being auctioned off consisted of over 500 lady’s braziers, of all things — the items came to be put up at auction due to a truck, which had been hauling the undergarments, being seized by some governmental agency. I didn’t win the bid on that one, but the person who did walked away with more than 500 women’s bras, having spent just a little more than 50 cents a piece for them! If they were his wife’s size, she’s never going to have to shop for bras again in her life.

A friend of mine tells me that he was once at a storage unit auction where one particular unit was opened to reveal nothing but a single, tattered and water-stained looking cardboard box sitting in the middle of the otherwise entirely empty unit. Nobody at the auction really wanted to bid on the unit, but the auctioneer repeatedly said, “C’mon! Somebody give me a lousy ten bucks for it. Anybody?” Nobody would. “Ok, how about five? Will anyone give me five dollars?” One of the attendees finally agreed to pay $5.00 for the unit. Upon inspecting his purchase, the winning bidder opened the box to discover that the box itself was entirely empty except for a plain, white envelope. He opened the envelope and inside was a note and a single one-dollar bill. The note read: “I already cleaned the locker out without anybody knowing, sucker! I hope you didn’t bid more than a dollar!” …not sure whether or not I should entirely believe my friend on that one.

At another storage unit auction that I once attended, while everyone was standing around waiting for the auction to begin, the auctioneer who was there to conduct the auction was telling stories about his many years in the business. He told of a time when conducting one auction many years ago. As the auction for one of the units began, the lock was cut, and the door opened in front of the attendees to reveal nothing in the unit except for five, entirely unclothed, female mannequins — all standing, shoulder to shoulder, in a perfectly straight line. They were exactly the type of mannequins used in clothing stores to display their garments, and each were obviously female mannequins. Except, there was something very odd about these particular mannequins, as, for each of them, someone had crudely crafted, out of what appeared to be paper-machĂ©, reasonably life-like male genitalia, complete with simulated pubic hair, and glued the bizarre phalluses between the legs of each of the otherwise female looking figures. What’s more, written in red paint across each of their chests, each mannequin displayed a different girl’s name: “Daisy”, “Linda”, “Melissa”, “Ruth”, & “Cassandra.” …someone’s weird art project? Or, weird sex fetish?

Of course, along with these personal stories, there are well known stories of bizarre finds at such auctions as well. There’s a story about a cache of professional-grade, magnetic audio-tape reels containing more than 200 previously unreleased demo recordings by Michael Jackson — all made while the King of Pop had been between recording contracts, and thus entirely free from legal claim by any recording company.

After a fire occurred in her home, the famous R&B legend Aretha Franklin used the services of a storage facility to store a large amount of her clothing (including some notable outfits she wore during well-known performances) while her home received repairs. Mrs Franklin, however, for one reason or another, eventually stopped paying her storage fees and the unit was auctioned off to the highest bidder.

And, that’s a lot of the fun and excitement that comes from attending such auctions. There’s no telling what you might find. Yes, at the vast, vast majority of these auctions, while the deals available might be exciting, the particular items up for grabs aren’t really all that notable or out of the ordinary. But, every so often, there’s some awfully strange stuff that will surprise you. And, it occurs with enough commonality that if you talk to anyone who has been attending such auctions for just a little while, on anything approaching a regular basis, the chances are very good that they’ll most likely have a story that begins something like: “You think that’s weird? I was at an auction once where…”

If you have an interest in attending such auctions, and turning it into a profitable part-time, or full-time, business for yourself that can also be a whole lot fun, I highly recommend that you check out this amazing storage unit auction video course.