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In this countdown, we explore the iconic auctions which made history. From million dollar coins to The Roman Army and even Iceland! What made our list?
4 Mins

Iconic Auctions Which Made History

Lewis Findley
Lewis Findley

Auctions never cease to amaze

Stealing headlines and achieving immortality, the world of auctions is always on hand to amaze us.

Remember that time Justin Timberlake's toast was bought in auction for over £1,000? Or perhaps William Shatner's kidney stones? Don't forget the time a kiss with Charlize Theron was part of a $140,000 package!

There's an auction story for everyone but the most iconic of all has to be Ian Usher. The mastermind behind the 'Life For Sale' auction on eBay, he sold his life and did 100 things in 100 weeks.

In this series, we are going to explore some iconic auctions which range from the Roman Army to the Million Dollar Coin and the Golden Age of Hollywood. Take a look at our preview!

Iconic Auctions - Roman Empire (193AD)

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One of the most influential and fiercest armies in history. The legacy of the Roman Army still lives on today in the form of infrastructure like roads. At the peak of their power, they controlled land equivalent to over 8x the size of the UK!

However, with great power comes greater problems. Controlling an army of this magnitude caused a lot of miscommunication and unrest among the army, citizens and upper management. 

This culminated in The Year of Five Emperors. The assassination of Emperor Commodus, as portrayed in the film Gladiator, kickstarted the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire.

It peaked when the army decided to auction the throne after overthrowing, duelling, assassination and killing just lost reason!

Iconic Auctions - Seven Year Itch Dress

Image Via - Vanity Fair

Marilyn Monroe needs no introduction. With hits such as How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven-Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and more, she epitomised the Golden Era of Hollywood.

Out of her many movies, The Seven Year Itch (1955) contained a scene which wrote itself into history books. 

Whilst walking over a subway drain cover, her white dress flew up and dazzled her co-star Tom Ewell and viewers. The scene is so famous, it became a waxwork!

Debbie Reynolds acquired the dress and endeavoured to open a museum to celebrate iconic film pieces. However. this didn't come to light and so, the dress was auctioned. 

After selling for seven figures, it illustrated Marilyn Monroe's impact on us.

Iconic Auctions - Da Vinci Manuscript

Image Via - Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo Da Vinci was many things during his lifetime. A painter, sculptor, mathematician, thinker and so much more. 

He wrote down his thoughts into journals which contained ideas so ahead of their time, people thought he was crazy. 

His journals were compiled and converted into codexes which contained various thoughts and theories from flying tanks to the luminosity of the moon. 

One codex in particular, explored water, the Earth, Sun and Moon.

It was sold in auction for an astronomical price and then made free to the public by a popular philanthropist.

Iconic Auctions - Million Dollar Coin 

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When it comes to a showpiece, the Million Dollar Coin is right up there. It's a work of art that goes beyond any coin you have ever seen.

It's certified as being "99.999" gold but how much gold? 100kg. This double-sided coin is 53 cm in diameter and features a maple leaf and an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.

If you're wondering why it's called the million dollar coin, that's because it has a nominal value of 1 million Canadian dollars, so you could buy a brand new LaFerrari with that!

One of these coins went into an auction and, as expected, went above estimate.

Iconic Auctions - Iceland

Image Via - USAToday

This is no joke. A disgruntled citizen put their country up for auction during the height of the economic crisis. However, there was a catch.

Bidding reached over seven figures before eBay pulled the auction, but the story behind it makes it so famous.

In addition to that, which national treasure was excluded from the auction?

Final Words

Auctions will always surprise us and their unknowability has no boundaries.

Perhaps you'll hear that bubble gum from Britney Spears was sold in an auction or even air in a jar from a Kayne West concert but they already happened.

What's your favourite auction story? Hit the comments and let us know!