Making a quick or charitable buck with star power

Fairfax recently asked us about the various ‘celebrity’ auctions we’ve seen over the years and it got us thinking about the cool and crazy things we’ve seen our members try to sell.

It’s rare but once in a while we see an unusual auction pop up that centres around a celebrity. The success of these auctions are, like everything on Trade Me, down to a combination of the skills of the seller and the coolness of the item. Some of our sellers have the gift of running a hilarious Q&A and crafting a sensational description that Trade Me members get behind. This, coupled with an item of interest, can see some of these auctions go crazy.

Like all things on Trade Me, if you overvalue an item or our members don’t think it’s cool, it won’t sell (as you’ll see with some of the below).

More often than not, our celebrity auctions feature NZ celebrities selling items for charities. Brooke Fraser and Otis Frizzell have recently sold items for charity and, of course, anything from the All Blacks does well, too.

Occasionally, we see something listed that relates to an international star, when they visit our shores. Some Trade Me sellers use this as a chance to make a quick buck, while other generous Kiwis make a charity the beneficiary of our celebrity obsession.

Here’s a selection of some of the weird and wonderful celebrity auctions we’ve seen. If you think we’ve missed anything, let us know.

David Beckham’s Coke bottle and corn cob from Nandos

DBeckham Corn

When Becks was here with his LA Galaxy team in December 2007 he and a few of the team shared a meal at Courtenay Place eatery, Nandos. An enterprising Trade Me member swooped on his left over corn cob and coke bottle to sell on TM.

There were thousands of views, masses of Q&A from around the country, including one worried fan who said Becks had a contract with Pepsi and he was breaching that, but in the end the items didn’t sell.

Orlando Bloom’s lollipop


Orlando was enjoying his lollipop during the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King premiere before having an interview with a NZ radio station. He stopped eating the lollipop before getting to the cricket inside (see pic) and left it behind. One of the interviewers grabbed the leftover lollipop and tried to sell it on Trade Me.

It didn’t sell so they tried selling it overseas and managed to get $80. However it seemed to have some LOTR curse on it – biosecurity withheld it being sent overseas and it ended up being thrown out.

Paris Hilton’s boarding pass

Paris Hilton

An enterprising Trade Me member named Glen, found Paris’ Fiji boarding pass in his in-flight magazine, so he wrote a fantastic description and went for it. The auction ended up going crazy (nearly 50,000 views) and selling for $710. Half of the sale was donated to Plunket and Cure Kids.

It doesn't end there - the buyer of the boarding pass thought they could make a buck with an international audience and sell it on eBay – but they didn’t have the description skills or Q&A game of Glen who ended up buying back the boarding pass back for $25 and selling it on eBay himself to a Paris Hilton fan for $150!

That handbag

Hurricanes Handbag

With 1.07m views, this is still the most viewed Trade Me auction of all time. The seller answered 283 questions (with the help of friends and Trade Me staff), received 194 bids and eventually sold the bag and broken mobile phone for $22,800.

Tana Umaga allegedly hit Chris Masoe with the bag at the Jolly Poacher pub in Christchurch 2006 following the Hurricanes defeat to the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final. Apparently Umaga was calming Masoe after a bit of an altercation with another patron.

A kite flown by U2’s Bono at their concert in Auckland 2006.

Bono Kite2

Bono released this coloured beauty along with some helium balloons at the end of their song ‘Kite’. Trade Me member Claire sold it onsite to raise money for Oxfam. The kite went for $1230 and Oxfam used the cash for establishing a water supply and giving books to a school in the Solomon Islands.

Helen Clark’s Beehive sketch

Helen Clark1

Advertised as being more valuable for political significance than its artistic merit this sketch caused some political upheaval because then PM, Helen Clark, refused to confirm if she has signed it! (It’s a long story).

After some amazing Q&A with Trade Me members and 33,000 views the market spoke and the sketch didn’t reach its $4500 reserve.

Justin Bieber’s bottle of Hennesy

Bieber Hennessy

Listed in October this year, this was described as ‘the actual bottle of Hennessy Justin drank from when he appeared on stage for a surprise performance at the Rae Sremmurd show at the Studio in Auckland’.

The seller said there was a little bit of backwash in the bottle and that wrapping your lips around the bottle was the closest you’d get to kissing the Biebs.

As it mentioned backwash and there looked to be some leftover alcohol in the bottle we made the decision to pull down the auction.

As we said at the time: “We understand Beliebers are keen to get as close to their idol as they can, but we’ve made the call to withdraw this auction as selling anything on Trade Me that contains bodily fluids (even famous backwash) and alcohol is against our rules.

We love an interesting auction and we aren’t out to be the fun police, but unfortunately this one was a few drops too far”

We told the member they were welcome to relist the auction if they tipped out the remaining fluid.

They didn’t.

Michael Jackson’s hat


The seller’s brother had caught the hat at MJ’s 1996 concert and left it down the back of his wardrobe where it remained until he died. The seller decided to sell it for $45,000 to try and raise some money for his nieces.

Unfortunately it didn’t sell as Trade Me members were a bit surprised at the hefty price tag and sceptical about the authenticity of the hat.

John Key’s arm cast


The PM broke his arm at the Pacific Leader’s Forum in 2009 going down a flight of stairs. To ensure it wasn’t a total washout he sold his signed cast on Trade Me along with a morning tea at Parliament. All funds were to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

One generous member paid $18,500 for the cast and the chance to meet the PM.

Natalia Kills and Willy Moon sheets

Moon Kills Sheets

Controversial X Factor NZ judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon stayed at a hotel in Rotorua in February. Following their visit, the sheets and towel from the room and their signed accommodation contract were listed on Trade Me.

The seller described it as a bit of a joke but got a lot more interest than they expected with media around the country contacting them about the unusual listing.

After a few days the listing was withdrawn by the seller.

Dan Carter sold his iPhone


Samsung offered to give Dan Carter a new phone, so he sold his iPhone on Trade Me for charity. DC said "I’m selling my iPhone 5s because Samsung are hooking me up with the new galaxy S5. It’s got a 16mp camera and epic battery life. Plus, it’s water resistant. Stoked!”

DC donated all the money from the auction to a charity he, Ali Williams and Richie McCaw support – iSport Foundation.

Needless to say this was a popular auction with 130,000 views. The phone eded up going for $2,210.