Bikes, blasters and brains don't sound like they have a lot in common, but they all feature on this list of the last year's strangest auction lots.
I've been involved in the auction business for over ten years and over £2 billion worth of transactions have been carried out using our auction technology to date. You might think auctions are only for fine art and priceless artefacts or the global car-boot sale that is eBay, but I know different. Auctions open up a world of opportunity to buyers and sellers and people with unique, sought-after or off-the-wall items are quick to capitalise on that.
As I make my way through the auction world I like to keep track of the more surprising lots that come up. These are the last year's weirdest;
10 - Sarah Palin's old car - A 1999 Ford Expedition 4x4 raised more than four times its usual value for the city of Wasilla, Alaska after the incumbent mayor decided to auction it to Sarah Palin fans. The 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate used the vehicle between 1996 and 2002 whilst she was Mayor.
9 - Harry Potter charm bracelet - This silver bracelet featuring 11 Harry Potter themed charms obviously cast a spell on someone and sold for £20,000 at a charity auction in December 2013.
8 - Damien Hirst's skateboard - Want to tell people you own a shark by Damien Hirst but don't fancy filling up most of your living room and living with the smell of formaldehyde. This skateboard decorated by the artist might be the answer, featuring a shark and a butterfly it was expected to sell for over £5,000.
7 - Bruce Lee's Jump Suit - "A yellow onesie with black stripes, slightly damaged" might not be the most enticing lot, but as with so many of these one-off auctions the £61,000 it sold for bought a piece of history. This jumpsuit worn in the Kung Fu legend's final and unfinished film "Game of Death" has become a pop-culture icon as well as being the inspiration for the similarly-iconic jumpsuit worn by Uma Thurman in 'Kill Bill'.
6 - Letters from General George S. Patton Jr - The American World War II general was known for his aggressive strategies. What he was less well known for was his sensitivity. These letters to his pen pal, a telephone operator, showed the world the softer side of 'Old Blood and Guts' and were expected to raise up to £8,000.
5- An atheist's trip to church - They say time is money, and that's exactly what the leader of South Carolina's Upstate Atheists group was offering - her time, and her daughters, spent in the church of the highest bidder. This auction was ultimately scrapped after it kept mysteriously disappearing from eBay and re-directing to search results for a Christian Rock CD.
4 - Han Solo's blaster - For the astronomic sum of $200,000 (£120,000) a fan has been able to claim the original blaster used by Harrison Ford in the very first Star Wars film. For a price like that I think the seller can afford to get cocky.
3 - Brussel sprouts from a Christmas dinner - Perhaps the most affordable thing on my list, these five green winter vegetables, minus one "nibble-sized chunk", raised a whopping £34 for Make-A-Wish Foundation UK.
2 - The Pope's motorbike - How much would you pay for a holy HOG? This is a pope-mobile with attitude, a Harley Davidson given to the pope by the company and featuring the Holy Father's signature on the petrol tank. With a final selling price of over £200,000 it's the most valuable twenty-first century Harley ever.
1 - Stolen brains - At the top of my list is a story that sounds more like the plot of the next big zom-rom-com. A man in Indianapolis, USA robbed the warehouse of a medical history museum coming away with a haul of more than 60 preserved and pickled body parts. Lacking an effective fence for century-old human remains the thief turned to eBay, and got caught after selling a job-lot of brains for $600 (approx. £350).
People and businesses around the world are seeing the value of auctions for selling almost anything from company shares to last year's hot (and now decidedly luke-warm) smartphone or, of course, leftover veg. New technology now exists to develop sophisticated auctions with far reaching benefits. Sellers have the ultimate reassurance that they are reaching the widest possible markets and getting the best price, while buyers have an opportunity to contribute and pay what they believe something is truly worth.
The auction market exceeds $1 trillion worldwide and is growing every year, which is why I can be sure that auctions like these, that make me sit up and take notice, won't stop any time soon. I look forward to more weird, wacky and wonderful auctions in the rest of 2014.
Find out more about Phil Bird and auction technology at www.perfectchannel.comSuggest a correction