Sometimes, people want to get really, really close to the high-profile icons that inspire them. In the days of old, hair, teeth and other body parts of the saints were encased in beautiful reliquaries that can still be seen in museums and houses of worship all over the world. But this is 2012, so people just pay exorbitant amounts of money to get closer to the deceased instead.
Beverly Hills-based auction house Julien’s will be hosting an auction this June featuring the usual run of sport and entertainment memorabilia: a robe worn by Amy Winehouse in the “Rehab” video; some of Michael Jordan’s sneakers. But the object that has garnered the most attention (and for obvious reasons) is a crypt that once housed the body of the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Prior to his permanent resting place at Graceland, Elvis’ body was held in a mausoleum at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, which can now, apparently, be yours.
Hair: In addition to hair from the King himself (man, Elvis fans will take whatever they can, eh?), clumps of famous rock follicles tend to be popular auction items. In 2009, Ralph Cohen, who produced the now-infamous Pepsi television spot in which Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire during the shoot, offered up a clump of the King of Pop’s singed hair at a London auction, with the bidding beginning at $1,600. Last year, a much younger pop icon found his locks on the auction block: Justin Bieber gave a little bit of his distinctive ‘do to Ellen DeGeneres in a signed box. The TV host took the Bieb’s blond clips and auctioned them off on eBay to benefit the Gentle Barn, an animal rescue organization.
Teeth: We’re not sure which is strangest: the fact that John Lennon’s cavity-addled tooth was put up for auction at $16,000, the fact that people out there were willing to buy it or that the tooth first came into the possession of Lennon’s housekeeper, Dorothy Jarlett, at a time when rock stars were giving their teeth to the help and their fans as souvenirs. How would that conversation even work? “You’ve been great and I know how much you loved A Hard Day’s Night… how about helping yourself to one of me incisors? It’s a gift!”
Toast: From one generation of boy band to another, fans sure love placing bids on toast. In 2006, a half-eaten piece of French toast consumed by one Justin Timberlake fetched more than three grand courtesy of a teenage N’Sync fan. Last month, history repeated itself: when X-Factor heartthrobs One Direction went on tour in Australia. When the band appeared on Aussie morning talk show Sunrise, Niall Horan (the blond one) took a bite out of a piece of toast covered in Vegemite and did not enjoy said bite. The not-quite-complete piece of toast was put up on eBay, going for more than $100,000 AUD. For toast. In both cases, the proceeds went to charity. As long as nobody tried to eat them, we guess.