Sunday, February 7, 2010

Celeb Seconds: When Used Stuff is Valuable

Want to know when the odds turn even with used seconds? When they belong to celebrities and the goodies are being auctioned off at twice or thrice their value, especially if the celebrity is dead. Recently, some old photographs of Marilyn Monroe surfaced and people (who can afford to buy it) went crazy bidding for it. This has been the case for every dead celebrity – and pretty soon you’ll see something belonging to Michael Jackson being sold at Christie’s or Sotheby – may be his mask or his trademark glove.

An Indian connection is that Mahatma Gandhi’s belongings were auctioned recently in New York - 248 art items, 2,947 letters, 1,583 pictures, 31 cartoons, 407 documents and 513 publications - and some of it was acquired by Vijay Mallya.

He also recently acquired Tipu Sultan’s sword, which was a very patriotic gesture on his part to keep some of India’s artifacts within the country itself, instead of it all being bought for some private collection abroad.

Abroad celebrity auctions are much more common and a huge industry. Some of the people are so celeb obsessed and who constantly monitor them via their blogs and the various social networking websites, are now hawking their discarded clothes, shoes, jewellery and other assorted items like autographed bottles of wine etc on websites such as this one:

Sometimes, movie stars and sports stars hawk off stuff to benefit their favourite charities or when there is a crisis of some sort on a national or international scale like hurricane relief or war relief work. Then they volunteer to give their time at shelters and man the helplines but this kind of stuff rarely brings the recipients of their charity anything more substantial than their good cheer and goodwill. They certainly won’t be auctioning of their used stuff at a time like this.

But stars have auctioned off more than old things that they have used. They have auctioned off kisses – George Clooney did this and Charlize Theron kissed a woman who bid the highest, for this privilege. Actor Will Ferrell auctioned off a role in a movie! In India, Sachin Tendulkar auctioned off a cricket bat for a charity called Apnalaya. When Michael Jackson came to India during his ‘Dangerous’ tour and stayed at the Oberoi Towers in Mumbai, he left behind a pillowcase on which he had scribbled a few lines and a lot of people were eager to get their hands on it.

Sometimes, things that are up for sale are just bizarre items, such as Scarlett Johansson’s used tissue! Why would even a wealthy lunatic be interested in something like this is beyond reasoning.

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