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This Slice of Cake Sold for $2,256—and More Crazy Auction Stories!

One person's junk really is another person's treasure.

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Elegant wedding cakePhoto: Shutterstock

A Very Pricey Snack

It’s not often people bid over a mouldy piece of cake. In 2018, Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., acquired not one, but five pieces of wedding fruitcake from as many royal nuptials: a slice from Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’s ceremony, one from Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s, one from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s and one from both of Prince Charles’s weddings. The most expensive piece—William and Kate’s—set its buyer back $2,556. But the recipient can’t have their cake and eat it too: each slice comes with a warning that it’s no longer edible.

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Green parrotPhoto: Shutterstock

One Strange Haul

In February 2018, Hansons Auctioneers staff in Derbyshire, England received a special—and bemusing—offering: five artificial parrot limbs. The peculiar prosthetics each had a name (the largest was Eagle Executive, the smallest Bouncing Budgie) but otherwise came with little context, other than a label on the box that read “Parrifoot LTD.” Auctioneers researched the mysterious company, but turned up no leads. Thankfully, the collection’s puzzling provenance wasn’t a barrier on the auction block: one lucky buyer purchased the artificial limbs in a bag of miscellaneous items for $21—hardly an arm and a leg.

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Cardboard boxes for storagePhoto: Shutterstock

An Unexpected Treasure

When Glenna Gardiner’s father said that a painting that had been in her family for more than 80 years was an authentic work by Canadian artist Tom Thomson, the Edmonton native didn’t believe him—they weren’t well off enough. That’s why later, after a friend quipped that the dusty painting Gardiner had been keeping in the basement could be worth a lot, Gardiner shipped it to her as a gag gift. It wasn’t long before her pal returned the present: after bringing the painting to Heffel Fine Art Auction House, she learned it was the real deal. The piece eventually received the glory it deserved: Gardiner sold it at an auction for $481,250.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada