The right item at an auction can bring immediate prosperity. Where there is a chance to make quick money, it is often controversial, strange or even dark.
Renowned auctioneers are accused of selling stolen artifacts, artists are destroying their works after a sale, and scientists are losing valuable fossils to private collectors. Auctions also prove that whale hunting, Hitler's fans and human slave markets are alive.
10 The Oscar Auction
Few know the name, but in 1942 Joseph Wright won an Oscar. He was not an actor, but received for the film My Gal Sal the prestigious award for the direction of color art. After his death, the statue was inherited by his relatives.
In 2014, the family put the Oscar up for auction. Briarbrook Auction House oversaw the sale and the highest bid was $ 79,200. The family made a decent profit, the auction house got a commission and the unnamed buyers could cuddle up with their golden trophy. The Academy of Arts and Sciences for feature films decided to sue the lot.
She claimed the right to make the first offer to repurchase an Oscar. The academy then offered a measly $ 10. This depended on the fact that Oscar winners had to sign a waiver a decade after Wright's victory (and a lousy price that later fell to $ 1). Although Wright never signed the contract, he did not stop the academy from having a tantrum. 
9 Queen Victoria's Bloomers
They are tall. They are beautiful. At least they are tall and regal. This was enough for a buyer who bought a pair of underpants from Queen Victoria for £ 1,000. The silk garment measures about 112 inches at the waist and is embroidered with the number "2" and her initials "VR".
The numeral indicates that this is her second pair of bloomers. She wore her underpants alternately so that none would wear off. It was also a classic example of the style of "open drawers". This meant that the bloomers had a hole in the middle for bathroom purposes.
The seller received the royal trousers from a great aunt who was a friend of Susan Heard, a lady from London. How did Heard get the underwear? Apparently it was normal at that time that the waiting ladies met, drank tea and changed the clothes of their employers. 
8 A Laptop with Six Viruses
In 2019, Guo O Dong made his million. The digital artist from China wanted to make a statement about the dangers of the web. He created an unusual work of art – a laptop infected with half a dozen of the deadliest viruses in the world. He called it The Persistence of Chaos and someone bought it for $ 1.3 million.
Dong chose a Samsung laptop running Windows XP and downloaded six malware programs. This included the e-mail worm ILOVEYOU (2000), which caused billions in damages. Another stronger worm was Sobig (2003), the world's fastest-growing malware for a while.
Mydoom (2004) was even worse than the other two and is still the fastest-spreading e-mail worm. BlackEnergy (2007) was not a worm but a remote tool for shutting down computers and servers. DarkTequila (2013) and the notorious ransomware WannaCry (2017) both strive to ruin the victims' finances. 
To make sure that the digitally illaged work of art was not purchased by a malefactor, Dong, worked with a cybersecurity company to load the code and prevent the spread of the virus into other networks ,
7 Painting by Hitler
Adolf Hitler does not have to be presented, since he has exterminated millions of Jews and other "undesirable" persons. Hitler's megalomaniac and sociopathic tendencies also had an artistic side.
The Nazi leader tried painting and the general opinion is that the work is mediocre. Nevertheless, an anonymous buyer bought a Hitler collection for $ 450,000 during a 2015 auction in Nuremberg. The 14 paintings were watercolors depicting castles and flowers.
It is definitely not Hitler's skill that brought in the big sum at the auction. He was a failed artist who was rejected twice in his application for an art school. 
Selling bad art by the world's most notorious dictator has raised questions about the ethics of auction houses. This is not the first time that controversial art has been sold, but during his reign Hitler was also responsible for the suppression and destruction of priceless works of art.
6 Sketchy King Tut Sculpture
During antiquity An Egyptian artist created a sculpture by King Tutankhamun. In 2019 it was sold to Christie for almost $ 6 million, and it caused a sensation. That the statue was real and valuable was not the problem. So it left Egypt. According to the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry, the artifact was stolen from the Karnak Temple in the 1970s.
The London auctioneers insisted that the statue had lawfully belonged to the late Prince William of Thurn and Taxis (1919-2004). His son and niece, however, completely denied this claim. When journalists examined the case, they also found evidence that the prince had never owned the artwork.
To make the matter clearer, both the seller and the buyer remained anonymous. It was a simple sale that turned into a diplomatic incident that could end with the return of the quartzite sculpture when Egypt lodged a complaint with UNESCO. 
5 The Carnivorous Dinosaur
In 2018, a dinosaur skeleton sold for $ 2.36 million in Paris. The sale rubbed paleontologists in the wrong direction. The carnivorous creature was part of a new trend that hurts researchers' efforts. Under US law, dinosaur bones found on private land can be sold by landowners anywhere in the world.
Scientists fear that this will cause people to auction their finds instead of allowing researchers to study the fossils. Worse, fossils stolen from federal states could be traded as something the owner supposedly found on his property.
In addition to the fact that researchers can not afford to participate in dinosaur auctions, relocating a fossil from its original location removes many contextual information. The sale in Paris, however, was controversial for another reason.
The catalog stated that the creature was probably a Allosaurus an ordinary predator. The catalog, which was described by paleontologists as mere hype, also indicated that it may be an unknown species of allosaurid. If true, the loss would be even greater for science. 
4 A Huge Hare
In 2019, Christie's set a new record, this time selling the most expensive artwork by a living artist. Since the sculpture was sold for $ 91.1 million, one might expect a little more than it actually was. A big bunny.
To be fair, the bunny was cute. The 91-centimeter herbivore was forged from stainless steel and looked like a balloon animal. The effect was achieved with such a realism that the statue seemed weightless.
A statement by Christie added that the rabbit's reflective surface "reflects us and involves us in the ever-changing drama that takes place on its surface." In other words, it was really shiny. 
Artist Jeff Koons did not ponder the perfect name of his record breaker. He simply called it Rabbit . Although not exactly controversial, the anonymous sale was symptomatic of billionaires flooding the auction scene to outbid other buyers by taking the big bucks.
3 A painting that destroyed itself
British artist Banksy became famous for anonymity. When no one is looking, he sprays his creations on buildings. Banksy's themes were against commerce, and he even urged people not to buy art. Nice words for someone, whose record sale at auction amounted to 1.4 million US dollars.
In 2018 another painting by Banksy came under the hammer at Sotheby's. It showed a little girl reaching for a red balloon, and when the auction ended, the simple scene was sold for an amount equal to its previous record.
The moment the sale was completed, however, the painting itself was destroyed. A confused crowd watched as the image slipped into a hidden shredder and emerged into strips from the frame. 
Banksy admitted that he was responsible because "destroying is also a creative urge" did not know the stunt before. Neither the auction house nor the buyer could be too upset. With the world of high art as it is, destruction made work 50 percent more valuable than before.
To the dismay of the conservationists, Japan attacked the harpoons again in 2019. Countries affiliated to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) are maintaining an agreement not to hunt whales, a move that was given the go-ahead in 1986 because of the endangerment of many species.
Japan left the IWC in June to lift the ban. Already as a member Japan had hunted. The country claimed it was for research rather than commercial whaling, although most of the 333 animals killed in 2018 were sold to the country's popular walrus restaurants.
In 2019 Japan dropped the bill and caught two mink for commercial purposes. Their meat was auctioned at auction, with some cutoffs making gold at 15,000 yen ($ 140 or £ 110).
Despite the international controversy caused by it, Japan announced plans to catch another 227 whales for the year. The transport would secure high profits as restaurants are willing to pay high prices for the meat. 
In the end, the whales could have the last laugh. In 2015, the Environmental Investigation Agency found that each sample of dolphins and whales studied was contaminated with unsafe mercury.
1 A Girl
2018 was advertised on Facebook for an auction. The object that is being sold? A 17-year-old girl from South Sudan. The event was condemned by human rights lawyers, anti-trafficking organizations and local and international communities.
In South Sudan, the tradition of selling children's brides is difficult to eradicate. Young girls are given to the man who provides the highest "dowry". In this case, five men fought each other in a bidding war, and no one asked the youth if that was what they wanted. She was handed over to a man in his forties as his ninth wife. He paid with luxury cars, 500 cattle, $ 10,000, bicycles, telephones, and a boat.
What angered activists beyond selling a child was that they were advertised on Facebook for days before the social media giant responded to complaints and removed the post. Even then, other contributions remained in which the praise of the auction was sung. Later, a picture showed the sad-looking girl with the buyer.