5 Weird Historic Auction Facts You Won’t Believe

5 Weird Historic Auction Facts You Won't Believe

Australian real estate events saw over 2,000 attendees, 333 registered bidders, and 54 properties sold, exceeding $40 million. Five bizarre facts about the auction.

1. The entire Roman Empire was once put up for auction 

The world’s most advanced civilization ever was put up for sale to the highest bidder in 193 AD. Emperor Pertinax was murdered by the Praetorians of the time. Realizing that they had gained control of the kingdom, they decided to capitalize on their deed by putting the entire kingdom up for sale. Know more about railroad collectibles

 A bidding war ensued and Didius Julianus was declared the winner at a high price equivalent to around one billion US dollars. The short nature of Julian’s reign suggests that he failed in his bid and was quickly deposed.

2. Auctions were already held as early as 500 BC. Recorded 

According to the prominent Greek historian Herodotus, the first auction took place at least 2517 years ago. These early auctions were reportedly held in Babylon, the world’s largest city in its heyday. 

The Babylonian city and its empire eventually disappear, and modern-day Iran takes its place.

3. The auction was timed by candles hanging on the wall 

In old England, auctions were often conducted in very strange and interesting ways. A single candle was fixed to the wall of a dark room, and auctioneers and bidders gathered. 

At the beginning of the auction, the auctioneer lit a candle and bidders rushed to bid. The auction ended when the candle around the pin melted and fell to the ground. At this point, the last bidder was declared the winner. This is the literal explanation for the term “flame” in auctions, referring to bidders bidding too high or being overly enthusiastic early in the sales process.

4. Australians once tried to sell New Zealand 

 The friendly rivalry across Tasman showed its colors in 2006 when the cocky Australian put all of New Zealand up for sale. His starting bid was 1 cent, and his bid reached just over $1,300. In our opinion, a bargain for a country this beautiful. 

 Unfortunately, shortly after it went viral, the auction was found to violate his eBay Terms of Service and was quickly removed.

5. Hammers used to be spears 

 Auctioneers and gavels came later, but early in the long history of auctions, things were a little more dramatic. The auctioneer was known as the “Magister Auction Allium” and used spears instead of hammers to open the auctions.

 The act of throwing this spear into the ground initiates the bidding. The drama and intensity of this tradition are admirable, but it would be a great day for occupational health and safety if we were to revive it. As you can see, it took a lot of experimentation, errors, and weird oddities to get the auction to where it is today. Here at Ray White, we want to continue the long tradition of auctions and hopefully look to the future with the drama and drama of the past.