Appetising Auctions

Friday 9th July 2021 - Belle Gait


Appetising Auctions

Let’s take a look at some of the quirky food items and the mind-blowing prices they sold for at auction.

It may not cross your mind to buy food at auction; indeed, a trip to Sainsbury's or Lidl might seem much more straightforward than bidding for your dinner. This isn't always the case, though; very often, food and beverages sell for amazing prices at auction. Most often, this will be a very luxurious item; a sought-after rarity the rich and famous are happy to throw their money down on. There are also many one-of-a-kind items or products that have a unique connection to a historical event.


Let’s take a look at some of the quirky food items and the mind-blowing prices they sold for at auction.


Crackers for the Titanic


We are all used to items from that fated voyage selling for large amounts. A cracker was taken by James Fenwick, a passenger aboard a boat that came to help the Titanic survivors. James removed the savoury biscuit from one of the lifeboats' emergency kits. He placed it in an envelope with a note that said, "Pilot biscuit from Titanic lifeboat April 1912." This cracker was sold at auction in 2015 for more than £16,000.



To the 'Tuna' of…


Primarily used for sushi, bluefin tuna is often sold at auction in fish markets in Japan. The most well-known market, Tsukiji, was moved to make space for the cancelled Tokyo Olympics. This new market called Toyosu held its first auction in January 2019, with the first tuna selling for over £2.25 million. The bidder, who owns a chain of sushi producers, has held the record several times over many years.


Hot Scotch


Macallan is a highly prized scotch that often sells for large amounts of money. In October 2019, a rare bottle of 1926 Macallan Scotch Whisky sold for over £1.4 million. This smashed the previous sale of a hand-painted bottle by Michael Dillon, an Irish artist, which sold for $1.5 million in late 2018.


A Cookie Worth a Fortune


London, 2006 saw a Chinese New Year gala dinner thrown to raise money for the well-known charity, KIDS. This organisation aims to support disabled children to play, learn, and build vital friendships and confidence while providing emotional support for their families. At this gala dinner, a fortune cookie sold for nearly £13,000 – hopefully, the confection bought fortune to the buyer as well as the charity.


A 'Ham'some Sum


The Kentucky State Fair sees an annual Ham Breakfast, which is hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau. This porky provision includes a charity auction. An 8.5kg ham, the grand champion, sold in 2018 for an incredible $2.8 million (over £2 million). Two charitable individuals combined their money for this fantastic bid, the proceeds of which went to the University of Kentucky.


Cheese That Broke the Mould


There is no denying that blue cheese isn't considered desirable to everyone; some would much rather see it placed in the bin than on their plate. The Picos de Europa National Park has caves where an artisanal variety of blue cheese, known as 'Cabrales', matures for three to six months. Weekly care is given to the cheese in these caves, which can only be accessed after a hike for more than a mile. In 2018, a group of restaurateurs battled to buy a wheel of this cherished cheese for more than £10,000.


Takes The Cake


Royal ephemera is often seen at sales and auctions across the UK. Some pieces sell for more than others, and most of it isn't edible. However, a slice of wedding cake from the marriage between the abdicated King Edward III and Wallis Simpson sold in 1999 for £21,700!


Truffle Tender


Always touted as one of the world's most luxurious food items, these fabulous fungi can only be smelled out from their underground hiding spots by pigs or specially trained dogs. The most expensive truffle that has ever sold was bought by Stanley Ho, a billionaire Macau casino owner. He purchased the 1.5kg truffle for almost £240,000!


Clearly, if you have the correct type of cheese or wine, there is a significant amount of bread to be made! So, if you ever find yourself at an event that could go down in history, be sure to take a cheeky souvenir.