When Ellsworth de Parcq and Dante La Franchi (I wish I knew people with such cool names) posed for their senior yearbook photos at Glendale, California High School in 1925, little did they know that a short 87 years later, the finished product would sell for $800 on a recent episode of Pawn Stars. Or what Pawn Stars is. Or a television, for that matter.
Luckily for them, Ellsworth and Dante were classmates with one Marion Morrison, who went into the burgeoning film industry after school, quickly started landing onscreen roles and soon changed his name to John Wayne.
The seller who brought the item in to Las Vegas’ Gold & Silver Pawn Shop made a hefty profit on the film legend’s yearbook, considering that he had bought it for just $1. Had the signatures page sported Wayne’s, er, Morrison’s John Hancock, it actually could’ve sold for a lot more. “Without a signature, the value really drops,” noted the show’s Corey Harrison.
Another celebrity collectible recently featured on the hit show was country music immortal Johnny Cash’s driver’s license. The seller, who obtained the 1964 ID card after a sixth grade classmate brought into school and he “talked him out of it,” made a cool $1,000 on the license, which looks like it’s been through the washing machine once or twice.
Assuming that John Wayne went to high school with a couple of hundred other kids, there are likely still dozens of 1925 Glendale High School yearbooks sitting on basement bookshelves across California, unbeknownst to their owners. Add in the fact that Wayne himself probably never touched this exact yearbook, and it’s a bit surprising that Johnny Cash’s personal driver’s license only sold for $200 more.
Nevertheless, Wayne’s yearbook and Cash’s license aren’t the only pieces of odd celebrity memorabilia that have popped up in the age of online auctions shameless cash-ins. Here are the top 10 strangest celebrity collectibles ever sold (or in some cases, not sold) at auction!
10. Britney Spears’ used gum
At the end of Britney Spears’ first reign atop the pop music world, fascination with the singer was so high that more than a few wads of her used chewing gum popped up at auction, typically selling for around $10. However, one seller thought he might attract the attention of premium memorabilia collectors by driving up the price of his Spears-mint (I’ll be here all day, folks) to $14,000. Nobody bit.