Have you ever wondered what you would do if you had more money than sense? Well, Alberta dentist Michael Zuk has been able to actually live out that fantasy experience. Dr. Zuk, the author of the fascinating tome, “Confessions of a Former Cosmetic Dentist” recently purchased one of John Lennon’s molars, yes that John Lennon, for $31,000. Zuk, the winner of the Red Deer Express Readers’ 2007 poll for “Best Dentist in Red Deer” collects animal teeth and celebrity memorabilia. By way of explanation Dr. Zuk told CTV News that he thought it was cool, “even though it’s a rotten tooth and it’s got tartar on it.” I think I’m beginning to understand why going to the dentist always seems to cost so much. For the history buffs out there, Lennon gave the tooth to his housekeeper. I can’t help but think with all his money he should have just given her a raise.
Now of course, Dr. Zuk is not the only member of the “boy I have lots and lots of money to blow” club. After undertaking exhaustive research requiring the use of more than one internet search engine I have discovered that true to the quote that was never uttered by P.T. Barnum, “there’s a sucker born every minute”, or at the very least there’s lots of kids with access to their parent’s credit cards.
What would you give to be the owner of hair that was cut from Elvis Presley’s head in 1958? Well, someone ponied up $15,000 for that privilege. How about French toast discarded by Justin Timberlake? $3,154. Who could forget the sale of Marilyn Monroe’s chest x-rays for $45,000? Okay so maybe that one makes sense, but what about a jar of Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s breath captured in a jar as they walked by? $530. Now, I don’t suggest any sort of mental deficiency in the buyer who paid $2,075 for a used tissue filled with Scarlett Johannason’s nasal secretions but seriously? Are there no needy people in your town?
Of course auctions have a long and distinguished history. The word auction is derived from the Latin word “auctio”. My Latin is a bit rough, but I believe a loose translation is “junk that you’ve been hiding in the slave quarters that you better get rid of before the sun sets or I swear to Jupiter that I’m going to my mother’s villa and I’m taking the kitchen slaves with me.” I could be slightly off on one or two of the words.
Rumor has it that Henry VIII often auctioned off items at Ye Olde Auction House. Understandable, I mean can you imagine how many duplicate wedding presents he received? Awkward.
A recent auction in Edinburgh featured the sale of Victoria’s secret. No not that one I’m talking Queen Victoria. A pair of her majesty’s underwear appeared in their ginormous splendor at auction and sold for $14,000. Comprised of yards of creamy silk fabric and bearing the initials VR for Victoria Regina. No word on what the buyer intends to do with the knee-length unmentionables. For some strange reason the buyer wishes to remain anonymous.
In my enthusiasm I seemed to have strayed from the original focus of my column. I bet you’re surprised I had one. Dr. Zuk’s purchase isn’t the first time that notable teeth have been sold at auction, oh no. A set of baseball great Ty Cobb’s dentures sold for $8,000 and some lucky person is the proud owner of Winston Churchill’s dentures having paid a mere $24,000. Ouch, I have a bit of a toothache. Let’s I start the bidding at $2,000.
Originally appeared in The Cascade newspaper