[[quoteright:346:[[WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cosmobridge24.jpg]]]]

->''"So that's what con means. I've been wondering ever since that guy sold me the Brooklyn Bridge."''
-->-- '''Cosmo''', ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''

A particularly well-known form of TheTale for rather stupid [[TheMark marks]].

The ConArtist pretends he has the ownership rights to a particular public building (the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House are good ones) and sells the building to the mark, who will then show up with bulldozers or whatever. In America, the Brooklyn Bridge is a common target.

You may also find a landmark for sale at HonestJohnsDealership, or peddled by a SnakeOilSalesman.

So well-known that it's also common for people to express incredulity with some variation of "And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you..." Or AndImTheQueenOfSheba.

It's also common to recommend buying what will become "ocean-front property in Nevada," as soon as the earthquake that causes California to break off and fall in the ocean happens.

TruthInTelevision in the early 20th century. Yes, there were actually people who were [[WhoWouldBeStupidEnough stupid enough]].[[note]] The attempt to sell the Eiffel Tower was helped by the fact that the tower was originally meant to be a temporary structure, so it wasn't too surprising that a company would be allowed to buy it, dismantle it, and use it for scrap metal. Furthermore, the people "selling" the Brooklyn Bridge were not literally selling the bridge (and expecting the buyers to take the structure home with them); instead they were selling the right to collect tolls over it. So yes, not as stupid as most fictional examples, who do not even have a whole show of governmental officials who want to do it discreetly.[[/note]]

See Also: RushmoreRefacement, PigInAPoke, TooGoodToBeTrue.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Creator/WaltDisney provides at least three examples:
** In one José Carioca story, José gets out of an American jail by paying his bail with Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil. Later he gets himself a disguise by trading a random key, which he claims is for the Sugarloaf Mountain cable car, for a random person's clothes. And in another story aliens come to Earth to sell the moon to humans, when they try selling it to José, he ends selling the Sugarloaf Mountain to them.
** In a Mickey Mouse story, Goofy gets conned into "buying" the Eiffel Tower during a vacation with Mickey in France, prompting Mickey to look for the con man and bring him to justice. At the end of the story when everything is resolved, Goofy announces to Mickey that [[HereWeGoAgain he bought Notre Dame]], causing Mickey to faint... [[SubvertedTrope but then Goofy takes out a scale model of the cathedral from his bag]].
** And [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]] once buys the actual deed for the Castle Sforzesco in Milan from a thief who happened to pick it up. The purchase isn't remotely legitimate, of course, but because the story needs an IdiotPlot to lead to a faux-medieval battle over the castle, the offended officials of the city basically recognise his claim because he shoots at them with a cannon when they try to disagree.
** Another Uncle Scrooge story has Scrooge and his nephews trying to buy famous landmarks from all over the world. Everybody just angrily tells him no, until he gets to "buy" the Cheops pyramid from a local huckster in Cairo.
* In a ''ComicBook/LePetitSpirou'' book, Spirou and his friend sells the local church to a RichInDollarsPoorInSense {{Eagleland}}er.
* Goes awry in at least one ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' comic -- an alien buys (the Metropolis equivalent of) the Brooklyn Bridge, then miniaturizes it and carries it off.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' Calvin tries to sell ''Earth'' to some aliens.
* In Creator/AlanMoore's ''ComicBook/ThargsFutureShocks'' strip "Grawks Bearing Gifts" in ''Comicbook/TwoThousandAD'', the Grawks are alien (and stereotypically Australian) tourists, who have people lining up to play this con on them, until [[spoiler: they reveal that under Galactic Law ''all these sales are valid'', and they now own the planet]].

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Anime/TheMysteryOfMamo'' does this in the Streamline dub when Jigen expresses his incredulity at what Lupin's studying after the Philosopher's Stone job.
-->'''Jigen:''' If you buy that, I've got some Siberian beachfront property on sale.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* At the end of ''Film/TheDamBusters'', a high-ranking official shakes the hand of the scientist that pitched the plan for StuffBlowingUp: "I didn't believe you, but now you could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge!"
* ''Discworld/GoingPostal'', from the book by the same name, upon recounting Von Lipwig's cons, shows a newspaper frontpage with the headline reading: "Conman sells city bridge -- Three times!"
* Referenced in ''[[Creator/LaurelAndHardy Way Out West]]'':
-->'''Stan:''' That's the first mistake we've made since that fellow sold us the Brooklyn Bridge.\\
'''Ollie:''' Buying that bridge was no mistake. That's going to be worth a lot of money to us someday!
* Italian actor Totò sold nothing less than the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) to a gullible american tourist in "Totòtruffa '62" ("Totòscam '62").

* ''The Literature/{{Discworld}} [[UniverseCompendium Companion]]'' notes that Ankh-Morporkians provide essential services for the rural people of the Sto Plains "such as selling them the Brass Bridge at a cut-down price".
* In the ''Star Trek'' novel ''Literature/SpocksWorld'', Dr. [=McCoy=] offers to sell Spock a bridge "with a great view of Brooklyn" after working out he'd been deceived by the person who engineered the Vulcan secession crisis. Specifically, that said person was lying about how they'd financed the grand-scale bribery that made it possible.
* Amusingly subverted in the first book of the ''Literature/StarTrekMillennium'' series, when Vic, in his lounge-singer milieu, tries to use the expression... except only the local FanOfThePast knows what the Brooklyn Bridge was, and they end up [[DistractingDisambiguation distracted by]] the fact that in the future, it ''was'' sold to a theme park on the moon as a tourist attraction.
* In the ''Franchise/DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse Literature/NewSeriesAdventures'' novel ''Big Bang Generation'', the Doctor, posing as a master con-artist, claims to have sold the Sydney Opera House to five different people. The actual con-artist he's talking to doesn't believe a word of it.
* David Macaulay's lavishly illustrated series of young adult books on the construction of various types of buildings (''Castle'', ''Cathedral'', ''City'', and so forth) has a book entitled ''Unbuilding'' that plays with this trope. The plot revolves around an elaborate scheme by a Middle Eastern prince to buy the Empire State Building, dismantle it piece by piece, and ship it overseas to be rebuilt as a landmark in his home country. Most of the book consists of detailed descriptions and intricate illustrations of the many steps that this enormous disassembly process would require. This trope is ultimately subverted in that [[spoiler:the ''buyer'' turns out to be the real con artist. At the end of the book, the ship carrying the pieces of the Empire State Building mysteriously sinks in the Atlantic. The prince then collects on an insurance policy that he had taken out on it - a policy worth far more than what he had paid for the building.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheATeam'': In the episode "[[Recap/TheATeamS4E5TheRoadToHope The Road to Hope]]", Hannibal, discussing how suspicious their latest client is, says she should be selling the Brooklyn bridge. Face [[ComicallyMissingThePoint responds that the Brooklyn bridge goes for more than she's offering]], which he knows [[ConMan thanks to pulling that particular con himself]].
* ''Series/TheBeverlyHillbillies'':
** The final season features a storyline where the Clampetts go to Washington and Jed is conned into buying the White House, the Capitol Building and other landmarks. The previous season that same con man sold them Statue of Liberty and Central Park.
** In another (earlier) episode, a con man attempts to sell Hong Kong to Jeb. Jethro believes that it is a giant ape (most likely he's thinking of ''Film/KingKong''), but the con man explains that Hong Kong is on the coast of China. Jeb turns him down, explaining that he has no need for a Chinese ape. He does convince him to buy Canada however
* In ''Series/{{Chuck}}'', Sarah's father tries to pull off this con.
* Mentioned as part of the back story for intergalactic con man Garron in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "The Ribos Operation". Originally from Earth, one of his early cons involved selling Sydney Harbour.
* Mickey Bricks sold someone the Sydney Opera House during his time in Australia before Season 5 of ''Series/{{Hustle}}''. In fact, it was mentioned as the reason for his absence from Season 4, during which the rest of the crew sold someone the Hollywood sign.
** The London Eye was also up for sale at the end of Series 1. Inspector [[Literature/HerculePoirot Japp]] fell for it.
** They also pull an interesting variation in which they sell various London landmarks under the story that the crown is selling those artifacts due to the budget difficulties.
* In the ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' episode "The Three Strikes Job", Nate poses as a real estate developer planning to build a baseball stadium to con a corrupt mayor. This requires him to make it look like an actual team was planning to move to the stadium.
** In "The (Very) Big Bird" episode, the team sells the original Spruce Goose to a corrupt airline owner and Howard Hughes enthusiast.
** In the [[Series/DoctorWho Fourth Doctor]] story "The Ribos Operation", the scripted backstory for the conman Garron was that he had fled Earth after successfully selling an alien warlord the Sydney Opera House. The accent that the Doctor remarks on--changed to Somerset in the filmed version--was originally supposed to be Australian. When Iain Cuthbertson was cast the Australian backstory went, but the titular operation still involves selling not just a landmark but an entire planet to an ambitious but obtuse noble.

* Inverted in George Strait's "Ocean Front Property," where he claims a number of negative feelings for his lover, then adds
-->''...and if you'll buy that\\
I've got some ocean front property in Arizona\\
From my front porch you can see the sea\\
I've got some ocean front property in Arizona\\
And if you'll buy that\\
I'll throw the Golden Gate in free.''

* In "Things to Remember" from ''The Roar of the Greasepaint--The Smell of the Crowd'', Sir advises the Kid:
-->Never buy London Bridge from a stranger,\\
Unless you can make a few bob on the sale.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGateII'':
** When a giant interdimensional starship appears in the slums district, one of the citizens will try and sell it to you. He also has one sales pitch to every NPC you can bring with you, all of whom know better than to accept. If you have Valygar with you he'll chase the conman off, seeing how it's technically "his" sphere since his ancestor built the thing. Strangely if you're a mage, you actually can get control of the thing yourself as your wizard's tower.
** Edwin also references the trope at one point by claiming that if you really believe the Cowled Wizards are good for their word, he has a bridge in Thesk to sell you.
* ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow]]'' has this gem from Yoko.
-->'''Soma Cruz''': No way! He[[labelnote:*]][[spoiler:Graham]][[/labelnote]] did not look like a bad guy.
-->'''Yoko Belnades''': Right, and I've got a bridge to sell you! Don't be fooled by his appearance! He's not who you think he is.
* ''Moraff's Revenge'', an old CGA-DOS game, lets you purchase the city for 1 million gold. If you accept, the store owner mentions wanting to sell a bridge as well.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** Referenced when one goblin says something along the lines of, "If you're stupid enough to believe stuff like that, I've got a statue in Stranglethorn Vale to sell you!"
** There's also the rare drop item [Deed to Thandol Span]. Thandol Span is a massive bridge, making the item basically a WoW equivalent of a deed to the Golden Gate Bridge. The deed itself is classified as junk and as such has absolutely no use, but it fetches a high price from the vendors, and occasionally even from players who will buy it for its novelty value.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In TheRant of [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2011-06-23 this]] ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Dan makes a [[BlatantLies completely believable statement]], then informs anyone that believed him that he has a bridge to sell.
-->''It's a bridge and real and everything, and it goes somewhere people might want to go.''
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0675.html Haley's shopping budget]] includes a hefty "[[CloudCuckoolander Elan]] tax", which she expects he'll probably spend on bridges. In a desert town.
** In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0548.html another strip]], [[WellIntentionedExtremist Redcloak]] tells an underling "But if you think for one round that Xykon gives a withered crap about the goblin race, I have a bridge to sell you [[Literature/BridgeToTerabithia to Terabithia]]."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes loves this gag.
** In ''Bowery Bugs'' WesternAnimation/BugsBunny successfully sells the Brooklyn Bridge after telling the story of how a man made a dive from it (after being [[KarmicTrickster hounded and tricked]] by Bugs endlessly).
** In ''WesternAnimation/TheDucksters'', Porky Pig is a game show contestant who is offered such prizes as the Rocky Mountains, the La Brea Tar Pits, and the Rock of Gibraltar.
* Used as a BrickJoke in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TopCat'': T.C. goes to the doctor after a nasty fall. When Choo-Choo mentions this to Dibble, the latter snidely remarks that T.C. will try to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge ("[[CompletelyMissingThePoint I didn't even know it was for sale!]]" replies Choo-Choo). Later at the doctor's office, the doctor says there's nothing wrong with T.C. and begins discussing his fee. T.C. then tries to pay the doctor with a "business opportunity": "I can't mention any names but it's about a certain bridge..."
* In the {{Creator/Filmation}} version of ''WesternAnimation/MightyMouse'', a con man tries to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to WesternAnimation/HeckleAndJeckle. They politely decline saying that they ''own'' the Brooklyn Bridge. When the con man scoffs, he is utterly stunned when an armored car immediately stops by the magpies with the latest proceeds from the toll for the Brooklyn Bridge.
* Played in a very strange way in the Finnish animation ''WesternAnimation/{{Pasila}}'', during the second season. The head of the police force, Repomies, has been, in his own words, tricked in a pyramid scheme and now claims to own a pyramid in Giza, Egypt. However, he had practically "sold" the landmark to himself. He had only been visiting a perfectly legitimate museum's Egypt exhibition, that advertised itself "See the pyramids!". Obviously, they just had scale models of the pyramids. Later, during his vacation to Egypt, Repomies wasn't allowed to enter his "very own pyramid" and became furious. Now, technically he didn't really lose any money since nobody was scamming him in the first place. However, all this leads him to order Pöysti to arrest Ramses II who inhabits "his pyramid". Before that, he actually tries to sell "his pyramid" to his colleagues. It should be noted that Repomies is a prime example of {{Cloudcuckoolander}} and a very senile one at that.
* Cosmo of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' apparently fell for this.
-->'''Cosmo''': So that's what con means. I've been wondering ever since that guy sold me the Brooklyn Bridge.
* The ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Mudd's Passion" [[NoodleIncident mentions]] that [[ConMan Harry Mudd]] swindled the natives of one planet by selling them Starfleet Academy.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', near the Castle Garden immigration center in New York, a salesman is literally selling the Brooklyn Bridge.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has Steven Magnet, [[ItMakesSenseInContext a sea serpent]], [[ItMakesSenseInContext indirectly refer to it in conversation with a donkey]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Lustig Victor Lustig]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Parker George C. Parker]] are the most well known perpetrators of this scheme in real life. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Furguson Arthur Furguson]] is another famous example though his existence might or might not be a hoax.
* And, in a subversion, a gentleman from Arizona bought [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge_(Lake_Havasu_City) London Bridge]] and the city of London duly dismantled it and shipped it out to Arizona. (They built [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge another one]] in its place). Rumor has it that the purchaser was dismayed because he thought he was buying the much more iconic [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_bridge Tower Bridge]], though the Other Wiki insists that this has been Jossed. He also made a profit on the sale (the value of the bridge as a tourist attraction raising the value of the land where it was placed, which he owned), so it doesn't really matter whether or not it was the bridge he meant to buy since he still came out ahead.
* When the Dutch bought the Manhattan peninsula from local natives, the people they negotiated with and who got the money were not actual owners of the land. But when the Dutch made an offer to buy the land, they gladly took the money.
* Those "name your own star" things you see on late-night TV (or in magazine adverts), [[http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/826/can-you-pay-35-to-get-a-star-named-after-you as our friends at The Straight Dope elaborate here]].
* The actual Eiffel Tower ''has'' been sold... piecewise. Or more exactly, it [[TheseusShipParadox has been completely replaced part by part]] over time and the old parts were auctioned off.