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Auction of Evil
Tucker: I dunno, they're gonna steal it and auction it off to the highest bidder or something
Caboose: GASP! They're like Evil Ebay!

Proof that Even Evil Has Standards, The Bad Guys will show some sport and allow for other baddies to meet underground and place bids on a Destructive Piece of Applied Phlebotinum or other significant Doomsday Devices.

Does not always involve the classic "English auction" (that's the "going once, going twice" sort), instead using sealed bids. More refined.

Since slave-taking is a form of villainy, a slave auction would fall under this trope. This is more Truth in Television than many other examples, though, as most slave societies (even the United States, before the Emancipation Proclamation) did commonly sell their slaves at auctions.

A form of Villains Out Shopping, although it can (and usually does) have more plot significance than most.

Needs a Better Description. See also Arms Fair.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • Justice League Adventures #6 as seen above, with time-travelling villain Chronos on the seller's podium. In this issue the whole thing is a Batman Gambit by the man himself (and the rest of the League) to capture all the attending supervillains.
    • This happened to the JLA in the mainstream DCU comics as well, in an early Silver Age JLA story, "For Sale: The Justice League!" (Justice League of America #8, 1961). A common gangster manages to find a device which he can use to control the JLA members, and auctions them off to various crooks to use as aides in committing crimes.
  • An issue of The Brave and the Bold starring Superman and Catwoman featured an underworld auction where one of the items being sold was the location of the cave containing the Clayface protoplasm.
  • The Venom symbiote was auctioned to the highest bidder eventually in Spider-Man comics by Eddie Brock himself. (Eddie was determined to give up being Venom and was actually planning to donate the money to charity, most likely not telling them where the money came from.) All the top villains were in attendance, as were scrubs like the Looter. Mobster Don Fortunado won and gave the it to his wimpy son Angelo in hopes that it'll toughen him up. Angelo got himself killed pretty quickly and the symbiote found its way to Macdonald "Mac" Gargan, formerly the Scorpion, who had it until Siege (after which it ended up, on all people, Flash Thompson)
  • The Silver Age story Crime of the Month Club had the Joker operate one of these, where he sold plans for heists to various criminals. Of course, this being Joker, the plans are pretty far-fetched (one such crime involved robbing the Gotham Gas Works, then using the gas to fill up a hot air balloon so the robbers could escape).
  • Jimmy Olsen is sold to the gentleman wearing the Superman Cape in Jimmy Olsen #117
  • Steve Englehart wrote an issue of Batman called "The Malay Penguin" in which Hugo Strange set up an auction of Batman's secret identity to his enemies, including Penguin and the Joker. It's a similar situation as "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne" listed in animation.
  • Sidewinder holds an evil online auction for a select group of collectors featuring antiques stolen just a few hours before. He'd been working this angle for a few months by the time his latest attempt was foiled by the intervention of the Heroes for Hire.
  • Grant Morrison's Batman has a Timey-Wimey story in which one strand involves Hat-Man (previously the second Mad Hatter, before the first one returned) auctioning off the Joker's Joke Book.
  • The Mirror House in the Batman (Dick Grayson) storyline "The Black Mirror", which sells both functioning vilain tech and morbid "souvenirs" like the crowbar the Joker used to kill Jason Todd.
  • The Network, originally debuting in The Flash, is a mobile black market for supervillains, complete with auctions for big-ticket weapons and famous stolen items.

     Film  

  • The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. Professor Moriarty sets up an mini-auction between Russia and France for the stolen Redcliff Document. On YouTube here.
  • Cradle 2 the Grave, magical super plutonium is being sold to a collection of the world's biggest, baddest baddies. The Chairman from Iron Chef America plays the seller.
  • James Bond:
    • Casino Royale (1967) La Chieffe sets up an "art auction" between the US, USSR and Great Britain to sell a set of compromising photographs, culminating in a hilarious scene were each country believes that they are under attack.
    • Diamonds Are Forever. After Blofeld launches his Frickin' Laser Beams equipped Kill Sat, he sets up "An international auction, with nuclear supremacy going to the highest bidder."
    • The Spy Who Loved Me. Cairo nightclub owner Max Kalba sets up an auction between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. over plans for a system that can track submarines underwater.
      • Does that really count? Military research is perfectly legal and well-accepted. The only thing odd is the fact that it's an auction.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies opens with James Bond infiltrating a weapons bazaar where various military grade weapons are being sold to terrorists.
    • Never Say Never Again. Largo's mook attempts to auction Domino as a sex slave until James Bond rescues her.
  • In DOA: Dead or Alive, Big Bad's plan is to auction off his ultimate weapon: a pair of hi-tech sunglassess that enables its wearer to use any martial art imaginable.
  • In Wonder Woman (1974), Diabolical Mastermind Abner Smith steals a a complete list of U.S. field agents, their undercover identities and current assignments and plans to sell it to the highest bidder. He doesn't actually succeed in setting up the auction before the title heroine stops him.
  • In The Master of Disguise, the main villain steals all the worlds most valuable objects and then sells them on Black Market eBay.
  • Takes place at the end of Steel with the Big Bad attempting to auction off his (actually, stolen from the US Army) Energy Weapons. However, being smart, he only sells them the weapons, not the means to maintain them or make more in order for them to keep paying for his services (right after offing his partner and hired thugs in a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment).
  • Taken: The bad guys auction their kidnapped girls as sex slaves. Bryan infiltrates the place and tries to buy his daughter, but is discovered, forcing him to get her back the old-fashioned way.

     Literature  

  • The Ersatz Elevator, the sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, ends in an auction when the Baudelaires THINK that Duncan and Isadora are hidden in an item called "V.F.D.", but it turns out that they're hidden in a large sculpture of a Red Herring.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Alien Bodies. Agents of the most formidable powers in the galaxy gather at an auction to bid for the deadliest weapon ever created, the body of the Doctor.
    • Story "Fegovy" in Decalog 3. An energy-based creature named Fegovy is auctioning off the priceless "Face of Humanity" to several criminals and warlike species.
  • Sex slave auctions are, naturally, common in the Gor series.
  • In Maximum Ride: The Final Warning, the Uber-Director attempts to auction off the flock. He's thwarted by the flock using their 'skills' to distract the viewers... oh, and a hurricane.
  • The The Dresden Files book Proven Guilty has a member of the White Court abduct Harry Dresden and auction him off on eBay to all those he's severely pissed off. The bidding got up into the millions.note 
  • Jack Vance's The Demon Princes series plays this trope straight, subverts it AND inverts it in the second book, The Killing Machine. Interchange is a planet which specialises in kidnap victim/ransom exchanges, acting as intermediary between the villain and anyone who chooses to pay the ransom. Everyone wins, because the villain can rest assured he will get his money while the ransoming party knows the person they're coughing up for is guaranteed to be alive and well and in good health (in custody at Interchange, NOT in the villain's lair). In order to avoid the loathsome attentions of a master criminal (the Big Bad of the episode), the heroine approaches Interchange and posts a "ransom" for herself, far beyond the capacity of anyone to pay. How Kirth Gersen goes about subverting the system is the subject of the first half of the book.
  • In the Diogenes Club story "The Serial Murders", a villain who's worked out a way of using a soap opera full of No Celebrities Were Harmed characters as a voodoo ritual offers the representatives of various organisations (including The Mafia, Leech Enterprises, a sinister immortal force within NATO, and an easily-manipulated government think-tank) an opportunity to "sponsor" the show.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Avengers:
    • Episode "Have Guns - Will Haggle". Thieves steal 3,000 highly-secret, brand-new rifles and stage an auction for the guns for buyers on the black market.
    • Episode "The Man from Auntie". An organization which steals items for collectors kidnaps Mrs. Peel and plans to auction her off to them.
  • Mission: Impossible episode "Doomsday". An industrialist sets up an auction to sell weapons-grade plutonium and other items needed to produce an H-bomb to the highest bidder.
    • In another, the baddie auctions off the "antidote" to a computer virus that can cripple military systems. The virus itself was free, since none of the attendees could use it without exposing their own systems.
  • Angel "Parting Gifts" Cordelia is kidnapped and her "Seer's Eyes" are put up for bid.
    • And when it appears that they are about to be sold for much too low a price (from Cordelia's viewpoint) she takes over from the auctioneer to drive the price higher, and to buy time for the Big Damn Heroes to show up and rescue her.
  • Farscape, Crichton sets up one of these for the wormhole knowledge inside his brain. He doesn't intend to actually let the auction conclude, but merely uses the competition between the Big Bads this stirs up as a cover for his real plans. Needless to say, it's awesome.
    Crichton: What am I offered for all the powers of the universe?
  • During the episode "Q-less" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Quark auctioned off a bunch of stuff brought through the newly discovered wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant. One of the items up for auction turned out to be a dangerous crystal which had been causing power outages and other problems all episode, and—of course—nearly destroyed the station.
  • On Charmed, several episodes have shown that the demons have auctions for the souls bought through a Deal with the Devil, and their own bazaar where they go for trading, and an enterprising demon can even make money by making a Reality Television audience for demon participants and a demon audience.
  • In the third season of 24, an undercover Jack Bauer is trying to get a deadly virus when it turns into a sealed bid auction, with the other bidder being Nina Myers.
  • Avon is paraded at a slave auction in one episode of Blake's 7.
  • In Warehouse 13, this is the premise of the first Season Finale.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?", Plutus, God of Greed, steals and auctions off the Word of God as well as Living MacGuffin Kevin. Kevin's mother bids her soul to save him. Crowley possesses her in order to steal the Word anyway.
  • In Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Kendrix's Quasar Saber was put up for auction at a Bad-Guy Bar after her death (she got better at the end of the series); to recover it, Karone disguised herself as Astronema (her Super-Powered Evil Side that was banished forever in the previous series) winning it by doing a very convincing job of acting, placing a Whammy Bid which she ups to "and you all get to live". Unfortunately, her cover is blown by Trakeena, but she managed to escape with it after causing a Bar Brawl, much like her brother did in the previous season. (Probably genetics.)
  • Cutthroat Kitchen has these in spades, as the items auctioned off are solely ways to handicap the other chefs. Swap out their fresh ingredients for some pre-packaged ones, take away their knives and replace them with plastic knives, bind two chefs together with a double apron...

     Tabletop RPG  

  • Champions supplement C.L.O.W.N. (Criminal Legion Of Wacky Non-conformists). The title villain group captured the supervillain Foxbat and auctioned him off to the highest bidder. The Birmingham, Alabama police department passed the hat and came up with $8.67.
  • Espionage (and its remake Danger International), adventure Merchants of Terror. The villains steal a nuclear artillery shell and try to auction it off to a group of international terrorist organizations.
  • Promethean: The Created: In the sample adventure included in Strange Alchemies, the Unknown Soldier auctions off the services of the Promethean named Lighthouse (who can see other Promethean's milestones). He accepts bids of favors and service, not money. Members of the Botherud use the auction as a chance to wipe out a large group of Prometheans at once using a suitcase nuke.

     Video Games  

  • In Devil Survivor and Devil Survivor 2, this is how you "acquire" new demons. If the bids are too close, it passes from English-type auction to a sealed-type.
  • In Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark expansion, you can buy a female human slave from the Illithid. You can either send her to fight or free her.
  • An Auction of Evil is actually a major plot point in Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee; the last eggs of Munch's species is being auctioned off in a can as "gabbiar" to some rich glukkons, a race whose hat is Corrupt Corporate Executive. Abe intends to use his ability to possess others to manipulate a foolish glukkon into handily winning the auction, then stealing the eggs.

     Webcomics  

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

  • Batman: The Animated Series "Harlequinade" a group of gangsters auction off a bomb only for it to be stolen by the Joker.
    • Also in "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", Hugo Strange tries to auction off Batman's Secret Identity to The Joker, The Penguin, and Two-Face. In a twist, Joker ends up suggesting that they pool their money and collectively "purchase" the secret. Too bad for Strange, Batman switched the tapes...
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold "Legends Of The Dark Mite": Catman attempts to sell a rare wild tiger.
  • Captain Planet: Dr. Blight goes back in time to WWII in order to auction the atom bomb to the Axis Powers.
  • In the animated short sold with some Megamind DVDs, now that Megamind is no longer evil, he starts selling his devices of doom in an auction.
  • Darkwing Duck episode 'In Like Blunt' had the villain turn his lair into an island resort and auction off a list of various S.H.U.S.H. agents' names. All as bait to trap a rival. Of course, he still held the auction.
  • A Family Guy cutaway has Stewie attending a perfectly normal auction, that just happens to offer a machine capable of enslaving humanity.
  • Freakazoid!! had a variation of this with a raffle, hosted by The Lobe, the winner being allowed to set off the giant wooden horn which would play a note at Freakazoid's resonant frequency, shattering him. Naturally all of Freak's villains were there to get in on this.
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, one episode had Dr. Wily shrink entire American cities - specifically, New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago - and then encase them in glass before auctioning them off to the highest bidder. One scene of the Robot Masters driving around in their van also had Guts Man mention that Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Los Angeles were next on the list.
  • Mega Mind and the Button of Doom starts off with MegaMind auctioning off all of his old evil inventions since he's turned good. Proves very fun for one kid who buys his dehydration gun...
  • Space Ghost episode "Space Sargasso". Lurker plans to auction off the captured title character to his enemies, but is interrupted before he can carry it out.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man "Accomplices" The Specs for The Rhino's suit are on the block.
  • Super Friends during the "Super Powers" era, had an episode where the Justice League infiltrated an intergalactic auction to prevent anyone from getting their hands on a piece of Gold Kryptonite, in order to protect Superman. The Kryptonite ended up in Darkseid's hands.
  • Parodied in The Tick animated series, in which Brainchild auctions off the Tick after turning into a two-headed hermaphroditic bluebird that only speaks high-school French and lays chocolate eggs.


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AuctionMoney TropesBankruptcy Barrel
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