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Auction of Evil

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Tucker: They're probably trying to steal the artifact, then sell it to the highest bidder.
Caboose: Oh, 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. Or maybe he does it because he'd love to make some bucks.

Does not always involve the classic "English auction" (that's the "going once, going twice" sort), instead using sealed bids. It's more refined that way, and if the price is millions of dollars, it's easier to handle that way.

Since slave-taking is a form of villainy, a slave auction would also fall under this trope. This is more Truth in Television than many other examples, though, as most slave societies (e.g. the United States, before the Emancipation Proclamation) did commonly sell their slaves at auctions. This may be the heroes themselves being put up for auction, often for the right of the highest bidder to slice them up, or it may be someone or something important to the heroes that's on the block. In this case, the good guys may go undercover to make a bid themselves, but this gambit rarely turns out well. Often, especially in pornographic works such as Hentai, the slaves are Sex Slaves.

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

Welcome to Evil Mart is a less competitive form of villain commerce. See also Arms Fair.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In episode eight of the Hentai Cool Devices, Maya is captured by slavers and sold at an English-style auction, starting at 200 credits and being raised to about 360 before Estilgar bids five million on her.
  • Gosick featured one selling stolen national treasures and abducted girls.
  • A major plot arc in Hunter × Hunter takes place during the Yorknew City Auction, the largest in the world, as well as its underground mafia counterpart. Naturally, the Genei Ryodan shows up, massacres everyone, and makes off with the goods.
  • Lost Universe opens at one of these. This develops into the female lead being put on auction. Played for laughs, as there are no bids, much to her distress.
  • In One Piece the Human Auctioning House (or the Public Employment Security Office as the Marines call it) is the center of the slave trade; ironically, while it deals in human slaves, more exotic species are worth far more. In one arc the crew's friend Camie the Mermaid gets kidnapped and sold there (live mermaids being especially valuable). The Straw Hat Pirates attend the local slave auction and try to buy her freedom, even if it costs them every beri they have (which at the end of the Thriller Bark arc, is quite a bunch). But a World Noble crashes the auction and throws a Whammy Bid which is way more than Luffy and crew can match. Guess it's time to switch to plan B: punch the guy who bought her in the face, rescue the girl, and tear the whole place apart, even though it meant they'd bring the entire World Government upon them. After the two-year Time Skip, the place is shown to have fallen apart since the World Nobles stopped frequenting it.
  • The Tokyo Ghoul :re auction arc revolves around an auction where humans are bid to be eaten by wealthy ghouls.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • 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... methane actually is lighter than air, but not enough for this to really be practical).
    • 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.
    • Batman (Grant Morrison) 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 Batman: The Black Mirror sells both functioning villain tech and morbid "souvenirs" like the crowbar that the Joker used to kill Jason Todd.
  • The Brave and the Bold:
    • In issue #186, Batman and Hawkman team up to find and stop an auction that the Fadeaway Man is holding to sell off loot he has stolen.
    • An issue 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.
  • Captain America: In Steve Rogers Super Soldier #4, Myron Smith sells vials of the super-soldier serum to generals and world leaders at an auction.
  • The Flash: The Network is a mobile black market for supervillains, complete with auctions for big-ticket weapons and famous stolen items.
  • Generation X: In Generation X (2017) #6, some of the mutant students attend a villain auction where nano-sentinels are being sold to the bidder who offers the highest amounts of kills.
  • Hawkeye: In Hawkeye (2012) #4, at a villain auction in Madripoor, a tape that shows Hawkeye killing a dictator is being sold off.
  • Heroes for Hire: 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.
  • Iron Man: In Iron Man 2012 #1, Iron Man crashes an auction where kits of the Extremis enhancer are sold.
  • 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. The gambit sees Batman disguise himself as Chronos while the other six members each disguise themselves as another villain in attendance (Superman as Solomon Grundy, Wonder Woman as Catwoman, Flash as Warp, Martian Manhunter as Parasite, Green Lantern as Count Vertigo, and Hawkgirl as Roxy Rocket) and lure the villains into Chronos' island lair to attend the fake auction of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The villains do eventually catch on, but by the time they do, their numbers have dwindled so much that the Justice League has an easy time mopping them up.
    • This happened to the Justice League of America 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. Turns into a case of Let's You and Him Fight as well, since basically all of the crooks decided to go for the same target as one of their fellow bidders. In the end none of the heroes actually succeed in stealing anything, as Snapper Carr absconds with the goods himself while everyone else is distracted by the fights.
  • Shakara: After the Earth is destroyed on the first few pages of the comic, the last human (who was stuck on the International Space Station) is captured and brought to an interplanetary slave auction. The slavers only included the Puny Earthling as a novelty item.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: The And the Enormous Profit arc centers on Aphra assembling representatives of most of the galaxy's criminal organizations in order to sell the Rur crystal off to the highest bidder. Though things get complicated when her droids sabotage things in an attempt to kill her.
    • The Bat Family Crossover Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters is built around this trope, as the resurgent Crimson Dawn steals the frozen-in-carbonite Han Solo from Boba Fett when he's en-route to Jabba's palace and then puts it on sale to the highest bidder at an assemblage of all the galaxy's major crime syndicates (and the Empire). Fett gets Solo back in the end(Of course), but a lot happens to the Galaxy's criminal underworld in the meantime.
  • Spider-Man: In Marvel Knights Spider-Man, the Venom symbiote was auctioned to the highest bidder 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 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, of all people, Flash Thompson).
  • Superman: Jimmy Olsen is sold to the gentleman wearing the Superman cape in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #117.
  • Wolverine:
    • In Wolverine #9 (2011), after Mystique was killed by Wolverine, her body was auctioned off to the Hand.
    • In a turn of events, a resurrected Mystique would later attend an auction in Madripoor for the remains of Wolverine's body in Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #5.
    • In Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda, several Avengers go undercover on a submarine where genetic material of super-powered beings is auctioned off.

    Fan Works 
  • All's Well That Ends Well (part one of the Spirit Quintology, a series in which Lancer accidentally acquires ghost powers and becomes the hero Will Spirit) concludes with one of these - Skulker kidnaps Danny's entire class and auctions them off to other ghosts in exchange for weapons he can use, with Ghost Writer as the actual auctioneer. Among others, Paulina is bought by Kitty (who wants someone she can do girl talk with), Danny is bought by Vlad (for obvious reasons), and Ghost Writer bids on and wins Lancer after learning of their shared love for literature. Luckily for everyone involved, Danny and Lancer are ultimately able to escape partway through and use their powers to free the hostages.
  • The My Hero Academia fic Awakening has several Class 1-A kids abducted and put up for auction. But giving Midoriya Trigger is a seriously bad idea as the vestiges awaken and cause chaos. Midoriya hangs in midair surrounded by lightning and Blackwhip, which frees everyone while the vestiges speak through Midoriya’s mouth yelling at the auctioneer. After backup heroes arrive, All Might is able to calm Midoriya but the vestiges keep lashing out in the hospital afterward and even when Midoriya returns to school, they “patrol” every couple days to check on the other students,
  • The Chaotic Masters: In Chapter 14, Viper brings Jade along as she infiltrates an auction of magical artifacts hosted by Roulette, Circe, and Vanessa Barone, which Robin also infiltrates alongside Zatanna and Constantine, and which Aqualad infiltrates for his own reasons. Aside from them, every other attendant is a villain, including but not limited to Jinx, the Dazzlings, the Penguin, Ra's al Ghul, Xanatos, Demona, Daolon Wong, and Alastor the Radio Demon.
  • In the Turning Red fanfic The Great Red Panda Rescue, Mei is kidnapped and sold at one of these.
  • One of the stories in the fourth Halloween Unspectacular centers around this. In a twist, the auctioneers (incompetent police officers) aren't evil, but most of the items (having once belonged to an evil wizard) they're selling are (like the toaster that houses an evil bread spirit, the camera that transports Patrick back in time, the binoculars that show the worst fears of those who look into them, the Necronomicon, and the wizard's spellbook, which Sam uses to launch Paulina into space and turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun).
  • J-WITCH Series: In the chapter "J-WITCH Meets The J-Team!", Valmont hosts an auction for all of his recently stolen artifacts (including the Heart of Kandrakar), which is attended by all of the Chan Clan's other prominent human criminal enemies, as well as Daolon Wong and Cedric (who are there for the Heart). When the J-Team and Guardians crash the party, everyone starts fighting over the Heart, and it turns into a massive brawl.
  • In A Possible Encounter for a Phantom, The Faction hosts one of these to acquire additional funds, with the items being smaller, weaker Terrakons, and the auctioneer being Jack Hench.
  • The Ark from With Pearl and Ruby Glowing have no problems doing this to those they capture. At least one protagonist had his virginity lost this way and it's hinted that they will even auction their victim's corpses off to necrophiles.
  • Taken is a My Hero Academia fic where Bakugo, Midoriya and Todoroki end up in one of these. Midoriya ends up under the control of a villain named Hex who uses him as a People Puppet and makes him fight his friends. Luckily they’re rescued, though there is an alternate ending fic where they are sold off that’s in progress as of March 2024.
  • Another My Hero Academia fic The Waters of Lethe has Aizawa abducted to be auctioned. He’s tenacious and fights his captors along with making sketches that help convict the guys, but he’s hit with a powerful blast of amnesia quirk before he’s rescued. He remembers almost nothing and it takes so long to recover his memory that Present Mic was told to consider a long term care facility. Making things worse, Mic sees evidence in the case that shows one of the highest bidders on Aizawa was Garaki and the nomu makers. Yikes.

    Film — Animated 
  • 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. Proves very fun for one kid who buys his dehydration gun...

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. Professor Moriarty sets up a mini-auction between Russia and France for the stolen Redcliff Document.
  • Amistad: When Cinque is telling his story via flashbacks, many of the Africans that survived La Amistad's voyage from West Africa, were auctioned off in Cuba before the ship was taken over by Cinque and the other Africans still onboard.
  • Near the start of Batman & Robin, Dr. Jason Woodrue (Floronic Man in the comics) holds an auction for Bane and his "Venom" super soldier serum. Too bad that Pamela Isley, after having an entire shelf of chemicals dumped on her, turned into Poison Ivy and gave him a Kiss of Death before taking Bane with her as she burns down the lab.
  • A Deleted Scene in Captain America: Civil War has Zemo turning up at one of these, claiming the Hydra weapon they're selling is rubbish, and then killing everyone with Deadly Gas so he can take the one item that is valuable, the notebook with the Trigger Phrase for the Winter Soldier.
  • Chai Lai Angels: Dangerous Flowers: After stealing the Andaman Pearl, Dragon attempts to auction it off to a roomful of international criminals and other shady types.
  • 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.
  • In DOA: Dead or Alive, the 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 Get Out (2017), the older guests at the Armitage's party go off with Rose's father to play Bingo, a disguise for a silent auction where the guests bid on who gets Chris's body.
  • Hostel II: One scene shows wealthy people typing on their cell phones/computers, bidding for the right to torture and kill the women displayed on their devices' screens. The bidding is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  • 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 where 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. Before he can do this he's killed by Jaws, an assassin working for the supervillain whom he stole the plans from.
    • 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 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs rescued from Isla Nublar get auctioned off at Lockwood's manor to attendees who include pharmaceutical researchers, extreme sport hunters, a Russian arms merchant, and a Texan oil millionaire who wants a pet triceratops for his kid. Owen and Stiggy the Stygimoloch interrupt events, but not before several of the dinosaurs have been sold and trucked off elsewhere.
  • In The Master of Disguise, the main villain steals all of the world's most valuable objects and then sells them on Black Market eBay.
  • In the final act of Mortdecai, Mortdecai and Johanna arrange for the painting with the bank account number to be sold at an auction disguised as another painting (although they are planning to let the buyer walk away with another decoy).
  • This 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.
  • 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.

  • Caliphate: The Christian slave girl Petra is sentenced by the sharia court to be sold off after being brutally raped. Her Muslim friend Besma tries to persuade her father Abdul to stop Petra from being sent away, but his hands are tied. She gives some money to her servant Ismail to buy Petra's freedom because she knows Petra is too beautiful and even worse things will happen to her if she ends up in the wrong hands. Ismail attempts to buy her at the auction, but is unable to top the other buyers' offers, even when Abdul gives him even more money, and Petra ends up being sent to a harem.
  • The Demon Princes plays this trope straight, subverts it and inverts it in the second book, The Killing Machine. Interchange is a planet which specializes 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 that the person that 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.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • In 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.
    • In the Decalog 3 story "Fegovy", an energy-based creature named Fegovy is auctioning off the priceless "Face of Humanity" to several criminals and warlike species. The Doctor wins the auction by tricking the entity into selling off its entire collection in exchange for what it believes are Gallifrey's coordinates. It's actually just a childish insult the Doctor scribbled.
  • In Eisenhorn: Malleus, Eisenhorn infiltrates a clandestine slave auction where one of the villains is selling an Alpha-plus level psyker. The villain doesn't actually intend to sell the psyker, however, and is using the auction to flush out anyone that might be on his tail. Eisenhorn realizes this and comes prepared. The other buyers don't and are slaughtered by the villain's minions once the jig is up.
  • In 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.
  • Sex slave auctions are, naturally, common in the Gor series. The concept of 'evil', however, isn't.
  • In The Husky and His White Cat Shizun: Erha He Ta De Bai Mao Shizun, the auction at Xuanyuan Pavilion features Song Qiutong being auctioned as a Sex Slave, live meal, or horrifying combination of both depending on the buyer's preferences. Ye Wangxi, a cultivator of heroic reputation, makes a Whammy Bid to buy her, which confuses Mo Ran, who interprets this as a gallant rescue, over how Song Qiutong acted toward Ye Wangxi in the other timeline.
  • Nightside: In Hex and the City, John Taylor works security for an auction of supernatural and super-science artifacts that attracts all sorts of disturbing, disreputable, or just plain insane "players" from the Nightside and elsewhere. But even the worst of them are outclassed by the reality-warping extradimensional entities that crash the gathering to seek the prize item up for bid: a probability-controlling butterfly.
  • 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 
  • In "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 organizations (including The Mafia, Leech Enterprises, a sinister immortal force within NATO, and an easily manipulated government think-tank) an opportunity to "sponsor" the show.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The sixth book, The Ersatz Elevator, 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.
  • Shadow Police: In The Severed Streets, Costain and Ross discover that there is a quarterly auction of arcane artifacts in London — held on the solstices and the equinoxes — and attend one. While not necessarily evil, the auctions are definitely amoral and will accept all kinds of disturbing things as payment: blood, body parts, a year of suicidal depression, the ability to ever feel happiness...
  • One of the antagonists of Weaveworld is a salesman by trade, and he intends to sell the eponymous Weaveworld, which contains most of the world's magic and the Mage Species that works it, to the highest bidder as a demonstration of his professional prowess. Of course, he never troubles himself with the moral implications of selling a world and its inhabitants.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Angel: In "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.
  • The Avengers (1960s):
    • In the 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.
    • In the episode "The Man from Auntie", an organization which steals items for collectors kidnaps Mrs. Peel and plans to auction her off to them.
    • In "The Hour That Never Was", a team of technicians at a Royal Air Force base is brainwashed and given hypnotic programming by a team of criminals using ultrasonics. The Big Bad intends to set up an auction of the brainwashed personnel to the highest bidder.
  • Avon is paraded at a slave auction in the Blake's 7 episode "Assassin".
  • Several episodes of Charmed (1998) 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.
  • Several episodes of Criminal Minds involve online auctions of kidnap victims to (depending on the episode) either pedophiles or serial killers.
  • 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...
  • Daredevil (2015): After Karen Page exposes a numbers racket at Union Allied, Wilson Fisk has his cronies reacquire the company's assets when they're auctioned off. In "In the Blood," Karen crashes one auction to sketch outlines of the bidders. Ben Urich drops in as well and tells Karen to bid on some of the smaller lots to avoid giving herself away.
  • 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?
  • The Magician: In "Illusion of Black Gold", kidnappers attempt to auction off of a kidnapped scientist who has developed a process for extracting oil from shale.
  • Mission: Impossible:
    • In the 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 the episode "Speed", the West Coast's largest drug dealer steals 3 tons of amphetamines and sets up an auction in the criminal underworld to sell it to the highest bidder. The IMF must stop the plan so that the drugs don't reach the American public.
    • 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.
  • 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 Superpowered 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.)
  • A variation in The Professionals episode "First Night". Criminals kidnap an Israeli minister and offer to sell him to the highest bidder — government or terrorist — that wants him returned safely or killed.
  • In both Roots (1977) and the 2016 remake, Mandinka warrior in training, Kunta Kinte is taken from his homeland in Western Africa and auctioned off to a Virgina plantation owner.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Q-Less", Quark auctions off a bunch of stuff brought through the newly discovered wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant. One of the items up for auction turns out to be a dangerous crystal which has been causing power outages and other problems all throughout the episode, and — of course — nearly destroys the station.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?", Plutus, God of Greed, steals and auctions off the Word of God as well as Kevin. Kevin's mother bids her soul to save him. Crowley possesses her in order to steal the Word anyway.
  • In Warehouse 13, this is the premise of the first Season Finale.

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance features one with, among other things, cloning pods. Both Garfield the deals warlock and Barry Bluejeans are in attendance.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: The Night Vale Sheriff's Secret Police hold an auction of seized goods, including an original X-Men comic, a glowing coin, and one community radio host.

    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 Botherúd use the auction as a chance to wipe out a large group of Prometheans at once using a suitcase nuke.
  • In Rocket Age there is a black market for Ancient Martian artefacts and in one adventure the heroes can find themselves right in the middle of criminal auction for a teleportation device, up against Nazis, gangsters, con-men and deposed royalty.

    Video Games 
  • In the second Ace Attorney Investigations, the fourth case centers around an illegal auction at the prosecutors' office for evidence from past cases, in which participants hid their identities using masks with voice-changers. The victim was a Mole posing as a buyer and trying to bring down the auctioneer. The true murder weapon even turns out to be an auction gavel.
  • In Devil Survivor, this is how you "acquire" new demons. If the bids are too close, it passes from English-type auction to a sealed-type. In the sequel, on the other hand, regular auctions always use sealed bids, while the rare Special Auctions remain English-type.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure, The Mafia hosts an annual "Schwarze Auction" where they sell off totally legitimately acquired art to the rich and powerful. The police can't do anything about it because said mafia has very powerful friends in the government, with the event being located at the personal mansion of the speaker of the Diet.
  • 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 are 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.
  • Phantom Thief Silver Cat: Mineko plans to sell the Emerald Queen at one after using it as bait to lure Silver Cat. In one Bad End, Silver Cat herself is sold as a slave at the same event.
  • The Price of Flesh starts off with one — with you as the merchandise. The Big First Choice is determining who makes the winning bid.
  • Tales of Rebirth: Wan Gin's auction in Kyogen, where he attempts to barter both Agarte and Claire after promising to help Veigue and co. May double as a Slave Market as he does sell people in secret. Passing it up is a pretty bad idea, since it offers a lot of rare items and is needed in a rather big sidequest, but Wan Gin eventually gets his comeuppance.
  • Most of the second act of Watch_Dogs revolves around Aiden infiltrating an auction dedicated to selling runaway, kidnapped, and other type of missing girls as sex slaves. Although shutting down the auction (and the human trafficking ring behind it) is only an ancillary goal for Aiden during his mission, once he's presented with the opportunity he swiftly, and brutally, follows through.
  • World of Assassination Trilogy: One of these is going on in the background of the first game's first mission. A freelance spy ring is auctioning off a NOC list with the identities of every MI6 agent in the Middle East to a cabal of shady characters, including the son of an East Asian dictator and an Arab Oil Sheikh with ties to terrorist cells. 47's mission is to shut down the auction by killing both of the spy ring's leaders.


    Web Original 
  • Marshall, Carter and Dark from the SCP Foundation universe is a rival Artifact Collection Agency which regularly auctions anomalous artifacts off to the super rich. An interesting example in that they're not evil as such, but rather that they have a cavalier attitude to the consequences of their inventory falling into the wrong hands, and large sections of their catalogs are typically devoted to items with obvious Power Perversion Potential. On at least a couple occasions, however, they've turned something even they thought was too dangerous or depraved to sell over to the Foundation, and have also (grudgingly) acted as broker to the Foundation when securing items from private collections.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • In "Harlequinade", a group of gangsters auction off a bomb only for it to be stolen by the Joker.
    • 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.
    • "The Mask of Matches Malone": Two-Face attempts to auction the Cloak of Nefertiti, which gives its wearer nine lives, as it was empowered by a cat goddess. Batman (disguised as the gangster Matches Malone), Catwoman, Huntress, and Black Canary infiltrate the auction. Just as they start bidding, some of the gangsters pull guns on Two-Face and try to take the cloak by force. Two-Face, Batman, Catwoman, Huntress, and Black Canary all fight them off, but Batman gets hit on the head and genuinely believes he is the gangster Matches Malone. He steals the cloak and goes on a crime spree.
  • Captain Planet: Dr. Blight goes back in time to WWII in order to auction the atom bomb to the Axis Powers.
  • 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. The winner ends up being Armando Gutierrez, but he drags out the countdown too long and Freakazoid ends up being saved by NormAbram.
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, one episode had Dr. Wily shrink entire American cities - specifically, New York City, Washington, D.C., 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.
  • 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: In the episode "Accomplices", the specs for the Rhino's suit are on the block.
  • Superfriends, 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. The auction is infiltrated by Der Fledermaus and Sewer Urchin, incredibly poorly disguised as supervillains "The Rake" and "Buckethead".
  • In Young Justice - Revival Series, a demonstration and auction for Metahuman teenagers is held in Biyala. Nightwing's team infiltrates the auction and rescues all the teenagers there.