Murderabilia: Macabre Mementos offered for sale by Murderauction.com

A murderabilia example. A birthday card signed by Charles Manson, complete anachronistic butterflies and flowers on the front cover. (Murderacution.com)

A birthday card signed by Charles Manson, complete with anachronistic butterflies and flowers on the front cover. (Murderacution.com)

Murderabilia: Macabre Mementos offered for sale by Murderauction.com

The first Bizarre on a Budget feature focused on an eBay listing that contained what the seller claimed to be the soul of an ancient Sumerian woman.

But for this edition, the bizarre is found on an auction website that may be even darker than even the murkiest depths of eBay’s “weird” category.

Murderabilia is a category of collectible items that have a link to murderers. The sale of such items was officially banned from eBay in 2001, according to the Houston Chronicle. However, the ban has not stopped those who seek to own these sometimes grisly items or those who seek to profit from selling them.

Occasionally, an item marketed as murderabilia sneaks through without the online auction giant noticing, but more often, sales of these types of items are conducted on specialty web sites.

Muderauction.com, one of the web’s top murderabilia auction websites, has thousands of active auctions featuring bizarre tokens from serial killers offered to feed the fixation of those fascinated by them.

In past radio interviews, William Harder, founder of Murderauction.com, stated that he has personally found friendship by visiting incarcerated serial killers.

However, whether the bulk of these items are being bought by true crime aficionados, armchair detectives, history buffs, or serial killer groupies like Mr. Harder, is unclear. What is clear is that selling these macabre mementos is big business and items range in price and category almost as widely as items found on more traditional auction sites.

This week, starting at $1.00, the site features panties worn by Dana Sue Gray, a convicted (and admitted) murderer of three elderly woman in 1994.

Items from more infamous killers have higher asking prices. Charles Manson’s 1969 booking cards with the infamous criminal’s fingerprints, start at $10,000.

A murderabilia example. 1969 booking cards that contain Charles Manson's fingerprints are offered with a $10,000 starting price.

1969 booking cards that contain Charles Manson’s fingerprints are offered with a $10,000 starting price (Murderauction.com).

Do people actually bid on these auctions?

After searching through the history of sold items, it does seem that actual sales of items offered with $10,000 starting prices are few and far between. However, there are items on the site that do find their way from buyers to sellers.

July 13th, a birthday card signed by Charles Manson sold for $175. In 2011, a painting by James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. sold for $200.

A murderabilia example. A painting by convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells. (Murderauction.com)

A painting by convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells. (Murderauction.com)

A murderabilia example. A less inconspicuous painting than the previous one depicting waterfowl, also created by Tommy Lynn Sells (Muderauction.com).

A less inconspicuous painting than the previous one depicting waterfowl, also created by Tommy Lynn Sells (Muderauction.com).

While this type of collecting is still at least as far out of the mainstream as collecting shoe lace clips, it is a hobby that, like it or not, is not likely to vanish overnight.

We live in a time when woman write letters to murderers in hopes of finding romance and an era when the media makes celebrities out of criminals. Is it really surprising that someone might shell out $445 for murderabilia like an ugly swan painting created and signed by serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells?

Bizarre, maybe. Unbelievable? Hardly.

Have a tip for a future Bizarre on a Budget article? Send Father a message!

What do you think? 

If a market exists for murderabilia, should there be a marketplace to supply the demand? Would you want to own items owned or created by a convicted murderer? How does sale of these items effect the family of victims?

Leave your answers in the comment section below, share on Facebook, and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk.

Staff Writer

Leo Ashcraft

A retired broadcast engineer, talk show host, news reporter - I have done everything there is to do in the radio broadcast business. I worked a year in television. I left that as my true passion has always been radio - plus I got tired of hearing - you have a face for radio.. I hope you enjoy my articles! Be sure to share them excessively on facebook - like our page and bug your friends with invites!

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