A pretty rare item popped up on Yahoo Japan’s auction page recently seemingly just in time for the Halloween season. From 26 September to 3 October, users were able to place their bid on a real human skull – at least I think it’s real according to the eerily vague product description.
At the closing, the winning bid was for 104,000 yen (US$1,300) which may or may not be a bargain. I haven’t been following the human bone index recently.
The legality of selling human bones on the internet is thankfully falls under one of the more arcane laws so it’s hard to get a definitive answer on it. Yahoo Japan’s auction site does have a policy prohibiting the sale of “human bodies, organs, cells, and blood.”
I don’t think a skull qualifies as a “body” but it could be deemed cells. If that was the case then wouldn’t a wig made of human hair be equally banned? Also, it seems Yahoo didn’t know, didn’t show, or just didn’t care about this transaction because it ran its course without any restrictions.
Perhaps it was the seller’s naming of the item as ☆ Skull ☆ Authentic Specimen. Using the word “specimen” would certainly suggest that this is bioorganic matter, but still leaves a shadow of doubt compared to a phrase like “authentic remains.”
On top of that, the description page mentions it belonged to a dentists’ teacher which might suggest that it’s just a model. It must have been a pretty crappy dentist’s model though seeing as most of its teeth are missing.
The skull was also listed as a “used item” which might have been a kind of dark joke… I just don’t know anymore. And probably no one except the “lucky” buyer will know for sure if that skull was just some medical school model or an actual dead person’s head that somehow slipped through a major internet auction site.
▼ For posterity here’s a screenshot of the original Yahoo auction page.