The recent attempt to sell a pair of brass Chinese animal heads took an inventive turn after they were put up for auction as part of the sale of French designer Yves Saint Laurent's art collection. A $40 million bid was received for the two heads (a rabbit and a rat), which French and British troops removed from a clock at China's Old Summer Palace during the second Opium War in 1860. One hitch the buyer had no intention of paying. Chinese art dealer Cai Mingchao submitted the massive bid to protest the sale of the heads, which many Chinese see as unfairly torn from their cultural patrimony.
Current Status: Saint Laurent's partner said he plans to keep the heads and is "thrilled" the sale failed. And while Christie's may consider charges against Cai, they will likely relent after an outpouring of support from the Chinese public for his actions.