Some folks learn the hard way what you can and cannot bring through airport security. Knives and live explosives seem fairly obvious, but replica battle axes evidently are more of a gray area for certain travelers. It may surprise you to learn that most of these TSA-confiscated items wind up on the auction block for sale to the highest bidder.
GovDeals is an online marketplace that blends the simplicity of Craigslist with the functionality of eBay and all the fun of the now-defunct Silk Road. It’s a one-stop liquidity shop for just about every governmental agency looking to offload surplus and confiscated goods. Categories range from household items — jewelry, food, and artwork — to cars, boats, and industrial equipment like cranes and dump trucks. Would-be buyers can even shop for offbeat, niche wares such as parking meters, fire trucks, and driving simulators.
Perusing the Confiscated/Forfeited/Personal Property category, in particular, reveals a treasure trove of useful — and, one might imagine, borderline illegal — items. TSA agents seized many from passengers trying to smuggle them aboard their next flight. Especially post-9/11, the mind boggles at the quantity and breadth of bizarre things travelers think pass for acceptable carry-on luggage, even less the brazen objects like Nerf guns and bullet-shaped paperweights. It fascinates the TSA, which has made something of a social media sport of revealing its favorite discoveries on Instagram.
In 2016 alone, the agency confiscated a record number of 3,391 improperly checked firearms at airport security checkpoints. This figure does not include all of the machetes, grenades, Batman throwing stars, Klingon-esque knives, and whatever this is. The replica suicide vest, however, wins The Manual award for “Dumbest Attempt at Smuggled Checked Luggage.”
GovDeals registration is free and open to anyone who’s interested. We found the pricing to be inline with what you’d expect to pay on eBay, but some great deals can be had, especially on bulk items. So, if you’re stocking up for the zombie apocalypse and in the market for, say, several hundred battle axes or crossbows, it’s a great place to start.
If you manage to clear security without being stopped for your strange arsenal, treat yourself to this travel playlist: