|Wife sale from 1820 book (via wikipedia)|
"From the Western Morning News, March 9th, 1894.
As recently as September, 1873, the following attempted sale of a woman took place in Devonshire. At - -..." [a pity, I would have liked to know where...] "...a young woman, the wife of a man named Phillips, who was said to have left her and his creditors together, and gone to Australia, was the interesting article submitted at the sale of his goods and chattels to competition. The wife's conduct seems to have had a great deal to do with Phillips's disappearance.
On Saturday, Phillips's goods were sold, and the wife claimed a portion of the proceeds, and told the auctioneer he must either share the money with her or sell her. This seems to have called forth the sympathy of a bystander who volunteered to take the role of auctioneer. A halter was borrowed from a neighbour, and the woman was led into the market-place accompanied by a crowd of persons. No bidders, however, seemed to be amongst them, and the woman was obliged to be content. This disgraceful scene was witnessed by a very large number of spectators."