Making Money from Famous Gravesites


How do you make money from famous gravesites? By buying and reselling the ones on either side of or near them. That's the theory, and although I do not know of anyone who has made a real business or investing career of this strategy, there is a basis for the idea. It comes straight from something that was reported on the evening news in 2009.

You can go read the full details of the story (see the link in the resource section below), but here's the outline: A woman whose husband's body was in the crypt above Marilyn Monroe's final resting place decided to move the body out and sell the crypt. The eBay auction was won by a bid of ever $4 million. Someone in Japan loved the idea of being buried on top of Marilyn. Apparently the buyer wasn't able to complete the purchase, but it does show what "famous space" can be worth to people.

What if you don't own a gravesite or crypt next to or even near to any famous gravesites? Buy one! GravesitesThen advertise it and sell it for a profit to someone who loves the idea of spending eternity next to their favorite celebrity. Not sure you want to risk the money? Ah, now we get to the truly odd ways to make money. Take out an option on one. Yes, I realize that options on gravesites are not common (yet), but there is no reason you can't try this--and this page is in the "ideas" section of the website, so no proof of concept is required.

How Much Can You Make?

Sometimes I have to use WAG accounting on the ideas pages, since theses are not established-business concepts. WAG stands for "wild ass guess," which is what I'll now throw out there.

Suppose you locate the gravesite of a famous person and find out who owns any adjacent not-yet-occupied sites. They might be in need of money, so contact them and ask if they would be open to selling their site for a profit, and moving into a cheaper site when the time comes. Let's assume one of them bought the burial plot for $1,000 many years earlier, and he's open to the idea of selling. You tell him you're not sure about the purchase just yet, so you would like to hold the site with an option that gives you the right to buy it in the next 30 days--at a price of $8,000. For this signed contract, you will pay him $100, so the worst he'll do is make $100, and otherwise he sells at a good price.

Now you advertise, or put the site up for auction on eBay (with a reserve of say $9,000), and get a high bid of $13,500. You sell it for that, buying it for $8,000 just before the sale, and make over $5,000 profit. The most you risk--if you relied on free advertising--was the $100 option fee. If there were no bidders you could reassess which dead people are famous enough and what you can sell a final home in their neighborhood for, and try again.

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Perhaps--if the graveyard allows it--you could sell space in smaller quantities, charging $1,000 for people to bury their ashes and have a plaque next to famous gravesites. Put 40 urns in each site to maximize the profit.

Qualifications / Requirements

You have to be willing to look a bit strange to try this.

First Steps

Find some famous gravesites and call the graveyard where they are located to see what's available. Or talk to owners of adjacent unoccupied burial sites. Or talk a friend into doing this and see how it goes.

Resources - Search tool for locating famous gravesites (and others). - Resources for the celebrity grave hunter. - Article about the sale of the crypt above Marilyn Monroe's.

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