Todd Zywicki’s question, “can you think of … things … [that] used to be for sale (expressly or implicitly) and today … are not?,” reminded me of a word I learned a few years ago: “Simony,” in the sense of “the sin of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferments, benefices, etc.” — that’s offices, not indulgences — and apparently derived from “Simon Magus, who tried to purchase apostolic powers.” Perhaps I just like it because I share with the Simons of the world the fact that each of us has a practice sharing our name (simony and eugenics) that is in ill odor.

In any event, you don’t hear much about simony these days, for obvious reasons. [UPDATE: It might happen under unusual circumstances even now, but I suspect that it’s extremely rare.] This Google Ngrams graph helps illustrate the point, though I’d stand by the point even discounting such bibliographic evidence.

Note that several commenters on Todd’s thread (mdjdfromny, MosheSyr, and Edward Rybsen) also gave the same answer.

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