This seemed to be fairly common in British papers of the 1830s and 40s . This is from the Athlone Sentinal of 27 March 1835.
“A disgraceful scene of confusion took place on our Market Hill on the morning of Thursday week, in consequence of a fellow of the name of Game offering his wife for sale. The woman was led by her forsworn and abandoned partner to the market place by a halter tied round her waist. The unnatural husband then offered her for sale amid the sneers and brutal jestings of a gang of ruffians who had assembled to amuse themselves with the scene. Three unfeeling scamps commenced the bidding for this human female victim of the brute’s barbarity, and she was eventually sold for 6 shillings and sixpence to a man called Bantock of Ixworth. when the sale was over and the bargain complete, the husband was saluted by several pails of water and other less agreeable offerings from the Bell Inn. The party were arrested and brought before the magistrates at the Guildhall and fined in the sum of 10s. It appeared that this disgusting proceeding had been suggested by Bantock at a drunken frolic the previous evening and the woman was nothing loathe to be disposed of, having allowed her husband to take off her ring, and passed the night in the streets. They afterwards adjourned to a public house in the town, but had not been there long before their riotous proceedings caused the husband to be again arrested, and spent the night in the bridewell, The woman is not above 21 years of age, but has been married for 4 or 5 years. – Suffolk Chronicle.”