Stuff you could buy if you had lots of money to spend.
Most Expensive American Car: 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racer
One of just 107 examples, the Ford GT40 is considered America’s most successful foray into European racing, emerging out of a grudge match between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari following a failed acquisition of Ferrari by Ford.
Most Expensive Pistol or Pistol Set: Pair of Steel-Mounted “Saddle”
Pistols owned by George Washington
This pair of pistols, marked by Jacob Walster, were owned by President George Washington during America’s Revolutionary War.
Most Expensive Private Airplane/Jet: Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s Airbus A380
While the Airbus is conventionally a commercial airliner, when you’re a Saudi prince worth about $22 billion, you can afford to make it your own. Despite something of a scandal regarding the Prince’s purchase of the plane, including defaults on payments to Airbus and a rather quick resale, the aircraft still retains the spot as the most valuable plane bought privately.
Most Expensive House: Antilia
Price: $500,000,000 – $700,000,000
Though not a home in the traditional sense, Antilia is the name given to the residence of Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man (at ~$23,000,000,000 net worth), who spent an unspecified amount, projected to conservatively be between $500,000,000 – $700,000,000, constructing this 27-story, 400,000 square-foot monolith in Mumbai, India. Containing, six underground parking floors (with space for 168 cars), three helicopter pads, a spa, terraced gardens, a ballroom, a 50-seat theater, and requiring a 600-person staff to maintain, Antilia is actually claimed to have risen in value to the $1,000,000,000 mark as the result of rising property values in south Mumbai.
Most Expensive Movie Prop: Aston Martin DB5, “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball”
The most iconic car in the history of spy films, making a reappearance in 2012’s “Skyfall”, the DB5 is the quintessential Bond car. This particular model, chassis number DB5/1486/R, was the car primarily used for driving shots and was as a result referred to as the “Road Car” , making appearances as the preferred method of transport for Sean Connery in both “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball.”
Most Expensive Substance by Weight: Californium
Californium, which does not occur naturally except in very small quantities, can only be synthesized at a few locations, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (US) and the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (Russia). Highly radioactive and unstable, some consider it a strong candidate for the development of nuclear fission.
Most Expensive Piece of Furniture: The Badminton Cabinet
This piece is not actually used for the sport of Badminton in any way, but draws its name from the home of the Dukes of Beaufort, for whom it was made. The Badminton Cabinet was made for Henry Somerset, 3rd Duke of Beaufort, by the Grand Ducal workshops in Florence, from 1720-1732, under the supervision of the Foggini family. The Cabinet incorporates an amazing wealth of materials, from lapis lazuli, agate and Sicilian red and green jasper, to chalcedony and amethyst quartz. It was purchased at a Christie’s auction in 2004 by Dr. Johan Kraeftner, Director of the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, on behalf of Prinz Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein for the same museum.
Most Expensive Bladed Weapon: Napoleon Bonaparte’s Marengo Cavalry Saber
The most expensive antique weapon to have ever sold at auction is a gold encrusted sword used by Napoleon Bonaparte in battle around 200 years ago. The 32-inch sword brought 4.8m ($6.5m) against a 1.2m pre-sale estimate at an Osenat auction in Fontainebleau, France in 2007. Napoleon used the sword at the Battle of Marengo in 1800 to take control of northern Italy from Austria.
Most Expensive Piece of Paper Currency: 1890 United States Small Seal $1000 Treasury Note
This piece, the only copy in private hands, is referred to as the “Grand Watermelon” design due to the unusual resemblance of the zeroes on the reverse of the note to watermelons. The piece was such an unusual issue when printed, numbering less than 200 original pieces, that the selection of historical figures to put on the front of the bill was limited from Presidents and Founding Fathers to U.S. Civil War general George Meade, commanding officer of the victorious Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, but a figure that was constantly overshadowed by the General in Chief, and future President, Ulysses S. Grant. The note’s rarity, high denomination, and condition grade led to the record-setting sale by Heritage Auctions in early 2014.
Most Expensive Movie Poster: 1931 “Metropolis”, International Version
Price: $690,000 – $1,200,000
One of four copies of the international version of this poster believed to exist, advertising Fritz Lang’s influential science fiction film about a highly stylized futuristic city where a beautiful and cultured utopia exists above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers, was auctioned by the United States Bankruptcy Court in 2012. Of the remaining three examples of this, the “crown jewel of the poster world”, only one is in private hands (anonymously held, though popularly believed to be Leonardo DiCaprio), the other two residing in the United States Museum of Modern Art and the Austrian National Library.
Most Expensive Bottle of Wine: Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992
Sold in 2000, a six-liter bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet currently holds the unofficial title of most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction. It went under the hammer at a charity wine auction in Napa for the staggering sum of $500,000, and was reported to have been purchased by Chase Bailey, a former Cisco Systems executive.
Most Expensive Bottle of Champagne: Goût de Diamants (Taste of Diamonds) Limited Edition
Made from 100% Grand Cru grapes, Goût de Diamants is produced at the 8-hectare, family-owned, Champagne Chapuy in Oger, and some varieties are aged for a minimum of 40 months. But don’t go looking for this in stores, you won’t find it. This brand sells exclusively to high-end bars, restaurants, hotels, and private clients. Each bottle of Goût de Diamants is adorned with a brilliant cut Swarovski crystal in the centre of a diamond-shaped pewter design resembling the Superman logo.
Most Expensive Sculpture: “L’homme au doigt”, Alberto Giacometti
Considered one of the most important sculptors in history, with three of his works holding positions on the top ten most valuable pieces of art of all time, Giacometti is in a category all his own, called both a Surrealist and a Formalist, and this piece (translated to “Man pointing” or “Pointing Man”) is considered to be his most iconic and evocative sculpture.
Most Expensive Antiquity: The Guennol Lioness
Diminutive in size, but monumental in conception, The Guennol Lioness is of Elamite origin and is thought to have been made between 3000 and 2800 BCE—the same period in which writing systems were being developed, the wheel was being invented, and cities were beginning to rise in the region of ancient Mesopotamia.
Most Expensive Watch: Henry Graves ‘Supercomplication’, by Patek Phillips
One of the most complicated watches ever created, and by far the most complex design conceived without computer assistance. It took three years to design the watch, and another five years to manufacture it, before being delivered to Graves in 1933. The Supercomplication had long been the world’s most complicated timepiece ever assembled with a total of 24 different functions, including Westminster chimes, a perpetual calendar, sunrise and sunset times, and a celestial map of New York as seen from the Graves’s apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue, and contains 920 individual parts.
Most Expensive Book/Manuscript: Codex Leicester (Codex Hammer), Leonardo Da Vinci
Codex Leicester was written around 1508, and is one of 30 or so similar books produced by Da Vinci across his lifetime. Within the Codex Leicester’s 72 loose pages are around 300 notes and detailed drawings rendered in chalk and brown ink, alongside Leonardo’s famed ‘mirror writing’. All of these sketches are based around a common theme: water and how it moved. Codex Leicester’s historical importance is further bolstered by the fact that Da Vinci is thought to have used its contents as research to paint the background of his masterwork, the Mona Lisa.
Most Expensive Painting: “Nafea Faa Ipoipo”, Paul Gauguin
Part of an extremely valuable collection assembled by the grandfather of retired Sotheby’s executive Rudolf Staechlin, this piece was painted by famed French Impressionist Gauguin in 1892 during his first visit to Tahiti, aged 43-44, where he travelled to escape “everything that is artificial and conventional” in Europe.
Most Expensive Motorcycle: “Easy Rider” Chopper
This Harley-Davidson was a pivotal piece in the 1969 film “Easy Rider”, a counterculture classic. Sold by California-based auction company Profiles in History in 2014, this piece of movie memorabilia maintains the title of the most valuable motorcycle in existence.
Most Expensive Car: 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Considered the dominant race cars of the mid-1960’s, just 36 examples of the Ferrari GTO rolled out of the factory (39 if you include those with slight variations) in the production run between 1962 and 1964.