Costly Affairs: 20 Most Expensive Items Ever Sold At Auction
You are here
Home > International > Costly Affairs: 20 Most Expensive Items Ever Sold At Auction

Costly Affairs: 20 Most Expensive Items Ever Sold At Auction

Those who love antiques, precious possessions and have lots of money, nothing is better for them than an auction house. The list of most expensive items sold at auctions is rapidly growing. Hundreds and millions of dollars have been spent on precious items like antique things, sculptures, paintings, vintage cars, books, furniture, personal items etc.

Nowadays, anything which is historic and vintage has a high price. Here is a list of 20 most expensive auction items.

Pablo Picasso’s Painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

Price: $106.5 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Pablo Picasso’s Painting Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

This masterpiece of Pablo Picasso broke all the records and becoming the most expensive painting to be sold at an auction. This painting depicts Picasso’s mistress Marie-Therese Walter in a reclining position. It is one of the artist’s best creations. This piece of work was in private collection of Sidney and Frances Brody. In 1950, they purchased the painting for just $17,000 and it was sold for more than a hundred million dollars.

L’Homme Qui Marche I

Price: $104.3 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

L’Homme Qui Marche I

The sculpture L’Homme qui marche 1 (The Walking Man) sculpted by Alberto Giacometti in 1961 was the most expensive sculptor ever sold at auction. The bronze sculptor depicts a man walking and stands 6 feet in height. The opening bid of the sculptor was set at $27 million and within ten minutes the final price of this magnificent piece was decided more than $104 million.

Balloon Dog, Orange

Price: $58.4 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Balloon Dog, Orange

It is one of a series of five in different colours, created by Jeff Koons. The blue is bought by Eli Broad, the magenta by François Pinault, the red by Dakis Iaonnou and the yellow by Steven A. Cohen.

Qianlong Vase

Price: $53 million

Auction House: Bainbridges

Qianlong Vase

The origin of this ancient Chinese porcelain item is believed to be of the 18th century, during the reign of the fourth emperor in the Qing dynasty in the year 1740. The vast is about 16 inches in height and it has beautiful engravings of fishes. It is known that the vase was a part of the Chinese royalty and was taken from Chinese mainland during the Second Opium War in 1860.  After 30 minutes of the bidding process, the final price for the vase is quite high $53 million.

Badminton Cabinet

Price: $36 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Badminton Cabinet

This is the most expensive furniture ever sold at auction. In 2004, this 1732 Florentine Ebony Cabinet Chest was sold for $36 million. This exotic chest inlaid with amethyst quartz, lapis lazuli, agate, jasper and other stones. It is named Badminton Cabinet as it remained in a small village Badminton, England for over two centuries. It was commissioned in the year 1726 as a gift to Duke III of Beaufort, Florence, Italy. This cabinet stands at 12 feet in height and has eight legs to support the entire cabinet.

In 1990, Christie’s sold it to billionaire Barbara Piasecka Johnson (of the Johnson & Johnson fortune) for $16.59 million. In 2004, Johnson put it up for sale and Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein bought it and donated it to the Liechtenstein Museum in Austria.

The Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet

Price: $33.7 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

The Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet

This vine scroll and palmette carpet, circa 1700 probably from Kerman Province, Iran. The Corcoran Gallery of Art received this as part of a legacy of William Clark, the mining, banking and railroad magnet after his death in 1925.

Codex Leicester ‘Codex Hammer’

Price: $30.8 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Codex Leicester ‘Codex Hammer’

This Leonardo Da Vinci’s manuscript is known to be the world’s most expensive book. In this Codex Leicester or commonly referred as ‘Codex Hammer’ Vinci proposed that the creations of the mountains due to the shifting of the tectonic plates. Apart from that, he made many other groundbreaking theories. This is considered one of the most important Da Vinci books due to its scientific relevance.

This important book was purchased none other than Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for $30.8 million.

‘Dragon’ Armchair

Price: $29 million

Auction House: Christie’s

‘Dragon’ Armchair

The Irish Artist and designer Eileen Gray made this chair of leather and wood for her lover during a libertine phase when she first arrived in Paris. Later, Gray’s dealer sold it to Yves Saint Laurent and his lover Pierre Bergé. It was crafted between 1917 and 1919. This Dragon Armchair is decorated with the sculptors of dragons on its arms and the chair measures 24 inches in high. In 2009, February Christie’s sold it for $28 million.

Artemis and the Stag

Price: 28.6 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

Artemis and the Stag

This antique Roman art dates back to almost 2,000 years. The bronze statue was discovered during a construction work in 1920. Sotheby’s sold it in 2007 for $28.6 million. This statue of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting depicts she is standing with a stag and her left hand seems to be carrying a bow, unfortunately, which is missing since its discovery.

Wittelsbach Diamond

Price: $23.4 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Wittelsbach Diamond

This astounding 35.36 carats diamond was originally discovered in the Golkonda region in India in the 17th century. Wittelsbach diamond is also known as the ‘Der Blaue Wittelsbach’. King Philippe IV of Spain in 1664 purchased this and handed over to Leopold I of Austria in the form of dowry. This is a VS2 category diamond which is internally flawless. This was purchased by the leading international jeweller, Laurence Graff in 2008.

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

Price: $12 million

Auction House: RM Auctions

Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa

In 2009, this spectacular 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa was auctioned in 2009 for $12 million. This sports car was showcased at the ‘Ferrari Leggenda e Passione’ event in Maranello, Italy. This vintage sports car is one of the only 21 surviving models and features a Tipo 128LM V12 engine, mated to a four-speed manual transmission. This particular car carries the chassis no. 0714TR and is even hailed as one of the greatest competitive Ferraris.

Birds of America

Price: $10 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

Birds of America

Birds of America was authored by James Audubon is considered to be the most expensive book in the world. Only 118 copies are existed, of which 108 are possessed by museums and libraries. This book is a collection of life-size paintings of the birds found in America. Mr. Auburn rendered these paintings from the photographs he took while crisscrossing across the US. The book was printed in black and white and later hand coloured. That is why this is the most invaluable books of the modern times.

Plank-Top Pedestal Table

Price: $9 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Plank-Top Pedestal Table

This 15-foot huanghuali table actually a type of rosewood and it was made from a single plank. This was sold in 2013 for $9 million.

Onyx and Diamond Panther Bracelet

Price: $7 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

Onyx and Diamond Panther Bracelet

This expensive bracelet is designed and crafted by the international jeweller Cartier for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. The Panther bracelet was a wedding gift to the Duchess by King Edward VIII of England who abdicated the royal thrown to marry the American socialite. This bracelet was a part of a wonderful collection of jewellery in the possession of Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Harrington Commode

Price: 5.8 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

The Harrington Commode

This vintage furniture crafted by the most renowned furniture maker Thomas Chippendale. It dates back to 1770 was auctioned by the Sotheby’s. This luxury furniture was sold after taking express permission from the coveted 10th Earl of Harrington’s Will Trust as part of the Important Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Silver & Vertu sale and the Commode went for more than three times its first estimated value.

Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù Violin

Price: 3.9 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù Violin

This violin dates back to 1698-1744 was sold in 2007. A Russian lawyer purchased this 250-year-old Guarneri violin. This is one of the 250 surviving pieces from the Guarneri line.

Great Silver Wine Cistern

Price: 3.8 million

Auction House: Sotheby’s

Great Silver Wine Cistern

The Great Silver Wine Cistern dates back to the 18th century. It was crafted for Thomas Wentworth, 3rd Baron Raby, Ambassador Extraordinary to Berlin, 1706-1711. Legendary artisan Philip Rollo designed this wine cistern. This task was especially given by Queen Anne and the cistern weighs 168 pounds.

Mark McGwire’s 70th Home-Run Baseball

Price: $3 million

Auction House: Guernsey’s

Mark McGwire’s 70th Home-Run Baseball

Baseball player Mark David McGwire created a world record in 1998. He played as a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, shot his 70th straight home run of the season. This ball that went into the stands marked the incredible achievement and a record.  Todd McFarlane bought this world famous ball and he is said to have spent all his life savings to get this most expensive baseball.

Action Comics No. 1

Price: $ 1.5 million

Auction House: ComicConnect.Com

Action Comics No. 1

Comic books are considered to be the most valuable collections. The most expensive comic that ever sold at an auction is the Action Comics No. 1. This book featured the first appearance of Superman and also the cover depicts Superman lifting a car. It is one of the few vintage comic books written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Joe Shuster and the first twelve pages of the comic book introduced the world to Superman. Now the book belongs to Hollywood superstar Nicolas Cage.

Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Dress

Price: $1.26 million

Auction House: Christie’s

Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” Dress

On May 19, 1962, the Hollywood beauty Marilyn Monroe delivered a “Happy Birthday” serenade to the President John F. Kennedy. She wore a flesh coloured, curve-hugging, jewel-encrusted dress, which featured 2,500 dazzling rhinestones. The dress was purchased in 1999 by the Manhattan-based collectible company Gotta Have It!

Suchismita Biswas
Suchismita Biswas
Pen is mightier than swords - these words make me passionate about writing. Except writing I love to travel , love to explore the unknown places, love photography and love listening to music. Also I am an avid reader of books. I'm a simple girl but I am what I am.

2 thoughts on “Costly Affairs: 20 Most Expensive Items Ever Sold At Auction

Leave a Reply

Top