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The World's Most Expensive House, Painting ... and Tooth

Derek Thompson

Ever wonder what $60,000 jeans feel like? You'll never know. Because you didn't buy that $60,000 pair of Levis 501s from 1890 -- the most paid for a pair of jeans, ever.

Here are the most expensive items ever sold -- the record-setting car, baseball card, toy, and even tooth.

©Wikimedia Commons

Personal Home

Antilla, Mumbai, India; $1-$2 billion

The world's only billion dollar home is a 27-floor, 600 foot "modern Taj Mahal" built in South Mumbai for the family of businessman Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries.


Birds of America; $11.4 million

This 3-foot tall book includes 1,000 life-size illustrations of 435 birds drawn by West Indian-born American artist John James Audubon in the 1830s. [Guinness]

*What about Bill Gates' $30 million purchase of Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook "Codex?" According to Guinness, Codex does not technically qualify as a book as it's filled with mostly sketches and notes. Sorry, Bill.

©Wikimedia Commons


1963 G.I. Joe prototype; $200,000

The most valuable toy soldier in the world is the first handcrafted 1963 G.I. Joe prototype, sold in 2003 to Baltimore businessman Stephen A. Geppi at a Heritage Comics auction in Dallas. [Guinness]

Comic Book

Action Comics #1; $1.5 million

Called the "Holy Grail" of its genre, this rare comic featured the debut of Superman.

Baseball Card

1909 Honus Wagner; $2.35 million

In 2007, the Great One sold the great one. Wayne Gretzky, the most famous hockey player alive, sold the most famous baseball card in the world to an anonymous California collector for enough money to buy about 700,000 packs of baseball cards.

©Wikimedia Commons


No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock; $140 million

This famous Pollock sold for only $2.5 million more than the second most expensive painting ever -- "Woman III" by Willem de Kooning. A fact to know and share: both pieces were sold by David Geffen in 2006. (Way to time that wealth bubble, David!)


1890 Levi 501 jeans; $60,000

The Levi Strauss & Co. 501 jeans, aged over 115 years, were sold by Randy Knight to an anonymous collector for $60,000 in 2005. Fitting with the middlebrow nature of the purchase, the sale happened over eBay. (Not actual jeans pictured.) [Guinness]


French Doll circa 1914; $263,000

"The doll, dressed in its period clothing to honor the Ballets Russes of Paris and first introduced to international acclaim in 1909, was won by a prominent Boston, USA, collector." (Not actual doll pictured.) [Guinness]

©Wikimedia Commons


Giacometti Walking Man; $104,300,000

Alberto Giacometti's six-foot-high bronze sculpture "L'Homme qui marche I" (1960) sold to an anonymous bidder at Sotheby's London in February 2010. [Guinness]


Napoleon's upper right canine; $19,140

An upper right canine tooth extracted from the mouth of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1817 sold for $19,140 in November 2005. Guinness goes on: "The tooth is believed to have been extracted due to scurvy (recorded in 1816) by the physician Barry O'Meara, during Napoleon's exile on the South Atlantic British island of St Helena following his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815."


The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse; $3.8 million

For the price of the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, from Victoria's Secret, you could buy 32,000 Kate Spade hand bags at retail price, enough for every woman at Boston Univerity. And every man.

Virtual Property

Planet Calypso; $6 million

SEE Virtual Worlds acquired Planet Calypso, a virtual planet within the online game Entropia Universe in December 2010. More than 1s and 0s, the virtual planet has reportedly generated $4 million in player transaction revenue.

Leg of Ham

15-pound Jamon Iberico; $2,682

The most expensive leg of ham commercially available is a 15-lb Albarragena Jamon Iberico de Bellota retailing at $2,682 at the Food Hall in Sefridges, London. (Slices in image not from actual record-setting Jamon Iberico) [Guinness]

©Stuart Hughes via Born Rich


Bugatti Veyron

The most expensive production car is generally thought to be the Bugatti Veyron. But its 15-pound model car is, somehow, even more expensive. This model made of 24k gold and 7.2 carats of diamonds, can be yours for $2.9 million.

Teddy Bear

Louis Vuitton Teddy; $182,000

A foot-and-a-half tall Steiff 'Louis Vuitton' teddy bear made in 2000 sold for $182,550 in 200 at Christie's, Monaco. [Guinness]


Dr. Alexander Macklin; $153,573

Dr. Macklin was a surgeon on the famous Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition between 1914-1917. After the Endurance ship (pictured) got trapped in ice, Macklin tended to the suffering crew -- one had a heart condition, another was suffering a nervous breakdown, another had gangrene in his toes, which required amputation. He was awarded the Silver Polar Medal for his efforts. Eighty years later, his diary sold for $150,000.

One caveat to keep in mind is that you don't know the true price of something until it is sold. That's why most of these items, via information collected and verified by Guinness World Records, were sold at auctions. To be sure, the most "valuable items" are unsellable. For example, the Mona Lisa might sell for more than $140 million, the record-setting price of the Pollock painting. But as long as it hangs behind bullet proof glass in the Louvre, there is no way to determine its market value.

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