Sometimes we hear news related to some incredible amount of money spent on something that usually we don’t even know. Could be a car or a painting, but the money involved in each situation sometimes are the ones defining history. History Key will unlock for you top 10 most expensive items sold by the famous Sotheby’s auction house.
Let’s start with a painting, but not any painting. Here we have a work by Pablo Picasso, titled “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, sold in 2010 for $106.5 million. Previously owned by a California philanthropist, the painting was sold in about 8 minutes.
When you hear Ferrari you already know that we are not talking about pocket money, but when you hear about a $12.2 million 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, what would you say? The Italian designer Sergio Scaglietti made something truly unique with the car, with the unique fenders and the soft lines.
We have all heard about Leonardo da Vinci, even if many do not know what he exactly did, he’s a big name. He used to keep journals related to his creative activity, and out of the 30 documents remained, one was sold in 1994 to Bill Gates, for $30,802,500. The journal bought by Gates is the most interesting from the series: it is a historic diary named Codex Hammer, formed by 72 pages. Bill Gates released free digitally scanned versions of it.
A violin built by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Antonio Guarneri, sold in 2007 for $3.9 million. An interesting fact is that Guarneri was the grandson of one of Stradivari’s apprentices. The violin was bought by a Russian lawyer and played only during private concerts.
We believe that until now we presented common objects, even if in the millions range, so let’s pass to something more special. Would you buy a lock of hair? Probably many of us would do it if the hair is coming from whatever idol, but you must be prepared to pay than a haircut. In 2007 a former CIA employee sold a set formed by Che Guevara’s hair, fingerprints and death pictures for $119,500. We must give the second place to Elvis lock of hair, sold in 2002 for $115,000.
If we hear about high prices in relation to antique objects, maybe we won’t be that surprised. A Roman bronze statue discovered in the ’20s by some constructor workers in Rome, sold in 2007 for $28,6 million. The statue measures 36-inches and related to Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt. Even Sotheby’s director stated that in his 37 years career he never sold something that beautiful.
Furniture is expensive nowadays, but if you will consider trying some vintage or custom solution, you will have to dig some very deep pockets. But if you are a prince, you could buy a $36 million Badminton Cabinet. An 18th-century Florentine ebony cabinet was bought in 2004 by Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein and eventually donated to the Liechtenstein Museum in Austria. The cabinet was previously owned by Barbara Piasecka Johnson (from the Johnson & Johnson company)
But how to miss some diamonds, right? We are used by all kinds of movies by diamonds involved; all kinds of stories and so many dreams for some of us, but diamonds are real, and their price would remain you that. We are talking about the Wittelsbach diamond, originally owned by King Philip IV of Spain; the diamond eventually reached Austrian and Bavarian royal families. It was sold in 2008 for $23.4 million.
Sports memorabilia is a wealthy market. Many sports fans and many items related to their favorites, but as always…you must be very well ”gifted” to afford a unique caprice. In 1999 Mark McGwire’s 70th-home-run baseball sold for $3 million. If you are a baseball fan, you could understand its value, otherwise…it is and will remain an ordinary baseball.
The last but not least, an iconic piece, probably already known by some of us. It is well known that President JFK had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, and also Monroe’s ”Happy Birthday Mr. President” is well known. The dress was worn by Monroe during the famous performance, sold in 1999 for $1,267,500.