The most expensive items
The ‘Macdonald’ Viola, a viola made by Antonio Stradivari in 1719 is considered to be one of the finest in existence. The rare instrument is expected to fetch more than $45 million in a sealed bids sale this spring, which would set a world record for the most expensive musical instrument ever sold. The viola is the first to be on the market in 50 years, according to Sotheby’s auction house.
The Pink Star 59.60 carat oval cut pink diamond was auctioned by Sotheby’s in November 2013 for $83 million, a world record for any diamond and for any gemstone.
The flesh-colored dress Marilyn Monroe wore during her famous birthday tribute to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 sold in 1999 for $1.27 million.
The home run ball that Mark McGwire whacked into history for his major league record-setting 70th homer (since beaten by Barry Bonds with 73 in the 2001 season) sold for a record $2.7 million in January 1999. McGwire later admitted using steroids during his record-setting 1998 season.
The world’s most expensive car is the Mercedes-Benz W196 einsitzer, the car in which Formula 1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio won both the 1954 Swiss and German Grand Prix races. It sold for $29 million in July 2013.
The most expensive lunch was a power lunch with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. The chance to meet Buffett cost $3.46 million at a charity auction in June 2012.
The most expensive book is The Codex Leicester, a notebook owned by Leonardo da Vinci. It was bought by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for $30.8 million in 1994.
A pre-17th century, sub-fossilized elephant bird egg auctioned off for $101,000 in April 2013. The extinct elephant bird, a native of Madagascar, was a large bird measuring around 11 feet in height.
This 1.2-kilogram white truffle from Alba, Italy, seen next to a normal size truffle, was bought by a consortium of Hong Kong bidders for 95,000 euro ($111,477) in November 2005.
The most expensive lock of hair came from the head of Elvis Presley. It sold for $115,2120 in 2002.
The 31.06 carat Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond was last sold at auction for $23.4 million in 2008. It was re-cut in 2010, and then reportedly sold for at least $80 million in June 2011.
Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture “L’homme qui marche I” sold for $104.3 million in February 2010, making it the world’s most expensive sculpture.
The most expensive painting is Paul Cezanne’s oil painting “The Card Players” (1894-95), which sold for more than $250 million in 2011. Seen above at right is another version from his “Card Players” series, “The Card Players” (1890-92).
Raphael’s black chalk drawing on paper “Head of a muse” was sold for $42.74 million in 2009. It held the record for most expensive sketch drawing until 2012, when Raphael’s “Head of an apostle” set a new record at $48 million.
“Rhein II” by Germany photographer Andreas Gursky (seen with one of his artworks) set a record for expensive photograph when it sold for $4.34 million in November 2011.
The most expensive record is The Quarrymen’s “That’ll Be the Day”/”In Spite of All the Danger”, owned by Beatles member Paul McCartney. This single copy is worth an estimated $332,000. The Quarrymen was formed by John Lennon in 1956, and evolved into The Beatles; Paul McCartney joined The Quarrymen in 1957. The second most expensive record is a fully signed copy of The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper” LP, which sold for $290,500 in 2013.