October 6, 2020 - 2:36 am
Making a living has become tougher than ever for the vast majority of Americans as the pandemic has wiped out jobs and imposed pay cuts. Millions of workers have exhausted state benefits to help them weather unemployment due to COVID-19, and the national debt has swelled to its highest levels since World War II. A Washington Post data analysis calls this economic downturn “the most unequal recession in modern history,” impacting lower-earning Americans substantially more than high earners.
But even for middle- and upper-middle-class Americans, there are some precious things that just are not generally attainable. Consider the world’s most expensive things — literally. From rare works of art to the most exclusive status symbols, here’s a look at the priciest items money can buy. And while they will certainly cost buyers a fortune up front, some could end up being wise investments.
The Patek Philippe Chronograph Watch
Price: $31 million
In the world of high-end watches, the Swiss watchmaking company Patek Philippe is considered the gold standard. In November 2019, its chronograph watch — signed by the watchmaker, with moon phases and a “perpetual” calendar — sold at a Christie’s auction. With a final price of $31 million, it was the highest amount ever paid for a wristwatch at auction. These watches hold such high value for a few different reasons, including impeccable hand-applied decorations and over 177 years of expertise in this family-owned company.
The 27-Story Antilia House
Price: $1 billion-$2 billion
Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy a 400,000-square-foot mansion in the most expensive part of Mumbai, India. The Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, named his palatial home Antilia, a nod to the mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Even though it’s a towering 27 stories tall, it’s built to withstand earthquakes of up to 8.0 on the Richter scale. In addition to gorgeous detail and design, it also has a temple, an ice cream parlor, a movie theater that seats 50 and a snow room to make those steamy Indian summers more tolerable.
Jeff Koons’ ‘Rabbit’ Sculpture
Price: $91.1 million
The power of art is in the eye, and apparently the wallet, of the beholder. A stainless steel sculpture of a child’s toy rabbit, created by artist Jeff Koons in 1986, sold at Christie’s auction house in May 2019 for $91.1 million with fees. It also broke the record at auction for a work produced by a living artist.
The winning bidder was Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and father of treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. Koons is recognized for using everyday objects in his art to comment upon consumerism and connect with mundane human life.
The Bugatti La Voiture Noire
Price: $19 million
This sleek luxury sports car, whose name means “the black car” in French, is an homage to a 1930s roadster, the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. In 2019, this rarest of vehicles sold for 16.7 million euros — nearly $19 million at the time.
It’s called a “hyper-car” because it has an 8-liter, quad-turbo W-16 engine that can produce 1,500 horsepower and 1,180 foot-pounds of torque. La Voiture Noire can go from zero to 60 mph in 2 1/2 seconds, and daredevils can try to take it to its top speed of 261 mph.
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Claude Monet’s ‘Meules’ Painting
Price: $110.7 million
The work of the famous French impressionist Claude Monet certainly left an, er, impression on the crowd at Sotheby’s in May 2019. It took only eight minutes of bidding for Monet’s 1890 painting “Meules” to sell for $110.7 million. It stands as the most money ever to change hands for any impressionist work, according to Sotheby’s.
Price: $15 million+
In the world of music, there are violins and then there are Stradivarius violins. Over 300 years ago, Antonio Stradivari, an Italian luthier, made about 1,100 instruments that some of the world’s greatest violinists still play today. There are, however, only approximately 650 of these original violins left in play.
Though prices vary, it’s not uncommon for these violins to fetch upwards of $15 million to $20 million. Once, a dealer tried to sell a Stradivarius viola for $45 million but ultimately got no buyers.
Fusaichi Pegasus Thoroughbred Horse
Price: $70 million
If you thought having a pet was expensive, you haven’t heard of Fusaichi Pegasus, the thoroughbred stallion that earned its owners millions of dollars in races such as the Kentucky Derby. Genes like this don’t come cheap. His owner sold him to a stud farm in Ireland for $70 million to hopefully produce foals with the horse’s award-winning DNA.
1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Red Wine
Price: $558,000 for one bottle
In October 2018, Sotheby’s auctioned off a rare bottle of wine from the personal cellar of a renowned winemaker, Robert Drouhin, who heads the Maison Joseph Drouhin winemaking operation. The wine comes from the equally renowned winemaking region of Burgundy, France. This pinot noir is typically aged at least 10 years before drinking and is known for its full-bodied flavor.
Elida Geisha Cup of Coffee
Price: $75 per cup — or $1,029 per pound
Coffee lovers can be a bit obsessed with their daily cup of joe. But some coffee lovers took that to an extreme in the San Francisco Bay Area in May 2019, when they paid $75 per cup of Elida Geisha coffee, brewed and served by Klatch Coffee. That July, a pound of Geisha from Panama sold for a record-breaking $1,029 per pound. What makes this coffee so special? It seems like it’s one of those things you have to try for yourself to understand.
Related: 34 Things That Shouldn’t Be This Expensive
Cabrales Blue Cheese
Price: $16,570 for 5.78 pounds
Not everyone enjoys the taste of the pungent French blue cheese. But in 2018, 15 restaurateurs in Spain spent hours bidding on one of the strongest blue cheeses in the world, known as Cabrales. The winning bid, $16,570 (originally 14,300 euros), set the Guinness World Record for most expensive cheese.
Its spectacular price comes from its creation. Cabrales is specially aged for three to six months in natural caves that can’t be reached by car. Shepherds walk over a mile carrying the cheese to the caves, then return weekly to rub it and turn it to help it mature.
The 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’
New shoes are costly enough, but one pair of old Nikes sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $475,500 in July 2019. The astonishing price was for a 1972 pair of Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoes,” created by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. He used an actual waffle iron to create a new kind of running shoe that helped runners improve their performances.
Nike only produced 12 pairs of the shoes for runners in the 1972 Olympic trials, but the unique design catapulted Nike to even greater success. The auctioned pair had never been worn and will be displayed at a private museum in Toronto.
A newer breed of cat, the rare — and seriously big, at 30 pounds — Ashera was developed by Lifestyle Pets in California. A hybrid of the African serval, Asian leopard and domestic house cat, these felines are so exclusive that they’ve been known to sell for as much $125,000, and there are very few of them in the world. This kitty definitely shows its wild cat DNA, with its large ears, leopard spots, tiger stripes and penchant for climbing. These cats are also special because they tend to live longer then average housecats, with an expected life span of 25 years.
700ml Bottle of Macallan Scotch
Price: $1.9 million
In the world of Scotch whisky, one brand rises to the top: Macallan. Produced in the Speyside region of Scotland, the Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by a barley farmer who had no idea how popular his alcohol would become. It’s no surprise that one of the most expensive bottles of whiskey ever sold was a Macallan. In 2019, a single 700ml bottle of Macallan distilled in 1926 fetched $1.9 million at auction.
The Eliasberg Liberty Head Nickel
Price: $4.5 million
The price of coins can vary wildly, and investments are something of a toss-up. But one lucky collector sold their Eliasberg Liberty Head nickel in 2018 for $4.5 million. This was the highest price paid at an auction for a 1913 Liberty Head. The nickel is one of only five known to exist and holds the title of “most valuable non-precious metal coin.” One of the other five resides in the Smithsonian museum.
Victoria Swarovski Wedding Dress
Price: $1 million
The heiress to the Swarovski jewelry empire didn’t spare any expense for her own wedding dress, estimated at $1 million. She also didn’t spare any crystals. As expected, her gown was bedecked in more than 500,000 of her family’s signature crystals.
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The Inverted Jenny Stamp
What makes this stamp so unique? First of all, the stamp features a plane known as the JN-4HM, built in World War 1. It was the first plane used to deliver mail. But what really makes this batch of stamps unique is that due to a printing error, the airplane and the blue background are printed upside down.
This error only occurred on one sheet of 100 stamps, which have mostly been sold off in singles. It’s considered one of the rarest stamps of all time. In 2018, a single stamp sold for $1,593,000 at auction.
8Pack’s New Orion X2 Gaming Computer
Gamers are often way ahead of the crowd on the latest technology to stay competitive. It takes more than megabytes to afford what might be the most expensive gaming computer on the market, 8Pack’s Orion X2. The manufacturer calls it a “tailor-made supercomputer” and it contains such details as a custom water-cooled Intel Core i7-9700K (Coffee Lake) with 8 cores, ASUS ROG Strix Z390I Gaming Motherboard (Mini-ITX) and other things you have to be a gaming geek to understand.
The Löwchen dog breed’s name means “little lion” in German, but these small dogs are the farthest thing from a wild animal. Bred for companionship, they shed less hair than other breeds and are great for people who live in small spaces.
Sounds great, but they aren’t cheap. Because they’re rare, a Löwchen puppy can cost upwards of $5,000.
‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ by Wu-Tang Clan
Price: $2 million
Wu-Tang Clan only made one copy of this album in 2015. It came with a unique contract that stated the buyer of the album could not sell or profit from the album in any way for 88 years.
Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharmaceutical executive, purchased the album for $2 million. Fans, who expected him to release the album for free, were left disappointed. Shkreli went prison for securities fraud, and the federal government seized the album along with his other assets. Netflix is planning to release a movie about the dramatic unfolding of events.
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Nicole Spector contributed to the reporting for this article.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The most expensive version of everything