In 1674, Sweden welcomed the world’s first auction house, known as Stockholms Auktionsverk. Since then, auction houses across the world have opened their doors to some of the most unusual items for auctions, as well as some of the most expensive. From cars to historical artefacts, one-off pop-culture pieces to art and sculptures, people have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for collectable items through auctions.
While Gregsons auctions here in Perth have seen some extraordinary items since we opened in 1929, our auctions haven’t quite seen the likes of the below, which happen to be some of the most unbelievably expensive auction items of all time.
From the humble car auction to the world’s most expensive painting
• 1962-63 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta
Gregson’s hold car auctions all the time, but unfortunately we’ve never got our hands on a Ferrari like this! This particular Ferrari had a volatile past, with the first four owners of the car thrashing it. One of its first owners, Henri Oreiller, died soon after crashing the car in a 1962 race. Ferrari rebuilt and repaired the car, only to have the next owner flip it in the forest. The 3851GT, now painted brilliant red, is the 19th of just 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs produced and in 2014, this little red machine became the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
Winning Bid: US $38.1 million
• Marilyn Monroe’s dress
In 1962, Marilyn Monroe famously serenaded then American President, John F Kennedy, in a jaw-dropping dress. Her rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr President” became synonymous with ‘that’ dress, and for good reason; the dress had over 2,500 hand-stitched crystals and originally cost $12,000. Fast-forward to 2016 and the iconic dress went under the hammer for $4.8 million, making it the most expensive dress to be sold at auction.
Winning Bid: US $4.8 million
• Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, 1948
Influential American painter Jackson Pollock was known best for his quirky expressionist style. His piece, No. 5, 1948 was said to resemble a birds net, with his style sprawled across his approximately 2.5m x 1.2m sheet of fibreboard. The most recent auction for the piece was in 2006, where the painting was sold for an incredible US $140 million.
Winning Bid: US $140 million
Seriously Pricey Auctions: Diamonds, Yachts and…Lunch?
• CTF Diamond (formally the Pink Star)
The rough diamond now known as the CTF Diamond was originally found in 1999 in South Africa. This stunning pink diamond, described as “arguably the rarest cut ever”, was auctioned off in early 2017 for over $70 million, approximately US $13 million more than the last record-holding diamond auction for the Oppenheimer Blue, which sold for US $57.5 million.
Winning Bid: US $71 Million
• The Gigayacht
It’s one thing to own a yacht, but it’s an entirely different story to own a yacht worth US $168 million. The “Gigayacht” sold in 2006 for multi-million dollar price tag, and the 123 metre-long yacht comes well equipped with 10 multi-level VIP rooms, eight guest rooms, a movie theatre, and a helicopter pad. Craig Timm, president of 4Yacht Inc, advertised and sold the luxury yacht through eBay to give the advertisement greater exposure and create a “buzz”.
Winning Bid: US $168 million
• Lunch with Warren Buffet
Not even a lunch at the most upper-class restaurant you can think of can compare in price to the annual auctioned charity lunch with Warren Buffet, billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Each year, another Lunch with Warren is auctioned through eBay, with the 2017 lunch coming in at US $2,679,001. The cost of the 2017 lunch fell about $700,000 short of the record set for the 2012 and 2016 lunch, where a lucky bidder paid almost US $3.5 million for the privilege of lunch with Warren Buffet.
Record Winning Bid (2012, 2016): US $3,456,789
While we don’t imagine we’ll get our hands on another of Marilyn’s dresses, or on a Gigayacht, we do see some pretty amazing things come through our lot at Gregsons auctions in Perth. Make sure you keep an eye out on the Gregsons Facebook page, and join our newsletter so you’re up to date with the latest online auctions, news and offers!Sign Up For Upcoming Auctions