8 Most Expensive Things in the World Ever

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The most expensive things in the world could be anything from the world’s most lavish homes to the most advanced planes in the world. We could probably make this entire list using mostly homes, yachts, and military aircraft. We decided to make it a little more interesting.

Only one type of item in each category can make it onto the list so we can give you a more informative spectrum of the world’s most expensive things. With that limitation, here is our list of the 8 most expensive things in the world.

  1. 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
  2. Price: $70 million
    Country: Italy
    Owner: Anonymous
    1963 Ferrari 250 GTO
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The Ferrari 250 GTO was only produced from 1962 to 1964. The one on this list, which has the distinction of being the most expensive car ever sold, was from 1963. It was sold privately in June 2018 and fetched $70 million.

    The car was designed by Giotto Bizzarrini and Sergio Scaglietti, the former of which who had been with Ferrari for only about five years at the time. Scaglietti owned an automobile design company in Italy called Carozzeria Scaglietti.

    Did you know?

    This car was built to compete in Group 3 GT racing, meaning it had to be designed to beat Aston Martin’s DP214, the Jaguar E-Type, and the Shelby Cobra. The Ferrari debuted at 2nd place at Sebring but went on to win the FIA’s International Championship of GT Manufacturers in consecutive years from 1962 to 1964.

  3. Pointing Man
  4. Price: $141.28 million
    Country: Switzerland
    Owner: Steven Cohen
    Pointing Man
    photo source: Flickr

    Steven Cohen, the hedge fund billionaire bought Pointing Man (or Man Pointing) at a Sotheby’s auction in 2015. The 1947 sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, a Swiss sculptor and draftsman, thus became the most expensive ever sold, bringing in $141.28 million.

    It is 70 inches tall and may be the only of Giacometti’s similar sculptures that he painted by hand. Six casts of this work were made, in addition to an artist’s proof, meaning the sculpture can be seen on display in several places, including the Tate Gallery in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    Did you know?

    This sculpture, L’Homme au doigt as it is officially called, beat out another Giacometti work for this spot on our list as the world’s most expensive piece of sculpture. That was L’Homme qui marche I, or The Walking Man I, which sold for $104.3 million in 2010.

  5. Salvator Mundi
  6. Price: $450.3 million
    Country: Italy
    Owner: Prince Badr bin Abdullah
    Salvator Mundi
    photo source: Flickr

    Salvator Mundi has the honor of being the most expensive painting ever sold. This painting by Leonardo da Vinci, potentially with some intervention from his workshop, in Latin means “Savior of the World.” It depicts Jesus dressed in a very Renaissance-style blue dress, using his right hand to sign the cross while holding a celestial sphere in the other, made of clear crystal.

    The painting has been copied dozens of times, leading many to believe that the original was also a copy for many years. However, once identified, some extra paint was removed to discover that it was, indeed, the Da Vinci original. It was sold in 2017 to Prince Badr bin Abdullah for $450.3 million, making it the most expensive painting in history.

    Did you know?

    Some believe that Prince Badr was bidding on behalf of Mohammad bin Salma, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who may be the true owner of the most expensive painting in the world. 2nd place goes to The Card Players, a painting by Paul Cezanne painted around 1894, which sold at auction to the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011. Its final price was $250 million.

  7. Hubble Space Telescope
  8. Price: $1.175 billion
    Country: United States
    Owner: NASA
    Hubble Space Telescope
    photo source: Flickr

    Here’s a question: does the Hubble Space Telescope count as “in the world” in our list of the most expensive things in the world? It is, after all, floating in low earth orbit and has been doing so since 1990. However, since it was built on earth and cost its $1.175 billion to build in a terrestrial facility, we’re counting it.

    The telescope is equipped to observe and photograph in multiple spectrums, including the visible, ultraviolet, and the electromagnetic spectrum (or near-infrared). It was launched above earth’s atmosphere so that it could take the highest resolution photos possible of interstellar objects.

    Did you know?

    The Hubble Space Telescope is now over 30 years old. NASA believes it’s time for an upgrade (overdue for one, actually). The James Webb Space Telescope, after 20 years of development, is set to launch before 2022 to replace Hubble. All told, it will cost nearly $10 billion.

  9. Antilia
  10. Price: $2 billion
    Country: India
    Owner: Mukesh Ambani
    photo source: Pixabay

    The building Antilia is the most expensive residence in the world, valued at upwards of $2 billion. It is located in Mumbai, India and stands as a 27-story personal skyscraper. It has three helipads, its own air traffic controller, a garage that fits 168 cars, a private theater, gardens on the terrace, a private spa and swimming pool, health center, religious temple, ballroom, and more.

    The building is inhabited by Mukesh Ambani and his family, with the entire top 6 floors being reserved for their private residence.

    Did you know?

    Antilia was built on Altamount Road in Mumbai, colloquially known as the Billionaires’ Row. The road is technically called S.K. Barodawalla Marg, which it was renamed to in the 90s. However, taxi drivers and residents alike have continued to call it Altamount Road. In addition to the Ambani family, the Japanese and Belgium consulates as well as the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai all call Billionaires’ Row their home.

  11. B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
  12. Price: $2.1 billion
    Country: United States
    Owner: Whiteman Air Force Base
    B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber
    photo source: Flickr

    The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber was designed in the 1980s to get through Soviet air defense forces undetected. It originated as a “flying wing,” in other words, a plane with no body, since that made it more difficult to be caught by radar.

    Due to its numerous war and peacetime applications, the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber costs $2.1 billion to build. It was designed with such advanced sophistication that it’s still one of the most formidable craft in the air (that we know about). They still fly out of the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri on special missions.

    Did you know?

    The concept of the flying wing goes back to Germany in WWI and WWII. The Nazis tested the design with the Horten Ho 229, an advanced stealth fighter that ends up looking a lot like the modern B-2 stealth craft. Jack Northrup was the one who brought these designs to America in the late 40s with the YB-49, the first such plane in America.

  13. History Supreme
  14. Price: $4.5 billion
    Country: Malaysia
    Owner: Anonymous businessman
    History Supreme
    photo source: Money Inc

    An anonymous businessman bought the History Supreme, which is a luxury yacht, for $4.8 billion, making it the most expensive boat (or any vehicle) ever purchased. While most expensive yachts are gigantic, the History Supreme only measures 100 feet in length. It makes up for its shortness, however, with over 220,000 pounds of precious metals, including being entirely encrusted from stem to stern in gold and platinum.

    Even the handrails, tables, deck, and anchor are plated in solid gold. The master suite bedroom even contains a wall piece made from an actual tyrannosaurus rex bone encased in meteorite. Though the businessman who bought the boat in Malaysian has remained anonymous, only three businessmen have the money to buy it. Robert Kuok, Malaysia’s richest man, is the most accurate guess.

    Did you know?

    Other yachts have sold for over $500 million, including the 590-foot boat, Azzam, purchased by the Dubai Royal Family for $600 million and the Eclipse, 533 feet in length, German-made, and bought by the businessman Roman Abramovich for a cool $590 million.

  15. Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam
  16. Price: $19.6 billion+
    Country: Brazil
    Owner: Itaipu Binacional
    Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam
    photo source: Wikimedia Commons

    The most expensive thing in the world is the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam. It’s a hydro powerplant located between Brazil and Paraguay, which began construction in 1971 and opened in 1984. It’s important to note that the $19.6 billion it cost is actually in 1970s money. Today, it’s value is equivalent to over $48 billion.

    The dam has a generating capacity of 14GW and is the second largest dam of its kind in the world. Hydroelectric power is the major source of energy processing in Brazil due to the availability of suitable water supplies.

    Did you know?

    The Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam displaced 65,000 people from their homes to be built. The government and Itaipu Binacional spent years relocating them, which cost an additional $190 million.

The Takeaway

There are many vehicles and homes that sell for millions of dollars each year. However, the “things” that rack up millions or even billions of dollars are varied both in scale and purpose. From hydroelectric dams to space telescopes, these objects represent the most expensive things manufactured by, and sold to, human beings.


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