The story began one morning on May 27, 1994 when a 30-year old Wall Street executive came to a sudden realization of the vast, untapped commercial potential of the young internet. Within hours, he settled on the idea of selling books online. The following day, he traveled to a book convention in Los Angeles to learn about the book industry.
Not long after, he resigned from his high-paying corporate position to start Cadabra, Inc. (which was soon changed to Amazon). Armed with only investments from family and close friends (including $300,000 from his parents), Jeff Bezos began his journey into the uncharted realm of online commerce.
Nineteen years later, Amazon is recognized as the planet’s largest online retailer, offering an unrivalled range of products, convenience and level of service. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the company has a market capitalization of $119.01 billion and recorded a revenue of $61 billion in 2012. Ranked as the 33rd most valuable brand in the world by Forbes, Amazon employs 88,400 people to run its sprawling online properties.
With over two million sellers on its roster, the Amazon marketplace features literally millions of products on its virtual shelves, ranging from toys to paintings to electronics. On its highest selling day of the year in 2012 (November 26), the company sold 26.5 million items to customers around the world – that’s 306 items sold every second. None of its rivals come even remotely close to Amazon’s dominance online.
The fact is, almost everyone who has ever spent time online knows about Amazon – thanks mainly to its huge, but undisclosed number of affiliates. However, have you ever wondered about the most expensive items sold on Amazon? Well, wonder no more.
In order to get a broad range of items that one can find on Amazon, only one product from certain categories has been included in the list below of the 10 most expensive items you can currently find on Amazon.
10. Lalique Poissons Fish Fountain: $218,960.00
Very little is known about the product. Designed by Lalique, a French fine art glass design firm, the fountain is 38.11 inches tall, 46.85 inches wide, and weighs 793.66 lbs. The highlight of the glass design appears to be the symmetrical arrangement of 16 or more fish.
The product is listed in the Corning Museum of Glass website, and appears to have been crafted by the late René Lalique in 1937 – which explains the price.
9. Vickerman Artificial Double Silk Gerbera Daisies with Small Green Cube Planters: $250,000.99
Manufactured by Minnesota-based Vickerman, who is primarily known as a wholesaler of indoor and outdoor artificial plants, the 9x9x13 inch product features an assortment of colorful silk gerbera daisies planted on four lime-colored cubes.
The manufacturer has, unfortunately, failed to provide more information about this quarter million dollar plastic plant. While it is undeniably attractive and lifelike, the indoor decorative element will certainly be a hard sell.
8. One Carat Princess Cut Diamond Ring: $270,000
Set atop an 18k white gold band, the VS2-rated princess cut one carat diamond ring is a sight to behold. The diamond is graded with a D, signifying the highest color grade. Colorless diamonds such as these are extremely rare. The image provided also seems to indicate two rows of round accent diamonds around the band. The default size of the band is six, but it can be resized. Needless to say, this ring will guarantee a yes for any marriage proposal.
7. Midmark Corporation Modular Casework System: $290,203.98
Designed by MidMark Corporation, a total solutions provider for animal health care, the modular casework system is a stainless steel unit for veterinary clinics. As the name implies, it is modular, and thus, scalable and adjustable. The moveable parts use ball bearing glides for smoother and quieter operation. It can even be hooked up to existing plumbing installations. More importantly, the unit uses a specifically-designed anti-bacterial Kydex top that makes cleaning easier. There is also no need to worry because the product also comes with a five-year guarantee.
6. Nabeshima Blue Underglaze Porcelain Platter, $350,000.00
The three-century old porcelain plate is an artifact from the Japanese Genroku era (Golden Age, 1688-1704) of the Edo period. Despite its age, the blue and white underglaze and floral-themed plate is still in relatively great condition. Measuring approximately 12 1/3″ (31cm) in diameter and weighing about 2.9 pounds, the plate was probably discovered during excavations of temple grounds near modern-day Saga Prefecture, Kyushu. The term Nabeshima refers to the Samurai clan who controlled the area during the Genroku era.
5. Audemars Piguet Millenary Haute Joaillerie Sortilege, $400,075.00
This gorgeous necklace was created following Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet’s surprising decision in July 2013 to create a feminine jewelry line to demonstrate the company’s skill, talent and heritage (at least, according to the press release).
The Haute Joaillerie Sortilege sports a cable chain design adorned by a total of approximately 2.8 carat diamonds. It is further enhanced by three tear drop-shaped rings that just would be a perfect pairing with a little black dress. The necklace has a list price of $615,000, but it is currently sold with a 35% discount.
4. Iran Kerman Rug, $450,000.00
This antique hand knotted rug was handwoven in the Iranian province of Kerman. Kerman rugs are considered as one of the finest varieties of the world famous Persian rug owing to the quality of wool from the region. The 8’ x 13’ rectangle rug features the traditional Shah Abbassi pattern. With a thickness of six inches and weighing just slightly under 80 pounds , the carpet sports a red, beige and brown finish with dark trimmings.
3. Caterpillar 3516B Offshore Generator Set, $455,000.00
On the off chance that you own an offshore oil platform, then you should seriously give Caterpillar’s 351B a close look. After all, Russian oil giant Gazprom purchased three of them to power their controversial oil drilling platforms in the Arctic seas.
The diesel-powered generator 3516B engine’s output of 2000ekW makes it the market-leader in power density, while its ability to work under bad weather conditions (even during snow) explains the reason why it is frequently seen in offshore drilling platforms around the world.
With dimensions measuring 11.3 ft. x 77 ft. x 262 ft, this behemoth can be yours for just a little under half a million dollars.
2. Le portrait d’une jeune femme, $800,000
French impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) painted Le portrait d’une jeune femm (Portrait of a young girl) between the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. The pastel portrait features the side profile of Lise Tréhot, Renoir’s mistress and frequent model. The painting measures 17.75’ x 14.50’, and comes with a letter of authenticity from the Wildenstein Institute.
In recent decades, Renoir’s paintings have become some of the most sought after in the art world. At least four of his paintings have been auctioned for millions:
• Bal au moulin de la Galette; Sold in 1990 for $78.1 million
• Femme Cueillant des Fleurs; Sold in 2011 for $15 million
• Dans les roses (Madame Leon Clapisson; Sold in 2003 for $23.5 million to Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts,
• Nude Bather; Sold in 1998 for $2.75 million
1. American Caramel Urban Faber White Sox Baseball Card, $1,378,048.41
Urban ‘Red’ Faber spent 19 years playing as a pitcher for his beloved Chicago White Sox. Despite pitching for one of the weakest teams in the league, Faber’s impressive talent was apparent to everyone watching. He was, deservedly, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964, 31 years after his retirement.
While far from being a household name, Faber’s baseball cards have inexplicably risen in value exponentially in recent years. So much so, his 1922 baseball card is currently the most expensive item listed on Amazon.