The idea that the painting you bought at your neighbor’s garage sale could be a Picasso, or at the very least an antique worth millions, has become a lot more pragmatic in the last few years. As a matter of fact, it isn’t just treasure hunters who are uncovering unique finds in obscure locations. The list of the world’s most precious and priceless antiques and collectibles range from the priciest baseball card, a pair of Levi’s, to a vase from the Yuan Dynasty and bottle of wine initialed by a legendary American President. Behold, the list of the world’s most expensive collectible items.
10. Spider-man Comic Book: $40,000+
The world’s most rare and most expensive comic collectible is no other than Peter Parker’s alter ego, Spiderman. Debuted in November of 1962, the Marvel Comic is noted as “one of the most important comics in history.” Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, the original sale price of the comic book was 12 cents per copy. That same copy is now worth over $40,000. An original copy of the comic book was located by BBC presenter, Jonathan Ross, who put it up for auction for ‘comic relief’. Admittedly having a huge comic collection, Ross confesses to spending years trying to track down the Spider-man collectible, considering it one of his “most prized possessions.” The ‘comic-obsessed’ presenter reportedly said he was happy to put the comic book up for auction for a good cause, and hoped the buyer would be another infatuated fan.
9. Pair of Levi Strauss & Co 501: $60,000
Levis Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis produced the first men’s work pant made out of denim in 1873, some twenty years after the Bavarian, Strauss moved to San Francisco, California (1853). According to American financial history, a dozen pairs of Levi Strauss blue jeans at that time cost a mere $13.50. Ironically it is the same brand of jeans that are the most valuable jeans in the world today. Although the most expensive pair of jeans (also produced by Levi’s) are a gold and diamond (and ruby) embellished pair valued at $85,000, they are not the most valuable. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the most valuable pair of jeans is one original pair from Levi Strauss & Co 501. The makers bid $46,532 to buy back the collectible denim off an ebay auction, but the jeans manufactured in the 1880’s were sold to a Japanese collector in 2005 for $60,000.
8. The Gutenberg Bible: $20,000 – $100,000
Written in Latin, and printed in the 1450’s, the Gutenberg Bible is also recognized as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible, or the B42. This was the first major book printed in the western world using “movable type.” The book yields somewhat of an iconic status as it has been praised for its “high aesthetic and artistic qualities.” Although there is contradicting information about how many exist today, as of 2007 it was estimated that there are between 42-48 copies that have survived either in fragments or in entirety. It is currently believed to be amongst the most valuable books in the world.
7. 1787 Chateau Lafite: $160,000
Château Lafite derives from a wine estate in France, owned by members of the Rothschild family since the 19th century. Awarded ‘first growth’ status (a classification of wines primarily from the Bordeaux region of France), Lafite was one of four wines produced Châteaux of Bordeaux, and has since remained a consistent producer of one of the world’s most expensive red wines. This particular brand, Chateau Lafite 1787, is considered the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. It was purchased by the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, in France, and was sold in 1985 in London for $156,000-160,000 (as a collector’s item). Jefferson’s initials can be seen under “Lafite.”
6. “Double Fantasy” John Lennon Album: $525,000
A collaboration with his beloved Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy was the last album released by John Lennon, three weeks before his tragic death. Released in 1980, the album didn’t initially receive rave reviews, but later became a global phenomenon as well as a commercial success. Double fantasy was awarded the 1981 Album of the Year during the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. This was also the last album to be signed by the artist, making it the most valuable record ever.
5. Porcelain Vase: $1.2 Million
This porcelain vase is considered one of the most treasured in the world, and the only one of its kind in existence from the XIV century. The vase can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Also labeled the Mongol Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty was the empire established by Mongolian general Kublai Khan, after conquering China and becoming the first emperor of its Yuan, or Mongol Dynasty. It was during this period that the Chinese white and blue decorated porcelain was made for exclusive export to Europe and North America, gaining great popularity between the 16th and the 20th century. This cherished vase measuring 34 centimeters, and designed in Yuan Style, was sold in 1993 for $1.2 million.
4. T206 Honus Wagner Baseball Card: $1.26 Million
His speed and German heritage granted one of the best baseball players of all time, Johannes Peter “Honus” the nickname “The Flying Dutchman.” Wagner was a Major League Baseball shortstop who played in the National League from 1897 to 1917. Wagner’s impressive stats include eight batting titles, six slugging titles, and five stolen base titles. Wagner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, one of the first five members receiving the second highest votes following Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card was made by the American Tobacco Company (ATC), who produced and distributed 60 to 200 cards before seizing production. According to various speculations, Wagner either wanted more money from the ATC, or did not want kids buying cigarettes. In 1933, the card was listed as having a value of $50, making it the most expensive baseball card in the world. Today, regardless of its condition, the card remains the rarest baseball card ever. In 2000, the card was sold for $1.26 million, but evidently may be worth three times that value today.
3. Treskilling Yellow Stamp: $2.3 Million
The “Treskilling Yellow” is the world’s most valuable stamp. The particular Swedish postage stamp was first issued in 1855, and featured a set of five values depicting the Swedish coat of arms and Swedish Skilling in various dominations. While the Treskilling or Three-Skilling stamp was normally printed in a blue-green color, and the eight-skilling stamp in yellowish orange, an error mistakenly replaced the color of three-skilling stamp, causing several to be printed in the wrong color. However, due to the fact that only one copy of the Treskilling yellow stamp was ever discovered, it is extremely rare, and was sold in 1996 for $2.3 million.
2. William Shakespeare Autograph: $3-5 Million
Considered England’s national poet, William Shakespeare’s plays have been translated into every major language in the world. The author that wrote the world’s greatest tragedies, love sonnets, poems and unforgettable narratives, ironically left us with merely six known copies of his signature; none attached to a manuscript. Three of Shakespeare’s authenticated signatures were linked to the deed of his house, while the other three were linked to his will. Although all belong to private institutions, if an authenticated autograph was ever sold it would be worth $3-5 million.
1. World’s Largest Diamond Necklace: $55 Million
Thirty years ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the centerpiece of the world’s most expensive necklace was discovered. Recovered by a young girl under a pile of debris, the egg-sized yellow diamond is the staple piece to the world’s most astonishing necklace. ‘The Golden Giant’ as it is often called, is comprised of more than 407 carats, and hovers from a rose gold setting surrounded with 90 white diamonds. The glittering $55 million rose gold necklace was presented for sale in Singapore (a location renowned for its multi- millionaires) in 2013.