They say money can’t buy you love. Maybe not. But we all know that enough money can buy you practically anything else, at least as far as material items go. And while people will repeatedly tell you that money will not buy you happiness, that may actually be false: Recently, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School put a price tag on happiness. Yes, happiness.
According to their research, the price of happiness just so happens to be a salary of $75,000 a year. The lower your salary falls below that, the more unhappiness you feel. The reason for this isn’t just greed or a desire to buy fancy things. It comes down to quality of life – can you afford a roof over your head? Do your bills get paid each month without worrying about whether you can also afford food? This minimum amount for a comfortable lifestyle is, according to the research, as much as anyone needs to attain happiness. So yes, in a way, money can buy happiness.
But believe it or not, there are actually items money can never buy you. Not things like health, happiness, love, or friendship, of course – but stuff. Real, tangible items that are not for sale, and likely will never be for sale either. No matter how much money you may have.
6. The Rosetta Stone
Sure, you can buy Rosetta Stone learning software, but that’s not quite what we mean. The real Rosetta Stone is an Egyptian artifact from around 196 BC, and has been useful in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Currently, the artifact sits in the British Museum, where it has been since 1802.
And Egypt would really like it back, claiming that it’s part of their cultural heritage. Yet, Britain isn’t budging. Yes, they were sent a replica of the famous stone, but of course a replica is very far from being the same thing. And if the rightful owners, the Egyptians, can’t get it back after pretty much pleading for years – even asking to simply borrow it for several months at a time – it stands to reason that the British would never be willing to sell it to just anyone off the street. They’re keeping a tight reign on this sucker and don’t appear to be in the market to let it go. Like ever.
5. Buckingham Palace
You probably never gave it much thought, but who actually owns Buckingham Palace? If you guessed the Queen, then you’d be wrong. While the Queen does own property – the Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House – Buckingham Palace is occupied by the Sovereign, and is held in trust for future generations. And there is an important distinction between property owned by the royal family and property which belongs to the State. So while yes, the Queen may consider Buckingham Palace one of her many homes, she doesn’t actually own it. Nor can she sell it, because it doesn’t belong to her.
And no matter how much money you might offer, the government isn’t likely to sell it either. It’s a priceless heirloom to be handed down for future generations of the royal family – which means we common folk won’t ever be given a chance to purchase it. Even if we had the dough to do so.
Once upon a time, knights were said to ride white horses and save princesses. Yes, they also fought battles and did all kinds of nifty stuff for the crown, but today, none of that really matters. Because today, a knighthood is more of an honorary title bestowed upon a person deemed deserving for any number of a wide range of achievements. And according to the royal family, it’s the highest honor any person in the UK could ever hope to achieve.
People are not recognized purely for military merit these days. Knighthood – and the female equivalent of damehood – can be given to anyone who contributes to national life including teachers, scientists, and even actors and musicians.
And no, knighthood can’t be bought. It’s an honor bestowed upon you by the Queen herself, or a member of the royal family acting on her behalf.
Much like knighthood, sainthood is not something you can buy. Even if you donate your entire life’s savings to the Catholic Church, there’s no guarantee you would ever be canonized as a saint. In fact, according to the Church itself, neither the pope nor anybody living actually makes someone a saint – only God can truly do that. And God can’t be bought off.
No, the Church merely recognizes what God has already done when making someone a saint, and even then, it can only be done long after someone has passed on – meaning you will never become a saint while you’re among the living.
In order to be made a saint, you need to live a life of virtue, dedicated to the Catholic Church; your entire life is investigated as they look for signs of sainthood. Not to mention that they they also look for not one, but two miracles performed by you before you can be considered eligible for sainthood. Even Mother Teresa isn’t a saint yet, so if that’s your hope then you better get on with the miracles and charitable work now because you have a long way to go.
2. The Hope Diamond
If diamonds are the way to a girl’s heart, then you’d probably be loved forever with a rock like the Hope Diamond. At 45.52 carats, the Hope Diamond is a massive deep-blue diamond, and it just so happens to be the most famous diamond in the world.
Of course, if you believe the myths surrounding this diamond, you’d probably want to avoid it at all costs. Though many people say that the whole curse surrounding the diamond is nothing but a marketing scheme, when you look at the past of this fateful diamond you may be wont to believe it too. With a history that goes all the way back to French royalty from the 1600s, tragedy seemed to befall many people rich enough to own such a large gemstone.
Today, the Hope Diamond is housed at the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the National Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. In 2010, the Hope Diamond was placed in a temporary, modern necklace called “Embracing Hope.” And while they did eventually return the diamond to its original setting and sold “Embracing Hope,” set with another diamond worth at least a million dollars, the Hope Diamond itself is said to be priceless and irreplaceable by the curators at the Smithsonian.
So no, you won’t see this diamond showing up in an engagement ring for a celebrity anytime soon. The only place to see it is on display, at the museum. And good luck ever getting to wear that sucker – very few people have ever had that honor.
Of course, given the whole curse thing, perhaps you wouldn’t really want to anyway.
1. The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa, a portrait completed by none other than Leonardo da Vinci, is said to be the most famous and most visited work of art in the entire world. While there are imitations and even parodies of the famous work, the original has been hanging in the Louvre since 1797. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
In 1962-1963, the painting was assessed to be worth over $100 million, but instead of insuring the famous painting, money was invested in extra security. That’s a pretty smart investment, since the painting has already been stolen and was thought to be lost forever at one point. There have also been many and various attempts to vandalize the famous portrait.
While the Mona Lisa wouldn’t be the most expensive painting ever sold, if you looked at the value from the 1960s, once adjusted for the US Consumer Price Index, it would be valued at $760 million as of 2012, making it the most valuable painting in the world, by far. But no, it’s not for sale.