Conceived in 1955 and published annually, the Guinness Book of World Records includes a compilation of astounding records held by both humans and the world of nature. The catalogue of world records is staggering, as is the popularity of the record holding book, maintaining the top spot for “the best-selling copyrighted book of all time.” While you can pretty much find a record for almost anything in this book, we tracked down the most expensive and unique record holdings ever published!
10 Tooth of Napoleon Bonaparte: $19,140
Considered a battlefield genius, Napoleon Bonaparte, was a French military and political leader, and the Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814. Asides from his military mastermind, Napolean has also been notoriously recognized for his ‘short’ height (1.67 meters tall), even having the term ‘Napoleon Complex’ coined after him in later centuries. Something, however, the leader was less renowned for, until now, was his teeth. Evidently a canine tooth extracted from the mouth of the historical icon is worth a lot of money to at least one buyer who purchased it at the Dominic Winter auction for a reported $19,140. Historical evidence suggests the tooth was extracted by Dr. Barry O’Meara in 1816 due to scurvy.
9 Wedding Cake Slice: $26,000
Often referred to as the romance of the century, the union between The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, was made official on June 3, 1937, in the Château de Candé, France. The former Mrs. Simpson, a bonafide socialite, was living in Britain with her second husband when the couple to-be met courtesy of one of Mrs. Simpson's friends. The ex-king who adorned the title of His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor; Wallis was denied an HRH styling upon marriage. When the two later married, no members of the royal family attended the wedding. Some 61 years later, during a Sotheby’s auction, a piece of that day was put up for sale; a piece of cake that is. A San Francisco businessman purchased 'one of the most romantic mementos of the century' for $26,000; a piece of cake served at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Benjamin Yim, a Hong Kong native, bought the piece of the cake stating that it represented “a truly romantic period, the 1930's, which were all about style and elegance." The proceeds were donated to charities supported by Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana.
8 Painting by Elephants: $39,000
Throughout time elephants have been symbols of nobility, wisdom, courage, and stature. Their tusks perhaps the most renowned feature of the mammal, are a symbol reminiscent of strength. Today, elephants are identified with an additional attribute, applying multicolored paint to a dry canvass. Can elephants really be artists, painting pictures of flowers, trees, and their own species? According to Desmond Morris, a skeptical writer set out to decipher the truth, elephants can be trained to paint. Apparently there are currently about six elephants in Thailand, whom by using a paintbrush, via their trunk can paint a variety of images. The most expensive painting ever completed by a group of elephants was sold for $39,000 in Thailand, in February of 2005. The names of the elephants responsible for the painting are Kamsan, Kongkam, Wanpen, Punpetch, Duanpen, Songpun, Langkam, and Au Pod. Half the painting remained in Chiang Mai, while the other half was given to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand.
7 Clip of Elvis Presley's Hair: $115,120
Referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” and regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, Elvis Presley or “the King” is one of the most distinguished musicians of the century. Topping the music charts in pop, blues, and gospel, the renowned talent and heart-throb is still recognized as the top selling solo recording artist in history. While his worldwide record sales are in excess of 600 million, Elvis was also nominated for 14 Grammys and received the Grammy Lifetime award at 36 years of age. Upon his death, Elvis’ legacy has lived on, and not only through his music and descendants but through his hair! Evidently his personal barber, Homer Gilleland, kept and later sold a lock of “the King’s” hair during an online auction, for a reported $115,120.
6 Lunch Date with Warren Buffett: $2.1 Million
American business mogul, Warren Edward Buffett is considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th century. He is also considered amongst the world's wealthiest people, and was ranked world's wealthiest person in 2008. In 2012 Time Magazine, named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world. Each year, the business magnate auctions off a lunch date to benefit the Glide Foundation, providing social services to San Francisco's homeless and poor. In 2008, the winner, a Chinese investment fund manager Zhao Danyang, won the lunch date by bidding a whopping $2.1 million. While the pair ate at Smith and Wollensky in Manhattan New York, what was eaten and discussed was not disclosed!
5 Louis XV Savonnerie Carpet: $4,406,000
Carpets created in Europe and particularly in France during the High Renaissance period were developed and inspired from a variety of factors including voyages. By the mid 17th century the most famous manufacturer was the Parision La Savonnerie. The manufacturer was producing carpets for the court of Louis XIV, and produced what is known today as the world’ most expensive carpet. A Louis XV Savonnerie carpet was purchased at Christie's, in New York for almost $4.5 million. The carpet measured 18 x 19 feet.
4 Francis Crick Letter: $6,098,500
Biologist, biophysicist and neuroscientist Francis Harry Compton Crick, is best recognized for co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. The term "central dogma" (used to summarize an idea that genetic information flow in cells) is also identified with the Nobel Prize winner. The double-helix structure of DNA is amongst the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century, and as such the paper on which it was documented is worth a whole lot, more than $6 million to be exact. The seven-page letter entitled ‘Secret of Life’ outlined the discovery of DNA structure, and was sold on 10 April 2013 by Christie's to Crick’s son, Michael Crick.
3 Decorated Christmas Tree: $11.3 Million
Known as a time of giving, sharing, and celebrating the birth of Jesus, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without decorating and trimming the tree. Forget about the snowmen, icicles and snowflakes you may be thinking of; we’ve found a 13 meter decorated tree complete with diamonds, pearls, and emeralds! In 2010 The Emirates Palace in the UAE (Abu Dhabi) displayed a 43-foot tree covered in 181 pieces of jewelry. The extravagant décor included diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires, and other precious stones. The precious gems filled the tree branches along with the traditional trimmings and lights. The jewels add a total value of over $11 million to the original cost of the $10,000 bare tree.
2 "The Birds of America" Book: $11.4 Million
John James Audubon, the 17th century ornithologist and painter, is recognized for his research on the various types of American birds and equally noteworthy for his illustrations of the birds in nature. One of his principal works published was a series in between 1827 and 1838, is entitled The Birds of America. The color-plated book was published in Edinburgh and London and featured 25 new species, including six birds which are now extinct: Carolina Parakeet, Passenger Pigeon, Labrador Duck, Great Auk, Esquimax Curlew, and Pinnated Grouse. In 2010, a complete copy of the book was sold for a jaw dropping $11.4 million at Sotheby's in London. The book contains a total of 1,000 life-size illustrations of 435 birds. The book broke the Guinness World record for a published book – Bill Gates purchased Leonardo da Vinci's handwritten Leicester Codex for $31 million in 1994.
1 Website domain: $13 Million
While there are several sexy records depicted in the Guinness Book of World Records, there is one that gives a new meaning to the term ‘sex sells’ and tops our list! The salacious three letter word made into a website domain has a value of $13 million. In November of 2010, the domain sex.com was sold by a Sedo sales team, who reportedly spent about two years setting up the domain with the right buyer and certifying the transfer.