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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Coughlin

Unveiling the Most Valuable Auction Items

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Auctions have served as grand platforms for the extraordinary, where the world's most valuable and desired items find new homes amidst bidding wars and applause. From rare artwork that transcends time to historical artifacts that tell captivating tales, these auctions have etched their names into the scrolls of history, showcasing the heights of human creativity, craftsmanship, and desire. Join us on a journey as we unveil the stories behind some of the most expensive auction items ever sold.


1. Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci - $450.3 Million In 2017, "Salvator Mundi," a masterpiece attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, fetched a staggering $450.3 million at Christie's Auction House. Believed to be the last da Vinci painting in private hands, its rarity and disputed attribution contributed to its sky-high price. The artwork's journey through centuries, royal collections, and rediscovery adds an aura of mystery to its allure.

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci - $450.3 Million
Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci - $450.3 Million


2. The Pink Star Diamond - $71.2 Million Auctioned by Sotheby's, the Pink Star Diamond set a world record for any gemstone or jewel when it was sold for $71.2 million. This stunning 59.60-carat pink diamond's rarity, vibrant hue, and exceptional cut captivated collectors and investors alike, representing the pinnacle of nature's marvels.

The Pink Star Diamond - $71.2 Million
The Pink Star Diamond - $71.2 Million


3. Rabbit by Jeff Koons - $91.1 Million In 2019, contemporary art icon Jeff Koons' stainless-steel sculpture "Rabbit" became the most expensive work by a living artist ever sold at auction. Its mirror-like surface and minimalistic elegance resonated with collectors, exemplifying the convergence of art and investment in the modern world.

Rabbit by Jeff Koons - $91.1 Million
Rabbit by Jeff Koons - $91.1 Million


4. The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci - $30.8 Million Leonardo da Vinci's brilliance extended beyond canvases. "The Codex Leicester," a collection of da Vinci's scientific writings, sketches, and observations, fetched $30.8 million at an auction. Its pages contain musings on subjects ranging from astronomy to hydrodynamics, providing a glimpse into the genius of the Renaissance polymath.

The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci - $30.8 Million
The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci - $30.8 Million


5. Moon Dust Bag from Apollo 11 - $1.8 Million Heritage Auctions brought space enthusiasts and collectors together when they auctioned off a lunar sample bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission. This seemingly humble item holds the distinction of being one of the few pieces of the Moon ever brought to Earth, serving as a tangible link between our planet and the cosmos.

Moon Dust Bag from Apollo 11 - $1.8 Million
Moon Dust Bag from Apollo 11 - $1.8 Million


6. Action Comics #1 - $3.2 Million Comic book aficionados rejoiced when the inaugural appearance of Superman in "Action Comics #1" broke records with a $3.2 million sale. This issue marks the birth of the superhero genre, sparking a cultural phenomenon that has shaped entertainment for generations.

Action Comics #1 - $3.2 Million
Action Comics #1 - $3.2 Million


7. Qing Dynasty Vase - $69 Million A seemingly unassuming vase turned into a treasure trove when it was auctioned at Bainbridges Auctions for a staggering $53.1 million in 2010. Crafted during China's Qing Dynasty, this exquisite porcelain piece exemplifies the allure of historical artifacts and the craftsmanship of bygone eras.


Qing Dynasty Vase - $69 Million
Qing Dynasty Vase - $69 Million



The stories behind these record-breaking auctions reveal a common thread: the fusion of rarity, historical significance, artistic brilliance, and human aspiration. These items transcend their physical forms, becoming symbols of human achievement and the boundless value we place on capturing moments of beauty, exploration, and ingenuity.


As we marvel at the prices these items command, let us remember that beyond the dollar signs, they embody our shared history, dreams, and passions. Each auction is a stage where collectors, enthusiasts, and visionaries converge, united by their pursuit of the exceptional, the priceless, and the extraordinary.

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