While most of the auctions on our site feature great deals, sometimes it’s fun to look at the opposite end of the spectrum and gawk at the year’s most expensive sellers. Auction houses that sell items for millions of dollars specialize in rare, collectible and extremely valuable items that only high rollers consider purchasing. When an item goes for a high price, it often makes auction news, as people dream about what it would feel like to throw wads of cash at something special for their collection. This year wasn’t short on fascinating auction sales, so read on to see some of the most expensive auction items of 2016.
Marilyn Monroe Dress: $4.8 Million
You may have seen the video of Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy, but did you notice the dress? Someone clearly did, and they were willing to part ways with nearly five million dollars to have it. The dress has unique cultural significance, as the blond bombshell sang to JFK at a 1962 Democratic fundraiser and presidential birthday celebration in New York. The dress itself was a pink illusion gown that sparkled in front of a star-struck nation.
LaFerrari Supercar: 7 Million
Ferrari showed its love for Italy by selling a car at auction, with proceeds going directly towards the country’s earthquake recovery efforts. The LaFerrari is the most expensive 21st century automobile ever sold at auction, and it’s easy to see why: the 949-horsepower hybrid is a limited-edition model joining only 499 others in existence. The fact that it was the last to be produced drove up the bidding price, although the added bonus of charity proceeds surely inspired a competitive auction.
Patek Philippe Wristwatch: 11 Million
It’s well known that a designer watch can fetch a large sum of money, but this particular timepiece redefines the price of luxury wear. A Patek Philippe wristwatch smashed the record as the most expensive watch ever sold at auction. It was designed in the 1940s and is one of only four in existence. Bidders from all over the world vied for the chance to own (and if they dare, sport) this exclusive piece of stainless steel craftsmanship. The auction indicated to watch collectors that the market for high-quality timepieces is still going strong.
Claude Monet’s Haystack Painting: 81 Million
The most expensive piece of artwork ever sold at auction changed hands in 2016. An anonymous phone bidder came away with a painting from Monet’s Haystacks series, an extremely rare piece that spurred a bidding war. Bidding strategies seemed all over the place at the auction, as new people jumped in and out of the auction at seemingly random intervals. We may never know the identity of the lucky (and ridiculously wealthy) winner, but we do know that they possess one of the few Haystacks series examples outside of a museum.
Even if you’re not in the market to buy a multimillion-dollar piece of artwork, fashion or jewelry, you can still find more bargain-priced items in the same categories on Auction Masters. Our auctions span a wide range of industries, so you can bid on something that’s priceless to you. It’s clear that people are willing to drop enormous sums of money on items that speak to them, but you don’t have to. Check out our upcoming auctions to see what’s in store for the next few weeks!