Antiques hold a special place in the heart of most people in the world. Their nostalgic charm serves as a reminder of the glory days of the past and owning an antique is akin to owning a piece of history. Antiques are held in high regards among a majority of the world’s collectors and they have a very strong secondary sale market also. Since antiques are remnants of the days gone by, they don’t have any modern day production facilities, making them extremely rare and as a result, extremely expensive. Most antiques that you see in museums are somewhat expensive but the most expensive antiques in the world are more expensive than many museums combined. So if you have an inexhaustible love for antiques/inexhaustible bank account, this list is just for you.
Here are the 10 most expensive antiques in the world:
10. Napoleon’s Sword ($6.4 million)
Few emperors and conquerors have had a life as glorious as the Little Corporal, Napoleon Bonaparte. So unsurprisingly, the sword by whose edge Napoleon conquered a large part of Europe, is quite pricey. This entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world was Napoleon’s trusted companion well into the 1880s. After that, Napoleon gifted it to his brother for his wedding. This incredible sword, which was declared a National Treasure of France in 1978, was auctioned for $6.4 million.
9. Germain Royal Soup Tureen ($9.7 million)
When you think of it, paying almost $10 million for what is essentially a bowl to hold your soup, makes no sense. However, this entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list belonged to the erstwhile King of France, Louis XV. This kingly gift was made in 1733 by a French silversmith named Thomas Germain and it weighs a staggering 30 pounds. As of now, this Royal Soup Tureen is housed in Germany.
8. The Antique Secretary Desk by Goddard & Townsend ($11.4 million)
This entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list was designed and made in the year 1760. This Mahogany shelf desk and six shell book case was designed by Nicholas Brown. It is a gigantic 112 inches in length and it’s incredible beauty and presence has led to a valuation of $11.4 million.
7. The Tiara of Princess Katharina Henckel ($12.1 million)
Coming up next on the most expensive antiques in the world list is the gorgeous tiara of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck. This incredible piece of royal jewellery is made out of emeralds and diamonds and was presented to the Princess during her coronation. 11 rare Columbian emeralds, weighing over 500 karats embellish this spectacular tiara. It was sold for $12.1 million at an auction at Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels Sale in Geneva, Switzerland.
6. Ming Dynasty Gold Tripod Vessel ($14.2 million)
The next entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list is something with an oriental touch. The Ming Dynasty Gold Tripod Vessel was created during the Xuande period with 18 karat gold. The time period of its construction is ubiquitous for pricey antiques coming out of China. This vessel however, is the highlight of the era. The $14.2 million vessel is studded with natural pearls, sapphires, rubies, cabochon gems and cat’s eye chrysoberyl.
5. White, Pink and Blue enamelled moon flask ($15.1 million)
This entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list dates back to the 18th century. The delicate flask is enamelled in white, pink and blue and hearkens back to a design language from the 15th century. Two phoenix birds and a flaming pearl in pink enamel, form the highlight of this spectacular antique which was sold for $15.2 million at Hong Kong’s Sotheby’s in 1987.
4. The Oliphant ($16.1 million)
The next entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list is a battle horn from the 11th century. Despite having seen many bloody battles, this pre-medieval masterpiece has retained its beauty and magnificence. This peerless antique which raised many a battle cry at one point of time, is worth $16.1 million today.
3. Badminton Cabinet ($28.8 million)
This entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list took six years and a whopping 30 craftsmen to complete. This $28.1 million badminton cabinet was sold to the Prince of Liechtenstein and is on permanent display in the Liechtenstein Museum at Vaduz. This 12 foot beauty was made during the 18th century and it’s embellished with polished and coloured gems. A fleur-de-lis symbol also adorns the clock at the top of the cabinet.
2. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester ($30.8 million)
The next entrant on the most expensive antiques in the world list is slightly different from all the other entrants. In the sense that instead of being a vessel/weapon/piece of furniture, it’s actually a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific writings. In total, 30 journals of da Vinci’s works were recovered and this is the one which was owned by the Earl of Leicester till 1719. The Codex Leicester was bought by Bill Gates for $30.8 million. He went on to get it digitally scanned and reproduced on CDs.
1. Pinner Qing Dynasty Vase ($80.2 million)
At the top of the most expensive antiques in the world list is this wonderful vase from the glory days of the Qing Dynasty in China. During the 18th century, the Qing Dynasty made 18 of these vases but sadly, they all couldn’t withstand the test of time. This one did though and it’s an incredible example of rarity, beauty and magnificence. The $80.2 million vase has four motifs and is decorated with sky-blue, yellow, pastel and gold colours.