A COLLECTOR’S DELIGHT
The world is a treasure trove of curios that any lover of collectibles would love to acquire, irrespective of the price ticket. Here are some of the biggest draws guaranteed to appeal to aficionados
Imagine if you discovered that the painting you just laid your hands on in your attic was a rare Michelangelo or a Vincent Van Gogh piece. One is bound to be ecstatic, for you would have joined the league of treasure hunters who have successfully unearthed unique collectibles in rather indeterminate locations. The list of the world’s most precious and priceless antiques and collectibles range from the priciest baseball card, an old pair of faded Levi’s, curling baseball card, to a vase from the Yuan Dynasty and bottle of wine initialed by a legendary American President. A sneak peek into the list of the world’s most expensive collectible items. This is just aboiut as major league as it gets.
SPIDER-MAN COMIC BOOK: $40,000+
Debuted in November of 1962 and noted as “one the most important comics in history,” the Marvel Comic, Spiderman is the world’s most rare and most expensive comic collectible. Created by writer-editor Stan-Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, the original sale price of the comic book was just 12 cents per copy and is now valued at over $40,000. An original copy of the comic book was located by BBC presenter, Jonathan Ross, who put it up for auction for ‘comic relief’. Ross known
his comic collection, apparently spent years trying to track down the SpiderMan collectible, and regards it as one of his “most prized possessions.”
PAIR OF LEVI STRAUSS & CO 501: $60,000
An original pair of Levi Strauss & Co (USA) 501 jeans, aged over 115 years, was sold for $60,000 (approximately ` 40 lakh) through an online auction on eBay in 2005, making it the most expensive jeans sold at an auction online. It is said to be the only complete pair of authentic pre-1900 Levi’s 501 jeans in existence that is still wearable. Levis Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis produced the rst men’s work pant made out of denim in 1873, some 20 years after the Bavarian, Strauss moved to San Francisco, California (1853). According to American nancial history, a dozen pairs of Levi Strauss blue jeans at that time cost mere $13.50. Although the most expensive pair of jeans (also produced by Levi’s) are a gold, diamond and ruby embellished pair, valued at $85,000, they are not the most valuable. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the most valuable pair jeans is one original pair from Levi Strauss & Co 501. The makers bid $46,532 to buy back the collectible denim off an ebay auction, but the jeans manufactured in the 1880’s were sold to a Japanese collector in 2005 for $60,000.
THE GUTENBERG BIBLE: $20,000 – $100,000
Written in Latin, printed in the 1450s, and the rst major book printed in the western world using movable type, the Gutenberg Bible, also known as the ‘42-line Bible’, the ‘Mazarin Bible’, or the ‘B42’, holds an iconic status and is reputed for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities. It is believed that at present there are only 42-48 copies of the Bible left, each which is worth between $20,000 – $100,000.
Although there is contradicting information about how many copies of this type of Bible exist as on date, but as of 2007 it was estimated that there are between 42-48 copies that have survived either in fragments or in entirety. It is currently believed to be amongst the most valuable books in world.
1787 CHATEAU LAFITE: $160,000
Considered the world’s most expensive bottle of wine at $160,000, Château Late was produced on a French wine estate owned by the Rothschild family dating back to the 19th century. The bottle of wine was purchased by the third President the United States, Thomas Jefferson, in France, signed and later sold for $156,000-160,000. Jefferson’s initials can be seen under “Late.” Awarded ‘rst growth’ status (a classication of wines primarily from the Bordeaux region of France), Late was one of four wines produced by Châteaux of Bordeaux, and has since remained a consistent producer of one of the world’s most expensive red wines. This particular brand, Chateau Late 1787, is considered the world’s most expensive bottle of wine.
‘DOUBLE FANTASY’ JOHN LENNON ALBUM: $525,000
The last album released by John Lennon just three weeks before his death, Double Fantasy was a collaboration by the artist with his beloved Yoko Ono. The album was awarded the ‘1981 Album of the Year’ during the 24th Annual Grammy Awards, and is now worth $525,000. Released in 1980, the album didn’t receive rave reviews initially, but later became a global phenomenon, as well as a commercial success. This was also the last album to be signed by the artist, making it the most valuable record ever.
PORCELAIN VASE: $1.2 MILLION
The only one of its kind in existence from the XIV century, this porcelain vase dates back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), also known as the Mongol Dynasty, the empire established by Mongolian general Kublai Khan. Standing 34 centimeters high and designed in Yuan Style, the vase was sold in 1993 for $1.2 million. It was during this period that the Chinese white and blue decorated porcelain was made for exclusive export to Europe and North America, gaining great popularity between the 16th and the 20th century.
T206 HONUS WAGNER BASEBALL CARD: $1.26 MILLION
Nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman” for his speed and German heritage, Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner was hailed as one of the best baseball players of all time. The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card was made by the American Tobacco Company (ATC) that produced and distributed 200 cards before ceasing production. In 1933, the card valued at $50 was the most expensive baseball card in the world. Today, the remains the rarest baseball card ever, in 2000 was sold for $1.26 million, and may be worth three times that value today. Wagner was a Major League Baseball shortstop who played in the National League from 1897 to 1917. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 and his impressive statistics include eight batting titles, six slugging titles, and ve stolen base titles.
TRESKILLING YELLOW STAMP: $2.3 MILLION
The Swedish postage stamp known as the “Treskilling Yellow” is the world’s most valuable stamp. First issued in 1855, the particular Swedish postage stamp features a set of ve values depicting the Swedish coat of arms and Swedish Skilling in various dominations. The stamp normally printed in a blue-green colour, got printed in the wrong colour erronously. Given that only one copy of the Treskilling yellow stamp was ever discovered, it is extremely rare, and was sold in 1996 for $2.3 million.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AUTOGRAPH: $3-5 MILLION
Considered England’s national poet, William Shakespeare only left six known copies of his signature. While none of the signatures are attached to any his manuscripts and have not been authenticated, if an authenticated autograph was ever sold it would be worth $3-5 million. Three of Shakespeare’s authenticated signatures were linked to the deed of his house, while the other three were linked to his will.
WORLD’S LARGEST DIAMOND NECKLACE: $55 MILLION
This magnicent piece of jewellery known as L’Incomparable has an egg-sized yellow stone called ‘The Golden Giant’ surrounded by 90 white diamonds and suspended from a rose gold setting weighs a whopping 637 karats. The egg-sized yellow diamond, which is the staple piece to the world’s most astonishing necklace, was found by a young girl in a pile of mining rubble in the Democratic Republic Congo 30 years ago and was recently auctioned for $55 million in Singapore. The necklace, afrmed the most expensive one that exists by Guinness World Records earlier in the year, is the handiwork of luxury jewellery Mouawad.