From baseball cards, bottle caps, and stamps to chess sets, Beanie Babies, and Santa Claus figurines, there’s no limit to the things that people can collect. There’s something thrilling about hunting down an item in order to complete your collection or put another “trophy” on the shelf.
Some collector’s items are worth more than others, of course. These valuables may be so old and unique that you aren’t likely to find them on a midnight raid of your rich uncle’s attic. In fact, some items are so rare that only one exists in the entire world!
Do you think anything in your collection stacks up to these 10 of the most valuable collector’s items in the world? Read on to find out…
1. The Amazing Spider-Man comic: Now worth $40,000 or more, the first issue in the saga of Stan Lee’s crime-fighting web slinger is worth a bit more than the 12 cents it sold for on release day. BBC presenter Johnathan Ross spent a long time tracking down this collectible, calling it one of his most prized possessions. He hopes to auction it off for a good cause.
2. A pair of Levi Strauss & Co 501s: Ubiquitous as jeans are today, you’d be in luck if you got your hands on one of the original pairs from the 1880s. Even the modern Levi’s Company couldn’t strike gold in its search for a pair: it was outbid by a Japanese collector who paid $60,000 for a pair in an eBay auction.
3. The Gutenberg Bible: As the first books ever produced with Gutenberg’s “moving type” printer, this Bible is a Holy Grail for book collectors. Somewhere between 42 and 48 copies have stood the test of time for over 500 years. Worth between $20,000 and $100,000, they’re also some of the most valuable editions in the world.
4. 1787 Château Lafite: This isn’t your everyday bottle of 18th century wine. No, this particular bottle was purchased by Thomas Jefferson, who evidently never got around to popping the cork on this Châteaux-of-Bordeaux-produced drink. In 1985, a collector purchased the bottle—engraved with Jefferson’s initials—for a whopping $160,000.
5. Double Fantasy, an album by John Lennon: Lennon released this collaboration with Yoko Ono just three weeks before his tragic death. Despite a tepid reception, the album was named “Album of the Year” at the 24th annual Grammy Awards. One specific copy of the album signed by Lennon—the last album he ever signed—earned a $525,000 price tag.
6. Porcelain vase: No, this isn’t the kind of home décor you’d find in your grandmother’s foyer. Unless, of course, your grandmother owns a $1.2 million vase from China’s Yuan Dynasty. From 1271 to 1368, the Chinese decorated porcelain with white and blue patterns. A few centuries later, the design’s popularity—and value—soared.
7. T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card: It may just look like an ordinary photograph of the Hall of Fame shortstop, but this baseball card boasts a $1.26 million price tag—though speculators say it may be worth three times that amount today. The American Tobacco initially printed as many as 200 of these cards, but stopped production when Wagner either wanted more money or didn’t want to be associated with cigarettes.
8. Treskilling yellow stamp: Sweden issued a postage stamp series in 1855 that featured the Swedish coat of arms. This Treskilling—or three units of currency—stamp was normally printed as blue-green, but an error caused a handful to be a yellow color instead. Only one copy of the yellow Treskilling stamp has ever been recovered, and in 1996, it sold for $2.3 million.
9. William Shakespeare’s autograph: Owning a copy of ol’ Bill’s autograph will be nothing more than a midsummer night’s dream for most. The Bard only left behind six signatures—three on his house’s deed and three on his will—and all of them belong to private institutions. If one were sold, however, estimates put its value between $3 and $5 million.
10. The world’s largest diamond necklace: Perhaps the least surprising item on this list is this necklace adorned with 90 white diamonds—totaling 407 carats—all set in rose gold. A young girl from the Republic of Congo discovered the enormous, egg-shaped diamond that serves as the necklace’s centerpiece. Worth $55 million, this is by far the world’s most valuable collectable!
Is it time to call up the Antique Road Show and see if any of your collectables might fall somewhere on this list? Time passing has a funny way of adding value to items that may have once been ubiquitous. Who knows? Maybe in a few centuries your computer will be a rare antique!
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