Top 10 Most Expensive Cattle Ever Sold


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Cattle-Ever-Sold

Humans have been raising cattle for more than 10,000 years. Cattle were some of the most valuable assets a person could own in ancient times, and things haven’t changed much. Some of the most expensive cattle sold within the last few decades have fetched thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars.

The most expensive cattle ever sold is Mr. Basolo’s Purebred Beefalo Bull. This bull sold for $2.5 million and resulted from artificial breeding between bison and American cattle. It sold to a Canadian buyer, potentially helping Canadian livestock breeders proliferate the beefalo hybrid species.

This ranking will explore the most expensive cattle ever sold and explain cattle terminology (bull, heifer). That way, you’ll have an educated understanding of some of the priciest cattle on the planet.

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Cattle Ever Sold:

  1. Mr. Basolo’s Purebred Beefalo Bull – $2.5 million
  2. Schaff Angus Valley America Bull – $1.5 million
  3. Mist Vermont Holstein Cow – $1.3 million
  4. Missy Canadian Holstein Cow – $1.2 million
  5. Miles McKee Hereford Bull – $600,000
  6. Matsusaka Wagyu Cow – $400,000
  7. Australian Wagyu Heifer – $287,000
  8. Australian Brahman Bull – $250,000
  9. Trueman Jagger Limousin Bull – $227,680
  10. BLL Kalibre Simmental Bull – $206,000

What’s the Difference Between Cattle and Cows?

If you’re unfamiliar with livestock terms, you might be confused about the difference between cattle and cows. But cattle is just a broad term that refers to multiple cows or bulls. So, for example, a herd of cattle is a large group of cows or bulls.

Still, this begs the question: What’s the difference between cows and bulls?

Understanding Cattle Types

Several terms are applied to cattle. Some of the most common phrases are:

  • Bulls
  • Steers
  • Cows
  • Heifers

But what do these terms mean, and how are they used to differentiate types of cattle? Let’s quickly review them to find out.

Bulls

A bull is a male cow that’s capable of reproducing. Bulls are valuable because they can impregnate cows or provide sperm for artificial insemination.

Bulls are often more aggressive than their female counterparts, so they’re often separated from other types of cattle.

They tend to be larger than cows, and many bulls grow horns. They use their horns to keep cool during warm weather and display dominance over rivals during the mating season.

Steers

Steers are also male cows, but they’re not capable of reproducing. That’s because steers are castrated or sterilized. Due to this process, steers tend to be more docile than bulls.

Unlike bulls, which are primarily valuable due to their ability to generate future generations of cattle, steers are valued for their meat. Most steak cuts come from steers, as these castrated male cows are larger than their female counterparts. As such, they provide more meat than female cows.

Cows

Cows are female, and while this term is used liberally to refer to all female cattle, it refers explicitly to animals who have reproduced. Because cows have given birth, they’re capable of producing milk. As such, cows are primarily valued for milk production.

Heifers

Heifers are female cattle that haven’t reproduced. Unlike steers, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re incapable of reproducing. It simply means that they haven’t yet given birth to offspring and cannot yet produce milk.

These animals are valued for their ability to reproduce, but they’re also used for meat production.

10. BLL Kalibre Simmental Bull – $206,000

BLL-Kalibre-Simmental-Bull
photo source: The Western Producer

Simmental cattle are a little hairier than the cattle most people in North America are accustomed to. Originally a Swiss breed of cattle, these animals have been used to help farmers plow fields, but they’re also prized for their meat and milk.

The priciest Simmental cattle ever sold was a gigantic bull named BLL Kalibre 762E. It traded hands between Canadian ranchers in 2019, garnering a profit of $206,000 (originally 275,000 CAD).

Why It’s Expensive

Cattle lineages tend to have several branches, especially when cattle are exported to non-native regions. After all, exported cattle breeds are often mixed with native species over time. But this bull was a full-blooded Simmental, making it a naturally valuable specimen for Canadian livestock breeders.

9. Trueman Jagger Limousin Bull – $227,680

Trueman-Jagger-Limousin-Bull
photo source: BBC

British and Irish cattle are notable for their brown fur and shaggy coats, features which make them distinctly different from most cattle in North America. But, somewhat funnily, the most expensive cattle ever sold in Ireland was a bull from the French Limousin breed.

It sold for approximately $227,680 in 2015. This incredible animal weighed more than half a tonne when it hit the market, making it a prized breeding animal.

After all, its ability to gain weight and reach an incredible size bodes well for its descendants. Moreover, these qualities are crucial for those looking to produce livestock for meat production.

Why It’s Expensive

The Trueman Jagger Limousin bull’s value primarily stemmed from its fertility and size. Any rancher owning a bull of this quality could feel confident about the future of their business, as healthy bulls capable of reaching such massive sizes often produce similarly-sized offspring.

8. Australian Brahman Bull – $250,000

Australian-Brahman-Bull
photo source: Beef Central

Brahman cattle originate from India, but they’re found all across the globe, from the United States to Australia. Still, Australia holds the title for the priciest Brahman bull ever sold.

Nobbs Cattle Company (NCC) in Australia sold a two-year-old Brahman bull for $250,000 in 2017, breaking world records for the breed. This hefty bull was an impressive specimen, undoubtedly contributing to its staggering sales price.

Why It’s Expensive

The NCC Brahman bull that broke sales records was a relatively young animal. It was also exceptionally fertile, making it a valuable investment for those looking to sell high-quality bull semen.

Thanks to artificial insemination, livestock owners no longer need to purchase whole bulls to produce cattle. Instead, they can simply purchase bull semen to impregnate cows and heifers.

Due to the high quality of this bull (its size and muscle mass), its genetic material is sure to help the new owners earn back every penny spent acquiring it.

7. Australian Wagyu Heifer – $287,000

Australian-Wagyu-Heifer-Sunnyside-S0014
photo source: ABC News

Australian Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive steak cuts in the world, partially because Australian Wagyu cattle is so valuable.

The Australian Wagyu heifer that sold for $287,000 in 2022 is a top-notch example. This animal hadn’t yet been bred and was only about a year old when it was sold.

The animal’s buyers were making a long-term investment when they bought this heifer. Due to the creature’s young age and unbred status, it was an ideal candidate for producing future high-quality Wagyu cattle.

Why It’s Expensive

Breedability is consistently one of the most crucial aspects livestock owners look for when purchasing cattle. This heifer hadn’t yet produced any offspring, meaning the new owners could breed it with their highest-value bulls to create exceptional-quality heifers and bulls.

Though this heifer likely won’t ever be used for meat production, there’s a significant chance that its offspring will become high-priced steaks and cuts of beef. So, though the sale price of this heifer was unusually high, the potential for long-term profits makes the cost reasonable.

6. Matsusaka Wagyu Cow – $400,000

Matsusaka-cattle
photo source: MIE

Though Australian Wagyu cattle often sell for high prices, Japanese Wagyu cattle almost always sell for more. After all, the Wagyu breed originated in Japan!

The most expensive Japanese Wagyu cow ever sold was actually a heifer from the Mie Prefecture. This heifer sold for $400,000 and was likely used to produce highly-prized Matsusaka Wagyu beef.

This meat is so highly prized and flavorful that you’ll often find it at the world’s most expensive buffets.

Why It’s Expensive

Meat lovers from around the globe are often more than happy to spend their hard-earned money on the most flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth cuts of beef. And when it comes to Japanese Wagyu beef, it’s challenging to find a more decadent cut of meat.

Unlike most beef produced in the United States, Matsusaka Wagyu beef comes from female cattle that are only ever bred to create new generations. Cows that produce offspring aren’t used for meat production, but unbred females are prized for their delicate meat.

These unique qualities, and the Matsusaka heifer’s relative rarity, help make this cattle one of the world’s priciest investments.

5. Miles McKee Hereford Bull – $600,000

Miles-McKee-Hereford-Bull
photo source: Hereford.com

Hereford cattle have brown-and-white short coats, differentiating them from other types of cattle. They’re primarily used for meat production, though Hereford cows can also be used to produce milk.

Still, Hereford bulls tend to be the most prized type of Hereford cattle, as they can produce future generations of cattle. Take this Hereford bull, for example.

Named C Miles McKee 2103 ET, this bull won the title of Grand Champion Bull and Supreme Champion Hereford. This title means that the bull was considered the height of the Hereford male line, making it extremely valuable to ranchers and livestock breeders.

It sold for $600,000 in 2013, making it the priciest Hereford bull ever sold.

Why It’s Expensive

This majestic bull’s incredible price stems from its many championship title wins and top-notch Hereford breed qualities. Like purebred dogs, livestock owners tend to look for specific features when purchasing cattle breeds.

Previously owned by Colyer Herefords & Angus in Idaho, this bull had everything Hereford breeders were looking for, boosting its value past the half-million-dollar mark.

4. Missy Canadian Holstein Cow – $1.2 Million

Missy-Canadian-Holstein-Cow
photo source: The Globe and Mail

There are several reasons why beef jerky is expensive, but the high price of premium cattle is one of the most significant reasons. Still, this Canadian Holstein cow that sold for $1.2 million in 2009 likely wasn’t used for meat production.

After all, two years after the cow (named Missy) changed hands, it won the title of Supreme Grand Champion at the World Dairy Expo. This animal was highly prized for its milk production and ability to reproduce and give birth to future generations of dairy-producing cattle.

Why It’s Expensive

Cows that win competitive titles tend to be more valuable than other cattle. This is undoubtedly the case for Missy, who won multiple titles throughout her life.

In fact, this cow was considered to be a near-immaculate representation of the Holstein breed, making it a valuable asset to livestock breeders. Missy’s new owners likely used her for breeding several generations of offspring, making her almost as valuable as the highest-priced bulls.

3. Mist Holstein Cow – $1.3 Million

Vermont-Cow

According to Guinness World Records, Mist, a Holstein cow from Vermont, is the most expensive cow ever sold at auction. This cow fetched $1.3 million in 1985.

Holstein cattle are easily recognizable due to their black-and-white coloration. As a result, they’re some of the most recognizable types of dairy cows in the world.

This cow was sold by the owner, Jerome Rappaport, to a group called the Mist Syndicate. Notably, Rappaport was one of the most influential members of the Mist Syndicate. As such, this cow was essentially sold back to the owner, but with the addition of other owners.

So, why would the current owner spend so much money to buy a cow he already owned?

Why It’s Expensive

This cow’s sale was a novel type of publicity stunt. Rappaport’s decision to put the cow (named Mist) up for auction was fuelled by a desire to bring attention to the value of cattle and generate hype over this specific animal.

Because Mist continues to rank as one of the most expensive types of cattle ever sold, we can safely say that his efforts were well worth it.

2. Schaff Angus Valley America Bull – $1.5 Million

Schaff-Angus-Valley-America-Bull
photo source: Herbster Angus Farms

In 2019, Schaff Angus Valley sold a bull called America (full name SAV America 8018) for a whopping $1.5 million. The ranchers sold this massive black bull to Charles W. Herbster, the owner of Herbster Angus Farms.

This bull weighed about half a tonne, making it one of the heaviest bulls ever produced by Schaff Angus Valley. Still, this animal’s value didn’t lie in meat production. Instead, America the bull was valued for its lineage and ability to reproduce.

Why It’s Expensive

This bull was the most expensive purebred domestic bull ever sold, and it’s not too challenging to understand why. It was an impressive creature with a pristine lineage and a muscular build.

These qualities ensure that any offspring produced by this bull will be healthy, strong, and profitable for ranchers. Additionally, this bull’s new owners can harvest its sperm and use it to inseminate cows long after the animal has passed away, making America the bull a long-term investment.

1. Mr. Basolo’s Purebred Beefalo Bull – $2.5 Million

Purebred-Beefalo

The most expensive cattle ever sold is Mr. Basolo’s Purebred Beefalo Bull. While technically only one animal, this bull had the potential to kickstart a new generation of beefalo cattle.

But what are beefalo cattle? Put simply, beefalo are a hybrid breed, a combination of American bison and cattle. They were initially created via artificial insemination, though later generations were capable of natural breeding.

The purebred beefalo bull that sold for $2.5 million was one of the first offspring of natural breeding. Though this sale happened way back in 1975, it helped further the spread of beefalo cattle, potentially helping increase their numbers to their current levels.

Beefalo meat is prized today for several reasons, including flavor, fat content, and protein. Beefalo meat tends to contain more protein and less fat than the meat harvested from standard domestic cattle.

Why It’s Expensive

This beefalo bull fetched such a high price because (at the time) it was one of the few beefalo bulls bred naturally from purebred beefalo parents. As such, the bull was a rare animal, and it was also capable of generating beefalo offspring.

When Mr. Basolo (the man who created beefalo cattle) sold this bull to Canadian buyers, he wasn’t only earning a decent profit. He was also helping to further the beefalo hybrid species throughout North America.

What Is the Most Expensive Cow Ever Sold?

Mist, a Holstein cow from Vermont, sold for $1.3 million, making it the most expensive cow ever sold. This cow’s incredible selling price stemmed from its ability to produce large quantities of high-quality milk.

But the most expensive cattle ever sold was Mr. Basolo’s purebred beefalo bull. Mr. Basolo, the creator of the hybrid beefalo, sold the bull for an astounding $2.5 million in 1975.

Are you curious to learn more about the world’s most expensive animals? If so, check out these related articles now!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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