Top 10 Most Expensive Gold Items of All Time


Top-10-Most-Expensive-Gold-Items

Gold has been prized since ancient times, and its value has only increased. As such, several of the world’s most expensive items are made of this precious metal! But what are the most expensive gold items, and what makes them unique?

The most expensive gold item in the world is the 18-karat Golden Buddha statue that sits in Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan, a temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Though this statue isn’t for sale, it has an estimated worth of $250 million.

Whether you’re hoping to invest in a one-of-a-kind gold item or are simply curious about the costliest gold objects from around the world, this ranking will guide you in the right direction!

Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive Gold Items in the World:

  1. Golden Buddha – $250 million
  2. Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication Watch – $24 million
  3. 1933 Double Eagle – $18.87 million
  4. Gold Chairman Mao Statue – $16 million
  5. Stuart Hughes Diamond iPhone 5 – $15 million
  6. Ming Dynasty Tripod Vessel – $15 million
  7. Niclas Castello’s Gold Cube – $11.7 million
  8. The Taj Mahal Neck Chain – $8.81 million
  9. Messi’s Left Foot Statue – $5.25 million
  10. Ming Dynasty Ewer – $4.13 million

10. Ming Dynasty Ewer – $4.13 million

Ming-Dynasty-Ewer
photo source: Sotheby’s

If you’ve never heard of a ‘ewer,’ don’t worry—it’s essentially just a jug! But, of course, a ewer made of gold is sure to fetch a higher price than one made of ceramic. And a gold ewer that’s several hundred years old is bound to be even more valuable.

That’s certainly the case with this $4.13 million Ming dynasty ewer sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2010.

Why It’s Expensive

This ewer looks like a large magic lamp, in no small part thanks to its Persian design and precious stones. But its value is the result of far more than the tourmaline and sapphires gracing its exterior.

This decorative jug is about 400 years old, making it a unique Chinese artifact that’s impossible to replace. Of course, the fact that it’s made of gold also helps it enjoy a multi-million-dollar price tag.

9. Messi’s Left Foot Statue – $5.25 million

Messi's-Left-Foot-Statue
photo source: Koki Nagahama/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is one of the most popular athletes in the world. Though he plays for Argentina, his name is synonymous with soccer (football for everyone outside the US) due to his skill and fame.

Almost anything related to Messi sells for top dollar, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a statue of his bare left foot would garner high prices.

Still, the $5.25 million price tag attached to this realistic-looking golden foot is unusually prohibitive. Only the most diehard Messi fans would be quarreling over the opportunity to take this foot home.

Why It’s Expensive

This statue doesn’t only look like a real foot. It’s a true-to-life mold of the athlete’s left foot!

Still, the primary reason why this statue is so expensive is that it’s made of gold. If it were made of wood, ceramic, or plastic, it likely wouldn’t be nearly so expensive.

8. The Taj Mahal Neck Chain – $8.81 million

The-Taj-Mahal-Neck-Chain
photo source: Sotheby’s

The cost to build the Taj Mahal nowadays would be about $1 billion, but fortunately, the Cartier necklace of the same name is far more affordable, costing only $8.81 million.

This necklace, which consists of a diamond from the 1600s and a neck chain from the 1970s, is a unique treasure encrusted with rubies and diamonds. As you might imagine, these precious stones accentuate its golden glow beautifully and make this neck chain a costly accessory.

Why It’s Expensive

There are quite a few reasons why the Taj Mahal Cartier neck chain is so valuable. Firstly, it’s made of several valuable materials, including diamonds, rubies, jade, and gold.

Secondly, this piece contains an inscribed diamond that’s approximately 400 years old. This age gives the neck chain a certain historical significance that only makes it pricier.

7. Niclas Castello’s Gold Cube – $11.7 million

Niclas-Castello's-Gold-Cube
photo source: Luxury Launches

If you were fortunate enough to stroll through Central Park in February of 2022, you might have noticed a large golden cube sitting quietly in the snow. This cube, created by German artist Niclas Castello, weighs more than 400 pounds (about 181 kilograms) and has a value of about $11.7 million.

While it’s not the most practical use of gold, its allure is undeniable. After all, if you owned this piece of art, you could use it as a chair, a makeshift table, or an opulent centerpiece that really ties the room together.

But, of course, for the price of this cube, you could also invest in one of the most expensive RVs! Of course, traveling the country in a portable mansion might not compare to owning a gigantic cube made of gold.

Why It’s Expensive

There’s no doubt about it—the main reason this item is so expensive is that it’s made of high-quality gold. It’s also a work of art, which grants it a little extra value and mystique.

6. Ming Dynasty Tripod Vessel – $15 million

Ming-Dynasty-Tripod-Vessel
photo source: Sotheby’s

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like royalty, you’ll love the look and elegance of this Ming dynasty vessel. It’s gold and decorated with valuable gemstones, including pearls and sapphires.

Because it dates back to the Ming dynasty, it’s also a historical artifact that would look handsome in any museum. Still, acquiring it might be challenging, as it sold at auction for $15 million in 2008.

Why It’s Expensive

What do you get when you combine gold (a precious metal), jewels, and historical significance? The answer: an almost priceless artifact that can easily sell for millions.

5. Stuart Hughes Diamond iPhone 5 – $15 million

Stuart-Hughes-Diamond-iPhone 5
photo source: Stuart Hughes

Your phone case can say a lot about you. After all, most folks customize their phone case with pictures of their family, friends, and pets! But what if you want your phone case to scream “luxury”?

Well, there’s no better (or pricier) option than the Stuart Hughes diamond-encrusted iPhone 5 case. This golden item glitters endlessness thanks to its valuable materials. It’s also somewhat practical, as its gold-and-diamond construction is bound to survive most impacts!

Why It’s Expensive

The average phone case costs anywhere between $5 and $150. But the average phone case isn’t made of gold, covered in diamonds, and created by a top-tier designer.

Because this phone case meets all of the above criteria, it’s a naturally expensive commodity.

4. Gold Chairman Mao Statue – $16 million

Gold-Chairman-Mao-Statue
photo source: AFP

Chairman Mao may be a controversial figure in Western culture, but many people living in China still revere him. Consequently, when a gold statue of the political figure was unveiled in 2013, it instantly became an attraction among Chinese citizens.

This depiction of Mao, which sees him sitting in a golden chair, is valued at a whopping $16 million! Of course, because of its cultural significance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it probably won’t end up in a wealthy business magnate’s living room.

Why It’s Expensive

This statue is expensive because of its material (gold) and cultural significance. It also took a team of 20 artists eight months to complete the $16 million statue.

3. 1933 Double Eagle – $18.87 million

1933-Double-Eagle
photo source: Sotheby’s

Long before paper currency, gold coins reigned supreme. And while the US has moved away from the Gold Standard, a handful of historic US coins are made from this precious metal.

The 1933 Double Eagle is the priciest of the bunch. In 2021, one of these coins went to auction with a listed price of $18.87 million, making it worth far more than its weight in gold.

But why did this particular coin have such an astoundingly high value?

Why It’s Expensive

This coin was minted and released during the Great Depression when many people hoarded gold.

This phenomenon led to the end of the US Mint’s practice of creating gold coins. As such, this 1933 Double Eagle was one of the last of its kind, making it a historically significant piece that also happens to be made of one of the most valuable metals in the world.

2. Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication Watch – $24 million

Henry-Graves-Jr-Supercomplication-Watch
photo source: Sotheby’s

A true gentleman always keeps a pocketwatch on hand (or, rather, in pocket). But if you owned the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication watch, you’d have more than the time at your fingertips.

After all, this timepiece features a calendar and a moving celestial map. If you happen to live in New York City, this map will prove quite useful, as it’s aligned to the city’s skies.

Of course, these unique features come at a price. This timepiece sold for $24 million when it went to auction in 2014, and its current owner will likely sell it for a much higher price.

For perspective, you could afford one of the world’s most expensive violins for the price of this pocketwatch!

But this might not mean much to you if you don’t play the violin. After all, almost anyone can read a watch face, but not everyone is a gifted musician.

Why It’s Expensive

This might be the fanciest and most complicated watch created during the early 20th century.

It is made of shimmering, flawless gold and features an accurate celestial chart, Westminster chimes, and an internal calendar that will continue to prove accurate until the 22nd century. It took craftspeople seven years to create this timepiece!

So, the primary reasons this watch is so valuable are:

  • It’s made of gold
  • It’s a one-of-a-kind piece
  • It’s a historical artifact
  • It took an immense amount of labor to create it
  • It’s in top-notch condition

1. Golden Buddha – $250 million

Golden-Buddha
photo source: Amazing Thailand (Representing the Tourism Authority of Thailand)

The most expensive gold item in the world is the Golden Buddha. While many Buddha statues are made of precious materials, none are quite as exquisite (or expensive) as the one sitting in Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan.

This massive statue is worth $250 million, and its creation dates back to the 13th and 15th centuries. So, not only is it a golden treasure in the shape of a popular religious figure, but it’s also a historical artifact!

But if you’re thinking of buying this statue, you may want to think again. It’s a prized possession that will likely remain unsold, sitting inside its decadent Bangkok temple.

Why It’s Expensive

This statue weighs 5.5 metric tons, which means this single statue comprises a decent percentage of the planet’s entire gold supply. That alone makes it a valuable object.

But the fact that it’s a representation of Buddha (and a historically significant one at that) makes it even more priceless.

Why Are Gold Items So Expensive?

As you’ve seen, several of the most expensive gold items cost millions. This should come as no surprise, as gold is one of the most valuable natural resources on the planet.

Still, it’s natural to ask, “Why are items made of gold so costly?”

After all, gold is just a metal, like iron and bronze. So what makes it (and objects made from it) so expensive?

The most significant factors impacting the value of gold items are:

  • Supply and demand
  • Antique status
  • Brand reputation
  • Durability

You’ll want to consider these factors while browsing for your next treasure if you’re in the market for a high-priced gold heirloom or fashion accessory. Let’s take a moment to touch on each one to ensure you select a golden prize worthy of your personal collection!

Supply and Demand

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), there are currently about 244,000 metric tons of gold available on Earth. While this might seem like a lot, it’s barely a drop in the ocean compared to other metals like iron and aluminum.

But the demand for gold is always increasing. Not only is gold a necessary component of several important electronics items, but it’s also a go-to physical asset for investors.

When you compare the supply (limited) to the demand (increasing), you end up with a higher price. Though gold prices fluctuate slightly over time, it’s almost on the rise due to this supply-and-demand relationship.

So, you can expect that items made of gold will continually get pricier!

Antique Status

Another factor to consider is age. Several gold items are hundreds (if not thousands) of years old, making them almost priceless historically significant artifacts. The Ming dynasty vessels included in this ranking are a fantastic example.

For perspective, the Ming dynasty was a period in China that started in the 14th century and ended in the 17th century. This means that items from this period are hundreds of years old!

As you might imagine, such artifacts are impossible to replace. Sure, you could create a faithful reproduction, but it wouldn’t have the authenticity and age of the originals. As such, gold objects that are also artifacts or heirlooms tend to be quite expensive.

Brand Reputation

Several of the priciest brands (including Cartier and Louis Vuitton) create valuable gold fashion accessories and jewelry. These items are naturally expensive because of their gold content, but the addition of the swanky brand name makes them even pricier!

So, if the thought of investing in gold bullion or coins bores you, purchasing golden items released by these top brands could be an excellent alternative. After all, gold items released by reputable luxury brands almost always become more expensive over time.

Durability

Lastly, it’s crucial to remember that gold is exceptionally durable. While it’s malleable (able to be shaped), gold doesn’t rust like iron or other metals.

Consequently, items made of gold can theoretically last forever. The only threats to a gold object’s durability are extreme heat and pressure, which can warp gold into new shapes.

What’s the Most Expensive Gold Item in the World?

The most expensive gold item is the Golden Buddha status in Bangkok. This massive representation of Buddha is made of 18-karat gold and stands at almost 10 feet in height.

It has an estimated value of $250 million, making it pricier than just about every extravagant Los Angeles mansion. Of course, it’s unlikely that the caretakers of this statue will ever sell it, as it’s considered a priceless religious item.

Eager to learn more about the world’s most expensive natural materials and items? 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.

Recent Posts