Gold: the precious yellow metal that has been dazzling humanity for centuries. Pirates plundered for it, dynasties have risen and fallen over it, and today, it remains one of the most valuable assets on the stock market. But as new research by Watch Shop has revealed, gold might not be the most valuable commodity in the eyes of the elite and wealthy.
As an example, style-icon Jackie Kennedy’s Cartier watch was sold at auction for an astounding $379,500, making its value just over 20 times its own weight in gold. In fact, the same watch made of pure gold would be cheaper to own. Watch Shop has also looked into the sentimental versus monetary value of people’s most prized possessions, to find out exactly how much they mean to them. Results showed that Brits are very attached to their family heirlooms, with over 42% only considering selling the items if they were in financial difficulty. One item worth more than gold in the eyes of UK residents are photos, with more than 57% of the nation hailing their snaps as their most precious item, closely followed by inherited jewellery (over 53%).
So, which luxurious items were deemed to be worth more than their own weight in gold in the eyes of the buyers? Find 10 of the most intriguing items below…
1. A Lock of Elvis Presley’s hair
A simple lock of hair from the King’s famous ‘do sold for $115,000 in 2002 (around £88,734) at auction. The tresses were kept by Elvis’ barber, who clearly saw the value in the rock n’ roll star’s hair, and made himself a fortune thanks to the value of the hair being worth 1,405 times its weight in gold. In fact, the King’s pompadour is the most expensive lock of hair ever sold, ahead Beethoven, John Lennon’s, and even JFK’s mane.
2. Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Mr. President’ dress
The iconic figure-hugging dress Marilyn Monroe wore while performing “Happy Birthday” for JFK sold for $4,800,000 in 2016 (around £3,703,680). Is the dress truly worth 1,145 times its weight in gold? The skin-tight frock has become a part of history over the years, so it’s fair to say that its price is probably more than justified. The recognizable dress is now the property of the museum chain Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. It has even eclipsed another of Marylin’s dress as the most expensive garment: the white dress from The Seven Year Itch (only auctioned at $4,600,000).
3. La Crème face cream
High-end moisturisers are known for being expensive, but nothing quite beats the Japanese lotion with a price tag of £8,440 per jar (around $10,938), which is worth five times its weight in gold. The beauty brand Cle de Peau Beaute launched La Crème to celebrate 30 years in business. The limited-edition cream comes in a handmade crystal jar, which begs the question of whether the bulk of the price pays for the crystal container or the so-called revolutionary face cream.
4. 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild
This is not your average post-work wine: this bottle is actually worth its weight in gold, due to the fact the grapes were harvested the year World War II ended. Going to auction at $310,700 in 2007 (around £239,736), the vintage French Bordeaux has become the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold.
5. 1854 Magenta stamp
The connoisseurs only have eyes for the rarest stamp of its kind: the one-gram piece of paper sold for £7,330,200 at auction, making its value skyrocket to 233,445 times its weight in gold. What makes the one-cent stamp in the eyes of philatelists so valuable is that it was issued in a limited number, and it is the only survivor of its kind still available.
6. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester
Again, another piece of paper worth 150,000 times its weight in gold: Leonardo da Vinci’s writings and doodles. Doodles that sold for $30,800,000 in 1994 (around £23,765,280). The 72-page manuscript includes several scientific explanations from the XVI-century artist that have been later accepted by scientists on astronomy, fossils and air.
7. Diva Vodka
Do the diamond purification, triple refined alcohol and crystal handmade bottle encrusted with precious stones justify the price of the Diva Vodka (over £770,000)? Maybe it does… But it is worth noting that the bottle made of pure gold would have cost you 3 times less: £59,654.
8. Azature Black Diamond Nail Polish
This is the most expensive nail polish in the world; what could explain its price of $250,000 (around £192,900)? Well, the brand simply added a handful of diamonds in to the mix, which makes it worth 100 times its weight in gold. You’d be reluctant to remove the diamond-encrusted polish after forking out such an amount.
9. Hermes Perfume 24 Faubourg
Because the eau de parfum was only released in a limited edition, the 1,000 lucky buyers who had to shell out $1,500 per ounce (around £1,157.40) can be the proud owners of a luxury items worth 1.5 times its weight in gold. The fragrances united to create the exclusive perfume are ylang ylang, orange blosson, jasmine, iris, vanilla and ambergris.
10. The Gigi’s Cocktail
Lastly, we introduce the most expensive cocktail in the world, which has to be ordered and paid for in advance, and sells for £8,888 (around $11,518) – ‘only’ twice its weight in gold! Made with vintage champagne, old Armagnac and gold leaf, its nickname couldn’t be better suited: “Liquid Gold”. It was created for singer Grace Jones at the opening of Gigi's restaurant in Mayfair.