20 of the most expensive items sold at auction in the past decade

Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection was one of the most expensive auction sales of the decade.

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Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection was one of the most expensive auction sales of the decade.
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Rob Kim/FilmMagic

  • This decade has seen record-shattering auction sales for art, jewelry, and other collectibles.
  • People have purchased works by Banksy, Picasso, and Jeff Koons for hundreds and millions of dollars within the decade.
  • The most expensive blue diamond in auction history sold for $57.9 million, while the most expensive diamond sold for $71.2 million.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The past decade has seen some record-shattering auction sales for art, clothing, and other valuable items.

From celebrity memorabilia to paintings from world-famous artists, these are 20 of the most expensive auction items sold this decade, ranked from lowest to highest in price.


A dress Kate Winslet wore in “Titanic” sold for $330,000 in 2012.

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Kate Winslet in “Titanic.”
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Titanic

In the legendary film, Winslet wore the red-and-black dress when her character, Rose, first met Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) on the ship.


A crocodile Hermès Birkin bag sold for a record price of $378,074 in 2017.

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The crocodile Birkin bag (far left).
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STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images

In May 2017, at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong, a Hermès Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 bag, which was adorned with 10.23 carats of diamonds, made history when it was sold for £293,000, or approximately $378,074.


Audrey Hepburn’s personal working script from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” sold for $811,615 in 2018.

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Audrey Hepburn.
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Getty Images/Hulton Archive

The Christie’s auction also sold other items from Hepburn, like a white rotary dial phone and a working script for “My Fair Lady.”


Ringo Starr’s drum kit sold for $2.2 million at an auction in 2015.

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Ringo Starr’s vintage drum set.
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David Redfern/Redferns

A drum set that belonged to Ringo Starr was sold at an auction hosted by Julien’s Auctions for $2.2 million in 2015.

The famous Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl drum set was used in more than 200 Beatles performances between 1963 and 1964, according to ArtNet News.


A vintage Leica camera sold for $2.8 million in 2012.

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The rare Leica camera model.
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SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP via Getty Images

At an auction in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, the world’s most expensive camera sold for $2.8 million. The camera was a Leica 35mm film model, which was one of only 25 produced in 1923 for testing.

In 2012, only 12 of the rare camera models were believed to still exist.


The most expensive dress ever sold at auction was Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” gown, which sold for $4.8 million in 2016.

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Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress.
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Dan Callister / Getty

The famous dress was purchased by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles in November 2016.

Monroe wore the iconic gown while performing for John F. Kennedy at a Democratic Party fundraiser event in May 1962.


An 18th-century Stradivarius violin sold for $15.9 million at an online auction that benefited disaster relief following Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

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A Stradivarius violin (not the same violin mentioned).
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CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images

The BBC reported that the violin was crafted in 1721 and was once owned by Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron.

It was sold in an online auction in June 2011 organized by a music foundation in Japan. The proceeds benefited victims of an earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country that March.


The most expensive wrist watch ever auctioned was sold for $31 million in November 2019.

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A Patek Philippe watch (not the one auctioned for $31 million).
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Leon Neal/Getty Images

A Patek Philippe watch sold at a Christie’s auction in Geneva that benefited research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The $31 million Patek Philippe watch, in the Grandmaster Chime model, shattered the record held previously for an auctioned watch, a Rolex once owned by Paul Newman that sold for $17.7 million.


Marie Antoinette’s pearl pendant sold for $32 million in 2018.

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A pearl pendant once owned by Marie Antoinette.
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Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby’s

The most expensive pearl ever sold was Marie Antoinette’s pendant, which was sold for $32 million at a 2018 Sotheby’s auction.

According to reporting from Insider producers Rob Ludacer and Alyssa Pagano, the pearl used to be part of a diamond-studded pendant owned by the former Queen of France.


American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” sold for more than $44 million in 2012.

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Artist Roy Lichtenstein was known for his colorful paintings.
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Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s 1964 piece “Sleeping Girl” was sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2012 in New York. It was previously on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among other museum exhibits.


A 1962 Ferrari was sold at an auction in 2018 for $48.4 million.

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The Ferrari 250 GTO that sold at auction in 2018.
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Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images

The Ferrari 250 GTO from 1962 sold at a Sotheby’s auction house in August 2018, making it the most valuable car ever offered at an auction.


The Oppenheimer Blue, the most expensive blue diamond in auction history, sold for $57.9 million in 2016.

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The Oppenheimer Blue diamond.
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Christies Images Ltd, 2016/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Named after its former owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a leader in the diamond industry, the 14.62-carat diamond is known as a “fancy vivid blue” by the Gemological Institute of America.

It sold at auction at Christie’s in Geneva in May 2016.


The most expensive diamond sold for $71.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2017.

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It’s known as the Pink Star Diamond.
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Toby Melville/Reuters

The 59.6-carat Pink Star Diamond was the largest “flawless fancy vivid pink” diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.


Jeff Koons’ “Rabbit” sculpture sold for $91.1 million in May 2019, setting a record for the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

The steel sculpture, called “Rabbit,” was designed by Koons in 1986. Koons previously held a record for his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sculpture, which sold at auction in November 2013 for $58.4 million, according to the New York Times.


A sculpture, “Chariot,” by Alberto Giacometti, sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $101 million in 2014.

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The “Chariot” sculpture by Alberto Giacometti.
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Chris Melzer/picture alliance via Getty Images

“Chariot,” made by Swedish sculptor Alberto Giacometti, is regarded as a transformative piece of art from the 20th century, according to Sotheby’s. It was constructed between 1951 and 1952 and was sold at an Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Sotheby’s in New York.


Claude Monet’s “Meules” was sold for $110.7 million in 2019.

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Claude Monet’s “Meules” painting.
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DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

“Meules,” which comes from the impressionist artist’s “Haystacks” collection, sold at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2019.


Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection sold for $116 million at an auction in 2011.

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Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection was filled with rare items.
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Rob Kim/FilmMagic

The Hollywood icon’s collection of jewels included a La Peregrina natural pearl necklace, among several other items. The proceeds from the sale benefited the Elizabeth Taylor Foundation.


Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $120 million in 2012.

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Munch’s famous “The Scream” painting.
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Art Media/The Print Collector/Getty Images

When it was sold in 2012 at a Sotheby’s auction, “The Scream” set a record for being the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction, according to Reuters.

The pastel painting was originally estimated to have a selling price of about $80 million, but after a 15-minute bidding war, the final price was nearly $120 million.


Pablo Picasso’s “Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’)” sold for $179 million in 2015.

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The president of Christie’s poses with the Picasso piece.
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Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The 1955 Picasso piece, a colorful work filled with examples of Cubism, sold for $179 million at a Christie’s auction in 2015.


A painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, “Salvator Mundi,” sold in 2017 for $450.3 million.

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A person photographs “Salvator Mundi.”
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FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images

“Salvator Mundi” currently holds the “most expensive work of art at auction” record, according to Christie’s. The painting, auctioned at Christie’s in November 2017, is believed to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci and is thought to be one of fewer than 20 surviving paintings attributed to the artist.