What Is the Most Expensive Thing?

(Last Updated On: February 17, 2022)

Some things are cheap. Some things aren’t–and some are absurdly expensive. But of all the things that are expensive–which one is the most expensive? Depending on how you spin the question, you might be a little surprised. Or you’ll be totally crushed under the weight and knowledge of how some of this is just perfectly affordable to some people for the sake of “I just wanted to own this.” If you didn’t think that was a thing, you probably shouldn’t read about the most expensive painting. 

It’s a yacht

Well… At least the thing a private individual could buy. The thing is called the History Supreme, which when you think about it for like… five seconds sounds like absolute nonsense. If you look around for a generic “what is the most expensive thing,” the History Supreme is probably the first thing you’ll see. 

Anyway, the History Supreme is valued at $4.8 billion–at least when it was purchased. That, with zeroes, is $4,800,000,000. So when we said “a thing a private individual could buy” we didn’t mean any private individual. So why is this boat valued at billions of dollars?

Well it’s plated in almost one hundred thousand kilograms of both gold and platinum. Also it comes with wine glasses made of diamond. Also also, it has a statue in it made of T-Rex bone. Like… why?

Yachts are weird. It’s also weird that someone’s little side boat is nicer than most peoples’ houses. That’s if you can even afford a house. Which most Americans can’t. Depressing. Next thing.

Things that you can’t buy, but are still super expensive

You can’t buy the International Space Station outright–but the thing did cost like $150 billion in R&D and costs about $4 billion to remain in operation. At the very least, it probably deserves a mention.

While we’re on that topic, anyone clued in to where American tax dollars go, you were probably thinking about the US military. Which uh… Yeah the budget for defense in 2022 is $753 billion. The cost of the War on Terror following 9/11 has an estimated price tag of $8 trillion. That’s $8,000,000,000,000. Twelve zeroes. There’s also the tremendous cost of human life–numbering in the hundreds of thousands. That’s a cost you can’t really quantify with dollars. 

The most expensive thing by mass

Alright, a lot of what’s in this post is super depressing when you get down and think about it. So let’s clean that up with something kind of interesting. What’s the most expensive thing by mass? What is something so expensive that when you buy it you buy it in terms of fractions of a gram? Well, we’ve got an answer. 

It’s francium. With a half-life of 22 minutes, you’re not going to be using any francium you got your hands on at all for any reason–it would vaporize itself almost immediately. But if somehow you were to get a gram of the stuff, you’d be looking down the barrel of $1 billion per gram. That’s how much a single paper clip weighs. 

But you might not count francium, because it would have no practical use. That would be fair, so next up is californium-252. One gram costs $27 million–and californium actually does have a use in the oil industry. It’s also used in nuclear reactors. 

Speaking of expensive, see if you know where the most expensive places to live are here.



About Kyler 706 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.