8 Most Expensive Things in the World, From Parking to Palaces

By: Laurie L. Dove  | 
hope diamond, new setting
The 50th anniversary of the Hope Diamond’s donation to the Smithsonian was marked in 2010 by the display of the diamond in a new setting. It's a very expensive jewel but not the most expensive. Smithsonian

When you want to splurge — really go all-out — what do you purchase? Whether it's ordering an extra slice of cheese on a burger or upgrading to first class on an international flight, the opportunity to treat oneself is sometimes worth the price. But, at what price? If you had that much money, how far would you go to experience the most expensive things in the world?

To that end, we've compiled this list of the most expensive things in the world. From a pricy spice to an incredibly expensive parking spot, where people opt to put their money may just surprise you.


Most Expensive Real Estate Is a Parking Space!

Monaco, a diminutive French nation long known for its luxury trappings, continues to top the world's real estate market with property prices reaching $5,249.56 per square foot. While one might expect to shell out a handsome fee to live along the French Riviera, there's actually one place where the real estate is much more expensive: a Hong Kong parking space.

In 2021, a single parking space on the grounds of an ultra-luxury development in Hong Kong sold for a whopping $1.3 million. The average parking space is in Hong Kong is about 130 square feet (12 square meters) which makes the spot some of the most expensive real estate in the world, costing $10,000 per square foot — and you can't even put a couch on it.


Most Expensive Jewel Is a Crown Jewel

Koh-i-Noor diamond, crown
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is set in the Maltese cross in the front of this crown that was worn by Britain's queen mother Elizabeth. Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond is part of a crown that was made for the British Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother and is valued at $591 million, according to one report. It was mined in India and during the colonial period, the British forced the prince who owned it to give it to them, along with relinquishing his claim to the Punjabi throne. Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Indian government has been demanding that the diamond be returned to them. The British royal family also features in our next section.


Most Expensive House Is (No Surprise) a Palace

The most expensive house in the world is actually a palace — Buckingham Palace, to be precise. Valued at $6.7 billion, this London home serves as the residence to the British royal family and pulls double-duty as a tourist destination. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms that serve as the public rooms where the monarch receives his/her subjects and visiting dignitaries. In addition, there are 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, and 52 royal and guest rooms throughout the palace. Buckingham palace is also one of the biggest houses in the world.


Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold (Not the Mona Lisa)

"Salvator Mundi"
A member of staff posed with the painting "Salvator Mundi" before it was auctioned at Christie's in New York, 2017. This was the last Leonardo da Vinci painting in private hands and was originally thought to be the work of another artist until it was restored in 2006. Carl Court/Getty Images

Whether it is a child's painting or a local artisan's landscape, do you have the urge to display artwork in your home? While the most expensive painting on your walls may not be museum-quality fine art (but if it is, good for you), there are collectors who are willing to pay nearly any price for a painting they admire. Here's the proof: The most expensive painting purchase on record occurred in 2016 when Saudi Prince Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud paid $450.5 million for "Salvator Mundi" by Leonardo da Vinci. The oil painting is a rendering of Jesus Christ holding an orb in one hand and making the sign of the cross with the other hand. The painting is now valued at an estimated $497.8 million.

The most expensive painting, period, is the Mona Lisa, valued at approximately $900 million when adjusted for inflation. Under French law, it cannot be bought nor sold.


Most Expensive Car: Just Two Were Made

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe
This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe was sold at auction in 2022 for a record price of 135 million euros or $143 million. This expensive vintage sports car is just one of two existing. Mercedes-Benz

The most expensive car ever purchased fetched a whopping $143 million (about 135 million euros) at auction in May 2022 — and it wasn't even new. The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, named for its designer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, was just one of two such vehicles that were manufactured by the luxury automaker. The supremely fast car was said to have reached speeds of up to 186 miles per hour (299 kilometers per hour), which in the mid-1950s was a rare feat. The auctioned car's twin is still owned by Mercedes-Benz and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The fact that the latter is not likely to come up for sale added to the soaring auction price of the former.


Most Expensive Private Jet Is Very Presidential

Technically, Air Force One is the radio call name for any plane the U.S. president happens to be on. But in reality, there are two specific blue and white Boeing 747s designated for Air Force One and they are considered the most expensive jets in the world. Boeing is in the process of delivering two new replacements to the United States Air Force and the cost is expected to be around $3.9 billion for the cost of the planes and the modification work. (Among the modifications: adding offices, conference rooms, a communications center and a medical facility.)

However, that figure doesn't include testing the planes, building new hangars at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington D.C. and the plane instruction manuals which alone cost $84 million! DefenseOne has estimated the whole job to cost $5.3 billion. The new 747s are expected to be delivered in September 2026 and will last around 30 years.


The current Air Force One is often listed on websites as the world's most expensive plane, at $660 million. But since that price was for two jets (which were purchased in 1990 and are still in use) we can't say it's accurate. The current holder of the world's most expensive jet is the Airbus A340-300, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Its price is estimated at $350-500 million.

Most Expensive Spice Is Well-Known for Its Color

Saffron is a spice that has one of the world's most complex flavor profiles. It is sweet and unmistakably floral, anchored by a complex earthiness that echoes through its flavor profile. Saffron also is remarkably expensive, with a 1 pound (453 grams) costing at least $5,000. Saffron is gathered by hand from crocus flowers, which only bloom for about six weeks in the autumn of each year. The orange-red threads from inside the flowers of more than 170,000 crocus plants must be delicately harvested in order to produce 1 pound of saffron.


Most Expensive Thing in the World Is Out of This World

 Josh Cassada, ISS
NASA astronaut Josh Cassada is attached to a robotic arm during a spacewalk to install a roll-out solar array on the International Space Station's Starboard-4 truss segment. The ISS is considered the most expensive thing ever made. NASA

Guinness World Records says the most expensive thing ever created was the International Space Station, which cost $150 billion to design and build, according to USA Today. This permanently occupied space station took 12 years to complete and has housed astronauts and visitors from 18 countries, carrying out thousands of experiments since 2000.