The general idea is that to give is always better than to receive. However, there are many instances where receiving may seem much better than to give. There have been many stories of giving that have turned deadly like the gift of the Trojan horse from the Greeks to Troy which turned out to be the doom of the latter. However, giving is supposed to be a sign of love and affection and when this is the case, you will find that people often spare no cost to give cherished gifts to the people they love. Here are examples of those that have shown love and affection in unbelievable ways with the most expensive gifts ever given in the world in no particular order.
10 Most Expensive Gifts Ever Given in World’s History
1. The Taj Mahal
22 years, 20,000 workers, and $827 million (in today’s money) is what was put into building what has been described as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. It was recorded as the final gift of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan to his beloved late wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He built the Taj Mahal in her honor to serve as her final resting place.
Having been betrothed to the emperor since 1607, Mumtaz finally married him in 1612, as his second wife. He would go on to marry a third wife after her but he apparently loved only her. This was evident in the fact that not only did they have 14 children together where as the other wives had one each, but after she passed away in 1631, the emperor went into secluded mourning for one year. After his time of mourning, he began work on the design of her final resting place and after more than 22 years, he completed the perfect gift for his late wife, the Taj Mahal which covers an amazing 17 hectares and stands at 240 feet tall.
2. Roman Abramovich’s Gift of Masterpieces
Although there have been claims that the Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea bought for his then-lover, Daria Zhukova the masterpiece bronze sculpture, The Walking Man, which costs over a hundred million dollars, there is no proof to the claim.
However, it is known that the Chelsea F.C owner bought her a number of masterpiece artworks that run into hundreds of millions of dollars while they were still together. Among the works he got for Daria are Francis Bacon’s works valued at $86 million and that of Lucian Freud at $33 million. There are also 40 works of Russian artist Ilya Kabakov and Giacometti sculptures valued at $30-60 million each and $14 million respectively.
The billionaire and Dasha Zhukova who is an art collector and businesswoman were together for close to 10 years from 2008 to 2017 and they have two children between them.
3. The Jewel in The Crown – Over $250 million
Part of this gift is what sits presently on the crown of the Queen of England. In 1849, Duleep Singh who became the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire offered Queen Victoria one of the most expensive gifts ever given when he gifted her the 186-carat Koh-i-noor diamond.
Three years after the gift was presented, Price Albert would have it cut down to the 105.6 carats which now sits on the British crown, serving as its highlight. At a point, this was the largest diamond that was ever found and its value is placed at more than a quarter of a billion dollars.
4. Morton Plank’s Necklace Gift: $20 million in today’s dollars
As it is now already clear, many of the most expensive gifts ever given were given by men to either their lovers or wives. That of Morton Plank was not any different. The New York banker pushed the limits when he exchanged his mansion for a Cartier necklace valued at $1 million in 1917 which he gave to his young wife.
While this was a great show of love, it was, in the economic sense, a very bad investment as not too long afterward, the cost of pearls would fall and after the death of Plank’s wife, the gift would go for a paltry $150,000. On the other hand, the masion he let go would be valued today at hundreds of millions and it sits as Cartier’s New York flagship store.
5. Gifts of Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani to their wives – $60 and $80 million respectively
When you are billionaire brothers with wives you love more than almost everything else, spending massive millions of dollars would be the last thing to worry about. The older of the two brothers, Mukesh Ambani spent $60 million to obtain an Airbus A319 corporate jet for his wife Nita Ambani.
The younger would also follow the same path but instead of a jet, he got a yacht worth $80 million for his wife, Tina Ambani who used to be a Bollywood actress until 1991 when they got married. The superyacht, Tian is said to be 34 meters long.
6. Mikhail Gutseriyev’s $1 Billion Wedding for His Son
The most expensive gift ever given is probably the most expensive wedding ever. In 2016, 28-year-old Gutseriev Said, the son of Russian billionaire and poet, Mikhail Gutseriyev got married to Khadija Uzhakhovs who was only 20 at the time.
As a gift to the young couple, Mikhail Gutseriyev sunk a billion dollars into the ceremony, dwarfing the wedding of Chinese model and social media star Angelababy and actor Huang Xiaoming which they spent over $31 million on 2015.
From a wedding gown of $1 million to a diamond necklace, earrings, and bracelets, a parade of Bentleys and Rolls-Royce among other things. The groom’s father who had a net worth of $6.2 billion didn’t mind parting with a billion for the ceremony that was greeted with a performance from Jenifer Lopez.
7. Leonard Lauder’s Art Collection – $1.1 billion
As at 2019, the net worth of Leonard Lauder was estimated at $ 17.8 billion. With that, one can easily believe that when he wants to give a gift, it will be worth it, and that is exactly what he did.
In 2003, the art collector and businessman gifted a trove of Cubist paintings, drawings, and sculptures including works by Fernand Legér, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In total, the works are numbered at 78. This is one of the most significant donations that have ever been made.
8. An Apartment on The Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Famous businessman Raj Kundra has a net worth that has been estimated at $400 million. In 2009, the rich British entrepreneur got married to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. To show his love for her in the best and most unique way possible, he bought her an apartment on the 19th floor of the The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, which is the tallest tower in the world. This was a wedding gift which was valued in millions of dollars.
In 2015, the Bollywood star revealed that she decided to sell the apartment because it was too small for them and in its place, she got another that is more spacious as their family is already increasing. The couple has two kids; Deleena Kundra and Viaan Raj Kundra.
9. Richard Burton’s Diamond gift to Elizabeth Taylor – $6.6 million Today
Not only is this one of the most expensive gifts ever given, it is also one of the most interesting gifts on this list because of the manner in which it was acquired. In 1969, Richard Burton entered an auction for a 68-carat diamond together with people like Aristotle Onassis and the Sultan of Brunei. Unfortunately, he lost out of the auction.
The loss did not make him a happy man and so the very next day, to the surprise of everyone, he went after the priced diamond and paid $1 million to the winner. Said to be the highest price for a publicly sold jewel at the time, the jewelry is valued at $6.6 million today. He gave the diamond to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor as a present for her 40th birthday.
The actress who in total married 7 men at different points later divorced Burton and sold the piece. She used the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana.
10. Beyoncé’s Bugatti Grand Sport for Jay Z – close to $2 million
Music royalty, Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé have never been short of ways of showing the love they have for each other. However, Bey took it close to $2 million dollars higher when in 2010, she bought the hip hop mogul a Bugatti Grand Sport to celebrate his 42nd birthday.
The fastest car in the world at the time, it was ordered by Knowles a whole one year in advance. With the gift, her rapper husband joined the exclusive club of those to own the car including celebrities like Tom Brady, Simon Cowell, Ralph Lauren, Chris Brown, and Tom Cruise. Without too much mileage, the car became a part of Jay Z’s garage that already had monsters like Maybach 62S and a Pagani Zonda Roadster.