The Rich Spend Richer

The Rich Spend Richer

For the world’s wealthiest, money is no object when extraordinary things enter the market—even during a global recession. Items may be deemed "priceless" for their cachet, beauty, rarity, or historic significance. Extremely well-to-do consumers have paid $3 million for a gold iPhone, but more unbelievable sums have been offered for elite luxury goods. To identify some of the biggest sales ever made, Bloomberg Businessweek combed through years of news reports and blogs and spoke with high-end retailers and auction houses. We looked at objects ranging from automobiles and boats to jewelry and electronics. The biggest price tag is for the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s new megayacht, the Eclipse, which is expected to cost as much as $1.2 billion. While average consumers cut spending during the recession, the market for diamond-studded accessories and high-end art has been surprisingly resilient. The economy has not deterred aficionados with the means to spend, says Bo Bengtsson, president of Transmission Audio, a company in Sweden that recently introduced a $2 million speaker set. "I’ve been getting calls from very rich people who are also huge music lovers," he says. Click here to see the world’s most expensive stuff.