The Top 5 Most Expensive Items Sold Online

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You might think of the Internet as a place to unload your battered living room sofa for $15. But others use it to move 3,000-year-old vases and set up lunch dates with financial gurus that cost millions of dollars. You might be surprised at the costly items that sellers have auctioned off online; here are some of the most unique, in order of least to most expensive.

5 Lunch Date with Warren

How much would you pay to have lunch with financial guru Warren Buffett? One anonymous bidder paid $2.62 million on eBay for such a meal in 2011. That’s a lot of money, but at least it was for a good cause: Proceeds benefited Glide, a San Francisco organization that helps the homeless. The winner had lunch with the “Oracle of Omaha” at the Smith & Wollensky steak house in New York.

4 Shang Dynasty Vase

In 2010, world-famous auction house Christie’s sold a rare bronze wine vessel from China’s Shang dynasty—that would be the 16th through 11th centuries B.C.—for a whopping $3.3 million to an online bidder. At the time, it set a Christie’s house record for an online auction.

3 Gulfstream II Jet

In 2001, Texas-based business-jet sales company Tyler Jet listed a Gulfstream II—a luxury jet used for private travel—on eBay in its aviation section, which was new at the time. The move paid off: A charter flight company purchased the plane for $4.9 million.

2 Edward Hopper Art

Edward Hopper’s “October on Cape Cod” painting is an iconic piece of American art. It’s fitting, then, that the painting would attract a big price when auction house Christie’s sold it during an online auction in late 2012. The winning bid? Someone paid a whopping $9.6 million for the painting, obliterating the previous record set by the Shang Dynasty vase mentioned above.

1 Gigayacht

The “Gigayacht” is no mere fishing boat. The luxury yacht contains a master suite on its deck level, 16-guest cabins, a cinema room, salon, fitness center, office space and helicopter garage. It also sold on eBay, at a “Buy it Now” price of $85 million, to an anonymous buyer. Just to put things in perspective, though, that could be considered a bargain; it would have cost the buyer a minimum of $170 million to buy the yacht directly from the manufacturer.

Dan Rafner has been writing professionally since 1992, with work published in "The Washington Post," "Chicago Tribune," "Phoenix Magazine" and several trade magazines. He is also the managing editor of "Midwest Real Estate News." He specializes in writing about mortgage lending, personal finance, business and real-estate topics. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Illinois.

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