Sales of luxury goods this year nearly reached the 2007 peak, at $235 billion, says a Bain consulting study. The ultrarich on Forbes’ world billionaire lists did their part, splurging on art, jewelry, horses, even incense burners and truffles. Here are some of their most expensive purchases in 2010.
Art: $145.4 million
The hedge fund manager is understood to have spent $110 million on Jasper Johns’ famous “Flag” painting, setting the 2010 record for priciest art purchase. In November he bought one of Andy Warhol’s iconic Coca-Cola bottle paintings at auction for $35.4 million, adding to his already impressive collection of contemporary art.
Mian Muhammad Mansha
Hotel: $85 to $95 million
Pakistan’s first billionaire and his family bought the St. James Hotel & Club in London’s exclusive Green Park neighborhood for between $85 and $95 million. U.K. realtor Savills called the hotel sale one of the most expensive ever on a price-per-room basis: With only 60 suites, the deal works out to about $1.5 million per room.
Ranch: $46.5 million
The Texas pipeline tycoon purchased the 3,500-acre BootJack Ranch near Telluride, Colo., in April, in what is being called the biggest private real estate transaction of 2010. The estate can house 50 guests, and includes a 12,000-square-foot spa and aquatic center.
Diamond: $46 million
The London jeweler paid $46 million at a Sotheby’s auction in November for the most expensive gem ever sold: a rare 24.78-carat pink diamond. He’s since renamed the emerald-cut stone “The Graff Pink.”
Mansion: $44 million
The world’s richest man and his business partners paid $44 million for an eight-story Beaux-Arts style mansion across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art on New York’s Fifth Avenue; Slim says it’s an investment not a new home for him. The previous owner was real estate mogul Tamir Sapir, who ran into money problems.
Golf club: $40 million
The Florida entrepreneur rescued the 2,500-acre Federica Club, a private golf community on Saint Simon’s Island, Georgia, from foreclosure, snapping it up for a reported $40 million.
Incense burners: $16.7 million
The Hong Kong real estate magnate spent $16.7 million on two antique incense-burners at Christie’s in December. They’re shaped like cranes, the long-legged birds symbolizing longevity in China.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Thoroughbred racehorses: $5.4 million
The Crown Prince of Dubai is heavily involved in racing and breeding thoroughbreds, and spent $5.4 million on 24 yearlings at an October horse auction in England.
White truffles: $330,000
The casino king of Macau has a fungi fetish: He paid $330,000 for two white truffles at auction last month, matching his own 2007 record for the pricey delicacy.