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Top 25 craziest purchases in history

Press Release: March 16, 2021

We’ve all experienced buyer’s remorse before. That depressing realisation that you’ve thrown your money down the drain on items you don’t need - or worse, looking at your bank balance and wondering where all your money went in the first place!

However, as purchases go, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever spent your money on some of the weird, wonderful, and downright ridiculous things featured here. We’ve all heard the phrase more money than sense before, and that applies more to some purchases than others! We live in a world where everything has a price - from gold-plated toilets to a multi-thousand dollar haircut, in this list MoneyTransfers.com has covered some of the most out-there purchases in history.

25. The fireworks factory business that went off with a bang
When lottery winner Debbie Mather spent £500,000 of her winnings setting up her own fireworks factory in 2005, we’re sure she had some mixed responses from her friends and family on how she chose to spend the money! However, Debbie has since opened a further four fireworks and fancy dress shops and is now the owner of a thriving business in Chorley, where she’s based - so while a fireworks factory may have sounded like a crazy purchase, the former accountant showed what shrewd moves can do to multiply a one-off lottery win!

24. Whisky business with a distillery purchase
Lottery winner Peter Lavery won more than £10 million in 1996 and bought a distillery in Ireland with his winnings. Although it may sound like a bold purchase, this is yet another bold purchase that seems to have paid off! The distillery has since moved to an old jail and was in the news as recently as November 2020 after receiving planning permission to build a distillery at the dock where the RMS Titanic was built. 

23. Toupee, or not toupee?
Andy Warhol is known for being one of the leaders in the visual art movement known as pop art, and his work and films are celebrated even to this day. The artist made headlines once again in 2011 - but for slightly different reasons: an anonymous buyer purchased one of the icon’s very own wigs in an auction for a hair-raising $10,800! 

22. City dreamer
In 1989, Kim Bassinger jointly bought a small town for $20 Million in Georgia. A few years later she filed for bankruptcy and sold her share of the town for $1 million, without realising the dream of turning tiny Braselton into a tourist destination. 

21. Making a splash
When John and Linda Kutey won a staggering $28.7 million fortune, there were likely predictions amongst the local community what the couple might spend their winnings on. A new house, a new car, a fancy holiday perhaps...but a water park?! The pair decided to use $200,000 of their winnings to fund a waterpark in their local town to honour their parents, finally opening it to the public in June 2020.

20. Barmy Barnets
We all know how rare it is to find a hairdresser you really love, but this really stretches the limits of what lengths people will go to keep their locks looking good..! The Sultan of Brunei reportedly paid $15,000 to fly a London barber 7000 miles to do his hair – and the man usually only charges £30. Simply put, if you got your haircut once a month, it would take 41.6 years to spend the same amount as the Sultan of Brunei did on his one trim. 

19. Shark-bait
Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde shark, first commissioned by Charles Saatchi in 1991 for around $50,000, is considered one of the most iconic pieces of British art from the 1990s. Turns out there’s always an appeal for shark’s suspended in formaldehyde, too, because in 2006 the art piece was sold to investor and hedge-fund manager, Steve Cohen, for an alleged $8 million! 

18. Living the high-life
When Bob Erb won $25 million in the lottery, he donated $1 million of the money to 420, an event that campaigns to make marijuana legal in the US. A keen supporter, Bob also created 
the site Erb4Herb to raise support for the legalization of cannabis as well as support local improvements in his local community. Bob was in the news again in 2013 for giving a $10,000 tip in a restaurant after discovering the business owner’s daughter had been diagnosed with cancer. 

17. Not-so Wrestilicious
When Jonathan Vargas won $35 million and set up a TV show called 'Wrestlicious', he had a dream for his show featuring scantily-clad women wrestling to hit the big-time. The show didn't attract many viewers, unfortunately for him, and ended up getting cancelled. Following some more bad investments, Vargas lost his fortune. The $35 million could have been spent on an $8 million villa in Santa Barbara, California, with plenty of change to spare. 

16. The Spy Who Loved...Cars
As one of the richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of $200 billion, Elon Musk might not have thought much about spending $1 million on the 1976 Lotus Esprit car from the Bond movie ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ - especially considering the car (which doubled as a submarine in the movies) inspired the futuristic all-electric Tesla Cybertruck unveiled by Musk in 2019! It’s not known whether Musk purchased the car to actually drive, or if he opts for the smoother-sailing ride Tesla offers.

15. Shooting hoops at sea
Oracle CEO and billionaire, Larry Ellison, has several yachts with entire basketball courts and has hired a personal gofer to sail in a small boat behind the yacht in order to retrieve any basketballs that get shot over the fence. Although, not a huge purchase - it is a relatively lazy one. For the average american salary of $31,000, you could fund out-of-state tuition for a student (averaging $26,000 before living costs). 

14. 3 Million Dollar Window
Described as the same window and frame used by sniper Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot President JFK in 1963, a mystery bidder paid over $3 million for the item on eBay. However, there’s now an on-going lawsuit as the authenticity of the item sold is in question! We’re wondering what the mystery buyer was actually planning on doing with the item?

13. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket
Milton Verret, a commodities trader and philanthropist, bought the infamous red jacket MJ wore for his ‘Thriller’ music video at an auction for $1.8 million in 2011. Replicas are on sale running from $80-$300 dollars. Even in the higher price range you could bag yourself 6000 jackets - enough to wear a brand new one every day for 16 years (plenty of time to get the first one dry cleaned before you need it again). 

12. $14,000 Diamond Tea Bag: 
What price would you put on the perfect brew? For their 75th anniversary, PG Tips commissioned a fully functional tea-bag, bedecked in over two hundred and eight diamonds and valued at over $14,000! For $6.99 online you can buy 300 tea bags, so for $14,000 you could have 600,000 tea bags - if you drink two cups of tea a day, you’d have enough tea for 821 years!

11. $33,000 Gold iPhone
Victoria Beckham — formerly Posh Spice — paid $33,000 for a Stuart Hughes-designed iPhone made with 150 grams of 24-karat gold. A phone bill of $30 would mean you could stay connected for nearly 92 years for the cost of the phone. We wonder if the signal is any better on a gold phone? 

10. A $276,000 dinosaur skull
Back in 2015, Nicolas Cage spent $276,000 on a 67-million year-old dinosaur skull. However, it turned out that the rare artifact was stolen, so he had to hand it over to US authorities for it to be returned to the Mongolian government. A holiday on the UKs Jurassic Coast will cost around £1,000 per week - perhaps he could have spent the money staying there and searching for dinosaur bones? 

9. $1.5 Million Surfboard
 
This luxury $1.5 million surfboard weighs 31-pounds and is made from paulownia wood, finished with a lion made of gold painted on it. According to the creator Roy Stuart, the board was sold to a mystery buyer who worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Perhaps the craziest thing of all about this story is that the board was designed to be fully functional out on the waves! Newquay is the surfing capital of the UK with an average house price of £294,000 - so that’s five houses, or one surfboard.
 
8. John Lennon’s extracted molar
In the late sixties, The Beatles legend John Lennon gave his rotted-out molar (not our preferred method of payment, but each to their own!) to his housekeeper who sold it in 2011 to a Canadian dentist for $32,000. With the average filling in Canada starting at $325 - a filling a day would pay for John Lennon’s tooth in just over three months. 

7. £1 Million Crystal Bathtub
British model and TV-personality Tamara Ecclestone, billionaire Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, allegedly bought a crystal bathtub for £1 million. She reportedly sent five aides into the Amazon to collect the crystal used to make the tub and had to have the bathroom floor of her £47m house especially reinforced to accommodate the bath. For £120 you can buy a ticket for two people to the Crystal Maze in London, that’s 4,167 days out and a whole lot more crystal!

6. Justin Timberlake’s french toast
There’s fans, and then there’s superfans. Justin Timberlake may not have thought much of not finishing his breakfast one morning, but Kathy Summers bought the leftovers of his french toast for over $1,000! Maybe she should have spent the money on tickets to see him in action, for her and all the family? 

5. All that glitters
Perhaps one of the most useless inventions we’ve ever heard of, the going rate for a 24-carat gold leaf capsule is currently $425, designed by artist Tobias Wong in 2005. The purpose of these pricey pills? Well, the artists insist the pills are purely for art’s sake - but rumour has it, if you take one, they’ll make your poop glitter. Thankfully, we’re yet to see anyone with more money than sense to put that rumour to the test!

4. $80,000 Barbie
A Barbie might not seem like an extraordinary gift for a little girl, but how about a $80,000 diamond-encrusted Barbie? Beyonce and Jay Z definitely went all out for their daughter, Blue Ivy’s birthday present for her first birthday, with more extravagant purchases made on pink and white roses, costumes, and cake to celebrate her big day. It’s estimated that the average family spends £151,000 raising a child to the age of 18 - so two years worth of presents for celebs could equal an entire childhood in some cases! 

3. Pampered pooches
Complete with air-con, heating, and designer furniture, Paris Hilton commissioned a luxury custom two-story duplex specially for her chihuahua’s, setting her back an estimated $325,000! For $300,000 you could purchase your own home and fill it with designer furniture - you could even purchase a large dog bed as part of the cost! 

2. A gold throne
In 2013, the press reported that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian flushed a whopping $750,000 on a gold-plated toilet for their home! To put that into perspective, the average toilet costs around $150, so you could literally use a brand new toilet every day for 13 years for the equivalent of one gold-plated porcelain throne!

1. A truly potty purchase
Taking the number one top spot for craziest purchases in history is yet more potty humour - 22 carat-gold toilet paper that will set you back a cool $1.3 million, to be exact. Talk about money down the drain! With the average American home costing $295,000, you could have four houses for the same price, and a whole lot of regular toilet paper to use in them. 

At MoneyTransfers.com we do everything we can to help customers save money wherever possible. One good way to avoid big expenses, is to refrain from the sort of luxury purchases featured in this list, but that goes without saying. Another excellent way to be savvy with your money is using our comparison tool to consider all your options when sending money internationally. Whether you are transferring money overseas to fund an expensive purchase or to make a more routine payment for your mortgage or student loan, you will never regret getting more for your money. An estimated 40 billion dollars is spent on transfer fees every year, paid for by the individuals and businesses who need to send money abroad. Don’t get stuck paying for these fees; check out the most quick, efficient and inexpensive ways to send money overseas with MoneyTransfers.com instead.

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact:

Karen Idorn

Tel: 07754354478

Email: karen@moneytransfers.com

Visit the newsroom of: MoneyTransfers.com

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