The 9 most iconic and record breaking auctions ever – Handbags, paintings, wine and more

World-renowned auctioneers Christie’s celebrate their 250th anniversary of eventful auctions this year. From treasured artworks to stunning jewelry and gems and from stylish handbags to wine, homeware, collectible artifacts, and even real estate, Christie’s have been curating and selling covetable items for two and a half centuries. In honor of their anniversary we’ve rounded up some of their most epic sales ever. Many of these are record-making sales which will make your jaw drop, from that unforgettable Picasso painting to Birkin bags worth their weight in gold, this list has it all!

Love among the Ruins
9. World record price for the artist at auction – Love among the Ruins$22,432,117
Concluding the list is Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones’ watercolor painting titled Love among the ruins. In the end, a bidding war between two London dealers who were acting on behalf of clients, escalated the price up to $22 million, which is quite a step up from the initial expectation of $4.6 to $7.5 million. This is a record price for any work by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones and also a record amount paid for any British work on paper.

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Gustave Courbet-489678
8. World record price for the artist at auction – Femme nue couchée $15,285,000
Gustave Courbet’s 1862 painting of a nude woman was confiscated by the Nazis from Baron Ferenc Hatvany in 1944. Decades later in 2005, the painting was returned to Hatavny’s family who sold it soon after to an unnamed seller. We wonder if the seller had any idea that it would sell for the world record price of more than $15 million. This is the most that anyone has ever paid for a work by Courbet. At the same 2015 auction, a Chinese billionaire picked up Modigliani’s Nu Couché for the sum of $170.4 million.

7. World record price for the artist at auction – Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a jockey and a stable lad$35,906,000
Did you think we were done with art? No way! It may look unremarkable to you, but George Stubbs’ painting ‘Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath, with a trainer, a jockey and a stable lad’ set the world record for the highest price paid for any work by Stubbs in 2011. As is often the case, the buyer wished to remain anonymous. The seller however made a tidy profit as he had purchased the painting in 1951 for a relatively meager £12,600 (around $ 16,671), though at the time it must have felt like a vast amount.

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6. World auction record for Romanée-Conti World auction record for a 12 bottle case of wine – Romanée-Conti, Vintage 1978 12 bottles$476,280
A 12 bottle case of Romanee-Conti sold for $476,280, (that’s around $39,700 per bottle) in 2013 at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. The anonymous Chinese buyer proved that wealthy Chinese are quickly snapping up not only real estate and art but also fine wines. Romanée-Conti in particular is regarded as a prestigious wine brand in China. This sale has held the world auction record for the highest amount paid for a 12 bottle case of Romanée-Conti wine.

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Vivien is a features writer with over eight years of expertise, specializing in celebrities and fashion. Since 2013, she has contributed to Luxurylaunches, delving deep into celebrity lifestyles and high-end fashion trends. Her pieces capture the essence of luxury, from coveted couture to intriguing collaborations. Beyond her journalistic pursuits, Vivien aspires for sun-soaked moments in St. Tropez, unique Nike Air Max sneakers, and Cartier's timeless Baignoire watch. With a discerning eye and a knack for capturing the opulence of the celebrity world, she remains a trusted voice in the realms of glamour and style.