No matter how strongly an expensive thing is secured or guarded, one day or the other it will always have the risk to be stolen. Even some famous expensive things are already been stolen and not returned yet till this date. Some thieves try to sell the items on the black market and often get caught. Others manage to stay “underground” and the items are never seen again. In this post, you will know about some of the most expensive things that have ever been stolen.
Here are some of the most expensive things that have ever been stolen according to our editors:
► Hope Diamond, value: $250 million
One of the most spectacular gems in the world is the Hope Diamond, a beautiful blue diamond weighing over 45 carats. About the size of a walnut, the stone is estimated to be worth a quarter of a billion dollars. However, there are many people who would think twice about buying it, for it is said to be cursed; bringing misfortune to anyone who owns or wears it.
It was apparently unearthed in the Golconda mines by the Krishna River in southwest India and made its European debut in 1642 when it was bought by a French merchant. Originally known as the Tavernier Blue, the gem was stolen from the French Crown in 1791, re-cut and given a new name the Hope Diamond. It now belongs to the Smithsonian Institution and is said to be insured for $250 million.
► Da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa, value: $2 billion – priceless
The most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was stolen in August of 1911 by Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the Louvre, where the painting resides. He hid in a closet until the museum closed and then took off with it with two other handymen. Even in 1911, the community responded with a whirlwind of media attention.
Some people even accused Pablo Picasso of taking the work. It took an entire two years before it was realized that the Mona Lisa was taken. It was finally recovered in 1913 and returned to the Louvre in 1914 after Perugia attempted to sell it to an art dealer in Italy. Worth at least $2 billion, it’s hands down the most expensive individual object ever stolen.
► Munch’s The Scream, value: more than $120 million
There are four versions of this famous painting by Edvard Munch, but the most notable (worth $120 million painting) is the painted version from 1893 that belongs to the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway. Thieves stole the painting in 1994 (and again in 2004!) and demanded $1 million in ransom.
After their ransom demand was rejected, the thieves were captured by Norwegian police in a sting operation and the painting was recovered two months after it was swiped. The less valuable pastel version of the Scream that hangs in the Munch Museum in Oslo has also been stolen once and recovered.
► The Saliera, value: $57 million
The Saliera is a 10-inch ornate gold salt cellar which was made by the 16th-century Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini for King Francis I of France in 1543. It is also considered ‘The Mona Lisa of sculptures‘, hence its sky-high value. Not only it was a gorgeous sculpture, but it is also practical; it was made to hold salt and pepper.
The sculpture, worth about $57 million, was stolen in May 2003 from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Fortunately, the salt cellar was found in January 2006 buried in a lead box in an isolated Austrian forest, after thief Robert Mang confessed to the crime.
► Fabergé Eggs, value: $33 million
The House of Fabergé crafted a total of 50 bejewelled eggs for the Russian royal family from 1885 up until the eve of the October Revolution in 1917. Amid the mayhem of revolution, eight eggs were seized by Bolshevik revolutionaries and went astray.
The Third Imperial Egg is the only missing Fabergé egg that has been recovered. It surfaced in 2012 at a scrap metal dealership in the American Midwest of all places and went on to sell for an estimated $33 million (£25.6m). Valued at more than $1 million each, the missing eggs are one of the most expensive things ever stolen.
► The Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius, value: $3.5 million
The Stradivarius is a $3.5 million violin that was stolen from the apartment of a famous concert violinist, Erica Morini, in New York City. The violin was made in 1727 by Antonio Stradivari but is known as the Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius.
At the time, Morini was 91 and she died shortly after her prized possession was stolen. More importantly, this crime of theft has never been solved and the violin remains missing. To this day the crime remains on the FBI’s top ten art crimes list.
► Dorothy’s Slippers, value: $2 to $3 million
The famous Dorothy’s ruby red slippers that she used to tap her feet together in the film, the Wizard of Oz were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005. The pair of shoes are said to be worth anywhere from $2 to $3 million.
The slippers still haven’t been found today but currently, an anonymous donor from Arizona has proposed a reward of $1 million to anyone who can find the slippers for him.