Following an incredible number of record-breaking sales of some of the world's most expensive items, from cars to art to watches, diamonds and estates, that have taken place just in the past two weeks, we are hereby making an official declaration: The Rich Are Back. While the economic recovery has been slow to materialize in some quarters, those with the money to make multimillion-dollar purchases are suddenly not shy about dropping the coin. The megabucks deals mean an optimistic outlook has finally taken a firm hold, and the wealthy no longer feel the need to pinch their pennies in the fear that more hard times could be lurking right around the corner. We say it's about time too.
In one hectic twelve-day period, from May 3 to May 14, we saw the record-breaking sales of a $106 million Picasso painting; a $50 million mansion in Bel-Air; a $46 million ranch in Colorado; a $40 million Bugatti; a $32 million Warhol self-portrait; a $26 million Jasper Johns painting; an $18 million Ferrari; an $8 million blue diamond; and a $5 million Patek Philippe chronograph – about $330 million worth of the world's most expensive possessions. The astonishing sales have given an immediate boost to the art, classic cars, real estate and collector's timepieces markets, many of which faltered in the wake of the economic downturn, losing billions of dollars in value. Here's a rundown of the nine history-making deals as they unfolded over the twelve-day whirlwind of wealth disbursement; see the gallery for images:
Gallery: The Return of the Rich