Item: Badminton Cabinet
Winning Bid: $36 million
An item like this really ties the room together with money. When the 18th century Florentine ebony chest inlaid with amethyst quartz, agate, lapis lazuli and other stones sold for $36 million at a 2004 Christie's auction, it broke its own record as the most expensive piece of furniture sold at auction. The Badminton Cabinet, so named because it remained in Badminton, England, for over two centuries, had set the previous record in 1990 when Christie's sold it to billionaire Barbara Piasecka Johnson (of the Johnson & Johnson fortune) for $16.59 million. Johnson put it up for sale in 2004, when it was bought by Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, who donated it to the Liechtenstein Museum in Austria.