Top 10 Most Valuable Collectables of Their Kind

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In every medium of collecting there are pieces that avid fans will spend astronomical amounts of money to have. These 10 pieces are all from different mediums, but what they have in common is their ridiculous value.

10. Most Valuable VHS Tape: Tales from the Quadead Zone

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Value: $1,000 – $2,000

An original VHS copy of the John Carpenter horror classic Halloween was apparently sold on eBay for the amazing price of $13,220 on May 31, 2013. But a number of people have questioned the authenticity of the sale — the bidding history was erratic, and it’s unclear if the condition of the tape was good or if money even changed hands. If the sale was legit then VHS aficionados, which apparently exist, think it was simply a fluke and that that version of Halloween isn’t worth that much.

What collectors consider the most valuable VHS tape is a film called Tales from the Quadead Zone, a trilogy of horror stories. In one vignette a woman reads stories to her dead son’s ghost, and in another there’s a zombie clown from Hell. It was written, edited, produced and directed by Chester Novell Turner, an amateur filmmaker who gained cult status for his bizarre films featuring African-American actors. His only other film, Black Devil Doll From Hell, is also quite valuable.

The last time a copy of Tales from the Quadead Zone sold, it went for $700. If a copy were to go on sale again, it would probably get a price of $2000. It’s often referred to as the “Holy Grail” for VHS collectors which, to our continued surprise, really do exist.

9. Most Valuable Collectable Card: Pikachu Illustrator Card

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Value: $20,000

There are a number of collectable card games out there, and the most valuable card from all of them is a Pokémon card called the Pikachu Illustrator. Originally a prize for a Japanese illustration contest in 1997, there were only six cards created and only five are officially in circulation. The last one sold for $20,000, and in early 2015 there was a mint condition Pikachu Illustrator on sale on eBay for a whopping $150,000.

8. Most Valuable Video Game: Gamma Attack

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Value: $20,000 – $50,000

The Atari 2600 game Gamma Attack only sold about 20 copies upon release. Only one is known to exist today, and collector Anthony DeNardo owns it. In 2008 he tried to sell it on eBay for an astonishing $500,000, but no one bought it. Experts thought that DeNardo’s price was too high, and estimated the value to be between $5,000-$10,000 at the time. In today’s market, they think it could be worth anywhere from $20,000-$50,000. Check your closets!

7. Most Valuable Record: Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Oko Yono

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Value: $525,000

Before you start jumping for joy, thinking you’ve struck the jackpot because you own this album, we’ve got some bad news for you. Only one copy of John Lennon’s final album is actually worth that much, and it belonged to Mark David Chapman, who had Lennon sign it five hours before he murdered him. The record is currently on sale with an asking price of $525,000 through a memorabilia website.

As for the most valuable record based on the record itself and not who owned it, the 1958 edition of That’ll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger by the Quarrymen was priced at about $310,000 by Record Collector Magazine. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Quarrymen and how they could have the most expensive records, the band featured John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. They, of course, would go on to form the Beatles. The record is a two-song demo, with one being a cover of “That’ll Be The Day” by Buddy Holly and the other an original song. There’s only one known copy, and Paul McCartney owns it. He had it restored in 1981, and he printed 25 copies for friends. That re-issue is the second most valuable record in the world, worth about $15,000.

6. Most Valuable Movie Poster: Metropolis

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Value: $1.2 million

While a lot of posters of Universal monster movies are considered valuable, the movie with the most expensive poster ever is for the 1927 German silent science fiction movie Metropolis, one of the most influential films ever made. Heinz Schulz-Neudamm painted the poster, and it’s believed there are only four remaining copies. A collector purchased one for $690,000 in 2005, but in 2012 the collector had to file for bankruptcy and the poster was auctioned off. A collector and dealer named Ralph DeLuca bought the poster for $1.2 million on December 13, 2012. If you’re a fan but don’t have that kind of cash on hand, replicas are readily available.

5. Most Valuable Comic Book: Action Comics #1

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Value: $3.2 million

Superheroes have been an indelible part of pop culture for 75 years, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the first superhero comic is considered the most valuable comic ever. It’s Action Comics #1, which introduced the world to Superman. It contains his origin story, as well as a number of short stories like one where he saves a falsely accused woman from being executed by arresting the real murderer. Lois Lane is also introduced in a story where Superman saves her from a gangster who has kidnapped her.

In August 2014, what is thought to be one of the most pristine copies sold for $3,207,852 on eBay. It’s estimated that only 50 copies still exist, and not all of them are in great shape.

4. Most Valuable Photograph: “Phantom” by Peter Lik

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Value: $6.5 million

Australian photographer Peter Lik sold his photograph “Phantom” for $6.5 million through a private sale to an anonymous buyer. The photo, which was taken in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, is monochromatic and shows light entering in through a crack in a cave.

The sale was a bit of a shock to the art community, because many critics don’t consider Lik’s work to be all that artistic. In fact, they find his work shallow. They conceded that the picture looks nice, but does that make it worth millions of dollars? With that being said, four of the 20 most valuable photographs in the world were taken by Lik, so maybe he’s onto something.

3. Most Valuable Printed Book: Bay Psalm Book

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Value: $14.1 million

The Bay Psalms book was the first book printed in English in North America. The book is the Puritan’s interpretation of Psalms from the original Hebrew script. Starting in 1640 they printed about 1,700 copies, of which 11 are thought to exist today.

Two of them belonged to the Old South Church in Boston, and they decided to sell one to pay for ministries and repairs. It sold at auction for $14,165,000 on November 26, 2013 to David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group. He plans on lending the book to libraries across the United States before finding it a long term home.

2. Most Valuable Sculpture: L’Homme qui marche I by Alberto Giacometti

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Value: $103.4 million

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss artist based in Paris. He worked in surrealism and abstract art before World War II, after which he moved into existentialism. He often did sculptures of people and L’Homme qui marche I (Walking Man I) is his most famous.

The bronze sculpture depicts a skinny man in mid-stride. It stands at about six-feet tall and was completed in 1961. A German banking group called Commerzbank owned the sculpture and had Sotheby’s auction it off. Billionaire Lily Safra bought the piece for $103.4 million after eight minutes of bidding on February 3, 2010, meaning he only needed eight minutes to spend more money than most of us will ever spend in our lifetimes.

1. Most Valuable Painting: The Card Players by Paul Cézanne

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Value: $250-$300 million dollars

The most expensive piece of art in the world is The Card Players by Paul Cézanne, a French Post-Impressionist artist. The painting, part of a series of five, was completed during his final years sometime in the early 1890s.

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A Greek shipping magnate had owned the painting for years, but sold it to the Qatar Royal Family just before his death in March 2011. They supposedly paid $250 million for the painting, although it has been rumored they spent closer to $300 million. Whether the painting is actually worth that much is debatable. It’s a famous painting by a revered artist, but it would pale in comparison to a hypothetical sale of a painting by, say, Pablo Picasso or Vincent Van Gogh.

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5 Comments

  1. Who the hell would by that sculpture for $100 million? It doesn’t look all that impressive I feel like most people could make a sculpture like that with minimal effort.

  2. That Action Comics #1 has gone up quite a bit in value in recent years. Comics appear to be a pretty good investment. I believe there was a comic book bio of the Beatles about 1965. Does anyone know what that’s worth these days?

    Speaking of the Beatles, I once had a single of John Lennon singing “Ain’t She Sweet” for Decca Records. I wonder what ever happened to that…

    But I was really surprised by the Cezanne. I can’t think of any reason anyone would regard that as an incredibly valuable painting. I can think of dozens I would have expected to go for more than a Cezanne.

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