7 most expensive breakages

We all break things from time to time. But these destructive mishaps make smashing your phone screen look like a drop in the ocean. Even if you then drop it in the ocean.

Losing your bottle

London’s Playboy Club is a place where men with lots of money go to flash the cash – or in the case of one customer, smash the cash. Having heard that the club was in possession of a rare bottle of Cognac dating back to 1788, this chap ordered two glasses at £5,050 each and asked if he could see the bottle. As the drinks arrived at the table, the customer stood up, knocked the bottle from the waiter’s hand and watched it smash on the restaurant floor. At £50,000 for the bottle, his drinks bill came to slightly more than he’d bargained for.


A visitor at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, was walking down a flight of stairs when he tripped over his shoelace and began to hurtle downwards. There were no handrails or barriers and for a moment it looked like he was going to do himself a serious injury. By a miracle he managed to catch his fall and came off unscathed. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the 17th century Chinese vase that had broken his fall, nor the one that the first vase fell onto, nor the third vase that also got toppled. Three vases, 400 pieces. Total value: around half a million pounds.

Still life goes on

Mind you, putting works of art behind barriers can sometimes be the cause of the problem. It may have been the way he was dressed, or possibly the drink in his hand, but something told you the 12-year-old boy being dragged around an art exhibition in Taipei wasn’t really paying attention. As the tour moved on, he caught his foot and stumbled on the barrier protecting ‘Flowers’, an oil painting by 17th century Italian artist Paolo Porpora, valued at $1.5million. To save the drink or save the painting? The kid naturally chose the drink and, reaching out to steady himself, put his cup-clutching hand through the canvas. Happily, he didn’t spill a drop.


For a wannabe artist, you can imagine how an adult education class at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art might be a nerve-wracking, as well as inspiring, experience. In amongst all those priceless paintings. Wow! It can make you go all weak at the knees and clumsy. For one woman it all proved too much and she somehow lost her balance and fell into one of the paintings hanging nearby, causing a six inch tear in the canvas. She didn’t just pick any old painting to crash into, this was an early Picasso, ‘The Actor’, valued at $100million.

Picture this

Selfies have been the cause of many a mishap. You know how it happens. You’re at a gallery. You see an exhibit that takes your fancy. You think, “I’ll take a piccie of myself with that.” You pull out your selfie stick, mount your phone in it and start framing the shot. Hmm. Back a bit. Back a bit. A bit more… Oops! I appear to have knocked the whole thing over. That’s what happened to one art lover at another modern art exhibition in New York, causing $200,000 worth of damage. Still, she got the shot.

Classic mistake

If you owned a rare and priceless Ferrari, would you take it racing? The 2017 Goodwood Revival was the scene of what is considered the world’s most expensive car crash. A rare classic 1960s Ferrari 250 GTO, valued at $30million, lost its grip and veered off the track into a tyre wall, scraping off the paint, denting the bodywork and breaking the suspension. Only 36 250 GTOs were ever built and five years earlier, another one had been driven into the back of another car during a race in France. That one was only valued at $28million, though, so not to worry.

Mad as a Hatteras

A Business student at Hartford, Connecticut, was visiting Miami for the first time when he got so carried away by the sight of all the luxury yachts that he decided to have a go on one. He chose an 80 footer called Hatteras, valued at $4million. He’d never been on a boat before but that didn’t stop him breezing past the security guards and firing up the engines. It was when he came to steering the yacht that his inexperience began to show. He ended up crashing into several other boats in the marina and damaging the Hatteras so badly that it sunk. Total damage: $8-10million. Not a great start to his business career.

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