The Most Expensive Pop Culture Memorabilia Sold at Auction

What happens to props, costumes, or other items after they are used in our favorite movies, TV series, music videos, or events? One thing is for sure, they don't get thrown away. Many high profile items from pop culture live a second life as memorabilia for collectors. Years after their initial use, the most interesting and culturally significant items are often sold at auction for exorbitant amounts of money to collectors of all types.

Read on, and you'll find a list of 17 of the most expensive pop culture memorabilia sold at auction, including items used by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Andrews, Jerry Garcia, and more. Some of these expensive collectors items are actually worth something (more than sentimental value) so it's no surprise that these items – like Liz Taylor's jewels – sold for an exorbitant amount of money. Other collectibles, like Babe Ruth's jersey, gain their value from their place in history and the story surrounding them. Read on to learn more about some of the most expensive items ever sold at auction.
  • Babe Ruth's Jersey

    Babe Ruth's Jersey
    Photo: user uploaded image
    You don't have to be a baseball fan to love The Great Bambino and all of the associated lore (Sandlot fans, I'm looking at you). Being worn by arguably the most famous baseball player of all time helped Babe Ruth's first season Yankee's jersey sell for over $4.4 million in 2012. Remember kids: "heroes get remembered but legends never die..."
  • Superman's Debut Comic Book

    Superman's Debut Comic Book
    Photo: user uploaded image

    To say Superman is influential is an understatement. The character has been played and/or voiced by at least 48 actors in at least six radio/audio dramas, 16 movies, seven TV series, 36 animated series and stand alone efforts, and no less than 30 video games. But it all started on the printed page with Action Comics #1. It cost only $.10 when first sold but, in 2011, a copy of the famed issue sold for $2.1 million on eBay. Talk about a return on investment.

    More recently, the same issue sold for $3.2 million on eBay in August 2014. It was a CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) 9.0 grade with white pages and the best copy ever evaluated by the CGC. This is the first comic to break the $3 million barrier, and the sixth one to sell for over a million. 
  • Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Outfit

    Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Outfit
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video inspired a generation of uncoordinated people to get up off their couches and swing their arms hazardously through the air, mimicking the onscreen dance stylings of the King of Pop. In 2011, the famed all leather digs worn on screen by Jackson sold for $1.8 million. Why? "Cause this is thriller, thriller night!"
  • Liz Taylor's Jewels

    Liz Taylor's Jewels
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Having the benefit of being an incredibly elaborate jewelry collection on its own, one could say that being the former property of Liz Taylor was only one factor in the whopping amount of money the actress's jewels fetched. 80 items of Taylor's collection, sold during a Christie's auction, gathered nearly $116 million in 2011.