Skip to main content
1 billion dollars

What a Billion Dollars Can Buy

Image: Shutterstock

The RMS Republic was also known as the 'Millionaires' Ship' due to the many rich and famous passengers who travelled on-board. Rumours about just how much gold was lost when the ship went down have been circulating for more than a hundred years with many experts agreeing that, should the ship be salvaged, it might just constitute the largest treasure recovery of all time. In 1981 Captain Martin Bayerle discovered the wreckage off the coast of Nantucket Island, but found no treasure on board.

Now, convinced that he searched the wrong part of the ship, Martin and his son Grant are heading a team of salvage divers in the hope of recovering gold worth one billion US dollars from the wreck of the RMS Republic. This is now on History's show Billion Dollar Wreck but, once Martin and Greg get their hands on a cool billion (that's a thousand million, or one followed by nine noughts – 1,000,000,000 – to us Brits) in salty sea-gold, what exactly are they going to spend it on?

Here are just a few ideas of what a billion could buy you today:

Fast Cars

People spend a lot of money on cars. An awful lot of money. Even so, for one billion dollars Martin and Greg could buy one-hundred and seventy-eight of Lamborghini's new 5.6 million Veneno Roadsters and still have money left over for petrol and scratchcards. Well actually they couldn't, because only nine of these limited edition “hypercars” have been made, but they could buy all of those and still have plenty left to spend in the pursuit of even more ludicrously expensive cars.

In 2014 a 1954 Grand-Prix race-car – a Mercedes-Benz W196 – sold at auction for 29.6 million us dollars. The car is one of only ten known to exist but its history and condition was what gave it its extra value. Of the twelve grand-Prix races the car was driven in it won nine. All that however, only made it the world's second most expensive car ever sold.

To date the most expensive car ever was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO which sold at auction for thirty-eight million dollars. Unlike the Mercedes-Benz W196 though, there are still more than a few of these GTOs out there. They have become so sought after that the next time the record for most expensive car is broken, many predicted it will be another Ferrari 250 GTO that does it. No need for the Bayerles to get into a bidding war though – they could probably afford all of them anyway.

Private Jets

Where would a billion dollar jetsetter be without a jet to jetset in? And how do the jetset get the right jet to let them jetset in? Ahem.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia is the current owner of the world's most expensive private aeroplane; a converted Airbus A380 Superjumbo Jet kitted out to his own specifications. Parking for his numerous luxury cars, a stable for his horses, a room for his hawks, and many more incredible extras sit alongside all the bedrooms, bathrooms, dining and entertainment areas you’d expect in this ultra high spec double decker jumbo.

How much did it cost? A mere five-hundred million dollars. Which means that, with a billion, the Bayerles could afford one each.

A Superyacht

Strictly speaking any yacht over twenty-four metres (seventy-nine feet) is considered a superyacht, but there's much more to it than that. These luxury motor boats typically have at least three decks and even the smallest can accommodate ten to twelve guests as well as a staff of similar size. With one billion burning a hole in their pockets Martin and Greg might be tempted to invest in a superyacht with a bit more going on than that.

Announced in February 2015 Triple Deuce is a superyacht whose price was expected to come in at around one billion us dollars mark, making it the most expensive privately owned superyacht ever built. At two-hundred and twenty-two meters (seven-hundred and twenty-eight feet) long, it's nearly ten times bigger than the smallest superyachts. Triple Deuce's master suite alone encompasses two of its seven decks and includes a private gym. It also comes with two pools, numerous jacuzzis, and of course a helipad.

With estimated annual running costs of between twenty and thirty million dollars however, the Bayerles might need to set their sights just a little lower. Maybe four or five decks would be sufficient for their needs? Then again, given the submarine history of their fortune, perhaps a boat is not the wisest investment.

A Skyscraper

Named after a mythical island in the Atlantic Ocean, Antilia is a private home in South Mumbai, India. Though the building is the height of a sixty floor skyscraper, it only has twenty-seven floors because its owner, Mukesh Ambani, wanted extra high ceilings. Built in 2010, Antilia has ten lifts and although it is a private residence, currently employs a staff of six hundred.

Martin and Greg might have to do the hoovering themselves if they were to invest their loot in Antilia however, because the building itself cost a whole one billion us dollars (making it the world's second most expensive residential property after Buckingham Palace). But it gets worse for the Bayerles because, in the six years since the building was completed, its estimated value has risen and some say Antilia could worth as much as three billion. Well, maybe they could persuade Mukesh to sell them nine floors of his home? Eighteen is probably plenty for him really anyway, right?