The World's Largest Antique Ever Sold



London Bridge wasn’t exactly falling down in the 1960s, but it was sinking under the weight of modern traffic, so England decided to put it up for sale. The winning bid came from Robert P. McCulloch, an American entrepreneur and chairman of McCulloch Oil Company. He paid $2,460,000 — plus shipping costs of around $240,000 — to bring the bridge over, piece by piece. He bought the structure as a tourist attraction to entice people to vacation and potentially retire in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., a planned community he established a few years earlier. Rebuilding London Bridge took three years and several million dollars more, which strained McCulloch's finances. The tariff on importing the bridge should have been $270,600, but instead the Customs Service declared the 137-year-old bridge to be an “antique” and, therefore, duty-free. That, of course, made the London Bridge the largest antique ever sold and kept McCulloch from going bankrupt.