In mid-February, Canadian piano virtuoso Angela Hewitt took to Facebook to let her fans know something horrible had happened. Her beloved, one-of-a-kind grand piano of 17 years had been destroyed in transit. While clearly a tragic turn of events for Hewitt, it was also a reminder that while money can buy you a lot of things, it can’t totally inoculate you from from disaster. In recent years, we’ve seen a spate of costly snafus in the luxury sector, from burning megayachts to a shattered sculpture to a Bugatti bashed up moments after leaving the lot. Below, some of the most cringe-worthy luxury mishaps over the last few years.
A Virtuoso’s One-of-a-Kind, $200,000 Piano Drops to Its Death
Hiring movers is supposed to make things easier. Instead, sometimes they just end up destroying your cherished, one-of-a-kind grand piano. That’s what happened to Angela Hewitt, one of the world’s foremost classical pianists, shortly after she finished recording Beethoven’s piano variations at a studio in Berlin this January. Instead of loading her unique four-pedal F278 Fazioli onto a truck, the movers dropped it, breaking the $200,000 instrument beyond repair.
Tracy Morgan’s $2 Million Bugatti Gets Side-Swiped
They say cars start to depreciate as soon as you drive off the lot, and in the case of Tracy Morgan’s 2012 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, that couldn’t be more true. Moments after purchasing the pre-owned supercar for $2 million from a Manhattan dealership last summer, the funnyman was side-swiped by a driver in a much more budget-friendly Honda CR-V. Morgan was fine, but we’re guessing he wasn’t laughing at this scenario, especially since it cost him at least $200,000.
London’s Mandarin Orient Hotel Burns After Its Biggest Renovation
June of 2018 should’ve been a great time to visit the Mandarin Orient Hotel in London. The five-star establishment had just completed “most extensive restoration in its 115-year history,” one that its owners hoped would secure the property’s position as one of the best hotels in the world. Instead, one week after the renovation was finished, the hotel caught on fire. While no one was hurt, 36 hotel guests and 250 staff members, including singer Robbie Williams, were evactuated while a team of over 100 fire fighters extinguished the blaze.
$120,000 of Sauvignon Blanc Down the Drain
There are costly mistakes and then there are mistakes that cost someone more than $100,000. That’s how much the Mission Hill Estate winery in Canada’s Okanagan Valley lost after a former employee left a tank valve open, leading to the loss of 5,680 liters of Sauvignon Blanc with a retail value of $120,000. Unfortunately, the mistake would lead to the termination of the winery’s cellarman after the winery’s owners revealed he’d flushed even more wine down the drain during a similar incident 18 months prior.
Mr. Bean Wrecks His McLaren F1. Twice.
Totaling a McLaren F1 is bad. Totaling it twice? That’s the universe telling you something. And that’s what happened to Mr. Bean star Rowan Atkinson, who somehow managed to wreck his burgundy F1 twice in during the 18 years he owned the Gordon Murray-designed supercar. Luckily for Atkinson, insurance covered the sky-high repair bills both times. In fact, the car was so well-taken care of he was able to sell it for $12.2 million in 2015. Seems that Mr. Bean took the hint.
The Art Critic Who Accidentally Shattered a $20,000 Sculpture (That She Didn’t Like)
There are probably better ways to express your distaste for something. Earlier this year, Mexican art critic Avelina Lesper made headlines when she found a new way to take down a Gabriel Rico sculpture she didn’t like. Her technique? Placing a can of soda on the glass object during a gallery opening. What surely seemed like an innocuous (though most definitely rude) action ended up completely shattering the $20,000 piece of art.
$30 Million in Superyachts Go Up in Flames
Last year wasn’t the best time to own a yacht in Florida. In the latter part of 2019, yachts curiously kept catching on fire around the Sunshine State. First, in November, a blaze at the Universal Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale claimed two different megayachts. Valued at a collective $20 million, the two boats—the 161-foot motor yacht Lohengrin and the 107-foot Reflections—were toast. Then, in December, a 120-Foot Benetti Superyacht belonging to singer Marc Anthony also went up in flames in Miami. The “You Sang to Me” crooner reportedly bought the boat for $7.5 million.