12 of the Most Expensive Mistakes in History

History is a fascinating subject that allows us to explore the successes and errors of the past in an attempt to do better today. Whether we’re talking about events from centuries ago or recent decades, mistakes can cost a fortune, financially and otherwise. Here are some of the costliest historical blunders listed by members of an online community.

1. Fidget Spinner Saga

Two fidget spinners
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Fidget spinners were invented in 1993 by Catherine Hettinger. However, she couldn’t renew her patent in 2005 due to the $400 fee. Since these things have become a global sensation in recent years, it is upsetting that the inventor didn’t make any money because of the renewal fee.

2. The Gateway to Colonialism

New Delhi, India
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A tiny decision would have avoided the British Raj in India. Only after Mughal emperor Jahangir allowed the East India Company to start the business in India did the other remaining events follow.

3. SI Units: An Expensive Error

Man shocked
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As the feud between the standard units continues, no error can be more grave than this one. NASA lost $125 million in 1999 simply because the engineers failed to convert the units from standard to metric. As a member mentions, the only good thing about this incident is that the teachers could cite it to inform their students that writing appropriate units is extremely important unless they were willing to lose millions.

4. Not Too Exciting for Excite

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - November 9, 2020: New office building in Dubai Internet City-Dubai Media City district displays Google and Ericsson logos on either side of the building.
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Here’s an odd one: Google tried to sell itself to Excite for a million dollars. While Excite rejected the offer twice, even when the bid was a mere $750,000, we now have Google at a market cap of over a trillion dollars.

5. Alaska for Sale

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As the Russian Empire struggled to maintain its territory in Alaska from the then-enemy British Empire, it sold the land to America for what would be $123 million today. Not knowing what was beneath Alaska, Russia thought the purchase threatened British control of its colony. After twenty years, oil reserves were discovered in Alaska.

6. Not So “Yeehaw!” for “Yahoo!”

SUNNYVALE, CA/USA - MARCH 1, 2014: Yahoo Corporate Headquarters Sign. Yahoo is a multinational Internet corporation globally known for its Web portal, search engine Yahoo Search, and related services
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Yahoo has made some questionable choices. They passed up on the opportunity to buy Facebook for a billion and Google for a million; both costs are less than 1% of their current worth. Instead, they purchased Broadcast.com and GeoCities for billions without any considerable output.

7. The Cost of Rejection

MELAKA, Malaysia - FEBRUARY 4, 2019 : Close up view of HARRY POTTER book by JK ROWLING for sell in the book stores
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Surprisingly, 12 publishing houses rejected J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Bloomsbury, the only publishing house to agree, only did so because the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter read the first chapter to review and immediately demanded the next. With over 400 million copies of the series sold, those publishing houses will forever ponder the decision.

8. Font Frontiers

Brand black Apple iPhone 6s with text Panama papers on the screen, with money, dollar. Chelyabinsk, Russia - April 14, 2016
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In 2015, the Panama Leaks wreaked havoc on high-profile politicians who purchased overseas assets for illegal purposes. If you’re wondering what gave them away, then you’ll be astonished to know the use of Microsoft’s Calibri font indicated forgery. This one mistake caused Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to resign.

9. All for One, One for All?

Couples shocked
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In 2005, the Japanese firm Mizuho Securities Co. lost around $230 million in one hour due to a trader who was supposed to sell one share of the company at 610,000 yen but instead sold 610,000 shares of the company at one yen each. Never take mundane tasks lightly!

10. Book of War Rule #1: “Don’t March on Moscow”

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Most schoolchildren know that breaking this rule led to Napoleon’s demise. While Napoleon didn’t lose a single battle during his Russian campaign, this was the most disastrous move due to Russia’s self-destructive approach. He thought that surrender and terms were close at hand, baiting him further into the country where 80% of his starving and frozen men breathed their last.

11. Cars of the Revolution: Gas Negligence

Man shocked saying oh
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In 1961 the Turkish government hired twenty-three engineers to produce a locally-made car. The engineers successfully devised four cars but forgot to check one thing: the gas. The black vehicle the president chose was the unfortunate one to only run a hundred meters, causing the project to get canceled.

12. The 123 Crash

NARITA, JAPAN -6 DEC 2016- Planes from Japan Airlines (JL) at the Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT). Narita is a hub for Japan Airlines (JL) and All Nippon Airlines ANA (NH).
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In 1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashed after a tiny error. To spare you the technicalities, a faulty repair due to a tail strike seven years earlier caused the plane to crash, leading to five hundred and twenty deaths. The single repair patch plate was incorrectly cut in two to make it fit. The repaired aircraft completed over twelve thousand successful flights before the unfortunate event.