Let’s say you play one game more than any other. At the end of a long day, it is your go-to game — the one you can rely on and have amassed hundreds if not thousands of hours in. At that point, you might want to purchase a skin for your favorite character. After all, you’ve already invested a bunch of time in the game. Why not spend a little money on something nice?
When it comes to skins, prices can vary pretty dramatically. What you’ll spend typically comes down to how rare a skin is, and — where there is reselling involved — how many other people want it. Below, you’ll get a look at some of the most expensive skins in gaming. If you want to get your hands on any of these, you’d better have a hefty bank account. Either that, or you might want to consider getting a second or third job to put these cosmetics within reach.
Apex Legends – Iron Crown Collection
While no one can argue the Iron Crown Collection is not attractive, it’s total cost caused anger in the Apex Legends community. In total, there were 24 cosmetics exclusive to the Iron Crown Collection. To unlock all of them, you needed to open Iron Crown Packs, which featured three skins per pack. If you were somehow fortunate enough to get three unique skins in every pack with no repeats, that still meant you needed to spend $60 to purchase eight Iron Crown Packs.
Somehow, things got even worse from there. Apex Legends also offered a Bloodhound’s Heirloom Set, but players were miffed to learn that could only be purchased once all the other Iron Crown Collection cosmetics were unlocked. Players already had to spend a pretty penny to obtain the rest of the Iron Crown items, even if they were extremely lucky and didn’t get duplicate skins in their Iron Crown Packs. For some, being asked to pay another $40 afterward — for a total of $100 at a minimum — was a bridge too far.
League of Legends – PAX Twisted Fate
During PAX 2009, developer Riot Games designed a unique, limited-edition League of Legends skin as a way to thank the community for both coming to the event and supporting the studio’s game. The PAX Twisted Fate skin was handed out to the first 20,000 Penny Arcade Expo attendees on a redeemable coupon. At the time, no one knew how big or how rare this skin would become, so many decided to sell or trade it. Those previous owners of Twisted Fate may be wishing they’d held onto those codes — the skin has since become a very hot commodity.
These days, PAX Twisted Fate sells for between $350 and $700. The wide gulf in the price range may be due to the fact that many sell their entire League of Legends account, even though doing so is against Riot’s terms of service (and is kind of a risk, to boot). Unfortunately for anyone who wants PAX Twisted Fate, it is simply impossible to buy the skin separately. Just know that, if you want it badly enough to buy someone else’s account, you could find yourself on the business end of a ban. Who will see your new skin then?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — StatTrak M9 Bayonet (Marble Fade)
Counter-Strike: Global Offense remains one of the most popular games on Steam, with over one million players in-game each day, as of this writing. It makes sense that the skin market would continue to thrive after all these years, with one skin in particular really drawing attention from CS:GO devotees: the Marble Fade and Minimal Wear variant of the StatTrak M9 Bayonet.
When perusing the Steam marketplace, this item can typically be found with an asking price of roughly $1,800. The price does vary, though, depending on who is selling and when. The thing is, despite the astounding average listing cost, records show that one sold for $581.64 on Nov. 18, 2020. So it seems most players are willing to pay around $600 for the skin, but those asking for well over $1,000 may be pushing their luck a bit.
Still, hundreds of dollars for a special in-game knife is a lot. Counter-Strike players plunking down that kind of money must really want to stand out.
Rust – Punishment Mask
Can you think of a good reason to spend over $1,500 on a single in-game skin? No? Well, many dedicated Rust players can, and have, spent that amount and more on cosmetics. Currently, the most expensive Rust skin is the Punishment Mask by StabbyMcStabface, which routinely sells for over $1,500. While the price does vary, it’s never by much.
As of this writing, there are only four Punishment Masks available for sale, and none of them are listed for anything less than that $1,500 amount.Why? Well, when Facepunch selected the Punishment Skin, originally called the 4 Dueces Skull, it only sold about 300 copies total before the seller pulled the item. For context, Rust had sold over 9 million copies by December 2019. Based on those two numbers, you can likely see why the Punishment Mask is in such high demand. Because there are so few available, only a small fraction of the Rust player base will ever get to own one.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — Black School Uniform Set
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds took the world by storm when it released on Steam in 2017. To this day, developer KRAFTON, Inc. continues to release new content via season passes, including new maps, weapons, and mechanics. Aside from game sales, though, PUBG‘s skin market also serves as a revenue stream thanks to a handful of highly coveted cosmetics. If you want this next one, you’ll have to pay up pretty substantially for the privilege.
The Black School Uniform Set that has seen a lot of demand from PUBG players, and as such, it has sometimes sold for over $1,300. In fact, on Jan. 15, 2020, one sold for $1,315.31. These days, the price has dropped significantly, with one selling for around $600 in December 2020. Still, you never know how the PUBG skin market will behave. Perhaps the Black School Uniform set will again go up in price at some point.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — Ivory School Uniform Set
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is apparently a fan of education. The game has an Ivory School Uniform Set for sale, and this hard-to-get set often sells for over $1,000. Players seemingly love the School Uniform Sets, as most of the top items on the Steam Market are such cosmetic packs. The Ivory one, however, seems to reign supreme above all the others.
Around the time of this writing, a single Ivory School Uniform Set was listed for $1,936. In May 2020, the same set sold for $1,447.40 — not quite as high, but still a not-insignificant amount. According to the Market page, most players will willingly buy the Ivory Set for under $200. If owners decide to come down closer to that price point in order to sell, this expensive PUBG skin could end up losing some of its value.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — The Olive Branch Pan
The Olive Branch Pan in PUBG is no longer available for sale. You cannot buy one on the Steam Market – instead, you have to hit up private sellers elsewhere. On Steam, there are often players who want to buy the Olive Branch Pan, and at the time of this writing, some are offering as much as $160 for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely those who end up with one will part with it for a cheap price.
So, without overpaying for the skin, how do you get an Olive Branch Pan in PUBG? At the time of publication, the chance of receiving an Olive Branch via an Equinox Crate is 0.0009%. It is, hands down, the single rarest item in the game. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of one, count your lucky stars — and then consider turning it into some profit.
DOTA 2 — Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog
According to a report by Engadget, one of the single rarest skins in DOTA 2 – the Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog — once sold for the staggering sum of $38,000. Why the insane price tag? Mainly due to its rarity: it is, as Engadget put it, "a very rare combination of the most sought-after courier type, effect, and color."
When Engadget published its article back in 2013, it noted there were only five skins like the Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog in existence. Looking at it, though, you may understand why some find this particular canine a must-have. The pink hue is attractive, with a glowing mist dancing around the war dog’s feet. It certainly embodies the term "ethereal." But otherwise, the Ethereal Flames Pink War Dog is a standard Enduring War Dog. Whether or not it is worth $38,000 is solely up to the buyer, but whoever sold it for that price is likely a very happy person.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — Souvenir AWP Dragon Lore
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a phenomenon no one can escape. Since going free-to-play in late 2018, developer Valve chose to focus on earning revenue from cosmetics instead of game sales. Things may be off to a good start, judging by how things are going for some of the game’s more hard-to-get skins.
According to Polygon, one fan paid a tidy sum for the rarest AWP sniper rifle skin in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The Souvenir AWP Dragon Lore is autographed by professional CS:GO player Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham. Latham’s team, Cloud9, earned its place as the first American eSports team to win a Valve-sponsored pro event. With the win cemented online, the anonymous buyer apparently wanted a piece of esports history, and was willing to pay $61,052.63 for it.
The original collector, Drone, bought the skin for $35,000. Then, selling for over $61,000, he netted himself a nice profit — enough for a down payment on a house, a brand-new car, or an adventure across the globe for an entire year.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — StatTrak M4A4 (Howl)
The ESL Major Series One Katowice 2014 was a major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro event. During this tournament, teams fought for a fairly sizable prize pool of $250,000. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event that most only remember because of replays and the associated skins introduced into the game. A weapon skin designed to commemorate the event once sold for an absurd amount, and the reason may surprise you.
A special version of the StatTrak M4A4 Howl is the skin in question. The rifle features iBuyPower and Katowice 2014 stickers adorning the stock and upper receiver, and yes, those stickers are apparently enough to make this skin worth a lot of money to some people. According to a tweet from July 2020, an anonymous buyer from China allegedly purchased the rare skin for around $100,000, which is a whole lot of money for some logos on a 3D model. Some believed this price set a record, making it the most expensive CS:GO skin in existence.