10 Most Expensive Types of Koi Fish

Most expensive types of Koi fish

The most expensive Koi fish are famous for their stunning beauty and the high prices they can reach. In this article, we will explore the top ten most expensive types of Koi fish. 

Here, you’ll see pictures showing off their bright colors and unique patterns. From the beautiful Kōhaku Koi to the eye-catching Showa Koi, each type of Koi fish has its own special look, which is why so many people love them. 

As we go through the list, you’ll learn about different types of Japanese Koi, like the Doitsu Koi, Sanke Koi, and Ogon Koi, and you’ll see why they’re so popular. Let’s dive in at the ten most expensive Koi fish in the world.

Which Is the Most Expensive Koi Fish Ever Sold?

Expensive Koi fish up close

The most expensive Koi fish ever sold is a Kōhaku Koi named S Legend. This exceptional fish, known for its vibrant colors and perfect patterns, was sold for an unprecedented price of $1.8 million.

S Legend’s pristine white body, adorned with bright splotches, is considered perfect by many. This Koi fish was raised on a Koi farm run by Kentaro Sakai, a renowned Koi breeder in Hiroshima, Japan. 

S Legend was bought by a woman from Taiwan named Miss Yingying, who was captivated by its radiant coloring and flawless appearance.

For reference, S Legend is the only recorded Koi sold for upwards of a million dollars. As of writing, the next most expensive Koi fish cost merely half of what S Legend was sold for. 

Top 10 Most Expensive Koi

1. Kōhaku – $1.8 Million

Kohaku Koi fish
Size:15-36 inches
Lifespan:25-70 years
Colors and Patterns:White body with red markings

The Kōhaku Koi, hailing from Japan, is a highly recognizable and iconic breed of Koi fish. They are known for their pristine white body adorned with bright red splotches. 

The appearance of the Kōhaku is often the first image that comes to mind when people think of Koi fish. 

Needless to say, this breed has a rich history and is highly sought after by collectors, contributing to its status as one of the most expensive Koi breeds. 

Fun Fact: A particular Kōhaku Koi named S Legend even bagged the top prize at the prestigious All Japan Koi Show in 2018.

Shortly after, S Legend became the world’s most expensive Koi fish ever sold, fetching a staggering $1.8 million.

Watch this video to see the world’s most expensive Koi in action:

Most Expensive Koi Fish Ever Sold in Auction! S LEGEND.

2. Showa – $950,000

Showa Koi fish
Size:20–36 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Black body with red and white patches

The Showa Koi, a distinctive breed of Koi carp, stands out with its compelling fusion of black, white, and red-orange scales.

Their unique appearance and long-established lineage have propelled them to the ranks of the world’s most expensive fish. Notably, a particular Kin Showa Koi was reportedly sold for a staggering $950,000 in 2017.

The value of a Showa Koi can be significantly enhanced by their unique color swirls and patches — aspects that Koi enthusiasts find highly desirable.

These types of Koi are a shining example of the potential of selective breeding. They exhibit the breathtaking beauty that careful genetic selection can yield.

Considering their aesthetics and prestige, Showa Koi are not only costly investments but also highly sought-after additions to any Koi pond due to their appeal.

3. Ogon (Yamabuki) – $700,000

Ogon Koi fish
Size:20–31 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Single, solid, metallic color (commonly gold or orange)

The Ogon Koi, specifically the Yamabuki variety, is a breed of Koi fish known for its exceptional solid, metallic hue that is typically gold or orange.

These Koi breed originated from Japan and hold great value due to their demanding breeding conditions. In simpler terms, the breeding process to achieve solid-colored metallic Koi is tedious and time-intensive.

This fish’s unique solid hue has a significant impact on the Ogon’s price, with some specimens being sold for an astonishing amount, even reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per fish.

According to Koi enthusiasts, a particular Yamabuki Ogon was sold for $700,000 in 2018.

Fun Fact: Interestingly, some of the oldest and largest Koi ever recorded were Ogon Koi.

4. Taisho Sanke – $341,990

Taisho Sanke Koi fish
Size:24–36 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:White body with red and black spots

The Taisho Sanke, hailing from Japan, is another favorite among many Koi enthusiasts due to its unique coloration and ancient origins. 

Appearance-wise, this variety of Koi sports a white body adorned with red and black spots — a pattern that is one of the earliest human-created designs in Koi breeding. 

The distinctive combinations of colors and patterns can significantly increase the cost of Taisho Sankes, making them one of the ten most expensive Koi fish in the world. 

The price of a Taisho Sanke usually ranges upwards of $1,000; however, on rare occasions, some can be bought for as low as $80, with larger ones fetching upwards of $40,000.

In the Sakai Koi Auction in 2015, a Maruten Sanke was sold for 41 million Yen or $341,990. 

The high price tag is a testament to the fish’s unique characteristics and the labor-intensive process of breeding this particular variety. This particular breed is also called the Taisho Sanshoku.

5. Asagi – $152,000

Asagi Koi fish
Size:24–30 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Blue net-like pattern on back, red to light blue on sides and belly

Originating from Japan, the Asagi Koi represents one of the most recognized Koi varieties. With an alluring array of blue-gray scales, these Koi fish are highlighted by their exquisite red and light blue marks. 

The Asagi Koi’s long lineage and color scheme play a crucial role in determining their cost.

For a superior quality Asagi Koi, you can expect the price tag to start at $2,000. However, this figure can skyrocket under the right circumstances. 

For instance, a record-breaking transaction occurred in 2016 when a unique Asagi, “the world’s most expensive” at the time, fetched an eye-popping $152,000.

All in all, it’s not just the rarity or price that captures enthusiasts’ attention. The Asagi Koi are known for their striking aesthetics and are cherished for the tranquility and beauty they bring to any pond or aquarium.

6. Tancho – $17,000

Tancho Koi fish
Size:20–30 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Pure white body with a single red spot on the head

A favorite among Koi enthusiasts, the Tancho Koi stands out due to its distinctive appearance. Their alluring white body features a singular red spot on their head, reminiscent of the Japanese flag. 

This resemblance has not only endeared them to the hearts of Japanese Koi lovers but has also made the Tancho Koi among the most expensive Koi in the world.

Price-wise, this breed of Koi can cost upwards of $1,000. A flawless Tancho Koi can even fetch an astonishing price of up to $17,000. But what factors into this high cost? 

The answer lies in the breeding process. Achieving the perfect mix of a solid white body coupled with a vibrant orange-red head spot is quite tedious. 

The intensive labor and meticulous care that goes into each Tancho Koi’s cultivation contribute to its high price tag.

Additionally, the Tancho Koi’s demand often surpasses its supply, causing its price to inflate even more. 

7. Doitsu – $16,000

Doitsu Koi fish
Size:20–30 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Red, white, black, blue, yellow, and orange, with larger scales on a mostly scaleless body.

One of the most exquisite Koi varieties that captivate enthusiasts is the Doitsu Koi. This carp fish is uniquely scaleless, a feature that sets it apart from the usual variety of Koi fish. 

Appearance-wise, the Doitsu Koi is a vibrant, beautiful display of colors, showcasing shades of red, white, black, blue, yellow, and orange.

The Doitsu Koi has an interesting origin, hailing from Germany, where they were once used as a food source due to their scaleless body. 

The cost of Koi fish usually varies depending on the specific pattern and rarity, but for a Doitsu Koi, the criteria are often their size and scaleless feature. Doitsu Koi can command prices upwards of $1,000. 

Doitsu Koi exhibiting exceptional and unique patterns can be worth as much as $16,000, earning them a spot in this list of the most expensive types of Koi.

8. Kumonryu – $15,000

Kumonryu Koi fish
Size:20–31 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Dynamic black-and-white pattern that changes throughout its life

Originating from Japan, the Kumonryu Koi is a notable breed among Koi enthusiasts due to its mesmerizing black-and-white scales. 

This unique breed stands out in the Koi world due to its dynamic pattern — a distinctive feature that transforms as it matures.

Being an owner of a Kumonryu Koi is not an easy task. This Koi’s unique traits make it a demanding variety to breed, increasing its value significantly. 

Because of these challenges, coupled with the fish’s remarkable appearance, the Kumonryu Koi is often associated with a steep price.

When it comes to price, the Kumonryu Koi’s value ranges from $1,000 to a whopping $15,000.

9. Utsurimono – $10,000

Utsurimono Koi fish
Size:20–30 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Black body with red, white, or yellow markings

The Utsurimono Koi, an intriguing Koi breed, is well-known for its remarkable black scales that envelop its pristine white body.

When it comes to breeding, these stunning fish can pose a challenge, as their patterns and color variations can change from one generation to the next. This complexity contributes to the Utsurimono’s high cost.

Despite their heavy price tag ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, these Koi sell out fast in Koi farms. This value is largely dependent on their size, which typically measures between 20 and 30 inches.

The popularity and extensive lineage of this breed make them highly sought after among Koi enthusiasts. Additionally, the distinctive twists and spots of color on Utsurimonos can further increase their value.

During a trip to Japan, I had the pleasure of witnessing the beauty of Utsurimono Koi firsthand. I remember being captivated by the contrast present in the bodies of these fish. 

In fact, I spent hours studying them and ended up writing about them. I was particularly marveling at how the vibrant patterns changed from one fish to another and even from one generation to the next.

The complexity of their breeding, which I had an opportunity to observe closely, further piqued my interest in the Utsurimono Koi.

10. Kujaku – $10,000

Kujaku Koi fish
Size:20–30 inches
Lifespan:25–35 years
Colors and Patterns:Displays a metallic finish paired with Kohaku-style patterns in red, orange, yellow, or gold

The Kujaku Koi, a sibling of the Ogon Koi, is well admired by Koi fanatics. They are celebrated for their lustrous metallic scales, a feature that imparts a captivating aesthetic.

In terms of breeding, Kujaku Koi can be complicated. It is a laborious, time-consuming endeavor, which inevitably affects the price of this fish.

Appearance-wise, this Koi breed showcases a brilliant metallic sheen, complemented by Kohaku-style patterns that can come in shades of red, orange, yellow, or gold. 

The unmistakable pattern and gleaming scales of Kujakus contribute to their premium price, marking them one of the most expensive Koi around.

The Kujaku Koi is undeniably a worthwhile investment for any Koi collection. Their beauty alone justifies their high value, with prices potentially reaching up to $10,000. 

Interestingly, this breed is often referred to as the “flying dragon” of Koi.

Frequently Asked Questions

Expensive Koi fish in a man made pond

Who Bought the 1.8 Million Dollar Koi Fish?

The record-breaking S Legend, a stunning kōhaku Koi fish, was bought for a whopping $1.8 million by Miss Yingying from Taiwan. This earned this fish the title of “the world’s most expensive.” 

This female Koi, known for its brilliant hues and perfect appearance, was bred at the historic Sakai Fish Farm in Hiroshima, Japan. This unprecedented transaction set a new standard for the price of a Koi fish.

What Color Koi Fish Is the Most Expensive?

The most costly variety of Koi is the Kōhaku Koi fish, famous for its pure white bodies highlighted by striking red patterns. 

Their beauty, balance of colors, and iconic status among collectors contribute to their high price, marking them as the most expensive Koi on the market. 

Why Are Koi Fish So Expensive?

While Koi fish are technically a type of carp, their value extends far beyond your typical fish. A few major factors contribute to their high price tags.

First, the unique and radiant color patterns of Koi can drastically increase their worth. The more striking and harmonious these patterns are, the more valuable the fish.

Second, a Koi’s lineage, much like pedigree dogs, plays a role in their pricing. A Koi with a champion lineage is generally much more expensive.

Size is another key determinant. Larger, more mature Koi command higher prices, as they often require more care and time to grow.

Lastly, the intricate art and science of breeding these fish, particularly the rare varieties, elevate their cost. The rarity and collector demand for certain Koi types further drive up their prices.

Simply put, while this beautiful fish may seem like ‘just fish,’ their color breeding complexity, rarity, and the tradition associated with them make them far more valuable.

Hopefully, by going over this article, you’ve gained a deeper appreciation for these remarkable creatures and the reasons behind their high prices. Leave your thoughts about this list of the most expensive Koi by leaving a comment below!

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