The Guinness Book Of World Records famously documents outstanding achievements, but today it celebrates its very own achievement – its 60th anniversary!
The family favourite, which chronicles and illuminates the very best in record-breaking achievements, has been a key item on our bookshelves and under our Christmas trees since it was first published on 27th August 1955. The iconic book has educated, informed, amused and settled arguments for over 134 million people in over 21 languages and in 100 countries worldwide – making it the bestselling annual book and copyrighted title in the history of publishing!
GWR is so popular, that if you put all the 134 million copies sold back to back, they’d wrap around the equator!
Although the book has been going for 60 years, there are still some records that are yet to be beaten! These records remain the same now as they were in 1955…
1. Tallest man: Robert Pershing Wadlow
The American was last measured on June 27th 1940, and was found to be 2.72 metre (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.
2. Richest person: John D. Rockefeller
His wealth was estimated at abour £184 million in 1913, which is equivalent to £114.39 billion today.
3. Highest Grossing Movie: Gone With The Wind
The 1939 romantic epic took £88 million, which is the equivalent of £2.2 billion today.
Although these amazing records have yet to be beaten, some things have changed drastically since 1955…
1. Tallest Building
1955: The Empire State Building in New York was the tallest building in the world, standing at 448.6 m (1,472 ft) – although it is now more accurately measured to be 443 m (1,453 ft) to the tip.
Today: The Burj Khalifa, which stands 828 m (2,716 ft) tall. The tower incorporates the most floors in a building (160), and is also the tallest manmade structure on land.
2. Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
1955: Feinste Trockenbeeren Auslese (1949) – a white wine from the Rhine Valley – retailed for all of £8. And there was much excitement in the 1961 book for a Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1806 that that sold for a whopping £36 and 6 shillings.
Today: Chateau d’Yquem (1811) was sold for £75,000 ($117,000) by The Antique Wine Company in London, UK, on 18 January 2011. And an Imperial (six-litre) bottle of 1947 French Cheval-Blanc sold for £192,000 ($304,375) at Christie’s in Geneva, Switzerland on 16 November 2010 – quite a big jump from the £8 of 1955!
3. Highest Earning TV Stars
1955: US comedian Jackie Gleason signed the most lucrative TV contract up to that date: $65,000 ($555,000 today) per episode for CBS’s The Honeymooners.
Today: Ashton Kutcher (USA), currently the highest-paid TV actor per episode, who picks up $750,000 for each instalment of Two and a Half Men. Jerry Seinfeld, however, earned an estimated $267million (£159.5 million) in 1998 – the highest annual earnings ever by a television actor.
The 2016 edition of The Guinness Book Of World Records will be available to buy in September.