The Most Expensive CSGO Skin – Top 10 Picks for 2023
Counter-Strike Global Offensive, or CSGO for short, has been a household name in the gaming circles since its release in 2012. The game has outlasted several others launched in the same era, and with all the content patches and updates, it continues to thrive to this day.
CSGO veterans can all agree on one thing: Nothing brings you more joy than decking out your gear in the latest, lavish-looking expensive skins, and you don’t mind spending a bit of cash doing it.
By a “bit,” we mean a lot.
This guide takes a deep dive into the most expensive CSGO skins of all time, a few other contenders for the top spot, and what makes these skins so pricey. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
1. Most Expensive CSGO Skin Overall – Karambit | Case Hardened Blue Gem
- Price: $1,400,000
Top on our list of most expensive CSGO skins is the Case Hardened Karambit, also known as the Blue Gem. It is the single most expensive skin in the game and has an equally rich history behind it.
Several years ago, a gamer named Newb Rage purchased the Blue Gem for close to $100,000. Word got around the CSGO community, and suddenly, everyone wanted it. By the laws of demand and supply, its price shot up, and Rage received dozens of offers to take it off his hands.
One of the players even offered a staggering $1.4 million for the Blue Gem, but Rage declined. To date, it is unclear why anyone, let alone Rage, would turn down such a lucrative offer.
Perhaps he believed the buyer only wanted to purchase it and then sell it later. Maybe Rage had a sentimental attachment to the knife and simply wasn’t interested in selling it. All we can do is speculate.
One thing is for sure: The Case Hardened Blue Gem remains the most expensive CSGO skin sold to date.
2. AWP | Dragon Lore
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $425,000
If there’s a skin coveted by most players in the CSGO community, it is no doubt the Dragon Lore. All you need to do is take one look at it, and you’ll immediately understand why.
Let’s put it this way. If you somehow get your hands on AWP skin in Souvenir factory new condition, you can easily sell it for a ridiculous amount of money – enough to set you up for the rest of your life (or a huge chunk of it, anyway).
A bloodshed victory in CSGO feels pretty sweet. Add a red, fire-breathing dragon with a yellow tint to the victory parade, and you have a real party. The price of a Souvenir factory-new Dragon Lore skin fetches at least $425,000 and up, with several dozen offers to boot. With a drop rate of 0.64%, it’s easy to see why everyone wants a piece of the action.
3. AK-47 | Case Hardened Pattern 661
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $150,000
As far as the Case Hardened skin series goes, the 661 Pattern, popularly referred to as the scar pattern, is extremely rare. The one thing that sets it apart from other Case Hardened skins is its characteristic golden scar design toward the rear. That single piece of detail was enough to send its prices skyrocketing. What started off as a few hundred dollars morphed into several thousand.
This is one of the most expensive skins and was previously sold for $150,000, surpassing the previous $100,000 record set for the largest sale at the time. If you are interested in purchasing it, let’s just say you’re going to have a difficult time tracking it down; difficult but not impossible if you know where to look.
You might come across it in a CSGO weapon case or in the Arms Deal Collection. You might have to use a bit of elbow grease to get your hands on it, though.
4. Butterfly Knife | Crimson Web skins
- Price: $16,000
The Crimson Web is the stuff skin dreams are made of. It is highly sought after in the CSGO gaming community, and given its beauty, it makes sense why. The Crimson Web Butterfly is the most expensive Knife skin and has previously sold for $16,000 and up. This version of the weapon was released in July 2014. You might have to open an Operation Breakout Weapon case to find it.
Despite knives being a highly valuable weapon for first-person shooters, they have taken more of a backseat in recent years and are mainly acquired as collectibles rather than for use in actual combat. CSGO veterans use the Crimson Web Butterfly Knife as proof of status in the gaming community and prefer racking up these titan beauties to show them off to other gamers or friends.
5. M4A4 | Howl
- Condition: StatTrak Factory New
- Price: $14,000
If you take one look at the Howl M4A4 skin and don’t immediately get chills, you might not be the CSGO aficionado you believe yourself to be. How can you not be mesmerized by the fiery wolf displayed so prominently against the sleek, red, and black assault rifle that is the M4A4?
As popular as the AK-47 is in the CSGO community, the M4A4 follows closely behind. As a result, its skins are also designed to live up to the very high expectations players have of them. Released in 2014, the Howl is part of the Huntsman Collection.
However, it was only available for a very limited time until the original artist flagged it for a DMCA takedown. Suddenly, it was in short supply, and gamers everywhere wanted it. As a result, the price of the Howl went through the roof, not just because of its amazing design but also because it was now a rare commodity – Contraband if you will.
A Howl skin in StatTrak factory new condition sells for well over $14,000. The fact it is both eye-catching and in short supply makes it all the more worthwhile.
6. M9 Bayonet | Crimson Web
- Condition: StatTrak factory new
- Price: $11,500
This is yet another variant in the Crimson Web skin series. The M9 Bayonet version certainly does it justice. One look at it, and you can immediately tell – it did not come to play.
CSGO enthusiasts love the militaristic appeal of the knife’s design. It makes it easier to catch a glimpse of the ingrained web-like skin detail underneath.
The Crimson Web M9 Bayonet skin has a characteristic blood-red tint on the body that spreads over to the knife’s serrated edges, crawling toward the handle. It’s spectacular in every way.
If you’re lucky enough to come across this skin in its StatTrak factory new condition, expect to pay well over $11,500 for it. Its low supply is partly why it’s in high demand among CSGO gamers.
7. Talon Knife | Crimson Web
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $11,000
You guessed it – yet another knife and one that’s part of the Crimson Web series. Before we get into everything that makes this skin highly popular among CSGO gaming enthusiasts, it would only be right if we first addressed the elephant in the room: Why would anyone be willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a knife skin?
Here’s the thing. Knives, in general, have always been a topic of heated debate in the CSGO community. It is not considered unusual or even strange for some knife designs to be in the realm of thousands of dollars. As a matter of fact, for some, it is expected and has been the trend for several years since weapon skins became a thing.
A prime example of this phenomenon in action is the Crimson Web series. Something about its blood-red, web-like interweaving on the steel blade of Talon knives makes it irresistible for CSGO gamers and collectors alike. Since its release in August 2018, a factory-new version of this skin can fetch well over $11,000 in certain marketplaces.
8. AWP | Gungnir
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $7,300
We’ll start by saying this: The Norse Collection, released in November 2019, was nothing short of spectacular. The Norse-mythology-inspired design of the Gungnir AWP skin, in particular, is as unique as it is aesthetically pleasing.
It has become one of the most highly coveted skins not just because of the AWP’s prowess but also because of its complex, frost-like patterns reminiscent of gusts of cold winds blowing over a barren landscape. It is worth mentioning that the name Gungnir stems from the spear that Odin, the mighty war god, bore. The rich ancient history behind this skin is partly what makes it so appealing to many CSGO gaming enthusiasts.
The price of a Gungnir AWP skin in factory new condition starts at $7,300. The general trend has been for the price to spike when higher numbers of units are purchased.
9. AK-47 | Wild Lotus
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $7,000
The AK-47 assault rifle is undoubtedly the most popular CSGO weapon of all time. Gamers can’t seem to get enough of it. For this reason, developers tend to shower it with lots of love by releasing a constant stream of new skins, each better than the last. If the AK-47 is your go-to weapon when mounting an attack on the enemy, you’ll be happy to find a wide array of eye-catching skins to choose from.
The Wild Lotus was released in November 2019, making it one of the newer and more popular assault rifle skins around. It forms part of the St. Marc Collection and has a unique visual appeal to it. You either really love it or hate it entirely.
It has a floral pattern inspired by the wild lotus flower, with a mix of soft bloom and green colors that add to its uniqueness. In factory new condition, this skin sells for a minimum of $7,000. If you come across one with pricey stickers on its body, you might have to part with $9,000 and up.
The Wild Lotus AK-47 skin is one of the fastest-selling items on most CSGO skin marketplaces. It is in high demand, which, in turn, keeps its supply low. It makes for a great collectible, particularly among CSGO veterans.
10. Butterfly Knife | Lore
- Condition: Factory New
- Price: $6,000
The Butterfly Knife’s unique and intricate design makes it widely popular among CSGO collectors and gamers alike. For this reason, players continue to search far and wide for skins that accentuate its beauty and bring out its complex aesthetic.
The Lore Butterfly Knife is among the CSGO community’s all-time favorites. It sells for about $6,000 in factory new condition, although prices may run higher depending on the skin marketplace you’re purchasing it from.
It ranks up there with some of the most expensive CSGO skin designs on the market despite being relatively new. It was released in September 2021 and is part of the Dreams and Nightmares Collection.
If you’ve got a bit of cash to play around with, the Lore Butterfly Knife skin will make a worthwhile addition to your gaming paraphernalia.
Also read: Best Weapon Skins CSGO
What Makes Some CSGO Skins So Expensive
CSGO is one of the most iconic First Person Shooter (FPS) video games. Its expansive trading marketplaces and the multitude of in-game items are just some of the things that have made the game what it is today since it was first released a decade ago.
If you’re new to the world of CSGO, you’ve likely come across some of the eye-watering price tags attached to some skins. You might wonder why anyone would be willing to pay thousands of dollars for a skin and what exactly makes them so pricey.
Below is a detailed breakdown of some of the factors that play into the price.
Skin rarity refers to how “rare” an item is. The rarer a skin is, the more likely it is to be deemed a collectible. This aspect of CSGO items is ranked in a hierarchical system comprising eight levels. However, only six of these specifically apply to skins. Here’s a brief overview of each.
Skins in this category are displayed with a white marker. They are the most common ones gamers get as part of random drops after matches. You also have the option to purchase them from third-party CSGO marketplaces or trade them for different ones with other gamers.
While most conventional consumer-grade CSGO skins usually sell for a couple of cents, there are some exceptions that trade for as high as $20-$30. For instance, the consumer-grade SSG 08 | Sand Dune and the FAMAS | Contrast Spray skins both sell for up to $20 in their factory new condition.
An expensive skin in this category is usually great for Trade Up contracts.
Skins in this category are displayed with a light blue marker. While they are slightly rarer than consumer-grade skins, they are still widely available. An industrial-grade skin will often be dropped after a match as a random reward to a gamer.
On the higher end of the price spectrum, you have skins such as the factory-new Galil AR | Winter Forest that can sell for as high as $50. While that might not sound like much, it is pretty expensive for CSGO skins with industrial-grade rarity.
It is worth mentioning that pricey industrial-grade skins aren’t normally grouped together with souvenirs. These are in an entirely separate category on their own.
Skins in this category are displayed with a blue marker. Military-spec (mil-spec for short) skins don’t have a specific case they’re dropped from. You can get them from any case, and they are equally as easy to get from Trade Up Contracts.
As far as rarity goes, skins in this class are considered the bottom feeders of the bunch and are the go-to for gamers who open daily.
While conventional mil-spec skins sell for a couple of dollars a piece, it is not unusual to come across some that cost $100 or more. For instance, a factory-new mil-spec AUG | Hot Rod costs around $125.
Skins in this category are displayed with a purple marker. Restricted CSGO skins are usually hard to come by and, as a result, attract higher-than-average market prices. StatTrak factory-new skins usually fall in this rarity level.
A perfect example of skins in this category is the Glock-18 | Fade. You can expect the prices for factory-new versions to start from $250 and up.
Skins in this category are displayed with a pink marker. Classified skins are extremely rare. You can expect their prices to run into hundreds of dollars for each. A Classified factory-new SCAR-20 | Splash Jam, for instance, sells for about $500. The price can be higher depending on the marketplace you’re sourcing it from.
Skins in this category are displayed with a red marker. If you come across a weapon skin with a Covert rarity level, you’re looking at the crème de la crème of weapon skins. These premium skins come with premium price tags that run into the thousands.
The majority of Covert items consist of assault rifle skins, more specifically, the expensive AK 47 skin and M4A4 skin variety. If you happen to own one and are a little strapped for cash, selling one of these babies could set you up for a couple of months.
For instance, the AWP Dragon Lore in factory new condition sells for a whopping $250,000. Depending on the marketplace, those with higher wear levels easily fetch between $1,500 and $3,000.
Only one skin in the history of CSGO falls in this category. That’s why it’s not an “official” rarity level per se. The skin in question is the M4A4 Howl. It started out as a Covert Skin. However, after a lot of controversy surrounding the ownership of its unique artwork, the original artist credited for the magnificent fiery wolf design flagged it for a DMCA takedown.
The design was reworked, and an entirely new rarity level was created for it – Contraband. To date, the M4A4 Howl is the only CSGO weapon skin in this category, making it an extremely rare find. Since it is now highly sought-after, a StatTrak factory-new Howl skin goes for well over $12,000.
The other factor that plays into how expensive a particular weapon skin is its wear level, denoted by the float value. Float values range anywhere from 0.00 to 1.00, with 0.00 representing the skin in its most pristine condition and 1.00 in its most beat-down state. This is the universal scale used to assess the condition of a CSGO item.
A skin’s wear level can fall into any one of five main categories:
- Factory-new (0.00-0.07)
- Minimal-wear (0.07-0.15)
- Field-tested (0.15-0.38)
- Well-worn (0.38-0.45)
- Battle-scarred (0.45-1.00)
In most cases, the lower a skin’s float value is, the more expensive it will be – not just because it is rarer; it looks infinitely better in the game. Skins with higher levels of wear tend to look faded and scratched and have a lower overall color saturation.
That said, this is not a hard and fast rule. Some skins cost more in their field-tested or well-worn states owing to their warm patina, which many players find accentuates the weapon’s aesthetic. The AWP | Gungnir is a prime example of this.
The final factor likely to affect how expensive a CSGO skin is in the skins market is its pattern. It’s important to remember that just because two players have the same skin on the same type of weapon doesn’t mean they will have the exact appearance.
Skins in CSGO don’t always have to be applied the same way, and this is influenced by their pattern index, also referred to as the pattern template value.
For instance, Fade skins can have as many as 999 different patterns for the same skin. Some might have a higher percentage of the fade effect, while others might be lower. Higher indexes mean more of the weapon will be covered with fade coloring.
Pattern indexes are more apparent in Case Hardened skins. Some patterns end up having more blue tint on them and are aptly referred to as “Blue Gems.” Skins with this blue tint are extremely hard to come by, making them extremely rare and, subsequently, more expensive.
It’s not just the color that has a bearing on the price of a weapon’s skin. Some specific variations, such as the Doppler skin, can drive up the price.
For instance, Phase 1-4 of Doppler knife skins are quite common. On the other hand, the Black Pearl, Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire variations are extremely rare and render an ancient and legendary feel to the weapon. Since these aren’t your run-of-the-mill skins, it comes as no surprise that they cost more.
If there’s one constant thing about the CSGO market, it is changing. New skins are released with every update, and their prices go up with each passing year. A skin you buy today may suddenly be in high demand in a few years.
This guide is a great starting point if you’re a skin collector in the market for the most expensive CSGO skin to add to your gaming paraphernalia.
In the meantime, are you having trouble hearing your enemy’s footsteps in CSGO? Here’s how to fix it.