king's ransom

noun
an extremely large amount of money: The painting was sold for a king's ransom.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

king's ransom

A huge sum of money, as in That handmade rug must have cost a king's ransom. This metaphoric expression originally referred to the sum required to release a king from captivity. [Late 1400s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Ye be invited to a pirate festival and it won't cost a king's ransom.
It is not a king's ransom, but it is nearly twice as much as she was getting
  three years ago.
Relax and sample a king's ransom of gourmet treats, from exotic pupus to
  elegant entrees and tempting desserts.
Relax and sample a king's ransom of gourmet treats, from delectable appetizers
  to chef's signature entrees and tempting desserts.
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