This chunk of whale vomit cost more than $23,000
One man's trash is another man's treasure, as the popular saying goes.
It's now true that one mammal's puke can also be another man's small fortune.
A lump of ambergis, which is basically whale vomit, was recently sold at an auction for £11,000 (S$23,803).
The 1.1kg chunk of whale vomit was found by a dog walker on a beach in Wales (ironically) earlier this month.
The finder's dog would not leave the mystery lump alone, so it was taken home and studied.
To wind up on a Welsh beach, it is thought that the ambergris could have been floating at sea for months.
It may be from a whale's stomach but the pungent rock-like lump — about 20cm x 15cm and weighing just over a kilogram — is made of a material highly prized in the perfume industry.
It was sold to a phone bidder from France on Friday (Sept 25) – the final bid far exceeding the estimated price of £7,000.
Auctioneer Adam Partridge was clearly "elated" at the sale.
He told BBC: "Somebody brought this smelly waxy rugby ball-shaped lump to us and asked us to sell it for them.
"There are many things which can be mistaken for ambergris – fat, rubber and palm oil among others – but after doing some research and consulting the authorities of such things, we found that what we had was indeed very valuable," said Partridge.
According to Partridge, the Ambergris is "by far the weirdest" although they have seen lots of "unusual items pass through the doors over the years".
Three years ago, a boy and his father found some ambergris which was eventually sold for US$63,000 (S$89,803).
National Geographic reported that ambergris is highly valued in the high-end fragrance industry with brands such as Chanel and Lanvin reported to use the ambergris' special quality to fix scent to human skin.
The value of ambergris depends on perfume house "noses", who are responsible for choosing scents.
Source: BBC, National Geographic, Metro
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now