Man Finds $180k Worth of Whale Vomit

JonB

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Sep 16, 2012
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Man Finds $180k Worth of Whale Vomit



The 6lb lump of ambergris could be either vomit or feces.

Mr. Ken Wilman, out walking his boxer Madge, found a disgusting lump of mottled yellow rock. Naturally, he left it on the beach. "I didn't actually realize what it was at first and I couldn't understand why Madge was so interested in it," he later told the Mirror. "It smelled horrible. I left it, came back home and looked it up on the internet. When I saw how much it could be worth, I went back and grabbed it." Wilman was right to do so, because he's already been offered £43,000 ($68,000) by a French dealer for the gunk. That's because the 'rock' is actually ambergris, a stomach product of the endangered sperm whale, and completely vital to the manufacture of some very expensive perfumes and crèmes. Wilman intends to send a sample to France to be tested - if it is the good stuff, which depends on how long it has been floating in the ocean, then it could be worth as much as $180,000. A buyer would then age the ambergris and make it into perfume. Wilman said of the whole experience that "It is like walking on the beach and finding a bag of £50,000 in cash."

Sperm whales are an endangered species, so traffic in ambergris is highly regulated in many countries including the United States. Scientists believe that ambergris is formed in a sperm whale's digestive tract around hard objects, like inconveniently swallowed giant squid beaks, to keep them from doing damage. If the produced lump is small, it gets passed through like feces, if not, the whale vomits it out. Ambergris has been used to produce culturally important perfume in Europe for thousands of years, to the bafflement of people everywhere.

Source: The Mirror [http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dog-walker-finds-lump-of-whale-1564302]
Image: Manchester Evening News [http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/]


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Nurb

Cynical bastard
Dec 9, 2008
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That feel knowing you'll never be walking on the beach with your dog and find a big stinking lump of whale vomit

 

R.Nevermore

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Mar 28, 2008
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DVS BSTrD said:
Precious Hamburgers?
Damnit! Ninja'd

I wanna know who first discovered the idea of making whale vomit and/or shit into perfumes for rich ppl.
 

frobalt

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Jan 2, 2012
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Whale I'll be damned. (Somebody had to do it).

I wonder how much of that he'd lost to tax. Bet the tax man will be all over him once he's sold it.
 

5-0

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Apr 6, 2010
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Ambergris! I always wondered what the fuck that was whenever it said I picked it up in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
 

Scarim Coral

Jumped the ship
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Oct 29, 2010
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I wonder how he is storing that solid whale vomit at the moment if it smell that bad. Sure it's worth a fortune but how long can he bear the smell?
 

Me55enger

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Dec 16, 2008
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FEichinger said:
How long until someone sues him over stealing this from someone else's property?
Salavage rights - a policy in place long before modern government in the UK - does not seem to cover BMW motorbikes. We found that out the hard, sued by BMW way.

Hell on an ice breaker at parties:

"So I sold a lump of whale vomit to a Frenchman for fifty grand"
 

Quaxar

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Sep 21, 2009
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All I can think of while reading this article is that one Futurama episode...
 

Karma168

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FEichinger said:
How long until someone sues him over stealing this from someone else's property?
Most of the coast is owned by the crown and the National Trust (a preservation group) and the land is considered public, I doubt either would sue over you removing something from the beach. It's not considered private land so the items on it are not private property and since it has no original owner (like a manufactured item would have) then it's fair game.
 

1337mokro

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Dec 24, 2008
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Scarim Coral said:
I wonder how he is storing that solid whale vomit at the moment if it smell that bad. Sure it's worth a fortune but how long can he bear the smell?
It's a possible 180k and a garuanteed 48k.

People dive into sewers for less than that. I think it smells like pure money to him now, which is still a disgusting mix of sweat, grime and cocaine, but it's a profitable disgusting smell.

What I am more interested in is what the perfumes smell like. Must be one heck of a smell if it's worth 180k as a raw material.
 

Jamous

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Apr 14, 2009
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5-0 said:
Ambergris! I always wondered what the fuck that was whenever it said I picked it up in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
I know right!? On topic; good for that guy! I still think you're a dick for having better luck than me at finding stuff! But good for you, that guy! :D
 

lacktheknack

Je suis joined jewels.
Jan 19, 2009
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I immediately thought "Ambergris, the lucky bugger!" when I saw the title.

Ever noticed how expensive perfumes smell TERRIBLE in large quantities? This is why.
 

roushutsu

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Mar 14, 2012
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FEichinger said:
How long until someone sues him over stealing this from someone else's property?


Yeah, I think we were all thinking about the whale biologist here. It's thanks to him I had learned about ambergris in the first place.

But talk about lucky! Makes you wonder what other animal oddities are valuable these days.