Man Finds $180k Worth of Whale Vomit

Man Finds $180k Worth of Whale Vomit

image

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
Image: Manchester Evening News

Permalink

Precious Hamburgers? I need to go to the beach more often.

If my vomit was that expensive, food poisoning would actually be a good thing.

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

image

DVS BSTrD:
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.

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.

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

How long until someone sues him over stealing this from someone else's property?

strangely that happens a lot in england lately. must be the famous breakfast..
image

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?

Sperm Whale. Vomit. Feces. Parfumes. What the..? I don't even.. Urgh.

FEichinger:
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"

All I can think of while reading this article is that one Futurama episode...

FEichinger:
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.

Ha, I already knew that whale vomit was valuable.

Thanks, Futurama!

EDIT: Dammit, ninja'd.

I learned about Ambergris from PhDcomics 2 minute PhD contest. Just in time.

Scarim Coral:
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.

5-0:
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

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.

FEichinger:
How long until someone sues him over stealing this from someone else's property?

image

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.

DVS BSTrD:
Precious Hamburgers? I need to go to the beach more often.

Ninja'd on the first post. Dammit.
Damn whale biologists also.

All the relevance has been sucked out. I'm just gona go drown my sorrow in WoW.

Damn, wish I could find some Whale vomit to sell...lucky man, he'll be rich from the stomach contents of a whale.

What a gross way to earn a fortune. Still, props to him for going home and googling 'smelly yellow rocks' - I certainly wouldn't have bothered.

rhizhim:
strangely that happens a lot in england lately. must be the famous breakfast..
snip

What are you talking about baked beans are delicious :/ So are english breakfasts...

In other other news grats old guy with dog.

I know the title picture is supposed to be a whale... but I swear it looks like a shark to me.

Whales could really make a lot of money selling their vomit.

saxxon.de:
Sperm Whale. Vomit. Feces. Parfumes. What the..? I don't even.. Urgh.

As it ages the odour sweetens, it's generally used to stabilise perfumes. Another animal secretion which has been & sometimes still is used exactly the same way is deer musk. It's perfectly hygienic.

yunabomb:
I learned about Ambergris from PhDcomics 2 minute PhD contest. Just in time.

I thought I was the only one!

I guess that's why my grandmother's perfume smells so bad. She's spraying whale vomit on herself.

MetallicaRulez0:
I guess that's why my grandmother's perfume smells so bad. She's spraying whale vomit on herself.

And they get mad at us when WE smell bad....

Wait,Futurama was serious?

I thought they just made that up.

My first thought was "Someone's been reading Paul Jennings". Specifically, "Greensleeves" from the collection "Uncanny!", which features ambergris as a plot point.

Why did we need to know the dogs name?

... What... did I just read?

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here