A British couple are negotiating with potential dealers after they found a piece of ambergris, or whale vomit, during a walk on the beach.
Whale vomit, which has an earthy musk, is often used as an ingredient in perfume, and its rarity means that it can often be worth its weight in gold, literally.
The couple had read about ambergris in the papers, and when they found the whale vomit, they wrapped it up in a scarf and took it home.
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“It was down a section of the beach where no one really walks,” Gary Williams, an engineer, told the Mirror. “It smells too bad, though. It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure.”
Ambergris is derived from the intestinal slurry of a sperm whale, which is used to protect its interior from hard food objects.
After it’s ejected from the whale, it hardens and can float in the ocean for years before it’s washed ashore and found by a lucky beach-goer.
The 3.4 pound piece of whale vomit could fetch for as much as $70,000, which is around the same price of gold.
Last September, a 2.4 pound piece of ambergris was sold for over $15,000 at a British auction, the BBC reports.