In what turned out to be a jackpot for an Anglesey resident, a highly-prized piece of whale vomit or ambergris found by him on the beach sold for a whopping £11,000 (€14,916, $16,698) at an auction. Bought by an anonymous phone bidder, the very 'rare' and 'valued' whale vomit fetched some £4,000 (€5,424, $6,072) above the asking price.
The yellow and black ambergris, weighing just over 1kg was offered on auction by Adam Partridge Auctioneers who had initial doubts over the "waxy rugby-ball shaped lump".
"There are many things which can be mistaken for ambergris - fat, rubber and palm oil among others - but after doing some research and consultation, we found out that what we had was indeed very valuable. We've had lots of unusual items pass through the doors over the years, but this is by far the weirdest," said Adam Partridge of the auction house.
While walking his dog in Anglesey, a small island off the coast of Wales in the UK, the lucky beach-goer who has decided to keep his identity private, stumbled upon the piece of prized ambergris. The whale vomit is used in the perfume industry, making it a very valuable find. It is used to enhance the scent or prolong the duration of the fragrance.
Ambergris is formed in the digestive system of a sperm whale and is passed either as vomit or as part of the faeces. Scientists believe it is used to coat irritating objects in the whale's intestines. Given the lottery the beach-goer struck, a BBC report stated how rare the find was. Prof Michel Kaiser, of Bangor University's marine ecology department said: "It is illegal to actually trade in the substance in countries such as the US, but when ambergris is found washed up on the coast it's rather like a treasure trove."