Gary and Angela Williams were walking along Middleton Sands beach in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, U.K. There, they discovered a strange, waxy rock that smelled terrible. They had no idea that what they were holding was worth a ton of money.
The strange, foul-smelling rock was ambergris, a fancy word for whale vomit. Perfume producers pay small fortunes for it, buying them for thousands of dollars.
This particular nasty ball of vomit weight about three-and-a-half pounds.
Another lump of whale vomit sold in 2013 weighed only half of what Gary and Angela found, and it sold for over $170,000.
As it ages, ambergris develops a sweet and earthy aroma. They're also crazy rare which is why perfumers will pay so much for them.
Ambergris is made up of hardened intestinal contents from a sperm whale. Some believe that ambergris develops to protect the whale's internal organs from anything sharp or rigid that the whale might eat.
According to molecular biologist Christopher Kemp, only 1% of sperm whales actually produce ambergris.
Gary and Angela are currently talking to buyers. Here's what Gary had to say about the moment they found out what the strange football-shaped lump was, and what it was worth:
"It was a bit of a shock. It was down a section of the beach where no one really walks. It smells too bad though. It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure. It feels like a rock hard rubber ball. Its texture is like wax, like a candle. When you touch it you get wax sticking to your fingers. If it is worth a lot of money it will go a long way towards buying us a static caravan, it would be a dream come true."
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H/T: Opposing Views