Next time you’re at the beach, it may be worth your while to keep an eye out for a smelly hunk of yellowy-brown wax.
A dog walker taking a stroll down a beach in Wales stumbled upon one such lump, measuring in at around 8 inches long, and discovered the substance was ambergris, an ingredient in perfume. Now the ambergris lump is going up for auction and could fetch just under $11,000, Mashable reported.
Ambergris is sperm whale vomit.
The chunk of ambergris will be auctioned off by Chris Surfleet, of Macclesfield auction house Adam Partridge. “I’ve never had one like this before at auction. The price received will be dependent on the quality,” he told Wales Online.
“Ambergris is formed in a sperm whale’s digestive system and is passed either as vomit or as part of the (feces). Scientists believe it is used to coat irritating objects in the whale’s intestines.
“The vendor was walking his dog on a beach in Anglesey when he came across it. He thought it might have some value and got in touch with us.”
Ambergris is used in perfume to prolong the duration of the scent and enhance it. Surfleet said this particular sample smells pretty bad. “But we have a strong-room which is temperature controlled and at the moment it’s doing quite well in there,” he said.