Couple finds valuable whale vomit on beach, set to make £50,000

 © Peter Kaminski
A lucky couple in the UK county of Lancashire is set to make a boatload of money for a chunk of whale vomit (what the scientists like to call ambergris), which they discovered while strolling along Middleton Sands Beach.

Gary and Angela Williams are hoping they can repeat the success of the last whale vomit sale, when a buyer coughed up £120,000 (US$170,000).

Ambergris is a highly-sought-after perfume ingredient, despite its natural stench, described by Gary Williams in the Mirror as “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,” he added.

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Weighing 1.57kg (3.4lbs), the lump isn’t a by-product of a massive all-nighter under the sea, but rather the indigestible leftovers of squid that got trapped in a sperm whale's intestines and eventually comes out “saturated with feces,” explains Christopher Kemp, author of ‘Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris’.

More than half the size of the ambergris found in nearby Morecambe three years ago and sold for £120,000, the Williams are currently in talks with potential buyers in both France and New Zealand and stand to sell their lump for around £50,000.

While human vomit lines the streets of several UK towns every weekend, only 1 percent of the world’s 350,000 sperm whales part with their pricey ‘pearls’.

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