Man who found 'whale vomit worth £100k' finds out it's worthless

Ruth Doherty

Man who found 'whale vomit worth £100k' finds out it's worthless
Man who found 'whale vomit worth £100k' finds out it's worthless

A dogwalker who thought he had found a rare lump of whale vomit worth £100,000 has been left devastated after discovering the find is actually worthless.

Ken Wilman thought he'd found rare and valuable ambergris on the beach in Morecambe, Lancashire, back in January 2013.

But his dreams of a big payday were quashed for good as an expert told him the 3kg lump is worthless.

According to the Mirror, Ken said: "If I had my time over again, I would kick the rock to one side and walk away.

"I wish I'd never found it.

"I've got to accept what happened and get on with it."

Ken was walking his dog Madge on the beach when he came across the find. But he was struck a double blow as his beloved dog Madge died in October 2013 at only six years old.

London-based documentary maker Peregrine Andrews broke the news to Ken that the stone wasn't valuable after all.

Peregrine, who befriended Ken after he heard about his find, has produced a Radio 4 programme called Ken, Madge and the Strange Rock.

He sent a chunk of the rock to Christopher Kemp, an American author who wrote a book about ambergris - and discovered it wasn't valuable after all, reports The Visitor.

Ken is now trying to move on with his life, and has a new boxer dog, five-month-old Max.

Man Finds Whale Vomit Worth £100,000
Man Finds Whale Vomit Worth £100,000

Whale vomit, or ambergris, is often dubbed "floating gold", as it is valued as an important ingredient in perfumes.

It is secreted by sperm whales and is thought to protect against intestinal irritation caused by the beaks of their prey, squid and cuttlefish.

Large pieces of the foul-smelling waxy substance are vomited up by the whales, after which they float on water.

Over 10 to 20 years, the waste solidifies and exposure to sun and salty water turns it into a smooth lump of compact 'rock', while its unpleasant smell becomes more sweet.

Andrew Kitchener, principal curator of vertebrates at the National Museum of Scotland, told the BBC: "It's worth so much because of its particular properties.

"It's a very important base for perfumes and it's hard to find any artificial substitute for it."

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