Auction sales sometimes have unusual object under offer. The recently sold stuffed sperm whale’s penis is proof of that! The previous owner who had the object for two decades recently decided to get rid of it and now the hundred year specimen has gone to a new home!
A thousand year old “carrot”
The sperm whale’s penis was sold for $5900 (roughly £4500). Sold as Lot 196 at an auction organised by Sworders, one of the oldest auction houses of artwork and antiques in the UK. The specimens previous owner, a private collection owner, wanted to get rid of the object for unknown reasons after having owned it for twenty years.
The object, which dates back to the 19th century, measures 167 cm and weighs about 8 kg. According to Mark Wilkinson, an antiques expert at Sworders, a taxidermist had stuffed the specimen at the time with horse hair. It turned out that giving a price estimation for the enormous carrot-like object was particularly difficult. In fact an object of this type has never been sold previously.
The only other specimen of this type is currently held by the Icelandic Phallological Museum. However, it is of course not for sale. The previous owner finally came to a price range of between 4500 and 5800 dollars before the object was sold for a faction higher than estimated.
An amusing side note
The words “carrot” or “parsnip” might come to mind when you see the image of the sperm whale’s penis. However Mark Wilkinson told an amusing yet serious story before the sale of this unusual item. During the period, sea navigators had the habit of storing their tobacco inside a sperm whale or whale’s penis. They used this storage method so that their tobacco stayed moist and fresh during their long journeys.
After some checks, it has been confirmed that the penis comes from the Physeter macrocephalus species, also more commonly known as a sperm whale.
Lastly there have been three objects sold at auction that have recently caught our attention. This includes a letter from Einstein, a fold down sofa that belonged to Stephen Hawkings as well as a portrait painted by artificial intelligence…. What other unusual objects will go on sale next!