Poop, aka feces, is waste. We go to the bathroom, do our business, and flush it away, never to be seen again. We even pay sewer or water bills to take our feces and other waste away. What you may not know is that there are some types of excrement out there that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some are even worth millions. It isn’t just human feces that are valuable. Certain animal poop can also be worth millions. This doesn’t mean you should save every bowel movement or sell your dog’s poop on eBay. There are the 10 most expensive feces ever.
Ambergris comes from sperm whales. When they east squid and cuttlefish, they are not able to digest the hard parts like the beaks. In some cases, they will vomit up these parts; however, there are times where it gets into their intestines, and these parts get covered in ambergris. It can remain in a sperm whale for several years before they either vomit or poop it out. The lumps can get so large that it can destroy the whale’s intestines, resulting in death.
This is known as fecal gold. If you find a large enough hunk, you can become an instant millionaire. In 2016, three fishermen from Oman four a 176-pound piece of ambergris, and it was valued at $3 million. The same year, a couple in the UK found a piece that was about 3.6-pounds, and it sold for $70,000. Since ambergris is basically poop or vomit, you may be wondering what the ambergris is used for. Humans have been using it for thousands of years, and today, it is an essential ingredient in perfume. Centuries ago, it was believed to be hard seafoam or the poop from a huge bird. It wasn’t until the 1800s that we found out what it was because around that time; whaling ships were hunting sperm whales for their expensive oils. You may never come across ambergris in the ocean, but if you do, it could be worth a fortune.
Piero Manzoni’s Feces
In 1961, artist Piero Manzoni decided to create some bizarre artwork with his poop. He got 90 cans, and he pooped in each of them. Then he decided to sell them. He called them Merda d’Artista, which translates to an artist’s sh*t. He priced the poop by weight and set the price the same as what gold was selling at the time. He died two years later, but his poop is continuing to sell. Tate Art Gallery in London bought a tin of the poop for $30,000 in 2007. The same year, a second can was auctioned off in Milan for $108,000. Another tin sold for $242,000 in 2016. By 2017, they were worth about $300,000, and are expected to be worth millions within a few years.
Agostino Bonalumi, an artist who worked with Piero at the time, claims that it is plaster in the tins, not poop. He says that Piero had a habit of creating unusual art, just to prove that collectors will buy any expensive item that is called art.
There is no way of knowing if Agostino is telling the truth, but Piero has a track record of creating some strange art. During his career, he created exhibits using boiled eggs, plain white sheets, and a balloon. He also put plain white sheets of paper in a box and called it art. He said that if the seal on the box were broken, it would no longer be art.
Agostino has challenged people who have the tins of poop to open them; however, nobody will. They are worried that if they open the tins, their worth will drop. In 1989, one tin was opened, but it was wrapped up. The owner never unwrapped it to check it out; he just put the cover back on.
In 2012, a pair of Elvis Presley’s underwear went on auction. They are the underwear that he wore under one of his famous jumpsuits in a 1977 show. There is a stain on the underwear. Some say that it is a crotch stain, and others believe that it is poop. The underwear never sold at auction because the auctioneers were hoping that it would sell for £10,000. There were a few buyers who bid £5,000, but this was £2,000 less than the reserve price of £7,000. You would think that the auctioneers would take what they could get for the stained underwear, but they didn’t.
A few other more normal items owned by Elvis were auctioned off and sold including a Bible that he had used since 1957. He wrote notes in the Bible’s margins and underlined statements that he found interesting. Auctioneers expected the Bible to sell at auction for £25,000, and they ended up getting £59,000. Buying a Bible makes much more sense than buying poop does.
40-Inch Fossilized Poop
In 2012, a man who wished to remain anonymous dug up a 40-inch, brownish-yellow fossilized poop, known as coprolite. It belonged to an unidentified animal that lived in what is now Toledo, Washington. It is believed that the animal lived between 6 and 33 million years ago.
The man took the fossilized poop to an auction in 2014, where it sold for $10,370. Some critics say that the coprolite is really a pseudo-coprolite, which are materials that look like poop but are something else entirely. They believe that this one was made from volcanic ash that ended up in a swamp, and turned to clay. They came up with their theory because the man’s find didn’t contain anything that looked like digested matter. It contained high levels of siderite, which is a mineral found in iron. This led them to believe that it is just a rock and not coprolite. This didn’t bother the man much since he did get paid.
The poop from elephants that live in Thailand’s Golden Triangle is used to make one of the most expensive coffees in the world. It is called Black Ivory, and it is made with the coffee beans that are picked from the dung of elephants. In 2012, a pound of the coffee sold for $500. If you want just a cup of the coffee, be prepared to pay $50. The coffee tastes great and is not bitter. This is because the acids process the beans in the elephants’ stomachs. The taste varies based on what else the elephant has eaten. Some flavors like banana, while others taste like sugarcane.
In 2013, beer was made from elephant poop. It was bottled by the Sankt Gallen brewery, which is based in Japan. The beer is called Un, Kono Kuro, and it is marketed as a chocolate stout, but it is really made with coffee beans found in elephant poop.
Guano is the poop from seabirds and bats, and it is often used as fertilizer. Guano has been a big deal since the 19th century, and the United States and other nations worked hard to get their hands on it. It was so valuable that most of Peru’s budget came from exporting it.
The United States wanted guano so bad that they passed the Guano Islands Act of 1856. The act allows United States citizens to seize unclaimed guano-rich islands in the name of the US. If the US President chooses, they can make the island a US territory, and protect it will military force if necessary.
Today, Peru still mines guano, but it no longer makes up most of their budget. Local farmers use it, and a small portion is exported as organic fertilizer.
An Shi was a professor at Sichuan University in China. While working there, he invented a process that allows farmers to use panda poop as fertilizer for their tea plants. He was given a patent for his invention in 2011 and said that the tea made from panda poop fertilizer could prevent cancer. The only problem is that the tea that is made from the fertilizer is expensive. It costs up to $69,000 and is the world’s most expensive tea.
It is believed that this tea prevents cancer is because bamboo prevents cancer, and one of the panda’s primary foods is bamboo. Pandas only process 30 percent of the bamboo that they consume. The other 70 percent gets pooped out. An believes that panda poop will transfer cancer-preventing properties when it is used as fertilizer for the tea. Scientists are skeptical because there is no proof that tea grown with panda poop really does prevent cancer. They also don’t understand where An came up with such a high price for the tea.
Civet Cat Poop
One of the most expensive types of coffee in the world is Kopi luwak, which sells for $90 a cup. It is so costly because it is made with coffee beans that are picked from the poop of a civet cat, which is a relative of the mongoose.
Today, farmers in Indonesia and the Philippines keep civet cats for the coffee beans, but they are kept in awful conditions. They are often locked in cages, and they don’t have enough room to move around. This causes them to behave erratically, causing them to run in circles, injuring themselves. They are also fed only coffee beans.
Many people who sell this coffee deny these claims, saying that they get the beans from wild civet cats. Many people say that coffee doesn’t even taste that great. To prove their point, they set up a blind taste test with six other types of coffee. The kopi luwak came in fourth place, and the first place coffee is about ten times cheaper than kopi luwak.
Jacu Bird Poop
Jacu bird coffee is another expensive coffee made from animal poop. The bird it comes from lives in Brazil. A farmer in Brazil named Henrique Sloper de Araujo invented the coffee when he discovered that jacus from the nearby national park were eating the coffee beans on his farm. He had heard about kopi luwak, so he made a blend of his own.
He released his coffee in 2006, and it cost £700 per kilogram. He says that his coffee is the best in the world because he makes sure that the birds eat berries, apricots, and truffles, giving the coffee its flavor.
Lloyds Bank Coprolite
In 1972, construction workers uncovered an 8-inch by 2-inch piece of human poop. They were excavating the area to build a new branch of Lloyds Bank in York, England. Historians believe that the poop came from someone who was living in Viking-ruled York during the 9th century. They think that the person who created the poop had intestinal problems, and hadn’t pooped for several days before dropping this one. Their diet was mainly meat and bread. The poop was valued at $39,000 but is not currently for sale. It is being held at the Jovic Viking Centre in York.