Ken Wilman, 50, was walking along Morecambe beach in northern England when his dog, Madge, discovered what Ken thought to be a large, hard smelly rock.
Upon returning home, however, he researched the stinky rock online.
Ken then realized that Madge may have found ambergris, a waxy by-product of sperm whale digestion.
While that may sound disgusting (whale puke!), ambergris is traditionally used in perfumes, spices, and medicines. And it’s worth a pretty penny!
Mr Wilman promptly returned to the beach and brought the rock to his home immediately.
“It smelled horrible,” Ken said. “I left it, came home and looked it up on the net. When I saw what it could be worth I went back and grabbed it. It’s like finding a bag of cash.”
After he contacted companies in Europe, he discovered the pungent mass could be worth as much as $200,000.
Mr Wilman said, “When I picked it up and smelled it I put it back down again and I thought ‘urgh’.”
“It has a musky smell,” he said, “but the more you smell it the nicer the smell becomes.”
Ken is now waiting to get the 3kg (7lb) piece tested. He said a French dealer has offered him 50,000 euros (£43,000) for the item.
Andrew Kitchener, principal curator of vertebrates at the National Museum of Scotland, said, “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” he added. “Over time it becomes a much sweeter smell as it oxidizes, but initially it doesn’t smell very nice.”
Ambergris is a natural excrement whales use, experts think, as a digestion aid.
It is expelled from its abdomen sometimes hundreds of miles away from land.
Initially, it is a soft, foul-smelling matter that floats on the ocean but through exposure to the sun and the salt water over years it turns into a smooth lump of compact rock which feels waxy and has a sweet smell.
It is still used in perfumes, although likely due to it being hard to come by, many perfume makers now use a synthetic version.
You might say that Ken is now “stinking” rich!
Watch Ken’s ambergris story below: