Lucky Gary and Angela Williams stumbled across a particularly pungent boulder while strolling along a beach and realised it was a hunk of super valuable whale vomit.
They smelled the vomit before seeing it on an evening stroll down Middleton Sands beach near Morecambe Bay in Lancashire.
They followed the stench of rotting fish and spotted an unusual looking ‘rock’ near the waters edge which looked like a piece of ambergris - or 'whale vomit’ - they once saw in a newspaper.
Taking a punt on it being worth something, Gary and Angela wrapped the rugby-ball-sized lump in a scarf and took it home, where they discovered it weighed 1.57kg - just over half the size of a lump also found near Morecambe which was valued at £120,000 in 2013.
Ambergris is hardened intestinal slurry from a sperm whale which takes years to form and which is thought to protect the animal from hard and sharp objects it eats. The highly-prized substance is used to make perfume.
It’s known as 'floating gold’ because it’s so rare and perfume makers are willing to spend a lot of money to get it.
Ambergris can float in the ocean for years before washing ashore and years of exposure to the sun and salt water transform it into a smooth, grey, lump of compact waxy rock.
“It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure,” Gary explained.
“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: “If it is worth a lot of money, it will go a long way towards buying us a static caravan. It would be a dream come true.”
The couple have put their chunk of smelly gold in safe storage while they consult an expert in France and another in New Zealand.
Lead image: SWNS