THE spectacular and enigmatic spiralling tooth that grows from the upper jaw of the male monodon monoceros, long gave credence to the existence of the unicorn.
So prized were these 'horns' that Elizabeth I paid £10,000 for
one, equivalent to the cost of an entire castle.
Narwhal tusks can grow to over 10ft (3m) and weigh up to 22lbs.
However, at 7ft 8in (2.34m), the antique example seen at
Clarke Gammon Wellers (17.5% buyer's premium) of
Loseley Park, Guildford on July 4 was as good as one might expect
In excellent condition, (the tips are often broken but here it
was intact), it had been consigned by a vendor who believed his
grandparents had bought it while living in India in the 1920s.
Offered complete with relevant CITES documentation, it proved the
subject of lively competition between a dealer and a local
collector who ultimately bought it at
Incidentally, it was recently reported that scientists in the
United States have discovered the secret of the narwhal tusk.
More than 10 million tiny nerve connections give the tooth an
extremely sensitive surface capable of detecting changes in water
temperature, pressure and particle gradients.