It is always surprising to read about the figures that artwork sells for at auctions. The world’s most expensive painting sold in 2017 at an auction for over $450 million. It was the incredible piece, Salvator Mundi painted by Leonardo da Vinci. While $450 million is a lot of money you can almost wrap your head around how incredible works of art like those by da Vinci could go for an incredible sum. Yet there are many things that sell at a shocking price that simply make no sense. Recently the record for the most expensive tooth was broken. Let’s find out why. In Alberta, Canada a dentist paid over $30,000 US dollars for a tooth at auction. The tooth belonged to John Lennon a long time ago and when it came up for auction, Dr. Michael Zuk couldn’t resist. Dr. Zuk is a collector of celebrity teeth and has actually written a book about the teeth of famous people and one called “Confessions of a former cosmetic dentist” that discusses how bad an idea it is to have cosmetic surgery on your beautiful (or ugly) teeth.
While you may think that Dr. Zuk paid too much to simply showcase a tooth in his office, he said that he was offered even more money immediately after the purchase was completed. It appears that famous teeth are in demand. John Lennon lost the molar many years ago and gave it to his housekeeper to dispose of, while joining that she could give it to her daughter as a keepsake if she wished. The housekeeper did just that and it found its way into an extensive collection of Lennon memorabilia.
The tooth may be the last physical embodiment of the incredible star. This could actually mean that the famous tooth is a worthwhile investment. If cloning ever does reach a stage where we start bringing people back to life, we could in theory use this tooth to create a new John Lennon. Prior to this tooth breaking the record, the most expensive tooth was one held by Napoleon Bonaparte, an upper right canine, that fetched almost $20,000. Again this seems like an incredible amount but for those who believe in recreating people from DNA these are very small sums.
However if the purchase was made simply to showcase the tooth of a British pop star then it certainly seems overpriced. Why anyone would want to showcase a tooth in their office, particularly an old and rotten one doesn’t really make sense, especially when that tooth costs more than a car.
Yet if anything this purchase shows the extravagant spending of the rich. While we always knew that working as a dentist was a fine way to make a living it is amazing to think that Dr. Zuk had a spare $30,000 lying around to buy a tooth. The reviews for his book, “Confessions of a former cosmetic dentist” are highly praised suggesting that perhaps he is making even more from his literary business. The obsession people have with celebrities particularly those that are deceased always boggles the mind. Once a celebrity dies they become viewed in a light that they could never have lived up to if still alive. John Lennon had an incredible career and died too young however we hope that no one ever goes to the effort of retreating him from a spare tooth. He would likely not enjoy the world we live in today and would probably have a tough time adapting to the strange forms of entertainment that we have. Could you imagine John Lennon as a reality TV star? No thanks.