While we've all received a dollar or five spot from the tooth fairy before, it's hard to believe some teeth fetch thousands of dollars at auction. Of course, defining the value of teeth can be tricky. Since tooth enamel is the hardest substance found in the human body, teeth last longer than any other bones. For this reason, archeologists often find teeth that teach us about our history, as well as the history of many extinct species. Many times, these fossils end up in museums or as a source of research, but certainly have monumental value. At the end of the day though, the only way we can truly quantify the value of teeth is if they're bought and sold. In a few cases, teeth have even been bought at auction for exorbitant prices.
John Lennon's tooth
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most expensive tooth bought at auction belonged to the late icon formerly of The Beatles. Lennon's tooth was sold in 2011 to Canadian dentist Michael Zuk for more than 23,000 pounds ($36,857). Interestingly enough, Zuk didn't purchase Lennon's tooth just to hold onto as a keepsake. Instead, the Canadian hopes to use the tooth to map out Lennon's DNA so that he can someday be cloned.
Zuk told The Guardian, "Many Beatles fans remember where they were when they heard John Lennon was shot. I hope they also live to hear the day he was given another chance."
Zuk noted that scientists have been working on cloning wooly mammoths and that it's only a matter of time before human cloning becomes a reality. For the time being, he maintains a website where he sells tooth-themed art.
Before Lennon's tooth was sold, Napoleon's upper right canine held the aforementioned Guinness World Record. According to The Atlantic, the tooth was extracted in 1817, likely due to scurvy. A physician removed the canine during Napoleon's exile following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo a couple years earlier. The tooth was sold at auction in 2005 for $19,140 by an anonymous collector from England.
While it's crazy to think that anyone would shell out this kind of dough for the tooth of a former dictator or legendary rock star, clearly this serves as proof that there's a collector for almost anything.