The £795,000 paperweight

I get one or two e-mails a week from someone who's discovered the donation page on, and immediately decided that all I do is beg for money.

Sometimes they ask me what my secret is. Sometimes they ask me for a cut of the (presumably massive) take. Sometimes they try to get me to join some questionable scheme, or just send me a PayPal money request.

And sometimes... well, sometimes I get something like this.

From: "k.macleod"
Subject: google old ladies face (Eternity Stone) value estimated 96.000.000 yen CHINA currencey
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 22:04:44 -0400

Dan the Man' no douth u probably make money on your site, but i am talking huge money here' C that old ladies face well i discover rock's and stone's like that, unfortunatly not near as great' but what I do have' I can honestly say 2 u r as good or better then any1 else's collection in the World and the world is a pretty big place Dan as u know' i am broke' not a cent coming in 2 my household other then my wife's income. I need a computer savvy warrior Dan' I swear 2 U' in my Heart i truly believe my treasure's r thee best in the world, there's a stone on e-bay of a alien face' asking price 795.000, now i can relate that stone 2 some of mine only i think mine r better and Dan i have countless speciman's, here Dan i will throw u a carrot 2 intice u more ? i have bernie madoff - hitler- and the big big guy (Kong) all made by the hand's of mother earth. thanks -the MimiKKing

So... "K" is in the rocks-that-totally-look-like-faces-or-something business, I guess.

K's unusual form of expression suggests to me that his world-class collection of rocks that look like things may not actually be quite as world-class as he believes.

He's right about there being rocks that look like faces and have huge price tags, though. I mean, check this one out. (That's an eBay listing, which will disappear some time after the auctions finishes; here's a local copy of the listing. And while I'm at it, it's here on, and here on

What you might foolishly mistake for a stone the size of a softball with a hole through it is actually a "distinctive human face/skull", and an "impressive show piece with its dazzling detail and endless enchantment". With a price tag of £795,000!

Expensive rock

For... this.

"K", and the I-sincerely-hope-joking seller of the above rock, both profess to be very excited about this "eternity stone" thing, which seems to trace back to this story on a Chinese Web site. That story, which totals 64 words including the headline, says that a rock that vaguely resembles an old lady's face was in 2004 said, by "experts", to be worth 96 million yuan. (Or, according to the eBay listing, "£12 Million Dollars!!")

It doesn't tell us who's ever paid 96 megayuan (or twelve million pound-dollars) for this paperweight, though. This remarkable story also appears, for the last five years, to have escaped the notice of the rest of the world's news services. So has the "China Rare Stone Expo" at which the remarkable rock was supposed to have been exhibited; that seems to only be mentioned in reprints of the story about the near-priceless grandma-rock.

I fearlessly predict that if anybody clicks the Buy It Now button on the £795,000 eBay "skull" listing, that person will run giggling out of the auction-room as soon as they're asked to pay up.

Perhaps I should advise my correspondent to try selling "haunted" or other "magical" things on eBay, rather than sets of all-natural Hitler/Madoff book-ends.

6 Responses to “The £795,000 paperweight”

  1. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Hmmm, I have this clearly supernatural sandstone sphere I found in a sacred Maori riverbed...I bet I could sell it for at least 50,000 pound dollars!

  2. Buckermann Says:

    Damn. To think of all the stones I skipped across a lake. I could be rich! Rich beyond my wildest dreams!
    Then I wouldn't have to consort with you unwashed, heathen peasants anymore. But I was young and foolish, and now I'm a broken, bitter old man.
    I wasted my fortune. Weep for me.

    Or maybe I should just laugh about those idiots who think that some ordinary rock is worth a bunch of monies.

  3. Alan Says:

    Similar but different: look at the (Aus) prices for jewellery. Specifically, gold.
    Gold chains of 12 carats (50% gold) to 18 carat (75% gold) are priced as if they're made of 24 carat gold. Confront them and they all claim "nobody wants to buy 24 carat gold"
    (Translation: We make a huge markup by diluting a precious metal with crap)

    You can compare this to drug dealers, "cutting" their product to stretch their profits.

  4. Shadowex3 Says:

    Have you ever handled 24 carat gold Alan?

  5. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Yeah, 24 karat gold makes great jewelry. Oops, my necklace just broke under its own weight, but at least it's 24 karat!

  6. speedweasel Says:

    I have a rock that keeps tigers away.

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