285-year-old lemon from 1739 sells at auction for nearly $1,800

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When life gives you lemons, tucking them away for a few centuries may make you a small fortune.

Brettells Auctioneers & Valuers in Newport, England, put a 285-year-old lemon for auction on Jan. 16 — and earned nearly $1,800 for it.

The auction house originally found the 18th-century fruit from 1739 hidden away in a 19th-century cabinet. The cabinet went up for auction, too, but only sold for around $40.

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Readers can see pictures of the timeworn lemon on Brettells Auctioneers & Valuers’ Instagram page.

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“We thought we’d have a bit of fun and put [the lemon] in the auction with an estimate of £40-£60,” auctioneer David Brettell said, according to the Sun. Sixty British pounds sterling is equal to roughly 76 U.S. dollars.

The fruit is a deep-brown color, but remarkably intact. It was carved with the words: “Given by Mr P Lu Franchini Nov 4 1739 to Miss E Baxter.”

The lemon may have been brought to England as a romantic gift from India, the Sun reported.

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British media described that there was a “bidding war” that drove the final price of the ancient fruit to £1,400, which is just shy of $1,800.

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The lemon is four years older than Thomas Jefferson, who was born in 1743.

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The French and Indian War, which predated the American Revolution, did not start for another 15 years after the lemon was harvested.

The Sun reported that the fruit sold for £1,100, but the extra costs brought the total to £1,400.

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It is highly unusual for food to survive three centuries. Brettell was quoted as saying, “You’ll never see an object like this at auction again.”

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