The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

Megalodon Teeth

Megalodons once ruled the oceans!  In fact, they are thought to be the largest and most domineering predators in vertebrae history.  Their given name “Megalodon” appropriately translates to “big tooth” in Ancient Greek.  Though we can only guess about the habits and characteristics of these giant prehistoric beasts, their thousands of teeth give us some solid insight.

Tooth size and spare fossil remnants suggest that the Megalodon looked a little something like the modern Great White Shark (if it were 70 feet long weighing in at 100 tons).  Because they were primarily formed of hard cartilage, their fossils are few and far between.  Teeth are our primary means of knowledge and identification and are one of the oldest collectibles today for those who desire a glimpse into the past about 15.9 million years.

Like most collectibles, rarity comes with a pretty price tag.  There are several things to take into account when collecting these ginormous teeth:

Size matters.  Where two to five inch teeth are relatively common, teeth larger than five inches are highly desirable.  The size of a Megalodon tooth can offer insight into the size of the animal or what part of the mouth the tooth came from.  With about 276 teeth at a time, there’s a lot of variation in these chompers.  Teeth five to seven inches are extremely valuable, ranging in price from $500 for a 5 inch tooth, to over $1000 for a 7 inch one.

Megalodon tooth beside two Great White teeth

Megalodon tooth beside two Great White teeth

Oddly enough, the color of the tooth can help determine its value.  Fossilized teeth can take on any color since they absorb the sediments of their surroundings and therefore many of them are grey or black.  Color can be used to tell location of the Megalodon.  Blackish colored teeth are typically found in tidal rivers of the South Eastern United States, where larger quantities of phosphate exist.  Colorful teeth are more rare and therefore more valuable as collectibles.  Megalodons were resilient and able to live comfortably in a rage of temperatures.  Their mobility can be discovered in teeth scattered across the world.

Carcharocles_megalodon_tooth

Like pennies, Megalodon teeth have grades.  The condition of the tooth is essential in determining the price.  After millions of years, a complete root with intact enamel baring sharp serrated edges is an amazing find and is highly valuable.  Chipped teeth or ones with considerable damage are much more common and more difficult to gauge information from.

With such a range of around the world, Megalodon teeth can be purchased for anywhere from $20 to $30 and well into the thousands of dollars.  The most expensive one that sold on Ebay in recent months went for $5000.  Though quality and color are important to collectors, the Megalodon is well-known for its size, making that the most desirable characteristic in a brilliant tooth collection.  It is astounding to imagine such a massive creature and almost overwhelming to think of a ten-ton bite force when compared to the “puny 600 pound” bite of a lion.  Not often do humans get a tangibly accessible view into the past…way into the past.  Whether you’re a collector or simply an enthusiast of life, Megalodon teeth offer an age old perspective that surpasses our grasp of time, size and rationality.  The Megalodon, once the largest

animal in existence, left its mark on Earth.

Carcharodon_megalodon

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