Alberta dentist pays $31,000 for John Lennon's tooth
Published Sunday, November 6, 2011 9:43PM EST
An Alberta dentist placed the winning bid on one of John Lennon's teeth, paying $31,000 for the molar that was part of an auction in the U.K. this weekend.
Michael Zuk, who collects animal teeth and celebrity memorabilia, found out that his two hobbies were to come together while reading a press release from the auction house.
Zuk said once he saw Lennon's molar listed by Omega Auctions in Stockport, "I knew I needed to have it."
"To me I thought it was just cool," Zuk told CTV News Channel Sunday evening. "Even though it's a rotten tooth and it's got tartar on it."
Lennon reportedly gave the tooth to his housekeeper sometime in the 1960s. The housekeeper's daughter kept the tooth, including a time while she lived in Canada after marrying a Canadian, before putting it up for auction.
The Red Deer dentist said he was up for most of the night waiting to see if his would be the winning bid.
He had originally set a limit for himself that was less than what he ultimately paid for the tooth.
"I thought, ‘what's this tooth really worth?' It's really priceless," he said. "So I was prepared to go more but I was obviously excited to get it at this price."
Zuk's big purchase has given him his own little taste of fame, with media outlets from around the world asking for interviews.
Zuk, who has teeth that once belonged to bears, sabre-toothed tigers and other animals, said he will first show Lennon's tooth to friends and family before having it mounted and put on display in his office.
He then plans to loan it out to dentists, dental schools and anyone else who would like to showcase the tooth.
According to Zuk, the yellowed molar is an example of why good dental hygiene is important.
"At the time he could have had some acid reflux problems, he may have neglected himself…," Zuk said. "It just goes to show it's important to have regular routine dental care."