Jan 11 2013 by Perthshire Advertiser, Perthshire Advertiser
Staff at a Perth charity shop have been having a bit of a giggle at the latest item to be handed in as a donation.
Lynn Jack, manager of the YMCA store in St John’s Street, told The PA how a strange object had been generously donated after a local man cleared out his garage.
“This kind gentleman began by giving us a large collection of Star Wars models,” she said yesterday. “We made several hundred pounds from them and from some very collectable Pendelphin china rabbit ornaments he gave us too.
“During December he came in several times. He told us he wanted to make room in the garage to get his car in for winter.”
Lynn lifted a gigantic nut, not unlike a curvaceous life-size lady’s bottom up from behind the counter. “Then he came in with this – a rare Coco de Mer,” she added.
“We were a bit taken aback at first. It’s had everyone in stitches! Will and Kate were given one like this as a wedding present when they went on honeymoon to the Seychelles.”
Last year the newly-wed royal couple blushed when they received the risqué present from the islands’ foreign minister. The nut is believed to be a strong aphrodisiac.
“It would be great to find a serious buyer for this,” Ms Jack said, unaware of how comic she looked with her arm around the coco de mer.
“We don’t know exactly what it’s worth, but there are some which have sold for thousands of pounds. We are waiting to hear back from an Edinburgh auctioneer, but we may choose to auction it ourselves online.”
“We think this one is very old, perhaps 19th Century as it has been cut and given a hinged lid. There are pictures of other ones like this listed on auction sites, described as dating from back then.”
Few people are likely to have ever seen one of the giant seeds, which come from a relative of the coconut palm. The coco de mer tree (lodoicea maldivica) is native to two tiny tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, 1000 miles off the coast of Africa.
It is the largest seed in the plant kingdom and takes six years to mature and another two to germinate. Until its true source was discovered in 1768 by Dufresne, it was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea.
The plant is now a protected species with the Seychelles a world heritage site. Few have turned up in Scotland, although the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh has one on display in the entrance to its tropical glasshouse.
The suggestively feminine shape of the Coco de Mer nut has been used as a logo by a company of the same name, selling saucy lingerie and erotic ‘personal’ gifts.
Grateful YMCA staff would like to thank the unidentified donor and ask more about how the well-travelled nut came to be his. It’s believed he works as a ship’s engineer and the naughty nut has been in his family for years.
Lynn hopes the sale of the curvaceous double coconut will bring fame and fortune to the charity shop, which opened in October with all proceeds used to fund projects for young people in the Perth area. The shop is as part of YMCA’s social enterprise effort which offers work experience.