Japanese grapes auction: Ruby Romans fetch record price of £8,000

A single bunch of grapes has sold for more than £8,000 at an auction in Japan.  The Japanese are often willing to pay top-dollar for premium samples of fruit, sometimes with the intention of giving them as gifts to people perceived to be of higher status – for example, their boss at work.

A buyer spent a world record 1.1m yen – about £8,350 – on a bunch of about 30 grapes of the sought-after Ruby Roman variety.

The outlay means the grapes, which are considered a status symbol, cost winning bidder Takamaru Konishi about £270 each.

The grapes are slightly smaller than a ping pong ball and must each weigh at least 20g to qualify as Ruby Roman. They must also have a high sugar content of at least 18 per cent.

Mr Konishi, a supermarket owner, said the grapes will be put on display in his shop before being handed out for free.

“These are truly Ruby Roman gems,” he said.

“We will display them at our store before giving our customers a sample taste.”

The bunch fetched such a high price at the auction in Japanese city Kanazawa in part because it was the very first of the season.

Other fruits can also go for huge sums in Japan, with a pair of melons selling for 3m yen (nearly £23,000) last year.
I am so happy and I am honoured,” Mr Konishi said.

“These are truly Ruby Roman gems.”

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