Unusual

Raisin’ cash: Japan grapes fetch $10,900 at auction

Grapes

TOKYO: A bunch of grapes in Japan sold for $10,900, a record price for the variety in the fruit-obsessed nation where the produce can be a huge status symbol.

Seasonal fruit offerings in Japan routinely attract massive sums from buyers seeking social prestige, or from shop owners wanting to attract customers to “ooh and ahh” over the high-flying edibles.

The buyer of the bunch of about 30 Ruby Romans — who paid about $360 per grape — showed no wrath, promising to dole out samples to a few fortunate patrons.

“These are truly Ruby Roman gems,” bidder Takamaru Konishi from western Japan told media. “We will display them at our store before giving our customers a sample taste,” he said.

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Even to the untrained eye, the super-sweet grapes — about as large as a ping pong ball — stand above their more affordable cousins readily available in supermarkets elsewhere in the world.

The 1.1 million-yen sale kicks off the auction season for Ruby Romans in Japan. Other fruits, from apples to watermelons, can also fetch jaw-dropping sums under the hammer.

Fruit is comparatively expensive in Japan and it is not unusual for a single apple to cost as much as $3.

The king of fruits in the country is the melon, which serves as a status symbol akin to a vintage wine, and is given as a high-ranking gift. A single pair of melons fetched $12,400 at an auction last year.

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