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.
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.