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The Christmas walnut worth 10K

posted 27 Dec 2012, 04:10 by Mpelembe   [ updated 27 Dec 2012, 04:11 ]

Reuters Business  Report - The Chinese are going nuts for walnuts. Rotating them in the palm is supposed to stimulate blood circulation.

Once a trinket for the emperors and the wealthy, the nuts fell out of favour during China's Cultural Revolution along with many traditions.

But they've made a raging comeback along with the nation's uber rich who have a lot of money to burn and are looking for something special to invest in.

At hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of U.S. dollars a pop these aren't your ordinary seeds.

The bigger, the rarer, the more expensive. And pairs have to be nearly identical.

Hu Zhenyuan a well-known walnut shop owner in Beijing has seen prices soar in the past five years.


"Walnut investments go up every year. A pair of walnuts at 350 yuan ten years ago can sell for 3500 yuan or even 20,000 or 30,000 yuan."

Hu buys entire trees ahead of the fall harvest to find his walnuts.


"Mr. Hu tells me these are called Da Ben Zi. It means big Benz because inside you can see the triangle that looks like the symbol of a Mercedez Benz. They're worth sixty thousand renminbi that's ten thousand U.S. dollars."

Peach and olive pits with carvings are also coveted.

But at least those can be seen as art. The walnut fever is more puzzling

It peaked as Beijing put the brakes on the property sector in 2010, leaving few places for the wealthy to park their money.

Chi Rui set up a walnut information website nearly ten years ago and has his own conspiracy theory.


"The government has been hoping for more money to flow into traditional collectibles because their price rise doesn't affect politics or the lives of ordinary people."

Collector Kou Baojun bought over 30 pairs of walnuts. Most of them are over a hundred years old and have a reddish shine from years of polishing in the palm.


"Look how well these have aged. Playing with these kinds of walnuts isn't for ordinary people."

But if learning about this nutty trend is giving you big new investment ideas, watch out. Farmers in China have over planted walnut trees as the prices rose and experts say the market could crack soon.