Asia

Japanese grapes auction: Ruby Romans fetch record price

The bunch of grapes that sold for a record-breaking $11,000 Image copyright AP
Image caption Prices for the Ruby Roman grape variety have been rising since they appeared for sale

A bunch of grapes has sold for a record-breaking $11,000 (£8,500) in Japan, where fruit often commands high prices and social prestige.

A supermarket owner from western Japan walked away with 30 grapes, each worth about $360.

They were the first Ruby Romans - a super sweet grape variety grown in Ishikawa prefecture - of the season.

"We will display them at our store before giving our customers a sample taste," Takamaru Konishi said.

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 single apple can cost up to $3. And melons are sometimes sold for the equivalent price of a vintage wine.

Last year a pair of melons sold under the hammer for more than $12,000.

"I am so happy and I am honoured," Mr Konishi said.

"These are truly Ruby Roman gems."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Takamaru Konishi showed no sour grapes, promising to share his prize with his most loyal customers

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