If you’re interested in buying your giant fossilized shark tooth, or you have one to sell, you’re probably wondering how much a megalodon shark tooth is worth.
Well, truthfully, the ancient sharks’ teeth themselves are not that rare. This means picking up a small tooth with some damage for under 20 dollars is possible.
However, depending on factors including size, condition, color, and where it came from, collectors or natural history museum-quality megalodon teeth are much rarer and their price ranges from $5,000 or even $10,000.
If that’s not enough, if you’ve discovered a huge tooth that beats the record for the biggest ever, you may have something priceless!
How Much Are Megalodon Teeth Worth?
“How much are megalodon teeth worth” is a question that can only be answered by considering the individual tooth in question, considering its size, color, condition, and where it was found.
Such is the variety of megalodon shark teeth in the market you could be looking at prices from under $20 to $10,000 or more!
Ultimately, the answer effectively ends up being somewhere between how much someone wants to sell the tooth for and what someone else is prepared to pay for the fossil record.
Tooth fossils are not especially rare to find, particularly in locations like the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States.
Simply put, the megalodon population dropped a lot of teeth!
The giant megalodon shark had over 250 huge teeth laid out in five rows in its jaws.
Like most sharks, when the megalodon was going about its typical day, there were a lot of opportunities to lose a tooth. When it happened, the next one behind would fill the space.
The shark continually grew new teeth to maintain the backup, and shark experts estimate that a megalodon could lose up to 40,000 teeth during its lifetime.
The worldwide megalodon population is known to have been very large, and the shark species existed for nearly 20 million years.
You can probably imagine that many megalodon teeth were dropped that could have been preserved by the fossilization process.
So, if you’re interested in starting a megalodon tooth collection, you don’t need to break the bank if you’re willing to start smaller and accept a tooth that isn’t in perfect condition.
However, while teeth of a typical size and coloration don’t make mega money, larger teeth in “Grade-A+” condition with unusual colors are rare and much more expensive.
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No two megalodon teeth are the same, and it’s up to you to decide what factors are important to you.
Many people starting a shark tooth collection like to get as big a tooth as they can afford and accept that the color might not be unusual or there’s some damage.
Others will choose a smaller tooth with an interesting pattern and its serrations intact.
Whatever your budget, a megalodon shark fossil is always a unique and fascinating historical artifact.
How Much Is a 6-Inch Megalodon Tooth Worth?
If you’re looking at a 6-inch (15.24 cm) or over megalodon tooth, you should be prepared for a pretty high price.
Only about 1% of megalodon teeth found have a slant height of over 6 inches.
The rarity has created a high psychological demand for 6-inch fossil teeth, and they’ll often sell for up to twice as much as a similar tooth that’s only a quarter inch smaller.
In 2019 a 6.5-inch (16.51 cm) tooth found in a river in South Carolina was sold at auction.
The tooth was in good condition, had clean serrated edges, and had an estimated sale price of $450.
After a lot of competitive bidding, the 2019 6.5-inch tooth sold for an impressive $2,600.
Naturally, the prices that megalodon teeth will make aren’t only about their size.
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Accordingly, the price range that 6-inch megalodon teeth can demand can be very wide.
A 2022 survey of market prices found a 6.03-inch (15.32 cm) tooth, collected in North Carolina rivers with reasonable amounts of damage, selling for as little as $510.
A good condition North Carolina 6-inch (15.24 cm) tooth could be had for $995.
At the other end of the scale, a near-perfect condition, 6 ⅛” (15.56 cm) tooth collected in West Java, Indonesia, with tan, orange, and brown coloration, is on sale for $4,850.
How Much Is an 8-Inch Megalodon Tooth Worth?
If a 6-inch tooth could be worth several thousands of dollars, how much is an 8-inch megalodon tooth worth?
No 8-inch megalodon shark teeth are known to have ever been found. If one was, it would be the biggest shark tooth ever and effectively priceless.
The most enormous tooth known measures 7.48-inches (19 cm) in length.
It is held in a private collection, and as the owner chose to remain anonymous, it is unknown if they purchased it (and how much for) or found it themselves.
What Is the Most Expensive Megalodon Tooth?
While considering how much a megalodon tooth is worth, it’s fun to think about what the most expensive megalodon teeth would be.
Undoubtedly, if the owner sold it, the most expensive tooth would be the world record 7.48-inch (19 cm) long giant that was found in the Peruvian Ocucaje desert.
It’s unknown whether this huge tooth has ever come up for sale, even privately. However, if it did, the giant tooth would fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The rarest and most expensive megalodon teeth are often held in private collections, and records aren’t shared when they’re sold.
The secretive nature of the fossil market means that we can only speculate on what is the most expensive megalodon tooth ever sold.
The public auction record appears to be the $2,600 paid in 2019 for the 6.03-inch (15.32 cm) tooth North Carolina tooth that we already mentioned.
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If this tooth were sold today, it would likely make a far higher price.
Internet rumors suggest that a high-quality tooth measuring over 7-inches (17.78 cm) once sold for over $50,000, but there’s no firm evidence that we could find.
What is certain is that if you find a large tooth in perfect condition, you could be living pretty comfortably!
What Makes a Megalodon Tooth Valuable?
If you have a tooth to sell or are thinking about buying one, you need to understand the many factors affecting megalodon tooth price.
We’ll start with size, but as you’ll see, that’s not everything!
All other things being equal, the bigger the tooth, the more it is worth.
But, before you bid for a big tooth, make sure you know how megalodon teeth are measured, so you don’t get caught out.
Fossil collectors use what is known as the slant height to describe how long a tooth is.
The slant height is the diagonal length from the pointed tip to the corner of the root.
Whichever of the two sides is longest is given as the tooth’s overall size.
The fossil market is pretty well filled with smaller megalodon teeth, so they’re worth less.
This is simply because smaller sharks were more common, and they had smaller teeth.
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Large teeth come from giant, fully-grown adults, inevitably much rarer.
Not only were there more younger sharks around, but there would have been proportionally far fewer huge teeth dropped during a shark’s complete lifetime.
Baby megalodon teeth only measure about 1-inch (2.54 cm), while the most common adult tooth size is 4 and 5 inches (10.16 – 12.7 cm) in most areas.
Experts consider that a tooth over 3-inches (7.62 cm) long will have come from a shark more enormous than any alive in our modern oceans.
Large teeth over 6-inches (15.24 cm) are far rarer and command a dramatically higher price.
Megalodon shark tooth fossils get their color from the preserved sediment.
The different minerals found around the world mean that some fossil teeth can have unique coloration, which significantly increases their value.
Black shark teeth colored by phosphate are prevalent in the United States.
However, in Morocco, most of the teeth found are tan in color.
Rarer, more visually attractive colors from countries like Indonesia can significantly increase the price of the tooth.
Teeth colored red, orange, brown, blue, or green or those with patterns tend to be most attractive to collectors and sell for a higher price.
You could find a large and beautifully colored tooth, but if it has significant damage and missing parts, it will not be nearly as valuable as a tooth in perfect condition.
Having been trapped in sediment rock for millions of years, experienced earthquakes and falling and rising sea levels, and perhaps been washed out by a river or tumbled in the sea, a genuinely perfect megalodon tooth will not exist.
Some physical imperfections are normal, but the more broken teeth are, the lower the price will typically be.
Artificial damage made by humans to the tooth during extraction will also significantly reduce the value.
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Assess the condition of the enamel and root for any damage. Check the tip for sharpness and the edges for chips.
Megalodon teeth have an identifying feature called a bourlette, which is a chevron shape on the tooth above the root. Teeth, where the bourlette is complete, are more expensive as the vast majority only have it partially.
Highly prized megalodon teeth are known for the fine serrations that run down their edges.
The serrated teeth would tear through the megalodon’s prey like a steak knife, and their presence on fossilized teeth makes them all the more valuable.
Megalodon teeth found in rivers or the ocean typically have had the serrations worn smooth.
If the serrations are still visible and, even better, if they’re still sharp, then a fossil tooth will have a higher price.
Repairs and Restorations
Teeth that have been repaired or restored often appear on the market, and this can affect how valuable they are.
Restoration to reconstruct a missing piece of the tooth, commonly the root or part of the enamel, might make a tooth look more attractive to a casual viewer, but it can be a turn-off for serious collectors.
Some sellers are not completely honest about repairs and restorations, so always try to check the tooth in person if you’re spending a large sum.
A complete, undamaged tooth can be worth more than three times what a collector would pay for a similar well-restored tooth.
Some sellers will even add extra material when repairing a broken tooth to make it appear longer and more valuable. This process of enlarging the tooth is called tooth stretching.
Whether you like a restored tooth is a personal preference.
Some people like their teeth in “as found” condition, while others are happy to have a restored tooth that looks more complete and clean.
Just be sure to ask questions and, if possible, scrutinize the tooth for any repair signs before you buy.
Polishing and Finishing
Cleaning and polishing a tooth is also a matter of personal taste.
Many collectors like it when a tooth has had its surface buffed clean and has a nice shine.
However, over-polishing the tooth can remove surface enamel and is often used to try and hide surface damage.
Excessively polished teeth are typically less valuable than those which have only been given a careful clean.
Teeth from different parts of the shark’s mouth have different shapes.
The “classic,” equally sized, triangular teeth come from the center of the shark’s mouth, and these will usually have a higher price.
Posterior teeth are generally shorter and broader proportionally, while lower teeth can have a dagger-like shape.
Some collectors prefer to hold center teeth only. While others like the different shapes on offer.
Megalodon teeth are found all over the world.
Some locations, like North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, produce a lot of teeth.
Teeth found in other locations like Peru, for example, are much less common.
If there are two teeth of similar size and quality, the uniqueness of the source will be a factor.
Similarly, if teeth are from a location where collecting or exporting is no longer allowed, expect to see the price for teeth already in the market rocket.
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A tooth will also be more expensive if it is costly to recover.
Shark’s teeth in South Carolina are readily picked up from rivers and creeks, so the operation costs very little.
Other shark teeth are recovered using specialized equipment or need the use of expensive or dangerous procedures. Naturally, this makes the end product more expensive.
Finally, any unique characteristics could add to a tooth’s value.
Some collectors are interested in finding teeth that show the effects of the shark’s natural life.
For example, teeth with unique deformities or one showing damage from crunching into whales tell an exciting story and may be more valuable to the right collector.
5 Best Places You Can Buy Megalodon Shark Teeth
1. Direct From the Collector
If you can’t collect the tooth for yourself, the next best thing is to buy it directly from the person who did.
This way, you should get the best price as there isn’t a long chain involved in adding their markups.
You’re also most likely to get the full story of how and where the tooth was found, enabling you to evaluate its value accurately.
2. From a Fossil Club
Many fossil clubs operate sales systems between members.
These can be a great place to buy teeth, as you’re dealing with enthusiasts rather than companies needing to make a profit.
3. Private Sales, Including eBay
Buying privately should avoid big business markups.
However, online sales can be more prone to wild claims about a tooth’s source and condition.
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Try to research the seller and ask questions before making a purchase.
4. Professional Sellers
However, with their extensive connections, these businesses have access to rare and highly sought-after specimens you won’t be able to find elsewhere.
As professional companies, they’re also more likely to be completely upfront about a tooth’s condition as they would be liable if they misled you.
5. At Auction
If they’re not sold at a confidential private sale, the rarest teeth will probably only ever be seen at auction.
If a tooth is worth auctioning, be prepared for it to fetch a very high price!
How Much Would a Complete Megalodon Jaw Sell For?
Authentic fossilized megalodon jaws don’t exist.
Unlike the shark’s teeth, the megalodon’s jaw was made from cartilage which quickly disappeared once the shark died.
However, several replica megalodon jaws have been assembled to display a complete set of real megalodon teeth.
A reconstructed jaw measuring 54 x 52 inches (137.16 x 132.08 cm) and holding 138 teeth was sold at auction in 2016 for $8,750.
A much larger replica jaw containing 182 real teeth (including four over 7-inches) and measuring 9 1/2 feet high x 11 feet wide (289.56 x 335.28 cm) was built over 20 years by the famous shark tooth collector Vito Bertucci.
This colossal replica jaw is valued at between 1.2 and 1.5 million dollars!
Megalodon Tooth FAQs
How Much Would a Real Megalodon Tooth Cost?
A real megalodon tooth could cost between about $20 and hundreds of thousands.
The price will depend on the size of the tooth, its condition, color, and where it was found.
Typically, the bigger the tooth, the more expensive it will be.
How Rare Are Megalodon Teeth?
Megalodon teeth themselves are not that rare. It’s pretty common to find smaller teeth, perhaps with some damage, around the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States, for example.
However, while teeth ranging from one to about four inches are relatively common, larger teeth are much rarer.
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Less than 1% of the teeth discovered are over six inches long.
Even rarer are large teeth in excellent condition.
Is a Fossil Shark Tooth Worth Any Money?
Yes, shark teeth can be worth a lot of money depending on the shark they came from, their size, and their condition.
Fossilized shark teeth can cost from just one dollar for one that’s very common to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for the rarest and largest megalodon teeth.
Where Are Most Megalodon Teeth Found?
Megalodon teeth are commonly found on the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States, including Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Maryland.
They’re also excavated in reasonably significant numbers in Morocco and Indonesia, amongst other places.
Megalodon teeth have been uncovered on every continent other than Antarctica. So, you never know what you may find near you.
How Do You Know if a Megalodon Tooth Is Real?
If you’re not experienced, it can be tricky to know if a megalodon tooth is real.
Never buy from a seller who isn’t well established with a good reputation online.
Resin replica teeth are unfortunately reasonably common on auction sites.
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Compare a tooth’s weight with one of the same size to detect whether it may be made from artificial materials.
Look for mold marks, an unnaturally smooth finish, or completely even coloration.
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You can also use a UV light to detect repair spots to damaged teeth that the seller hasn’t mentioned.
Using acetone or a hot needle on the surface of a tooth can detect if it is a resin replica. However, these methods may also damage a natural tooth, so they are not recommended.
The best advice is to make your purchase very carefully and only use a trusted vendor.
Megalodon teeth are highly collectible, and thanks to the enormous variety available, you don’t need to spend a fortune on these relatively common fossils.
How much is a megalodon tooth worth is down to its size, condition, color, and ultimately, how much someone is willing to pay for it.
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All megalodon teeth are an incredible fossil record of the world’s largest ever apex predator shark.
If you’re starting a collection, you can purchase teeth from $20 upwards. It’s only the really rare and enormous teeth that are considered priceless.
British-born Dan has been a scuba instructor and guide in Egypt’s Red Sea since 2010.
Dan loves inspiring safe, fun, and environmentally responsible diving and particularly enjoys the opportunity to dive with sharks or investigate local shipwrecks.
When not spending time underwater, Dan can usually be found biking and hiking in Sharm’s desert surroundings.