Chapter 251: Truth About the Specimen
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du picked up the glass bottle and laughed, "There’s a Santa Claus on the bottle!"
Hans looked up and exclaimed, "Santa? Yes—this is the original Santa Claus! D*mn, this bottle is very valuable!"
Li Du asked, "Is this considered antique?"
Hans pointed at the embossed logo and said, "This bottle has been around for half a century because in 1957, Coca-Cola logos were no longer embossed, but printed onto their bottles."
"Then what about this Santa Claus?" Li Du asked. "There was nothing about this mentioned in the search results earlier."
Hans said confidently, "There’s no need to search, I know what this is about!"
The legend of Santa Claus had existed across several centuries, but his "classic" image was only born in the early 20th century, created by the illustrator, Haddon Sundblom.
The early days, Santa Claus’s main color was green instead of red. This was because Sundblom believed that Santa Claus had come from the country of snow, but that he loved nature and the color green.
In 1931, a large jolly Santa Claus in his red coat with a bushy beard appeared in the Christmas advertisements of Coca-Cola.
The United States had entered into a recession during those years and the Coca-Cola Company wanted to use warm colors to design a mascot that the children would love.
But what exactly did they do to link up Santa Claus and the Coca-Cola mascot?
How to get everyone to think of Coca-Cola when they saw Santa Claus?
The designer had an ingenious idea by incorporating Coca-Cola’s red and white logo into Santa Claus. And so the green-clothed Santa was transformed into the jolly, plump, old man donned in red and white.
"Many Americans knew about this transformation. When I was young, I asked my mom why Santa wore red, and she told me about the history."
Hans smile. He looked at the green bottle in his hand and said, "Look, the Santa Claus on this bottle is still green!"
Li Du concluded, "That means that this bottle was created sometime before 1931?"
Hans nodded and said, "Yes, this bottle has a commemorative value."
They found another Santa Claus bottle, so the vending machine contained a total of twelve Coke bottles; all of them had been made in the early days of the company.
They believed that these were the unit owner’s collection, but somewhere along the line, the Coke bottle collection was forgotten and left behind.
Hans carefully wrapped each Coke bottle using the bubble wrap and stored them in a box with foam packaging.
"I’ll contact someone who’s a collector. If I can get a suitable buyer, these bottles will help us earn huge profits."
The three of them quickly cleared the storage unit, and by nightfall embarked on their journey home.
Li Du opened the truck windows as the night air felt cool and refreshing. Hans and Godzilla took turns to driving the truck.
They reached Flagstaff around dawn. Li Du slept until afternoon and checked his phone.
Hans sent him a message saying that he would search for a buyer immediately.
There were no voicemails, but he noticed there were unread messages at his Facebook account. Li had previously posted a picture of the bird skeletal specimen on Facebook, and someone had messaged him there.
When he had gotten the specimen from the Amish, he hadn’t managed to uncover the identity of the specimen. So, he had taken a picture and posted it on the internet.
Li Du had forgotten about the specimen after he went to Hollywood.
The messages were left by two people: Dr. Clinken and Mr. Steel Steve.
Dr. Clinken: Is this real? Where is the specimen in this photo now?
Dr. Clinken: This must be a photoshopped picture. It’s impossible to have such a complete skeletal specimen of the dodo.
Mr. Steel Steve: How do I contact you, Sir? This specimen is really beautiful. Here is my number, active 24 hours a day.
Dr. Clinken: This is my number, if you have the specimen, I would like to talk to you about it.
Mr. Steel Steve: Why isn’t there any reply? I haven’t received a phone call from you yet. Is this a fake photo?
Dr. Clinken: Is this a prank? That’s a shame. You’ve insulted nature and science!
Then there was the seventh, eighth, and ninth message...
Messages from Dr. Clinken got even more unfriendly as Li Du scrolled down the page. However, he persisted, and sent a message every single day.
So this is actually the dodo’s skeleton specimen? he thought. No wonder I couldn’t find anything on it—it went extinct long ago!
Li Du was not unfamiliar with the dodo. When he was in grade school, there had been a lesson on that bird.
The dodo was a type of flightless bird that lived in Mauritius. The dodo was the first human-recorded animal to be exterminated by human activity.
In Li Du’s memory, the whole chapter talking about the dodo was accompanied by words like "Protect the environment,""Maintain stability in the ecosystems," and so forth.
Li realized he knew nothing else about the dodo except that it was a large bird, it used to live in Mauritius, and that it was already extinct.
He decided to give Dr. Clinken a call.
A gruff voice answered on the other end of the phone. "Hello, this is the Metropolitan Museum of Birds. I'm George Clinken, who am I speaking to?"
Li Du responded, "Hello Dr. Clinken, my name is Li. I posted a picture of a bird skeletal specimen on facebook—"
"Dodo! The dodo skeletal specimen! You’re the one who posted that picture? Do you have the skeleton specimen of the dodo? Is that picture real? Or is it photoshopped?"
Li, interrupted and blasted with a load of questions from Dr. Clinken, had no choice but to answer the questions before continuing.
"Yes, I’m the one who posted the photo. I have the specimen with me and it is not a photoshopped picture. It’s exactly what the photo showed."
Dr. Clinken sounded really thrilled over the phone. "Oh my God! Please swear that this is not a prank?"
Li Du laughed, "It’s just a skeletal specimen, not a precious item—why would I joke about it? I just happened to get it by chance."
"Just a skeletal specimen? Not a precious item? It’s worth millions of dollars, my friend!" The professor cried out over the phone.
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