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Tobago Bill: Jaws of Death

Posted by Peg Boettcher at

Old Tobago Bill, as he was known in the last half of the eighteenth century, was the most feared shark in the world. Measuring over 35 feet long, he terrorized the waters off the coast of Panama. Now all that remains of him are his gaping jaws, studded with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Gigantic as he was, he would have been no match for his ancient ancestor, the megalodon. Before this monster Megalodon jaws with men insidedied out five million years ago, it reached 60 feet in length... the size of an articulated city bus! Today, the whale shark is the largest fish in the world. It has been measured at 50 feet long, but it's no threat... it eats only microscopic plankton. Of the 400 species of sharks currently cruising the waters of the world, only a small fraction have been known to bother humans. The great white shark is the worst offender, followed closely by the tiger shark – whose nickname is “the garbage can with fins.” Read the list below and you will see why!

  • Six hens and a rooster
  • 25 quart bottles of Vichy Water bound together with a wire hoop
  • Most of a reindeer
  • Ship's scraper
  • Six horseshoe crabs
  • Three bottles of beer
  • Blue penguin
  • Piece of bark from an oak tree
  • Porpoise parts
  • 100-pound loggerhead turtleHandbag containing three shillings, a powder-puff, and a wristwatch
  • Sting rays
  • Full-grown spaniel dog
  • Seaweed
  • Galapagos seal pup
  • Orange peel
  • Squids
  • 25-pound lump of whale blubber and seven strands of whalebone
  • Paper cups
  • Yellow-billed cuckoo Drum
  • Unexploded munitions
  • Rubber tire
  • Half a crocodile
  • Sheep's hind leg
  • Three gulls
  • Two cans of unopened peas
  • Assorted bike parts
  • License plates
  • Sacking
  • Jars
  • Rubber sheeting
  • Lumps of coal
  • Boat cushions
  • Clothing
  • Driftwood


Original 14 by 4.5 inch sign hand-lettered by J.E. Standley, founder of Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Jules Charbneau (sign spelling is incorrect) was Standley's son-in-law, having wed Daddy's second daughter Caroline in 1904. 

    Peg Boettcher has been wrangling curios and working for Ye Olde Curiosity Shop since 2004.

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