Fred Williams Jr. keeps his toilet seat in a safety deposit box - and for good reason. He thinks it might be worth from about $6,000 to as much as $100,000.
Either way, it's definitely nothing to sniff at.
The 12-pound pearly acrylic throne is inlaid with a commodious coronation of diamonds and rubies, jade and gemstone hearts, strands of pearl jewelry - a crown of rare minerals in a virtual blizzard of gold flakes.
Not bad for an item rescued from the trash some 22 years ago.
Williams said he was helping a neighbor clean out her trailer so she could move when he first came upon the uniquely extravagant hedge against inflation.
"I was throwing away pots and pans and all sorts of stuff when I found the seat," he said. "I asked her what she wanted to do with it and she said to throw it away with the rest of the stuff because it was broken."
So what exactly was broken? The intricate gold-leaf leaves that offset a cluster of diamonds in the centerpiece?
"The hinges," Williams explained.
Not one to look a gilded gift horse in the mouth, the 73-year-old Dayton resident quickly replaced the broken hinges and mounted the regal seat onto plywood.
He guesses the replacement hinges cost him about $2.39.
"My father was a mineralogist," he said. "Boy, was he excited. He was rubbing his hands together when I showed him."
Williams has been trying to get the royal flush-er appraised for years, but says he can't find a gemologist or mineralogist willing to touch it.
While he's never used it, he has ideas of who might.
"Maybe Elvis?" he suggests. "Jennifer Lopez?"
When he listed the seat on eBay in 2003, he says he got about 600 page views but the bidding was all too low-flow. The opening price was $60,000.
"This is absolutely no joke," read the ad. "This is truly the best gift for that hard-to- buy-for person in your life. ..."
It also goes well with a platinum plunger and disposable lace doily toilet seat covers.
So what's the bottom line?
"I want to get it appraised before I sell it," Williams said, who says he plans to use half of the proceeds to pay his bills and give the other half to the Carson City Post of the Korean War Veterans Association, to which he serves as vice president.
"I remember seeing similar seats hanging in the gift shop of the MGM (now the Hilton) in Reno," he said. "I think they were for sale for about $5,000."
The Sultan of Brunei is rumored to have similar tastes in bathroom bling. Saddam Hussein had golden toilet seats before trading down for a Geneva Convention-style standard porcelain model sometime after March 2003.
Williams puts the seat back into its nondescript blue bag.
"Never thought I'd own one," he says.
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.