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Old Chicken McNuggets become hot collectables: Nugget sold for $8,100 by H-Town native starts craze

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Jay “McNugget” Leno even has a visible ear! eBay
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Selling for more than $8,000 on eBay, a chicken nugget resembling the nation’s first president has sparked a new trend of sorts. eBay
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Once you see the bottom potion as George’s ruffled collar, the rest of the profile is fairly easy to recognize. eBay
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George Washington (1732–1799) Gilbert Stuart, Portrait of George Washington
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In England, a woman discovered Homer Simpson among her McNuggets. eBay
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According a quick Internet search, the chances of finding a four-leaf clover are roughly one in 10,000 . . . But the odds of finding a Chicken McNugget shaped like George Washington?

Astronomical, obviously?

Well, if you're Nebraska resident Rebekah Speight, a “99-cent McNugget Tuesday” in 2009 was your lucky day.

"I have several children very close in age, so going out to eat is kind of a big deal for us," Speight told CultureMap in a phone interview. "When the kids went outside to play, I looked over at their meals and was like 'Hey, you guys didn't finish your food.' "

"I held it up and realized it looked just like George Washington," Speight said. "Once you catch a glimpse of him there, it's all you see when you look at the nugget."

But, on closer inspection of one uneaten nugget, she started to laugh.

"I held it up and realized it looked just like George Washington," she said. "Once you catch a glimpse of him there, it's all you see when you look at the nugget." 

For three years, the piece of presidential chicken sat in the family freezer, entertaining house guests and serving as an occasional show-and-tell prop. But in February, Speight said that ol' George was "called to a higher purpose."

"We decided to put it on eBay to raise money to send kids to church camp," said Speight, who grew up in the Houston area. "I sent out a few emails to raise awareness about the fundraiser and it ended up all over Facebook and Twitter. Then it was in articles from all the countries — it went totally viral."

On Monday, the George Washington McNugget auction closed at $8,100.

From the Midwest to South East England

Since Speight's international press, nugget look-a-likes have come out of the woodwork.

On the southern coast of England, a young diner came across Homer Simpson in her box of McNuggets and immediately knew what to do.

"I did notice the eBay article of the woman selling the nugget to get some children into a camp," mummaloves2shop told CultureMap via email. "I though it was a wonderful story, but really didn't think I would come across my own little uncanny nugget."

Just west of Chicago in Rockford, Ill., a man and his ex-girlfriend ordered a 10-pack of McNuggets from their local McDonald's, but mistakenly received a box of 50.

"Since it was way too many for us to eat," horrorvhsnerd wrote through eBay's message system, "we dumped the remainder on my coffee table and started finding ones that looked like Godzilla, Frankenstein, and other creatures. We started creating Celebrity Death Matches with the nuggets for dumb fun."

Leno beat Godzilla in a final bout, he said, earning the talk show nugget a special home in the freezer. When he heard about Speight's George Washington find, Jay "McNugget" Leno went straight to eBay.

"This nugget looks like the real deal," he wrote. "Lips, nose, eye and that glorious chin!"

Proceeds from both the Homer and Jay auctions will go to charity.

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