The 7 Weirdest Things That People Once Used As Status Symbols

1. Rotting Pineapples

Pineapples were a big sign of wealth in the 17th and 18th centuries. For example, a local pineapple was worth £5,000 today, so any fruit that wasn't eaten was put on show.

2. Tulip Mania

The fad that nearly bankrupted a country. 17th century Holland went absolutely crazy for the flower. As the center of the East Indies trade, the nation’s merchants displayed their new wealth by surrounding their estates with gardens.

3. Board Games

We play board games to pass the time now, but when they first came out, they were a sign of wealth. Mark Hall is a historian at the Perth Museum & Art Gallery and wrote a paper with someone else.

4. Long Pointed Shoes

The Crackowe (or poulaine, the name of the pointed tip) was a long pointed shoe popular in the late Middle Ages. The tip was anywhere from six to twenty-four inches in length.

5. Massive Displays Of Sugar

Huge sugar displays came to Europe from Africa and the Middle East. They were a way to show off wealth and power by eating in public. Sugar was hard to find and cost a lot.

6. Teeth

In Victorian times, people would blacken their teeth to show that they could buy the tooth-destroying material. This was related to the sugar habit. Changing teeth as a sign of social rank has been common in many cultures:

7. Ornamental Hermits and Follies

English and German lords thought that no farm was complete without a retreat. This is something we've talked about before, but it's worth saying again.