Before decimalisation in the 1970s, it was common for a bob to be left under a pillow in exchange for a tooth. After decimalisation, a bob became ten pence. This state of affairs lasted until the affluent eighties when teeth doubled in value, out pacing the increases even in gold, to twenty-pence a tooth.
At the turn of the century the next increase in the value of teeth was to more than double, reaching the giddy heights of fifty pence a tooth.
"We were amazed at the sudden increase in value," said Denise Tine, head of the Tooth Fairy Teeth Collection Unit. "Obviously, we have to make a profit, and we're selling on the teeth currently for a quid a tooth. This is up quite considerably from the 1970s. If gold had kept pace, one kilo would now pay off the UK debt."
According to the Tooth Fairy Teeth Collection Unit, the price they sell teeth on for fluctuates, but they keep the amount they give to children consistent, as children are not very good in dealing with the fact that the value of something can fall as well as rise.
However, there has been a crash in the value of enamel, the major component in teeth.
"We can't sustain fifty pence a tooth and the vast collection network we have," said Denise. "The best we can do in this current clime is forty-eight pence."
The Tooth Fairy Teeth Collection Unit will therefore be leaving forty-eight pence under pillows until the value of enamel starts to climb again.
"Fifty pence pieces were fairly easy to deal with," said Denise. "One coin, one tooth. We could carry them easily, and we and a dispenser. Now we're leaving two twenty pence pieces, a five pence piece, a two pence piece and a one pence piece. It's a nightmare. We're occasionally missing a tooth. All we can do is apologise to those children we miss, and apologise even more to those children we leave a tonne of loose change for."