19th Century Walrus Skull Makes Waves at Auction

A fine example of a 19th century North American Walrus skull was the stand-out lot in Tennants’ sale of Natural History and Taxidermy on 17th May. In the days leading up to the sale, there had been much interest in the skull, but competitive bidding from multiple buyers in the room, on the phone and online drove the price well above the £800-1,200 estimate to reach £3,200.

The skull had a wonderful patina, and was in very good condition; the solid, rounded shape with the oversize tusks made a striking, sculptural piece, which attracted a mix of private and trade buyers from both the antiques and interiors sectors. Specialist Robbie Bright commented: ‘Walrus skulls rarely come up for sale at auction, and this was a particularly attractive example – with just the right amount of age and patina’.

Other striking head mounts that sold well were an American Brown Bear (hammer price £700), and a Moose (hammer price £850), but, surprisingly, cased birds and fish native to the UK saw a marked upswing in prices, particularly those of quality and bearing the name of a well-known taxidermist. A large case of twenty-four birds, c.1930 reached a respectable £380, and a good cased Pike caught on the river Medway in the 1960s made £550 against an estimate of £250-350.

The sale resulted in a total Hammer Price of £36,620 with 91% of the 224 lots sold.

We are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Natural History and Taxidermy will take place on 20th September, please contact us on 01969 623780 or enquiry@tennants-ltd.co.uk for details.

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