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10 Lots to Watch - Natural History & Taxidermy Sale 2nd September

3rd August 2022. By Robbie Bright

Robbie Bright picks his 10 favourite lots in the Natural History & Taxidermy Sale on 2nd September. 


Lot 68

Conchology: Giant Clam Shell (Tridacna gigas), circa early 20th century, a complete full shell, left half 45.5cm by 29cm, right half 45.5cm by 30cm, height when both halves together 30cm.

The Giant Clam is the largest living bivalve mollusc. They inhabit the shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans and measure as much as 1.2m across, and have an average lifespan of 100 years or more. Estimate: £500 - £700


Lot 103

Entomology/Coleoptera: A Large Collection of British & Tropical Butterflies, Including Insects & Beetles, circa early 20th - late 20th century, a superb large and interesting collection of five hundred and forty eight various British & European Butterflies, World Tropical Butterflies, large Leaf & Stick Insects, Bees, Wasps, Cicadas, Grasshoppers, Beetles, Dragonflies, Ants, Millipede, and Moths, the majority with accompanying hand written data index per drawer, interesting British Butterfly examples to include - Scotch Argus (extinct from local on data Grassington), Chequered Skippers (Northants), High Brown Fritillaries (extinct from local on data), Large Tortoiseshell New Forrest Surrey 1990-1901, Irish Marsh Fritillaries, Purple Emperor Symonds Yat July 1906, Large Copper Lycaena dispar batarvus Holland June 1954 genuine Dutch example, Black Hairstreaks (Miriam Rothschild estate), Large Blues (pair from Bude 1899-1903), Papiliomachaon Swallowtail (ex Wicken Fen, Cambs), Black Veined Whites (east Kent 1904), all contained within a thirty drawer converted 1960's television cabinet with bi-folding doors, each drawer with protective glass cover, 93cm by 42cm by 83cm Estimate: £1,000 - £1,500


Lot 104

Entomology/Coleoptera: A Fine Quality Entomology Collectors Cabinet, circa early 20th century, a twenty four drawer mahogany collectors cabinet, the interior 24 drawers numbered 41-64, each with protective glass cover, enclosed within a fine quality flame mahogany cabinet with single hinged door, a single drawer to the top bearing gilt text - "The Dr P.B. Mason Collection of British Coleoptera, Presented By Mrs J.P. Thomasson 1911", cabinet dimensions - 49.5cm by 38cm by 131.5cm, drawer dimensions - 45cm by 38cm by 4.5cm, internal drawer dimensions - 40.5cm by 32.5cm by 2cm, (empty). Estimate: £800 - £1,200


Lot 180 

Taxidermy: A Rare & Unusual Wall Cased Ocean Sunfish or Common Mola (Mola mola), caught off the coast of Hartlepool UK in 1995, mounted and cased by A.J. Armitstead, Taxidermy, Darlington, Co Durham, a preserved full mount juvenile Ocean sunfish in side on profile, set against a graduated grey painted back drop, enclosed within a wall hanging picture frame style five-glass oak framed display case, 55.5cm by 9cm by 70cm excluding outer frame, signed and dated to interior lower left, bearing taxidermist's full paper trade label to verso, including attached original newspaper cutting - "Off course .... but not on the menu, a Rare tropical fish brought shoppers to a standstill yesterday after being netted hundreds of miles from its native waters. The bizarre-looking sunfish went on display at a Darlington fishmongers attracting curious looks from people using the town's indoor market. Fully grown, the sunfish can be 15ft long and weigh 4000lb but the Darlington example weighed in at just 7.5lb. it normally inhabits tropical or sub-tropical seas though it has been known to travel in the Gulf Stream, which runs down the west coast of Britain not the east, where it was caught. It was netted on Thursday by the Hartlepool trawler "The Amanda" and appeared yesterday at P. A. Liddle and Sons fish merchants. Jonathan Liddle said; "I have been doing this for 15 years and have never seen one of these in my life." The fish itself is a strange truncated shape with the scaleless body, thick elastic skin and long dorsal and anal fins. But it was for display purposes only because its flesh while not poisonous, is inedible." Estimate: £350 - £450


Lot 260

Minerals/Fossils: A Large Brazilian Amethyst Geode Cathedral, a superb large Amethyst geode cathedral of upright form, 22cm by 64.5cm Estimate: £250 - £350


Lot 271

Taxidermy: Bengal Tiger Skin Rug (Panthera tigris tigris), by Edward Gerrard & Sons, 61 College Place, Camden, London, a juvenile skin rug with head mount, jaw agape, glass eyes, mounted upon typical original brown felt backing, nose to tail 227cm, across the forelimbs 134cm, across the rear limbs 122cm, bearing original taxidermist's trade label to underside Estimate: £1,200 - £1,800


Lot 355

Taxidermy: A Large Late Victorian Diorama of Tropical Birds, circa 1840-1860, by John Leadbeater & Son, Ornithologists & Natural History Agents, 19 Brewer Street, Golden Square, London, a large high quality impressive display of tropical birds including- Himalayan Monal, Brazilian Tanager, Ring-necked Parakeet, Blue Jay, Budgerigar, Greater Bird of Paradise, Bohemian Waxwing, Indian Roller, Scarlet-rumped Cacique, Mango Hummingbird, Mallee Ringneck, Blue-gray Tanager, Greater Raquet-tailed Drongo, Red-legged Honeycreeper's, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-crested Laughing Thrush, White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Indian Pitta, Malabar-whistling Thrush, Common Flameback Woodpecker, Rufous Treepie, Red-crowned Barbet, Purple Sunbird, Hermit Hummingbird, etc, all mounted upon a centrally positioned tree, amidst a natural setting of tall dry grasses, ferns and fauna, set against a watercolour painted back drop, above gritted groundwork, enclosed within a large period ebonised three-glass display case, 78.5cm by 29cm by 106cm, bearing over-painted paper trade label to verso. Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000


Lot 358

Taxidermy: Indian Leopard Skin Rug (Panthera pardus fusca), dated to 1933, by Van Ingen & Van Ingen, Taxidermist's, Mysore, India, no.109040, a superb high quality young adult female skin rug with snarling open-mouthed head mount, glass eyes, backed on to typical Van Ingen & Van Ingen canvas backing, with black felt scalloped border, 205cm long nose to tail, 134cm wide across forelimbs, unusual to have eye brow whiskers and facial whiskers still present, Van Ingen Van Ingen care label to verso, stencilled number - 109040 to canvas verso. Entry within gamebook - taken by Capt W.E.G. Hemming, R.A, on Monday 01st of May 1933, Jarida, Central India, "shot in daylight stealing from a Tigers kill, on the road to Biba". Later in his service Capt W.E.G. Hemming became Major General commanding the UK garrison in Malta post-war, photographed in Malta with Lord Mountbatten and the Duke of Edinburgh to his left, to include photocopies of the original gamebook entry, photograph of Major General Hemming with the Duke of Edinburgh and Lord Mountbatten, and entry into the Van Ingen & Van Ingen order books. Estimate: £1,000 - £1,500


Lot 363

Taxidermy: A Cased Pair of Oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis), circa 1900-1914, by Rowland Ward, The Gallery of Natural History and Artistic Treatment, 167 Piccadilly, London, a superb pair of full mount adult Oilbirds, both perched upon a painted faux rock ledge, above painted rockwork beneath, set against a simulated cave wall back drop, enclosed within a typical four-glass display case, 51.5cm by 31cm by 67cm, bearing taxidermist's partial paper trade label to verso.

The Oilbird locally known as the guácharo is a bird species found in the northern areas of South America including the Caribbean island of Trinidad, nesting in colonies within caves, oilbirds are nocturnal feeders on the fruits of oil palm and tropical laurels. They are the only nocturnal flying fruit-eating birds in the World (the Kakapo, also nocturnal, is flightless). They forage at night, with specially adapted eyesight. However they navigate by echolocation in the same way as bats, one of the few birds to do so. They produce a high-pitched clicking sound of around 2 khz that is audible to humans. Estimate: £2,000 - £3,000


Lot 369

Natural History: A Cased Re-creation of a Dodo (†Raphus cucullatus), circa 2013, by World Renowned Taxidermist, Carl Church, Pickering, Nth Yks, a fantastic reproduction of the extinct Dodo, a full mount adult stood with head turning to the left in startled pose with beak agape, protecting her egg below within a shallow nest site, mounted upon sand and pebble covered groundwork, enclosed within a large oak framed five-glass display case supported upon a bespoke oak cabinet base, 86cm by 56cm by 184cm overall, upper cabinet 86cm by 56cm by 90cm, bearing taxidermist's circular ivorine plaque to base lower front left, a rare opportunity to purchase one of these fabulous creations, only five such examples have ever been created by Carl Church.

Foreword by Carl Church - "I began my first recreation dodo out of curiosity in2006 and was fortunate enough to be able to take measurements from a real dodo skeleton. Working at life size, taking references from books, paintings and other dodos, I began sculpting with modelling wax. When I decided to re-create rather than merely sculpt a dodo, I focused on individual body parts, covering the model with turkey skins and beginning the feathering process from my knowledge of bird anatomy. The dodo gradually took shape, becoming a feathered, life-sized bird. Estimate: £10,000 - £15,000

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