News & Insights

Bidders Go Nuts for Card Playing Squirrels

22nd June 2020.

A rare late 19th century anthropomorphic diorama of red squirrels playing cards sold for £11,000 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers sale of Natural History and Taxidermy on 19th June. The case was estimated to sell for £3,500-5,500, but a host of bidders taking part in the sale online and on the telephone battled it out to secure this prized piece.

The intricately furnished diorama was reputedly given to the vendor’s grandfather in lieu of a debt in the early 20th century and has never before been on the open market. Anthropomorphic taxidermy came to the fore in the mid-19th century. Once described as out of fashion and in bad taste, the art of dressing and arranging animals in human guise married the Victorian passions of whimsical fantasy, natural history and the macabre, and is once more attracting enthusiastic followers.

Elsewhere in the sale interesting lots of antique taxidermy and natural history continued to sell strongly, with bidders focusing on the rare pieces and those in excellent condition. Highlights included a blond Tataruga Turtle shell, circa 1900-1930 which sold for £1,800 (plus b.p.), beating the £1,000-1,500 estimate.

The sale resulted in a total Hammer Price of £92,570 with 92% of the 252 lots sold.

A further tranche of 85 lots of Natural History and Taxidermy will be sold in a Timed Auction from 26th June – 2nd July. VIEW SALE CALENDAR

All auction entries are sold strictly in accordance with CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) regulations, and any necessary licences or Pre-sale approvals are obtained from Animal Health, Bristol.

We are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Natural History and Taxidermy which will take place on 28th October, please contact us on 01969 623780 or for details.



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