Summers Place Auctions recently announced that it will be including a family of four mammoth skeletons in its 5th ‘Evolution’ Sale on 21st November. It will be the rst time that a family of these ice age giants will be offered for sale and they are expected to sell in the region of £250,000-400,000.
The family consists of a male and female mammoth, a teenage daughter and a one-year- old baby, all found together during building works near the Siberian city of Tomsk, in the south-west of the great Siberian Taiga in 2002. Construction workers noticed some bones close to where they had started work, so an expedition was organised by Trias Geo and as the family group of four was at the surface it was decided that they could easily be excavated.
They then became part of the company’s collection and after an exhibition tour through Germany and Switzerland between 2004 and 2007, they are now coming up for auction.
Rupert van der Werff, Summers Place Auctions’ natural history specialist, says: “I was really excited to see the mammoths as a group for the first time a few months ago, but it was quite a thrill when they arrived in 16 boxes in our gallery in Billingshurst. ‘Building’ a skeleton comes with a lot of challenges, imagine it to be a bit like doing a rather difficult 3-D puzzle. Having sold an individual mammoth in 2014 for £150,000, we hope that this unique family group will find a new home, possibly in a museum, a company’s atrium or a private collection somewhere.”
However, if you can’t quite stretch to a family of mammoths, how about a pair of great bustards? Mounted by the great Rowland Ward in 1883, they are accompanied by an exciting collection of game birds including see-see partridges and Himalayan snowcocks.
They are all particularly fine examples of the taxidermist’s art and were almost certainly prepared by Ward himself at the peak of his career. All were brought back by one family’s expedition to Asia in the early 1880s and have been kept in perfect condition, out of the sun- light, so their colouring is magnicent for such an old age. Estimates range from £5,000-8,000 down to about £1,500-2,500.