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Stuffed animals to be sold at auction

We were recently features in the Telegraph for one of our more unusual lots: a collection of stuffed mythical animals.

'A collection of bizarre stuffed animals including a unicorn, flying cat, yeti, and other curious creatures purportedly discovered by a Victorian adventurer are to be sold at auction.'

The uncorn which will be auctioned. Photo: Daniel Rushall/BNPS

The fictional menagerie of deceased critters also boasts an extended sausage dog, furry fish, mermaid and a bizarre bat-like winged beast with webbed feet.They formed part of a museum of taxidermy that hasclosed and now are to go under the hammer.

'They were billed in the 19th century as having been brought to the UK by fictional adventurer Professor Copperthwaite.

Some Victorians might even have believed these impossible creatures existed because some, like the Siamese sheep, were real.

Others such as the Jackalope - a nearly extinct antlered species of rabbit "found almost exclusively on the high plains of Wyoming" - were not.

The mermaid was said to have been purchased from a man in Calcutta from a Japanese sailor and the unicorn is labelled "Monoceros unicornis."

And the "cheasant" or "phicken" was said to be a cross between a domestic fowl and ornamental pheasant.

The 7ft yeti was given the authoritative-sounding name of Yeti Gigantes Abomanalis, or abominable snowman.

This example was said to have been discovered entombed in a crevasse in which he had fallen on Nehru, close to the border with Azerbaijan.

The museum on the Isle of Wight where the stuffed creatures were exhibited was called the Brading Experience and has closed due to lack of visitors.

Rupert Perry-Warnes, from Duke's auction house in Dorchester, is selling the bizarre creatures at a sale on April 13 along with more normal stuffed animals.

He said: "We are selling the animals without reserves and they must all go. We have real animals in the sale but also these peculiar fictional ones.

"They were said to have been discovered by a Professor Copperthwaite and during the 19th century people might well have believed them.

"There is a two headed sheep and a Siamese sheep which were real, so the others might not have looked too out of place.

"They are well put together so you can understand why people might have been fooled.

"They were items that Victorians could have boasted about owning because no one else would have had such things.

"All the animals must be sold, so there are no reserves. The strange webb-footed creature we estimate at up to 500 pounds, but we just don't know about the others."'


Dukes Admin: 11th Apr 2010 16:40:00