Antique Taxidermy is the art of stuffing, preparing and preserving the skins, bodies and heads of animals.
Brief history and description
Taxidermy is a style of ancient folk art that has been practised for thousands of years, and first originated when hunting and gathering tribes used salts and minerals to preserve animal skins for shelter or clothing.
In Britain, taxidermy first became popular during the 1700s, but by the 1800s the art of taxidermy had evolved into stuffing dead animals in order to display their bodies and/or heads as hunting trophies.
Guide for collectors
Taxidermy frogs, giant squid beaks, possums, piranhas, andean condors, bovine horns, woodcocks, auks and hummingbirds are all considered to be rare. Taxidermy birds are considered to be valuable, especially if they are placed inside of a frame or bird cage, or on top of a branch or perch.
Restoration of an antique taxidermy item is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. However, restoring an antique taxidermy item may decrease its value.
For more information regarding antique taxidermy items, visit Antique Taxidermy's official website or Van Ingen Mysore.
Phillips de Pury & Company in New York sold a taxidermy Victorian bird with an antique pocket watch for $2,800 in March of 2010.
Showplace Antique + Design Center in New York sold a large taxidermy turtle (34" x 21") for $1,500 in May of 2007, another large taxidermy turtle of the same dimensions for $1,100 in June of 2007 and a small taxidermy turtle (8" x 4.5") for $55 in April of 2007.
Myers Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida sold a 19th century rhinoceros foot and tusk-covered rhino box for $1,100 in February of 2008.
Kamelot Auctions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sold a full-bodied taxidermy alligator mounted on an oak board for $750 in April of 2007.
Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Florida sold a taxidermy arctic greyling fish mounted on a wooden plaque for $20 in October of 2006, and a taxidermy trout mounted on a cypress board for $40 in October of 2006.