Auction of the Week: Sworders Out of the Ordinary Sale, February 12, 2019
This week's featured auction is the second annual 'Out of the Ordinary' sale at Sworders, which takes place on February 12. From unconventional art to antique advertising, historic memorabilia and some truly bizarre taxidermy, the sale has something for everyone – particularly if you're looking for the strange and unusual...
'Murder and Witchcraft' broadside
Estimate: £300 - £400
Mary Bateman was a con artist, thief and murderer known as 'The Yorkshire Witch', who ran countless scams and poisoned numerous people whilst convincing locals she had supernatural powers.
In March 1809 she was hung at York Castle for the murders of two women, alongside her accomplice Joseph Brown, in front of a crowd of thousands.
Following her execution Mary's corpse was put on public display, and her skeleton remained a popular exhibit at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds right up until 2015.
This original early 19th century broadside entitled 'Murder and Witchcraft' was printed by Marshall Gateshead following her death, in an attempt to capitalize of the public fascination with her crimes.
Vintage Elvis Presley waxwork head
Estimate: £250 - £350
A vintage 1960s waxwork museum head of a young Elvis Presley, complete with a floppy quiff in desperate need of a comb and some pomade.
Taxidermy monkey rock band
Estimate: £2,000 - £2,500
A modern taxidermy display featuring a group of three monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) rocking out with miniature electric guitars.
'The Most Daring Dangerous Dance Ever Performed' vintage poster
Estimate: £100 - £150
A vintage 1940s poster featuring Marqueez, an exotic stage performer known as the 'Sacred Dancer of the East'.
The poster advertises her "internationally famous Temptation Dance", described as the "most dangerous and daring dance ever performed", in which she covers her body in gold paint which "must not be worn on the human body for more than 20 minutes".
In reality Marqueez was Miss Laily Saldin of Lincolnshire (1918 – 1992), a dancer of part-Ceylonese parentage who began her career in London nightclubs.
Four vintage female fashion mannequins
Estimate: £1,500 - £2,000
A collection of four vintage plaster composition fashion mannequins, made by 'Siegel of Paris' and dating from the 1950s.
'Coiffeur American' African barber's shop sign
Estimate: £300 - £500
This hand-painted African barber's shop sign dates from the 1960s, and offers customers some of the most popular American hairstyles of the era, including the Jery Cut, Bank Clerk, Three Pady's, Gentle Cut, Fine Lady and Respect.
Napoleon's death mask cast
Estimate: £800 - £1,200
This 19th century cast of Napoleon Bonaparte's death mask was taken from the original, which was made by Napoleon's personal physician Francois Carlo Antommarchi in 1821.
It reportedly belonged to English barrister Alexander Meyrick Broadley, known as 'Broadley Pasha', who famously defended the Egyptian revolutionary Ahmad Ourabi against charges of insurrection in 1882.
Broadley amassed a large collection of Napoleana during his life, the majority of which (apart from this mask) was later bequeathed to Oxford University.
Monumental 'Game Of Thrones' needlework and embroidery panel
Estimate: £5,000 - £8,000
This monumental Game of Thrones embroidery panel, measuring almost six meters long by four meters tall, was made in 2016 by members of the U.K Embroiderers' Guild.
The panel was commissioned by HBO to celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray launch of the fifth season of the show, and depicts the sinister Night King and his White Walker army.
The panel took more than 140 people over 30,000 man hours to produce, and uses a combination of embroidery thread, leather, fabric, beads and metal thread, ribbons, Swarovski crystals, Japanese tissue paper, metallic powders, string and LED lights.
A large Cave Bear skeleton
Estimate: £15,000 - £20,000
A complete, original skeleton of an Ice Age cave bear skeleton (Ursus spelaeus), mounted in a walking pose and standing 117cm tall by 200cm long.
Cave bears lived throughout Europe during the Ice Age (Pleistocene), and are believed to have died out around 27,000 years ago. They were known to inhabit caves, where their remains are frequently discovered in well-preserved conditions, and were largely vegetarian.
A taxidermy Sperm Whale penis
Estimate: £3,500 - £4,500
A late 19th century taxidermy sperm whale penis (Physeter macrocephalus), stuffed with hair and tied at the end with rope.
This particularly impressive specimen measures 167cm long, and is 29cm wide at the thickest point.
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