£26,000 charged for rhino head

19th September 2017

The stuffed and mounted head of a black rhinoceros sold for £26,000 at an auction in the Cotswolds last week.

The head of the rhino, shot by a big game hunter on the Elbolossa Plains, British East Africa on February 9, 1905 was the standout lot in the taxidermy section of Moore Allen & Innocent’s Sporting Sale in Cirencester on Friday, September 15.

When taxes and buyer’s premium are included, the successful bidder paid £31,600 for the antique.

In the same sale, a 20th century rhino horn walking cane, measuring 84cm long, sold for £1,600 – the third highest lot price of the day.

Elsewhere in the taxidermy section, a cased 4lb 4ozs chub, caught by fisherman H Taylor on October 7, 1936 on the River Blythe and preserved by taxidermist W.F. Homer of Forest Gate, London achieved £600 while a stuffed and mounted English Setter in sleeping position sold for £500.

English setter Morwenna made several television appearances before her death in 1985, aged 14, including her debut as a deceased dog on an operating table in All Creatures Great and Small, and subsequent appearances – alive – scampering around the Wensleydale countryside in the same show.

Stuffed by taxidermist Mike Bright of Middleham, Yorkshire she continued to provide entertainment when her owner moved to Cyprus in 1989, and caused confusion among Cyprian officials who could not understand why someone would be applying for an import licence for a deceased animal. Morwenna finally made the trip without a licence, as part of a consignment of furniture.

A stuffed Warthog shoulder mount with tusks sold for £500 while a collection of stuffed and mounted birds, preserved by Sheals of Belfast in the early 20th century, including a dipper, tern, pied blackbird, golden eye, magpie, kingfisher, blue tit and goldcrest sold for £420.

From the sporting pictures section, an oil on canvas by Michael Lyne (1912-1989) of his horse Roland, drinking by the water’s edge, achieved £1,800 – the second highest lot price of the day.

Milking the Cow, a black and white signed etching after Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe sold for £720, while a further engraving after the same artist, Goshawk Upon a Post, achieved £440.

In a large firearms section the standout lot was a Thomas Fletcher of Gloucester 50 cartridge magazine, five various shot/powder flasks including a Battie patent, James Dickson brass and leather shot flask, etc and a bag containing various shot gun/fire arm requisites including a J & J W Hawksley 12 bore cartridge extractor, various cap holders, vices and other tools and tooling. The lot achieved £920.

A modern mahogany gun cabinet as a Victorian display cabinet by 21st Century Antiques of Ripley Surrey made £880, and three shotguns – an AYA No 2 12 bore shotgun, double barrel side by side, with sidelock ejector and 30-inch barrels; an AYA no 2 12 bore shotgun, double barrel, side by side, with side lock ejector 26-inch barrels; and a Beretta Special Skeet 12 bore shotgun, double barrel, over and under, with box lock, ejector and 28" barrels – sold for £850, £750, and £620 respectively.

Elsewhere in the sale, two antler horns worked into electrolier light fittings sold for £650 and £600, a cased model of a racing scull, bearing a paper label inscription reading: "Model Racing Boat Presented to William Clatworthy by William Phelps October 14th 1904” sold for £480, a leather drinks case with ice bucket and bar tools made £440, and a horse girth mounted with brass bells, the top as a deer head and two bells interspersed with crossed muskets achieved £420.

The sale of rhino horn and ivory is strictly governed by international law. For more information about selling rhino horn and ivory products, visit www.mooreallen.co.uk