11/11/2014 Natural History
Evolution - Advisory Day
Summers Place Auctions assemble some of the rarest extinct species
for Second Evolution Sale,
including 'Monty' the Mammoth
Summers Place Auctions will wow buyers with an array of extinct species included in its
second Evolution Sale on Wednesday, 26th November 2014 and invites anyone who
would like to find out more about their Natural History items to come to an advisory day
at the auction house. The free event will take place on Saturday, 22nd November 2014
from 11am to 3pm, and visitors will get a chance to show their treasures to Natural
History expert, Errol Fuller, and also see the preview of the sale, including the Mammoth,
which has now been named 'Monty'.
Errol Fuller says: “I am looking forward to meeting lots of people and give them a little
background on what they have brought along. We may even get a few more Hastings
fossils of which we have a great collection included in the auction. I am really pleased that
this sale includes so many rare and extinct species. We have managed to assemble some
of the best examples in this field and it's a great opportunity to see them all together.”
Monty, the Ice Age Woolly Mammoth skeleton complete with tusks, which is one of the
most iconic ancient mammals and expected to fetch £150,000 – 250,000, is undoubtedly
the highlight of the sale. Its impressive size of 3.5 metres (11'6”) height and 5.5 metres
(18') long, suggests it may be a male Mammoth and may have weighed up to six tonnes
in its lifetime. But the 30,000-50,000 year old creature, is not the only extinct animal,
included in the auction.
Another rare, extinct animal is the Moa – an emu-like bird in shape. There were several
different kinds of Moa and this particular example comes from a bird that belongs to the
genus Pachyornis. It used to dominate the New Zealand landscape until the coming of
man around a thousand years ago. No articulated skeleton of a moa has been offered for
sale at auction in Britain since the 1930s and it is unlikely that one will be offered again in
the near future. It is estimated to sell for £70,000 – 100,000.
The Elephant Bird (Aepyornis) egg is particularly fascinating. The egg is over a foot in
length (30 cm) and larger than any known dinosaur egg. In fact Elephant Bird eggs are
the largest eggs ever recorded and engineers have calculated that structurally and
functionally it is impossible for an egg to be any larger. Extinct for some 500 years, the
Elephant Bird lived only in Madagascar and looked like a gigantic ostrich, but was much
heavier and more ponderous. Rare, intact examples of the eggs of this great wonder of
the avian world are among the most prized of all natural history trophies. This egg is
estimated to fetch £30,000 - £50,000.
The famous Passenger Pigeon, which only died out a hundred years ago (the last one
died in a US zoo on the 1st September 1914) is one of only a few stuffed examples in
existence. The example included in the sale is a female and in remarkably good condition,
it was prepared around 1860 and is estimated at £4,000 - £6,000. It is probably
unimaginable to us, that a bird which is now completely extinct, existed in billions upon
billions at the start of the nineteenth century (see separate release).
An impressive cave bear, possibly from Romania or Austria, has an estimate of £20,000 –
25,000. This 125 cm high and 192 cm long bear, which lived during the Pleistocene and
became extinct about 27,500 years ago, is a rare example of a complete skeleton of a
cave bear, rather than one made up of different specimens.
The sale also includes some of the best examples of fossils from around the world -
the famous Holzmaden region in Germany, the Green River in the US and some
wonderful examples from Hastings. Over 50 lots from a private German collection of
fossils include a particularly unusual Ichthyosaur from Holzmaden, which has been
preserved lying on its stomach, not its side, and is almost 150 cm long. It carries an
estimate of £8,000 - £12,000.
Twelve lots included in the sale come from an extraordinary collection formed by two
Sussex collectors who actively searched the coastline of the Hastings area in all weathers
and conditions, following in the footsteps of the celebrated 19th century palaeontologist
Gideon Mantell. Among them is an Iguanodon dinosaur endocranial cast with possible soft
tissue preservation, which was found at Bexhill and is expected to sell for £30,000 –
50,000, while an exceptional and rare three dimensional preserved Lepidotus mantelli
head and part of the body has an estimate of £11,000 – 15,000.
Friday 21st to Tuesday 25th November 10am to 4pm and on the
morning of the sale, or by appointment at Summers Place Auctions, The Walled
Garden, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9AB. The catalogue will be available a
month before the sale and will be fully illustrated on the website.
For further information on the auction, please visit
www.summersplaceauctions.com or call 01403 331331. For press information,
images or to interview any of the specialists, please contact Silke Lohmann
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07932 618754).
Notes to editors:
'Monty', the Mammoth
The Woolly Mammoth was one of the most celebrated creatures ever to walk the earth, the most famous animal of the Ice Age, which died out about 10,000 years ago.
Imagine the Mammoth covered in fur – long fur on top with a shorter undercoat – and although quite similar to today's elephant, it had smaller ears and a shorter tail to minimise frostbite and heat loss, so it was well adapted for the ice age. Its habitat was the mammoth steppe, stretching across northern Eurasia and North America, so its diet was mainly grass and sedges, which explains why it only had four molar teeth, and also stunning long, curved tusks. The woolly Mammoth coexisted with early humans, who hunted them for food and used its bones and tusks for making art, which also explains why complete skeletons are so rare. Due to its size the Mammoth, which has been part of an old Eastern European private collection for many
years, has not been mounted until now.
Summers Place Auctions are the world's leading auctioneers of Garden Statuary and fossil decoration. The sales are held in the new award winning 5000sq ft gallery nestling within 6 acres of walled gardens and the arboretum of the Victorian mansion, Summers Place. Their specialist sales of Sculpture and Design for the House and Garden in May and October include examples of the finest garden ornaments. Regular Natural History sales are also taking place with the main sale in November.
Errol Fuller is the curator for the second Evolution sale. He was instrumental in setting up the first sale last year with the sale of 'Misty', the Diplodocus. Errol is a renowned natural history authority and author of several books on extinct species and birds of paradise, including a recent book, co-authored with Sir David Attenborough ( Drawn from Paradise ) and his latest book Voodoo Salon is an in-depth introduction to taxidermy. He has curated several exhibitions, including the acclaimed Lost Worlds Exhibition in 2004 in Qatar. Errol is also chairman of the Natural History vetting committees of the leading London Antiques Fairs.