1/11/2018 Latest News
Summers Place Auctions' 6th Evolution Sale offers the best in Natural History.
Summers Place Auctions started its annual Evolution auctions in 2013 with the auction of
Dippy, the Diplodocus, and since then has established itself as a leader in Natural History
auctions. This year's sale may not include a giant dinosaur, but when the 224 lots come up
for sale on Tuesday, 20th November, bidders will have one of the best selection of minerals,
fossils and taxidermy to choose from. The auction will also include a tribal art part with a
variety of price points.
Rupert van der Werff, Summers Place Auctions' Natural History specialist, enthuses: “We
are pleased to be offering such an outstanding variety of Natural History in our November
sale this year – most of the lots are of museum quality and there is such variety that we
basically have a ready-made museum in our saleroom. Such is the intrinsic fascination of
so many of the lots that it is difficult to choose highlights. Even the less highly priced items
are wonderful examples of their kind.This year's focus is on meteorites, but we also offer
some very fine examples of fossils, some of the best minerals I have seen in the last 20
years and particularly good examples of vintage taxidermy.”
Meteorites are always objects that arouse a great curiosity and we have five exceptional
examples from different area of the world on offer (see separate release).
As always, there are some stunning fossils, including a wonderfully decorative and truly
ancient crinoid, included in the auction as well as examples of more recent extinct
creatures – a mammoth and a moa.
The rare and impressive double crinoid plaque, Seirocrinus subangularis from Holzmaden,
Jurassic approx 180 million years ago is a gigantic 180cm high by 95cm. The fossil locality
at Holzmaden in Germany is celebrated for specimens that show beautiful preservation.
Sea lilies are among the most sought-after fossils from Holzmaden and this one is
estimated at £30,000-50,000. A large green river plaque with Diplomystus and Knightia
fish specimens is 96cm high by 12cm wide and carries an estimate of £4,500-6,000,
while an impressive 50cm high Heteromorph ammonite group from Morocco, Cretaceous
is estimated to fetch £4,000-6,000.
Among the extinct species is a large male mammoth skeleton from the Ice Age, found in
the Tomsk Region, Siberia. It is 2.4 m high and 4 m long and is estimated at £115,000-
150,000. Complete articulated skeletons of the extinct Moa are exceptionally rare, perhaps
even unique, in private hands. The pre 15th century bird from New Zealand is 114 cm high
and the last time a Moa was bought at auction in Britian was in the 1930s and it is unlikely
that another one will come up for sale and this one is priced at £20,000-30,000.
Exquisite mineral specimens are increasingly sought after as items with incredible
decorative appeal, and there are many examples on display that are simply stunning.
A giant septarian concretion table top with calcite inclusions from the Upper Volga region
in Russia is particularly decorative and carries an estimate of £4,000-5,000.
Vintage taxidermy is another area of collecting that increases in value and popularity year
on year, and for this sale Summers Place Auctions have assembled a number of fabulous
antique examples. One remarkable survival from the Victorian era is a colossal glass dome
housing no less than three plumed birds of paradise. At the time of its production, these
specimens would have been regarded as incredibly important and almost unique imports
from the mysterious island of New Guinea. Henry Shaw of Shrewsbury, one of the major
figures in early Victorian taxidermy assembled this and very few handblown domes of this
size survived over 150 years. It is expected to sell for £6,000-8,000.
Alongside it is another huge dome containing several South American cotingas, antique
examples of which are these days regrettably stripped of their feathers by fly tying
enthusiasts. These from circa 1880 are still in perfect condition and carry an estimate of
Also featured are some examples of New Zealand birds that, though common in the 19th
century, are now threatened with extinction, like this cased Weka from circa 1900, one of
New Zealand’s remarkable flightless birds. Less well known than the kiwi, it is nonetheless
an important part of that country’s avifauna and is estimated at £400-600.
A pair of Sea eagles from circa 1880 by Henry Ward, the father of Rowland who started
the family tradition of taxidermy, are expected to sell for £5,000-8,000, while a
magnificent example of a male Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallu) from circa 1920, beautifully
prepared by Rowland Ward of Piccadilly is expected to fetch £1,500-2,500. A case of four
red squirrels playing cards from the early 20th century carries an estimate of £3,000-
Stuffed giant tortoise - probably Chelonoidis vandenburghi, Isabela, from the Galapogos
circa 1900 and 52cm long is estimated at £2,000-4,000.
A pair of Balaenidae spp. jaw bones from the early 19th century, possibly North Atlantic
right whale each measuring approx 13ft long (397cm). These jaw bones were used as an
arch outside the home of a foundry owner who had supplied whaling ships with cast iron
“try pots” where they stood for many years before being removed into storage several
decades ago and is estimated at £2,000-4,000 while a massive antique whale vertebrae
(88cm wide) from an old antique collection is expected to sell for £3,000-5,000.
Of particular note is a 19th Century collection of Baltic amber all of which contain insects
in a mahogany case. The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber,
called Baltic amber or succinite. It dates from 44 million years ago (during the Eocene
epoch). It has been estimated that these forests created more than 100,000 tons of
amber. Baltic Amber is fossilized resin. Although not a mineral, it is generally classified as a
gemstone. Because it used to be soft and sticky, tree resin amber can sometimes contain
insects as in the present collection in which every specimen contains an insect or insect
part. This collection is reputed to have been formed by a Mr N.D Derbyshire in the late
19th/ early 20th century. A photograph of him and his wife is included in the lot, together
with a quantity of illustrated notes identifying the insects in each piece of amber which are
numbered. The whole collection is sold in one lot and estimated at £3,000-5,000.
Among the tribal art, particularly noteworthy are a Bambara Tjiwara head mask from Mali,
which is from the collection of Mr. H. Paulus and carries an estimate of £2,800-4,000.
A rare Lega wooden Katanda figure (DRC) is estimated at £2,700-4,000 and a Helmet
Mask “Bo Nun Amuin” from the Baule people of Ivory Coast, which was overpainted in
1960’s will fetch in the region of £1,800-2,200. This sacred and fearsome bush
cow/antelope men’s mask, kept in the bush and hidden from women and children, show
the serious and powerful potential of Baule spirits. Considered the most sacred of masks,
the Baule make use of the bo nun amuin mask (meaning ‘gods of the bush’ or ‘gods risen
from the bush’) to protect the village from outsider threats.
Five fine beaded flutes under glass dome by the Grassland people of Cameroon from the
1940’s come in a variety of geometric form, taking on the shape of a hollowed, stylised
figure that combines human and animal features and are expected to sell for £4,300- 4,700.
All in all, this is an intriguing sale of the very rare, the exceptionally beautiful, and the
For further information on the auction, please visit
www.summersplaceauctions.com or call 01403 331331.
For press information or images please contact Silke Lohmann
(firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07932 618754).
Summers Place Auctions are the world's leading auctioneers of Garden Statuary and Natural History.
The sales are held in the award winning 5000sq ft gallery nestling within 6 acres of walled gardens and the arboretum of
the Victorian mansion, Summers Place, outside Billingshurst in West Sussex.
2018 Sales: 20th November – Evolution Auction
2019 Sales: 12th & 13th March
June, September and November