Mounted animals on my walls? No way!
  • A stuffed bird
  • A turkey stuffed, but not for Thanksgiving
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    Auction Finds

    More poor stuffed animals

    Somewhere an elephant or rhinoceros is missing a foot, a fox is missing a mate, a piranha is not terrorizing other fish, and a boar is not out scavenging for its supper.

    What was once alive is no more, because each of these animals and a few others were snuffed out long ago and re-figured at the hands of a taxidermist. Now, they stood stuffed on a table and mounted on a wall at a recent auction.

    I had breezed right past the animals during my walk-through at the auction house, but my auction buddy Janet had zeroed in on the piranha with its sharp teeth exposed. She mentioned to me that she wanted it, and then walked me over to the table where it sat mounted on a small diamond-shaped platform.

    A pachyderm's foot made into an ashtray, up for auction.

    She found it unusual. The word I’d use would be creepy, which is how she described most things that were way out there – which was where this thing was.

    This was the second time in more than a year that the auction house had sold stuffed animals in a large grouping. The previous sale include lots of mounted deer heads, and even a black bear. Those however, didn’t seem to have the age as the ones at this auction.

    The table also held the head of a wild boar, the upper part of a rattlesnake, a full bobcat and brown bear, and a purse made from every inch of an armadillo, including the head and paws. On the walls hung several antlers that looked like they belonged to moose.

    It all seemed so inhumane to me, especially the big foot with toe nails. “It’s either elephant or rhinoceros,” the auctioneer said as he offered it up for bids. “I don’t know. We’re calling it a pachyderm foot.”

    The foot had been used as the base for a brass ashtray with a coin in the center attached with a loose screw. I could still see the tiny hairs on the animal’s rough and tough dark skin. The edge of the ashtray was inscribed:

    “Rhodesia and Nyasaland. 1963. One Penny.”

    Who knows how it actually found its way into this country. I can only assume that it was legal to sell an item like this because it had likely been here for so long that it had no provenance. The Lacey Act, which was actually instituted in 1900, prohibits the illegal trafficking of protected wildlife both domestically and internationally in this country.

     

    On the web, not only did I find another foot ashtray but I also found a glass-top coffee table with four rhinoceros feet, an umbrella stand, a rhino box with cover and wine coolers.

    At auction, the ashtray sold for $100.

     

    The next strange item was the armadillo purse that looked like someone had contorted the animal into a round ball. It had a clasp outside and leather lining inside. “An incredible piece,” the auctioneer said. It sold for $35.

     

    The most expensive item was the bobcat, whose eyes showed the fear of a cornered animal. $130.

     

    Mounted boars head, $70.

     

    Janet had some competition for the piranha and she hung in there up to around $30. The fish sold for $45. The mounted boars head sold for $70, and the fox for $15.

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