Minster Auctions provide a diverse and accurately catalogued Natural History Section within our biannual Collector’s Sales. The sales include taxidermy, entomological collections, fossils & minerals, natural history books, paintings and sculpture. They are catalogued with great enthusiasm by Daniel Webb a passionate birder and field naturalist with a great interest in the Victorian rare bird collectors and taxidermists of the Norfolk coast such as Pashley of Cley and T.E. Gunn.
The art of taxidermy has found a new generation of enthusiasts in the last ten years. The market for unusual and decorative interior specimens, ornithological rarities and finely mounted cases by the Victorian masters such as Cooper, Peter Spicer and the Hutchings family has rarely been greater.
Prior successes at auction found and catalogued by Daniel include a Hutchings case displaying a red kite with red grouse prey that achieved £4000 hammer price. A rare case by Cooper with an interesting array of species including stone curlew, pin-tailed sandgrouse and black-bellied sandgrouse attained £680 hammer price.
Entomological collections have also found a contemporary audience. Traditional Victorian collector’s cases of butterflies and moths are eagerly sought by collectors, practising lepidopterists and interior designers.
Fossils and minerals are also offered in the sale and these are usually much prized by specialist collectors as well as interior designers looking for the rare and unusual. Previous successes have included a set of Irish elk antlers from the Pleistocene that made £17,500 hammer price. A large freeform piece of lapis lazuli, the highly valued material of medieval illuminators sailed to a fine figure of £950 hammer price.