From the unusual to the interesting, taxidermy is more fascinating than you may think

At JenTel, we are very fortunate to have some incredible things come through our facilities. We see an abundance of valuable, rare, and unusual items being purchased by avid collectors, many being very interesting and historic pieces. We also have the unusual, with Taxidermy being a great example of rare and unusual.

If you would have said to us at the start of our very long journey in collecting items from auctions, and then packing, and shipping these rare objects that a subject that primarily focused on preserving the dead would be a common item that comes through our possession, we would have certainly questioned your sanity. However, you would have been extremely accurate, with Taxidermy pieces being distributed by us on a regular basis. Indeed, we have just about seen everything that the Taxidermy collector wants to collect.

Quite obviously, stuffed animals are the most common items we see. However, the art of Taxidermy in the modern age has seen the rise of new artists like Harriet Horton. Harriet combines animals and neon lights to give an artful take on the more traditional skill of taxidermy.  Experts like Tony Armitstead are still operating, with his work being known for his anthropomorphic traits encapsulating work from renowned late Victorian artists like Ward, Spicer, and Murray. His pieces are continually increasing in value as the interest in taxidermy grows.

Taxidermy today is experiencing a tentative rebound with collectors interested in sustainable skins. An interest that is based on not harming endangered species.

What is Anthropomorphic Taxidermy you may ask?

Considered another area of taxidermy that is very popular with modern collectors, Anthropomorphic taxidermy is where the subject or subjects are arranged in such a way that they mimic humans. You heard it here first, we suspect. They are mimicking everyday activities whilst dressed in human clothes. Typically, the animals dressed this way are mice, cats, foxes, squirrels and even frogs, all depicted in a scene where they play games, box, fence, drink tea and just about any other social activity you can think of.  That may sound like it is verging on the insane, but in fact, it is a very popular form of taxidermy to collect. Indeed, very collectable.

The laws around taxidermy

There are very strict laws to protect animals which take on various levels of protection under the 1975 Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES as it is better known. The highest level of protection is CITES Annex A, covering the world’s most vulnerable and endangered species. If you are looking to take an interest in collecting such items, it is very important to take note of the laws. More information is available on the website www.cites.org.

Considerations when buying Taxidermy

To become an accomplished collector, you must consider the following:

Maker – Value can vary hugely depending on the maker. Doing your research to understand whose work is the most valuable is important

Condition – This can greatly impact value, so understanding the condition required is important. It is also important to look out for any Moth damage.

Rarity – The most unusual subjects normally fetch the highest prices, so take time to study what subjects are the most collectable. Brightly coloured specimens can be very collectable and valuable.

Provenance – That old term that can make a huge difference in the value of an item. Check out the history and you may stumble upon a bargain.

Cases – Generally, cased pieces are more valuable than those that aren’t in any form of case. The case will keep an item in better condition anyway and some of the modern cases fit well interior typical modern interiors.

Age – Different eras demonstrate better quality taxidermy, so it is worth studying the eras to find out when the best pieces were made.

Taxidermy is most certainly on the up where popularity is concerned. It is however a complicated subject and anyone looking to collect should take time to study the subject, probably more than you would with other items that prove popular with collectors. If you do your due diligence, you may just come across something rare and valuable. We hope you do and would certainly love to be responsible for the delicate packing and shipping of that rare item of taxidermy.

We are pretty good; we have carefully packed many pieces!