Taxidermy animals fly off the shelves in St Albans charity shop

PUBLISHED: 17:37 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:37 21 February 2019

Taxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Taxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Unusual taxidermy animals have been flying off the shelves of a St Albans charity shop.

Taxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOTaxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Nearly ten displays of stuffed animals and birds were donated to the Cancer Research UK charity shop on High Street last week.

In just a few days almost half of the collection had been sold and there has been significant interest from passers-by, shop manager John Mccarron said.

The most expensive piece, priced at around £65, was sold first, and the remaining items are tagged between £27 and £55.

John said: “We don’t get a massive amount [of taxidermy], but we do from time to time.

Taxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOTaxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

“They are different, and we thrive on that because we only have one of everything. We are not like a chain store.”

This is actually the second time the pieces have been donated to this charity shop - six years ago they were all sold to one buyer, who has now regifted them.

Stickers on the back of the pieces, presented in display cases, read AN Redmond Ltd from The Gardens in Essex.

John added: “When I first saw them [six years ago], we wondered whether we would have a market for them because they are so niche.

Taxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOOTaxidermy animals for sale in the Cancer Research shop in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

“But it was proven that, yes, there was.”

He thanked the donor, adding: “It is so kind. People giving to us are extraordinarily generous.

“I came here for a year and have stayed for 20 years. It is like a family in this town, they are fabulously kind if you look at the stuff they give us.”

Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting lifelike animal skins.

An African grey parrot which belonged to the Duchess of Richmond in the 17th century, Frances Stuart, is believed to be the oldest surviving taxidermy bird.

It lived with her for 40 years and died shortly after her in the early 1700s. It is currently on display in London’s Westminster Abbey Museum.

The trade can still be lucrative - for example, according to an online collecting platform called Just Collecting, a now-extinct stuffed Maori Kuri dog sold for $17,438 in New Zealand in December 2013, and a pair of ‘unicorns’ were auctioned for £35,000 at Christie’s London four years ago.

They were made by attaching Narwhal tusks to white horses.

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