Mummified head sold at Billingshurst auction house

A 19th century felon skull sold by Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst
A 19th century felon skull sold by Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst

A mummified human head was one of the unusual lots sold by a Billingshurst auction house at a sale earlier this month.

Summers Place Auctions sold the mummified head, believed to be Egyptian, for £2,700, on Tuesday May 20.

Other highlights in the exploration, natural history and travel sale included a mummified hand sold for £2,625 and a 19th century felon skull sold for £2,500.

An Ichthyosaur - a prehistoric, large marine reptile - prepared in Germany was sold for £23,750, and a clouded leopard earned £7,500 at auction.

A narwhal sailor’s cane, sent out by Lady Jane Franklin on one of the search missions following the disappearance of her husband, sold for £11,250.

Also sold in the auction was a North Queensland rainforest wooden shield, sold for £4,750.

A garden statuary sale was held on the same day by the auction house, and the 12 lots included in the Coalbrookdale section of the sale sold far above the estimate and for a record £112,875.

James Rylands, auctioneer and garden statuary specialist, said: “We are thrilled with the Coalbrookdale result.

“We have been seeing a growing trend to the return of the late 90s, when these did particularly well, but this sale has outdone all previous records.”

Among the lots sold was a rare Coadestone Townley vase, which was believed to have been the inspiration for Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn. It was sold for £18,125.

Last November, the auction house made international news when it sold a Diplodocus Longus skeleton to the Natural History Museum of Denmark for £483,100.

Museum director Morten Meldgaard said: “To own a giant dinosaur is, of course, the dream of any natural history museum.

“In order to understand the nature and the world we live in, we have to understand the past, and more than anything else, a dinosaur is an object that connects us with the distant past.”