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Taxidermy

With a history rich in methodologies and cultural trends, taxidermy is somewhere between an art form and science. Nearly an abandoned enterprise in the late 20th century, taxidermy is making a comeback with a new generation of taxidermists eager to preserve the natural world.

Embalmed animals have been long been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. Taxidermy itself, however, has only existed since the Middles Ages. In the 1700s, methods were somewhat crude, with clay and cotton-wrapped wire used as stuffing under cured animal skins. During this time, Jean Baptist Becoeur developed arsenical soap to preserve skins and keep insects from destroying specimens. His methods were widely used across the next century and proved highly effective in preserving specimens. By the Victorian Era, animal mounts became popular as interior décor. Owning them not only displayed wealth but also cultural diversity and adventurism. In the late 1800s, taxidermy was so important that many U.S. and English towns had a taxidermist, just like they had barbers, butchers, and merchants.

Although the golden age of taxidermy ended around World War I, it remains important to those wanting their hunting and fishing successes put on permanent display. It’s also important for restoring museum displays and extracting DNA from specimens.


Quick Facts

  • The decline of taxidermy in the 20th century is attributed partly to the rise in photography and animal guide book availability as well as government-mandated wildlife preservation acts
  • Anthromorphic taxidermy is the practice of preserving animals and displaying them in a scene with human-like poses. Maxwell Potter is famous for this style of taxidermy
  • The oldest mount in history was supposedly a 16th century rhinoceros at the Royal Museum of Vertebrates in Florence, Italy. No evidence of the rhino exists today, and some dispel its existence as a myth

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Taxidermy Zebra Rug
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Taxidermy Zebra Rug
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $100- $1,000
$3808 Bids
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Kudu Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Kudu Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$657 Bids
Eland Antelope Skull & Horns Taxidermy
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Eland Antelope Skull & Horns Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
Full Mount Australian Feral Goat Taxidermy
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Full Mount Australian Feral Goat Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$1104 Bids
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Gemsbok Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Gemsbok Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$253 Bids
Water Buffalo Skull & Horns Taxidermy
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Water Buffalo Skull & Horns Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
Full Mount Taxidermy Jackal
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Full Mount Taxidermy Jackal
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Waterbuck Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Waterbuck Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Tsessebe Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Tsessebe Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
A mounted salmon. 36 x 13 in (91.5 x 33 cm)
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A mounted salmon. 36 x 13 in (91.5 x 33 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$802 Bids
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VINTAGE 1984 WALLEYE FISH MOUNT ON WOOD
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
VINTAGE 1984 WALLEYE FISH MOUNT ON WOOD
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$42 Bids
A mounted Buffalo Head.
Nov 06, 9:00 AM PDT
A mounted Buffalo Head.
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$1,1002 Bids
A CAT-O'-NINE-TAILS
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
A CAT-O'-NINE-TAILS
by Charles Miller Ltd
Est: £200- £400
£1001 Bid
Collectible Monocled Cobra Snakeskin
Nov 17, 10:00 AM EST
Collectible Monocled Cobra Snakeskin
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $50- $150
$11 Bid
Full Mount Taxidermy Dik Dik Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Full Mount Taxidermy Dik Dik Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Full Mount Taxidermy Nyala Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Full Mount Taxidermy Nyala Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Roan Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Roan Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Shoulder Mount Water Buffalo Taxidermy
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Water Buffalo Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Shoulder Mount Sable Taxidermy On Swiveling Stand
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Sable Taxidermy On Swiveling Stand
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Antelope
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Antelope
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Full Mount Taxidermy Red Golden Pheasant
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Full Mount Taxidermy Red Golden Pheasant
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
Sheepskin Rug
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
Sheepskin Rug
by Showplace
Est: $100- $200
$251 Bid
Artist Unknown, Cape Dorset, 4 1/4 x 1 x 5 3/4 in. (10.7 x 2.5 x 14.6 cm)
Oct 27, 9:00 AM PDT
Artist Unknown, Cape Dorset, 4 1/4 x 1 x 5 3/4 in. (10.7 x 2.5 x 14.6 cm)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $300- $500
$2001 Bid
DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). Insectivorous Plants. London: John Murray, 1875.
Nov 09, 10:00 AM CST
DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). Insectivorous Plants. London: John Murray, 1875.
by Hindman
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Taxidermy


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques

Leonard Joel

Leonard Joel