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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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TEXAS LONGHORNS (3FT WIDE)
Feb 29, 12:00 PM CST
TEXAS LONGHORNS (3FT WIDE)
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$4016 Bids
Large Taxidermy Montana Buffalo Hide Robe Rug
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Large Taxidermy Montana Buffalo Hide Robe Rug
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $600- $800
$658 Bids
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tusks
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tusks
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5007 Bids
Three Ram Skulls
Feb 29, 10:00 AM PST
Three Ram Skulls
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $100,000
$3506 Bids
Longhorn Steer Embellished Skull With Horns
Mar 02, 10:00 AM MST
Longhorn Steer Embellished Skull With Horns
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$655 Bids
Large Alaskan Taxidermy Walrus Tusk
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Large Alaskan Taxidermy Walrus Tusk
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $400- $600
$904 Bids
Mounted Animal Antlers With Skullcap, Taxidermy
Mar 02, 10:00 AM MST
Mounted Animal Antlers With Skullcap, Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
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Vintage Framed Taxidermy Butterflies
Mar 10, 1:00 PM PST
Vintage Framed Taxidermy Butterflies
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $100- $200
$253 Bids
Mounted Deer Antlers On Plaque, Taxidermy
Mar 02, 10:00 AM MST
Mounted Deer Antlers On Plaque, Taxidermy
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
Antique Quail Diorama Taxidermy by Charles H Eldon
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
Antique Quail Diorama Taxidermy by Charles H Eldon
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Taxidermy Montana Steer Bull Horns
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Taxidermy Montana Steer Bull Horns
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$102 Bids
Desert Big Horn Ram/Sheep Taxidermy Full Mount
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Desert Big Horn Ram/Sheep Taxidermy Full Mount
by R & R Auction INC
Est: $0- $0
$302 Bids
Vintage Taxidermy Pheasant Display
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Taxidermy Pheasant Display
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $150
$11 Bid
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tooth
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tooth
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$101 Bid
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tooth
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Antique Taxidermy Walrus Tooth
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$101 Bid
10 Point Whitetail Deer Antler Mount
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
10 Point Whitetail Deer Antler Mount
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
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mounted 10 point Mule Deer
Mar 02, 2:00 PM EST
mounted 10 point Mule Deer
by Heritage Antiques & Auction
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
Pronghorn Shoulder Mount
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Pronghorn Shoulder Mount
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Gemsbok Shoulder Mount on Pedestal
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Gemsbok Shoulder Mount on Pedestal
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid
Fox Hide Fur Pelt
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
Fox Hide Fur Pelt
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Montana Pine Squirrel Taxidermy Mount
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Montana Pine Squirrel Taxidermy Mount
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$101 Bid
Large Taxidermy Montana Buffalo Head Mount
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Large Taxidermy Montana Buffalo Head Mount
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $350- $500
$101 Bid
Moose Antler Mount
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Moose Antler Mount
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid
Black Bear Head Mount
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Black Bear Head Mount
by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $80- $100
$401 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Taxidermy


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Cordier Auctions & Appraisals

Cordier Auctions & Appraisals

Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction

Sheppards

Sheppards