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Taxidermy flamingos, llama and bison - is this the region's most unusual auction?

PUBLISHED: 08:55 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:43 23 January 2020

Mark Whistler, Durrants Auction Rooms manager, with some of the taxidermy collection from the late Christopher Marler. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mark Whistler, Durrants Auction Rooms manager, with some of the taxidermy collection from the late Christopher Marler. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Flamingos, a llama and a fox are among taxidermy items going under the hammer in one of the most unusual sales seen in the region.

Three taxidermy flamingos from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThree taxidermy flamingos from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nicholas Rudge, an auction rooms manager at Durrants in Beccles where the collection is up for auction on Saturday, said there was no sale like this anywhere in the world.

It features over 220 eccentric items including a large selection of wildfowl taxidermy, with guide prices starting at just £20.

Christopher Marler bred the most bald eagles in captivity. Supplied by: Fabian EagleChristopher Marler bred the most bald eagles in captivity. Supplied by: Fabian Eagle

Among the most unusual offerings, which has a total estimated price of £30,000-£40,000, are bird taxidermy such as a pelican, an owl, geese, cranes and parakeets.

Larger scale taxidermy for sale includes a 5ft11 chital deer stag, a bighorn ram and an American bison head which has a guide price of £500-700.

Various taxidermy birds from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYVarious taxidermy birds from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Rudge said: "I have never come across a collection like this before in my career. It is all very exciting although it is difficult to predict what the collection will sell for."

The collection belonged to farmer and aviculturist Christopher Marler, from Buckinghamshire, who was the first to breed several birds in the UK including the painted stork and the red-winged starling.

A Llama Cria taxidermy from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA Llama Cria taxidermy from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Marler, who died last year after a short illness, introduced the country to bald eagles and holds the record for breeding the most in captivity (28).

In the 60s Mr Marler founded the non-for profit business Flamingo Gardens and Zoological Park in Buckinghamshire.

Three taxidermy mounted red deer stags heads from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThree taxidermy mounted red deer stags heads from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Swaffham-based auctioneer Fabian Eagle is taking joint care of the collection with Durrants as per Mr Marler's will.

Mr Eagle said: "He was my client for nearly 30 years and I was incredibly flattered he asked for my services in the will. Mr Marler was a remarkable man and wildlife was the backbone of his life.

A taxidermy East Africa Crowned Crane from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA taxidermy East Africa Crowned Crane from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"He was a very well-respected cattle judge and would judge competitions all over the place including the Royal Norfolk Show. He was even judging until a few weeks before his death."

He added the collection was an unusual opportunity.

Three flamingos taxidermy in a case from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles, with a guide price of £350-500. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThree flamingos taxidermy in a case from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles, with a guide price of £350-500. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Eagle said: "His friends and family would call the collection the museum. He was a great documenter and I think that is where the love of taxidermy stems from - the need to capture every moment. Regardless, he has created an important ode to nature."

Are you selling anything unusual? Email ruth.lawes@archant.co.uk

A pine marten taxidermy from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA pine marten taxidermy from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A taxidermy Fennec Fox from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYA taxidermy Fennec Fox from the late Christopher Marler's collection, at auction at Durrants Auction Rooms in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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