Giant ice age mammoths are put up for sale

A family of woolly mammoths are to be auctioned at Billingshurst SUS-171209-140205001
A family of woolly mammoths are to be auctioned at Billingshurst SUS-171209-140205001

A family of giant ice age mammoths are being put up for auction in Sussex later this year - and are expected to sell for up to £400,000.

The family of four - including a baby mammoth skeleton - will go under the hammer at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst on November 21.

The mammoths were all found together during building works near the Siberian city of Tomsk, in the south-west of the great Siberian Taiga in 2002 after construction workers noticed some bones close to where they had started work.

Summers Place Auctions’ natural history specialist Rupert van der Werff said: “I was really excited to see the mammoths as a group for the first time a few months ago, but it was quite a thrill when they arrived in 16 boxes in our gallery in Billingshurst.

“‘Building’ a skeleton comes with a lot of challenges, imagine it to be a bit like doing a rather difficult 3-D puzzle. Having sold an individual mammoth in 2014 for £150,000, we hope that this unique family group will find a new home in a museum, a company’s atrium or a private collection somewhere around the world.”

He said the highlight of the group was the well-preserved skeleton of a one-year-old mammoth as it was only the second known almost complete baby mammoth skeleton in the world.

The auction will also include some other ice age skeletons, which will resemble famous cave scene paintings which show mammoths next to horses, bisons and cave bears.