The owner of a bizarre museum with a rare dodo bone, feathers from extinct birds and a unicorn skull had to sell some of his exhibits due to the pandemic.
Artist, writer and collector Viktor Wynd sells the selection of strange pieces to keep his museum of curiosities, art and unnatural history alive.
His museum in Hackney, east London, which has been in operation for 12 years, didn’t have many visitors last year due to lockdown restrictions.
Taxidermy winged kittens, a two and a half foot long leg bone made from a woolly mammoth known as the “Irish Giant,” Queen Victoria’s knickers and even his own pants are among the 442 lots up for auction. Around 80 of the lots come from Mr. Wynd’s collection.
For an estimated £ 3,000 to £ 5,000, a dodo bone can be bought on sale, along with a 19th century electroshock therapy device, aquatic dinosaur fossil, 12 hippo tusks and teeth, a Fijian mermaid, a fiberglass model of T. rex head, a taxidermy polar bear head and a rare unicorn skull.
Mr Wynd said despite short periods of time during the pandemic to open up, many people didn’t want to visit a tight space like his museum.
Viktor Wynd said: “We couldn’t act last year, so our finances are disastrous. We depend on foreign tourists and people from out of town.
“When we open, will people want to visit an underground cramped museum?
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking, I would never dream of selling so many of my greatest treasures, but we have no other option to survive.
“We’re preparing for the May reopening and we’re selling these items to make sure we can keep going.”
Other exhibits at Mr Wynd’s Museum that are not for sale include McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, Old Master Etchings, and other taxidermized creatures.
Mr. Wynd described how he came across some of his fascinating artifacts.
He said, “I’m a collector, it’s what I do, I’ve been doing it for years. All my life I’ve traveled all over the world, gone to auctions, found things by leaps and bounds. I’m looking for some things but sometimes they find me.
“I started collecting pebbles as a baby. I have been collecting since I was a child.
“The museum is a work of art in itself. It is full of things that I love and that give me great pleasure.”
Mr Wynd said his favorite pieces include the dodo bird bone as it is so rare
“The rarest piece is the dodo bird. There are only six or seven in the whole world. It’s the most iconic example of the damage humans can do to the environment.
“Just looking at some of the features of extinct birds makes my neck shiver because birds like the Eskimo curlew were once one of the most populous birds in the world – and now it’s gone.
“The bezoar [hairball] is a wonderful object, I consider them precious pearls, but you don’t have to dive to the bottom of the ocean.
“My underpants were very popular, it’s one of those things that private collectors are asking for a lot.”
The auction, entitled “From the Curious to the Extraordinary”, will be held on May 6th by Chiswick Auctions in West London.