A rare woolly mammoth skeleton is being offered for sale in what could be the first auction of its kind in Britain .
The specimen is expected to attract interest from museums and private collectors around the world because it is almost fully intact.
Mammoth tusks and other parts of the ice-age animals do come up for sale sometimes but having a whole body together is uncommon.
Rupert van Der Werff , director of Summers Place Auctions, who are selling the Mammoth, said: “The buyer could be a private individual or a museum. Nearly complete skeletons are pretty rare. This is a fabulous skeleton in pretty good condition.
“All sorts of people are collectors. The most famous ones are John Travolta and Leonardo Dicaprio . It’s something to really show off about.”
The specimen stands at three-and-half metres high and is more than five-and-a-half metres long. It is thought to be an old male who would have weighed over six tonnes when it was alive.
It formed part of an old Eastern European collection and was sold to a private British collector. But it’s size prevented it being mounted.
“Mammoths died out quite a few thousand years ago and this has survived in such a remarkable condition,” said Mr Werff .
“The size of the tusks indicate this was a pretty old and mature animal.
“Its bones are pretty robust. It was clearly a big, powerful, healthy animal that had a good long life.”
Last year a Diplodocus skeleton sold at auction for more than £400,000. The mystery buyer has now been identified as a Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum . It is expected to be unveiled next week.
London’s Natural History Museum did not bid for the dinosaur and has told Sky News it will not try to buy this mammoth.
Mr Werff said it was not easy trying to put a price on the prehistoric beast. “We don’t think one has been sold at a British auction before.
“We’ve sold a number of pairs of mammoth tusks so we’ve based our evaluation on that and come to an estimate of around £150,000 to £200,000. But we hope to be proved wrong and it sells for a lot more.”
The auction will take place on 26th November.