Bizarre museum forced to sell exhibits to keep it afloat after being forcibly closed during a pandemic
The owner of a bizarre museum with a rare dodo bone, feathers from extinct birds and a unicorn skull has 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, Fine Art & UnNatural History afloat.
His museum in Hackney, East London, which has been around for 12 years, has not had many visitors in the past year due to lockdown restrictions.
Stuffed winged kittens, a two and a half foot leg of a woolly mammoth described as an ‘Irish giant’, Queen Victoria’s underpants and even his own pants are among the 442 lots to be auctioned.
About 80 of the lots come from the collection of Mr Wynd.
Artist and collector Viktor Wynd, depicted with a woolly mammoth Irish giant bone, is selling a selection of strange pieces to keep his Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & UnNatural History afloat as the pandemic has prevented visitors from attending
Artist and writer Viktor opened his museum 12 years ago. Pictured: Cast of a dodoskeleton worth up to £ 2,800
Pictured: ape skeleton under glass dome to be auctioned to save Viktor’s Museum of Curiosities in London
This pair of Queen Victoria’s early reign French linen underpants is valued at between £ 5,000 and £ 7,000
For an estimated £ 3,000 to £ 5,000 a dodobot can be bought on sale, along with a 19th century electric shock therapy machine, a dinosaur fossil in the water, 12 tusks and teeth of hippos, a Fiji ‘mermaid’, a fiberglass model of T. rex head, a stuffed polar bear head and a rare unicorn skull.
Mr Wynd said that despite brief periods during the pandemic in which he could open up, many people did not want to visit a narrow, enclosed space like his museum.
Viktor Wynd said, “We have not been able to trade for the past year, so our finances have been catastrophic. 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 heartbreaking, I would never think of selling so many of my greatest treasures, but we have no other way to survive.
Describing the decision to sell part of his collection as heartbreaking, Viktor poses with the stuffed winged kitten
Viktor said the pandemic was disastrous as the museum relies on foreign tourists and people from out of town. Pictured: This taxidermy grizzly bear mounted on its base in its walking base is estimated to be around £ 3,000 to £ 5,000
A rare ‘unicorn skull’ made with a resin horn that is estimated to be worth between £ 500 and £ 800 at auction
Bezoars (or hairballs) used to be believed to have extraordinary supernatural powers, including a universal antidote. This bezoar is worth between £ 600 and £ 800 and will be auctioned this week on Thursday
“We’re getting ready to reopen in May, so we’re selling these items to make sure we can keep going.”
Other exhibits in the Mr Wynd’s museum that are not for sale include McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, old master etchings, and other taxidermy 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, going to auctions, finding things in skips. I look for some things, but sometimes they find me.
‘I started collecting stones when I was a baby, I’ve 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 enjoy a lot. ‘
This stuffed eight-legged lamb was created by artist Andre Robolobavich and is worth between £ 4,000 and £ 6,000
This stuffed zebra rocking horse from Burchell was created by artist Andre Robolobavich and is worth £ 3,500 and £ 4,500
Pictured: This 19th century stuffed polar bear head, mounted on a wooden slab, is estimated to cost between £ 500 and £ 800
Pictured: A 19th century wooden electric shock therapy device up for auction with a target price of up to £ 150
Mr Wynd said his favorite pieces are the dodo bird bone because it is so rare
The rarest piece is the dodo bird. There are only six or seven in the whole world. It is the most iconic example of the damage humans can cause to the environment.
Just looking at some of the features of extinct birds gives me a chill in my neck because birds like the Eskimo curlew were once one of the most populous birds on Earth – and now it’s gone.
‘The bezoar (hairball) is a beautiful object, I consider them precious pearls, but you don’t have to dive to the bottom of the ocean.
“My underpants have been quite popular, they are one of the items that private collectors demand a lot.”
Called ‘From the Curious to the Extraordinary’, the auction will be held by Chiswick Auctions in West London on May 6.