Dine with dinosaurs, big cats and mammoths at Summers Place Auctions

A unique dinner ahead of a quirky auction is sure to be a conversation starter

Taxidermed jaguar, £5,000 to £8,000
Taxidermed jaguar, £5,000 to £8,000

West Sussex-based Summers Place Auctions is confident that lots won at its Conversation Pieces sale will spark many a dinner-party discussion in their new owners’ homes. So much so that, ahead of the March 20-21 auction, it is holding its first-ever dinner in its saleroom.

Bronze lion modelled after those in Trafalgar Square, £80,000 to £120,000 for a pair
Bronze lion modelled after those in Trafalgar Square, £80,000 to £120,000 for a pair
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The March 14 dinner (£50 per head) will kick off with a drinks reception and preview of the auction, where there will be time to talk to specialists about the curios up for sale before the dinner begins. The three-course meal, prepared by chef Mike Keen, will include Lion’s Head mushrooms with beer puffs; an aptly named main Under the Hammer - a guinea fowl schnitzel filled with Gruyère cheese and Sussex-cured ham (vegetarian options will be available); followed by a coffee crème patisserie and whisky zabaglione dessert. Every course will feature wine pairings selected by Taurus Wines.

Skeleton of an adolescent female mammoth, £50,000 to £80,000
Skeleton of an adolescent female mammoth, £50,000 to £80,000
Bronze stallion, £20,000 to £30,000
Bronze stallion, £20,000 to £30,000

Food for thought will definitely come from, among other curios, the elephants in the room: a family of majestic mammoth skeletons (male, £115,000 to £150,000; female and baby, £80,000 to £120,000; adolescent female, £50,000 to £80,000). Guests lacking space for a herd at home may find a pair of Chinese dinosaur eggs (£1,200 to £1,800) more to their taste, or an exceptional taxidermied North American passenger pigeon (£4,000 to £6,000).

Hippo table, £5,000 to £8,000
Hippo table, £5,000 to £8,000
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It’s also not every day that a jaguar (£5,000 to £8,000) is overshadowed but pulling off that trick will be a pair of giant bronze lions (£80,000 to £120,000) modelled on the famous big cats in Trafalgar Square by Sir Edwin Landseer. Commissioned for London’s Camden Lock Market, they’ve been rendered homeless by redevelopment work, along with a monumental bronze stallion (£20,000 to £30,000) in the midst of jumping over a log, which is part of the sealed bid section of the auction.

An impressive range of garden sculptures is also up for sale, from Adam and Eve (£5,000 to £8,000) and Pandora (£5,000 to £8,000) to Mr Punch (£5,000 to £8,000) and a pair of playful leopards (£30,000 to £50,000). Not to mention other miscellaneous items, including an obelisk and sphere made from ruby-flecked fuchsite (£1,600 to £2,500) and a coffee table (£5,000 to £8,000) with a mother and baby hippo poking up through its glass surface.

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