The natural history section of Bonhams' Gentleman's Library sale on Wednesday, January 20, included a number of items from pre-history.
Heading that grouping was an 8' 6" tall skeleton of a bear from an Ice Age 50,000-100,000 years ago. Estimated at £18,000-22,000 it is a remarkably impressive specimen of Ursus Spelaeus despite needing shoulder and hip reconstruction.
Bidders seem to have decided the chance to have the creature looming over guests in the living room was too good to miss, and quickly buffeted the price all the way up to £36,000.
During the same ice age in which the bear was terrifying prehistoric man in Romania, a wooly mammoth was wandering a few thousand miles to the north-east, in northern Russia.
A tusk from that mammoth sold for £6,000 (within its estimate) at Bonhams - a fair price for such a piece, though nowhere near the most which has been paid for a mammoth fossil, that being €302,440 ($444,680 or £280,373) paid for the complete skeleton of 'Olaf' the mammoth in September 2009.
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