The world's finest sabre-tooth tiger skeleton, measuring 67 inches, is to auction in California on May 4 as part of IM Chait's long-awaited Important Natural History Auction.
The skeleton is estimated to be worth $250,000 to $300,000.
Sabre-tooth tigers were characterised by their long, sabre-shaped canines, which gave them a fearsome appearance and enabled them to prey on large mammals, such as elephants and rhinos.
Although many individual species of sabre-toothed tiger once stalked the Earth, all have been extinct for more than 10,000 years.
Jake Chait, director of IM Chait's natural history department, comments: "The sabre-tooth tiger's reputation precedes him.
"With one swipe, he could sever the arteries or windpipe of another animal, making it easy prey."
The 70% to 80% complete skeleton is believed to be the finest of its kind.
"There isn't a more complete specimen of this type, either in a museum or private collection, anywhere in the world," Jake Chait insists.
Also to star is an unusual ancient mummified foot from Middle Egypt. The foot has been given a $5,000-7,000 estimate.
Unusual and provocative items generally perform very well at auction, capturing the imaginations of passionate collectors seeking unique pieces. In January 2010, a set of cannibal cutlery sold with a 1,740% increase on its high estimate, bringing £29,440 ($47,353) to UK-based auctioneer Martel Maides.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we have a number of unique items in stock, including this museum-grade collection of Albert Pierrepoint's personal effects, which includes casts of his hands and face, memorialising the hangman's every pore and wrinkle.
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