| Live thylacines were
also occasionally sold at auction (usually as a novelty lot) as part of
a general stock sale. The sale of a thylacine by Roberts & Co.
is noted in the Mercury newspaper on the 31st January 1894 (p. 4):
"A live Tasmanian
tiger - A full grown Native Tiger, tractable, and a perfect specimen will
be sold in sale yards, prior to the stock".
and Company Limited, circa 1880s. Source: State Library of Tasmania.
Live thylacines were
occasionally offered for sale in the classified advertisement section of
the local press:
"FOR SALE - A large
Tasmanian tiger; applicants state price. Apply by telegraph or letter
to John Pitchford, Waterhouse Station, N.E.C."
- (Launceston Examiner, 6th May 1885 [p. 1]).
"FOR SALE - Native
tiger, very quiet, feeds well. P. H. TUCKER, Scottsdale"
- (Launceston Examiner, 16th January 1886 [p. 1]).
"FOR SALE, Tasmanian
Tiger (female), Murray Bros, Waratah" - (Mercury,
13th June 1925 [p. 20]).
The Queensland based
newspaper the Capricornian, dated the 29th November 1879 [p. 9], reported
on the capture of a "tiger" at Bracknell in Tasmania and its subsequent
offer for sale:
"A Tasmanian tiger,
called by some a hyena, was snared at Bracknell, North-West Tasmania, by
a farmer named Spencer. The animal measured five feet nine inches
from tip of tail to nose, was of a brown colour with stripes across the
hinder portion of its body. It looked a ferocious animal. The
price wanted for it was a £1 note".
The Mercury newspaper
of the 6th November 1872 (p. 2) records the capture of a native tiger,
and the hope of its captor that he may secure a purchaser:
"A fine and unusually large
specimen of the native tiger was brought to town yesterday by the New Norfolk
coach, and located in the yard at the rear of Mr. Eady's hotel, the Albion,
in Elizabeth Street. This specimen of the native wild animals of
Tasmania was snared yesterday morning about five miles from New Norfolk,
and its captor, who is desirous of finding a purchaser for it, entrusted
the animal to Dr. Moore, who had it forwarded to town in charge of Mr.
| A thylacine
(dead or alive) was therefore traded like any other commodity, initially
being sold to an agent by a land owner, farmer, or trapper, and then resold
to museums and universities as specimens, or in the case of live sales,
to zoological gardens. Few of these "commercial" specimens were accompanied
by source data.
Thylacine skins were
also in demand and were purchased and sold in significant numbers by local
Tiger Skins, 20s each. A. J. Ridge, Quadrant"
- (Examiner, 30th July 1918 [p. 8]).
large Native Tigers, Devils, Wombats, Porcupines (echidnas) and Platypus.
All these animals I want dead. J. Omant, Furrier, 22 Elizabeth Street"
- (Mercury, 5th September 1874 [p. 1]).
"WANTED - Platypus,
Devils, Tigers, specimens - complete carcase. R. J. Owens, Furrier"
- (Mercury, 14th January 1902 [p. 1]).
bodies of two thylacines hanging outside a Tasmanian trapper's hut, circa
has on Sale a Splendid lot of NATIVE TIGER SKINS, which will be sold cheap.
J. SLY, Boot Maker, Liverpool Street" - (Mercury,
2nd September 1867 [p. 1]).
"FOR SALE - Two Tasmanian
Tiger skins, good condition, 20/- each. J. C., Railway Goods Shed.
Hobart" - (Mercury, 25th September 1903 [p. 1]).
In the Launceston Examiner
of the 31st July 1893 (p. 4), the hammer prices for the sale of sheepskins,
hides, and furs at the auction rooms of Alfred Harrap & Son's are recorded.
Amongst the furs are "Native Tiger Skins" priced from 10 pence to
2 shillings each. As well as trading in skins, Harrap & Sons
also occasionally advertised for live thylacines:
"WANTED - Two Pairs
Live Hyenas (or Native Tigers), uninjured. ALFRED HARRAP AND SON, Launceston"
- (Launceston Examiner, 27th May 1898 [p. 1]).
Most of the thylacine
skins were sold as finished fur products:
"Mr. George Patterson
who trades at 75 George Street under the style of the Tasmanian Fur Depot
has a splendid stock of valuable goods tastefully displayed. There
is a splendid show of fur hearth rugs. A very attractive one is made
of Tasmanian tiger skins, now quite uncommon"
- (Examiner, 6th March 1908 [p. 7]).
The Advocate newspaper
of the 1st April 1927 (p. 7), lists some of the fur products on display
at the Ulverstone Show, including the skin of a tiger:
"The question of
why people should send to the mainland for fur coats, ruffs, etc., becomes
hard to solve after an inspection of a display of these goods such as was
made at Ulverstone show yesterday by H. S. Aylett and Sons, of Cooee.
The stand was inspected by hundreds, particularly by womenfolk, who are
specially interested in such matters. There were fur coats of beautiful
rich appearance made from black opossum and other skins. One beautiful
Tasmanian tiger skin was excellently made up, and there were also fur chokers,
motor gloves, furs and other articles".
Understandably, as none
of the skins destined for the fur trade were deemed to be "specimens",
any that eventually found their way into institutional collections, did
so unaccompanied by any source data.