(page 6)

    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".

Roberts and Company Limited, circa 1880s
Roberts 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. Allwright".
    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 furriers: 

    "WANTED -Tasmanian Tiger Skins, 20s each.  A. J. Ridge, Quadrant" - (Examiner, 30th July 1918 [p. 8]).

    "Wanted, perfect, 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]).

thylacines - circa 1900
The bodies of two thylacines hanging outside a Tasmanian trapper's hut, circa 1900.

    "The undersigned 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.

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