Stuffed sperm whale penis (held by Mark Wilkinson of Sworders) – £4600.

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The format was launched at the Essex saleroom in February last year by Mark Wilkinson – who also started Christie’s Interiors sales and Bonhams’ Important Design series. The latest sale held on February 12 in Stansted Mountfitchet presented another mind-boggling 415-lot selection.

The late-19th century taxidermy stuffed sperm whale penis (physeter macrocephalus), stuffed with hair and end tied with rope, was one of the best performers on the day out of the more ‘antique’ objects. Measuring 11½in (29cm) at the thickest part, it sold for £4600 (plus 23% buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £3500-4500.

The catalogue noted: “The vendor of this item has received an email from the UK CITES Management Authority and this piece has been classed as worked and does not require an article 10 certificate. May be subject to CITES Regulations when exported.”

Taxidermy is a strong feature of the auction and top price was paid for a late-20th century full-mount taxidermy Canadian polar bear (ursus maritimus) mounted on a rocky base, 7ft 7in (2.3m) high, sold for a low-estimate £20,000.

The sale hammer total was £231,000.