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Stuff that matters

Is a vast taxidermy collection and a shotgun worth anything in an estate and, more to the point, what should you do with them, asks Sofia Tayton  

15 May 2014

If there is one thing that this job has shown me, it is that you can never predict what’s round the corner – or what’s behind the door of a deceased person’s house.

I was recently asked to help a lay executor in an estate that included some slightly out-of-the-ordinary items. The deceased had a clear interest in the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting animal skins with lifelike effect, both as a collector of other people’s efforts and a bit of a hobbyist himself.

Initially, I had a vague panic about the dangerous chemicals involved in the process so I steered clear of the bottles of skeletal bleach and degreaser. In fact, these are no more harmful than normal household cleaning products.

As I discovered in my previous dealings with a tiger skin, there are strict rules about what...

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