BRADENTON (970 WFLA) – A mummified cat that belonged to an elderly Bradenton-area woman is going up for sale at a London auction house, and is expected to bring in at least three thousand dollars when it’s put up for sale May 1st.
Bonham’s is auctioning the cat at its London showroom. It’s near the end of a list of more than 350 items featured in an “antiquities” auction. Bonham’s website says it’s from sometime between the seventh and first centuries B.C. and stands about 10 inches high on end. The cat mummy’s current owner inherited it from her stepfather, Morgan Wing. Dale Smrekar (smirker), a certified personal property appraiser in Tampa, says Wing found it while taking part in archaeological digs in Egypt during the 1920’s.
Smrekar says it was not uncommon for foreigners to acquire Egyptian artifacts and remove them from the country. “Today you couldn’t do that,” he says, “but back then … people could buy these things (from the pyramids) at local tourist stores (in Cairo).” Smrekar says similar items shipped out of Egypt got thrown in the garbage, thanks to decay, making such items more rare and difficult to find.
In case you’re wondering how two millennia in a pyramid and a few decades in America, not to mention the time spent in humid Florida, can get to a kitty mummy, Bonham’s reports there is some damage to the mouth and ears. “Condition is everything,” Smrekar says … “(but) because they come so rarely to auction, (Bonham’s) still expects it’ll go somewhere between $3,000 and $4,500 when the hammer drops.”
Smrekar’s company, Downsizing Advisory Service, specializes in estate liquidation, not only when someone dies, but when an individual wishes to move into a smaller home or assisted-living situation. He has connections to people who can determine the value of unusual antiquities in various categories. He doesn’t buy items himself, instead collecting a fee for his services.