Grisly Anatomical Studies come to Auction this November

With Halloween around the corner, it is fitting that we have some rather macabre lots in our upcoming Clocks, Scientific & Musical Instruments auction on 4 November.



Forget the plastic replicas, Lot 1149 is a real human skull with removeable upper section so that medical students could explore every nook and cranny of the cranium; one can only imagine the ghoulish impression this would make with a candle flame flickering behind the now vacant eye cavities.  Followed up by a skeletal foot, a femur, two fibulae and even a snake vertebra, there is no bone to be picked with these ossified offerings.



Lots 1153-60 are perhaps even more uncanny, a series of wax models of human organs, each well displayed on hand-made stands.  Wax models in medicine have a surprisingly long history stretching back to 18th and 19th century Italy with some quite incredible life-size specimens in international collections – these lots follow in this tradition of medical history with wax models considered especially useful in education due to their capacity for complex and clear detail.  While the Anatomy Act of 1832 following the notorious Burke & Hare murders in Edinburgh made procurement of bodies for dissection a more straightforward process, supply rarely met demand for students of medicine and these models were highly prized educational tools.  With a series of expertly modelled lung sections, an embryo and even a human heart, these waxes surely won’t wane when they come under the hammer.


Finally, one can most definitely pick their poison out of Lots 1142-1148, a good collection of original apothecary bottles from a Glasgow pharmacy of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  These ‘poison’ bottles were ribbed so that the blind would know not to touch or imbibe their potentially fatal contents – these themselves have long since gone but the original labels remain for such spine-chilling concoctions as Tincture of Belladonna and the deadly Digitalis of the foxglove.  From such bottles would Dr. Jekyll have swigged to transform into the beastly Mr. Hyde and bidding of a similarly fierce nature is expected to ensue.


We hope you can join us in the room, on the phone or online for what is sure to be a ‘screamer’ of a sale…


Click here to view the full auction catalogue >>

James Spiridion


For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation on instruments of all kinds, or to consign to the next auction, please contact our specialists on 0141 810 2880 or




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