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Popularity of skulls

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by ofearthandbone, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. ofearthandbone

    ofearthandbone New Member

    Do any of you think that skull cleaning taxidermy is on a rise lately over traditional mounting, stuffing? I'm trying to talk my mentor into getting beetles and I don't think he understands the currant demand. He's very old school. I love cleaning skulls and think it is a great way to boost sales by advertising skull mounts.
     
  2. akvz

    akvz New Member

    I think people who aren't interested in taxidermy are interested in skulls.... I'm interested in both, but skulls are easier to display and don't take up nearly as much room, and in the case of hunters... hard economic times means people would rather spend $150-200 on a Euro mount as opposed to a $600 shoulder mount, I'd imagine.

    But as I said, I have 20+ skulls displayed in one room and most of that is on a single half-sized shelf, maybe 12"x 48" x 36" or something... I'd be hard-pressed to fit traditional shoulder mounts in that much space, unless they were all raccoon/squirrel/etc.... They also serve as great anatomy tools and I have donated some skulls to local art classes and similar places for children/teenagers to get a better look at and understand anatomy/texture/etc....

    I think taxidermy and skull work is on the same level as always, just that due to the relatively cheaper/quicker turnarounds and ease of display, they are preferred by people other than the traditional hunter. If you have a hard time convincing him to get beetles, you could try maceration and show how quickly skulls sell! Even if you just clean up some miscellaneous animals like a bobcat, jackrabbit, coyote, raccoon, or doe, nothing trophy or award-winning... you can sell those for a price on etsy or ebay pretty quickly. Or, if maceration isn't an option, you can show him the market on etsy/ebay for skulls... show him skullsunlimited.com, and how there's SUCH a demand for skulls, there's a website dedicated to replicas...
     

  3. CA Trapper

    CA Trapper Member

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    Skulls have gained huge popularity. The majority of money I make on skulls are from domestic livestock I clean. Anything with horns will sell fast.

    On the taxidermy side, unless it's a trophy of some sort of trophy, people don't want to spend the cash on traditional mounts.


    Sent from my iPhone using Ohub Campfire
     
  4. ofearthandbone

    ofearthandbone New Member

    Too cold to Maserati here until summer...he keeps saying to wait until springtime where we can use a power washer...I think he just likes the idea of it but it is still limiting to the seasons here during the cold. We can use beetles all year. He has given me many bear skulls to clean on my own ..I simmer them outside over the fire pit at any time of the year. He likes the outcome but now I apprentice with him full time skinning and fleshing so no time to pit fire a large amount. However I have cleaned a few skulls in my studio over the gas stove in a stock pot. This does not allow the space needed for a horned skull. I'll keep bugging him until he breaks.
     
  5. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    It only costs a few bucks to make an insultated container for macerating. It certainly takes far less attention than simmering something for hours. And it's not particularly complicated - you can easily do it yourself without a mentor.
     
  6. ofearthandbone

    ofearthandbone New Member

    I tried mace rating last summer but had to keep it way down the back of house due to smell...it gets below 0 here...what would you suggest for a container that needs to be outside?
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    You can macerate outside just fine in the winter. You need to use heat. It sounds like you are just doing one or two things at a time so invest in a good submersible aquarium heater. Yes it stinks but only for a week. In the winter, no one will notice because their windows are all closed. There are also threads on here where keeping the smell down are discussed.

    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php/topic,125253.0.html
     
  8. lizardguts

    lizardguts skull collector

    Skulls have definitely jumped in popularity within the last couple years for some reason. I lurk eBay regularly and it's almost impossible now to win something on there without fighting at least one or two other bidders, and great deals are a thing of the past unless you get lucky and stumble across a low BIN.

    On the other side, I also sell pre-cleaned skulls and they go pretty fast.
     
  9. Duckslayr

    Duckslayr Active Member

    Definitely a jump. It's kind of a trendy "in" thing right now. Skulls are being sold in high end "shabby sheik" type interior design catalogs. Women who hate hunting and taxidermy are buying them to decorate!
     
  10. Last year we sold over 300 skulls at one of our venues in 16 days. Yes skulls are getting more popular! . I take in more and more customer skulls every year. If you do any amount of skulls, you will eventually have to use beetles. I have a 12x20 out building used solely for beetle colonies and a few freezers. No way you could macerate as many skulls as efficiently as you can with beetles.
     
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I do agree that acceptance and interest is picking up. You do have a lot more competition on sites like eBay as well. A few years ago, lion skulls were fairly cheap. All of a sudden the price for even poor quality skulls has skyrocketed. Possibly people can no longer afford a trophy shoulder mount or other actual taxidermy and are substituting skull mounts because they are cheaper.
     
  12. lizardguts

    lizardguts skull collector

    Perfect example - a dirty old dog skull with some mummified tissue still attached to it just sold for $73. A few years ago it would've gone for around $30.
     
  13. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Ha ha - I think we bought that one. If its the one from Tennesee. Its an uncommon large dog breed I grew up with. The seller gave me the history behind the dog which was not posted in the ad. Sometimes its not what you see but the story or sentiment that sells the item.
     
  14. lizardguts

    lizardguts skull collector

    Lol, it's a small world! I didn't mean to imply it was a bad buy - I would've bid on it myself if I hadn't just spent a bunch recently. It's just a good example of how much the interest has skyrocketed on eBay to the point where the normal prices are now almost double what they would've been in the past.
     
  15. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    I didn't take it that way. Everyone's collection is different something you might like is something I wouldn't even take a second look at and vice versa. BTW they have one on skullunlimited.com for $225 with a severe overbite and without the "bear head" the more sought after trait with this breed.
     
  16. mustanger361

    mustanger361 New Member

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    I am not a professional. I don't do a large volume. I use a plain white styrofoam ice chest. It works well. Doesn't decompose. Doesn't leak. These containers clean up well and are very re-usable. I couldn't find the cheap-o one I have used for about six whitetail skulls. So I sacrificed a really nice one, a bit larger than I need (takes more water), but the walls are 1.5 inch thick. It is a shipping container for frozen beef steaks.
     
  17. nuclearjunky

    nuclearjunky Member

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    Yeah, popularity of skulls gets higher and higher. So do the prices. It is a pity for the student who wants to collect skulls.

    A couple of months ago a koala skull was offered on Ebay. There was a bidding war, and it was sold for 920 Euros or something.
    Please consider a koala skull is no larger than a beaver skull. Another seller (a taxidermist) offered a tiger skull with pretty bad teeth for 3000 Euros.
    There always seem to be people who will actually spent these amounts on skulls, but are those prices really appropriate?

    A befriended taxidermist recently told me that popularity of polar bear products including skulls rose so much that prices skyrocketed and they won't buy them any more.
     
  18. Late post but I noticed a huge price gap between even raw heads and cleaned skulls.

    A good raccoon skull went for something like $45 once, but I got a whole raccoon for #35.

    I guess a ton of work and all that.
     
  19. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    I am not sure where you saw a raccoon sell for $45 ... If it wasn't anything pathological or gigantic, chances are it was a noob on eBay.

    Having said that, the amount of time to clean, degrease and whiten a skull or skeleton IS the majority of the cost of an item. It may take me a month or more to properly clean and degrease a fox skeleton. Most of the labor in degreasing is the first few weeks as that is when most of the "dirty" work is done.

    I have noticed a huge difference between bobcats and lynx. Lynx are way more oily than bobcats in my experience. The ones I have encountered so far require at least another week or so degreasing. There is also a decent price increase between cleaned lynx and bobcats while raw it's only a few dollars.


    Sent from my iPhone using Ohub Campfire
     
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    With lynx, I would assume the grease factor is higher because it is an animal that lives in a much colder climate. Only a guess, but the farther North you go, the more fat the animals pack on and into their systems to be able to survive temperature and weather extremes.