Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Are you a conservationist who harbors secret fantasies of owning a fancy Cape buffalo head? How about a beribboned walrus penis?
The feds are cleaning out the National Wildlife Property Repository—a veritable treasure trove of 1.5 million seized taxidermically-treated dead animals. The items were all confiscated at international ports of entry.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Congressional Research Service pegs the illegal trade in wildlife products at more than $5 billion and perhaps as much as $20 billion a year world-wide. Nearly 200,000 items came into the warehouse last year." They've been trying to sell off 300,000 of these pieces since February.
A dozen fur coats made from Siberian weasel sold for $4,450. A box of 270 acrylic key chains, each encasing "one small black salamander," went for $35. There are table lamps made of clam shells, drums covered with unspecified mammal skin, watches festooned with mother-of-pearl.· Uncle Sam To Auction Off Taxidermy Treasure Trove [Styleite]
And a curious collection of clay dwarfs decorated with bits of python skin.
· Uncle Sam Wants You to Bid on This Fine Weasel Fur Coat [WSJ]