Wednesday, May 8, 2013



WHAT do you do with 180,000 mummified Egyptian cats from the vicinity of Antinoopolis? A company in Britain called Kleinworts gained notoriety in 1890 by selling them for fertilizer.

The company had ordered the cat mummies from a merchant at Beni Hassan ... not far north of ANTINOOPOLIS ... the Sacred City of Antinous in Egypt. When their clients refused to accept the shipment the company was left with a cargo consisting of 180,000 mummified cats.

The 19.5 tons of embalmed cats were then consigned to auction where they fetched £3 13s. 9d. per ton. Apparently the auctioneer knocked the lots down using one of the cat heads as a hammer.

The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, on Febraury 11th, 1890, reported on a second auction of cats:


"At noon yesterday Messrs James Gordon and Co sold by auction, at Liverpool, eight and a half tons of mummified cats from Egypt. The mummified cats, which came from Beni Hassan, about 100 miles from Cairo, were consigned to Messrs Kleinworth, Sons, and Co, Liverpool. They were brought to Liverpool in 100 bags by the steamer Thebes, from Egypt. The sale attracted a very large number of Liverpool merchants. Mr J C Gordon, who conducted the sale of the cats, said that Professor Conway had written an article about them, and had expressed his belief that they were from 3000 to 4000 years old.

"They had in the room that day a basket of the mummified bones as a specimen of what the remaining bones were like. The bones would be sold at so much a ton. He would like an offer. The bidding commenced at £3 per ton, and gradually advanced to £5 17s 6d, at which sum they were knocked down to Messrs Leventon and Co.

"Messrs Leventon and Co were the purchasers of the other consignment of mummified cats, which were disposed of a short time ago. The price per ton then realised was £3 13s 9d.

"A large number of single cats’ heads were next sold at prices varying from 1s 9d to 4s 6d each. The reason the cats heads were sold singly was because the brokers had been deluged with letters asking if they would sell specimens as samples. The mummies are broken into fragments, few perfect specimens remaining. They were packed very tightly into bags for the purpose of saving freights. The first cat’s head which was disposed of brought an offer of 1s 3d. Mr Gordon said the head belonged to a beautiful tom, and was worth more (laughter). The bidding for the head slowly advanced in price, and was knocked down to a Mr Gorst for 3s 3d.

"The sale from first to last evoked great merriment, and it was quite a study to watch the interest which a few men of science looked upon the affair as compared to the banter indulged in by men of business. Messrs Leventon and Co., who bought the mummified cats by the ton, intend to grind them up into manure. It is stated on good authority that the remains of Egyptian mummified human beings have before now been ground in English mills for manure."

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