A COCKERMOUTH auction house is celebrating its best ever Country Sporting Sale - where a massive moose head sold for £4,100.

Mitchells sale last week made a total of £122,000, beating their previous record by some £24,000.

Delighted auctioneer and sporting specialist James Moore said: “The sheer quality and quantity of sporting items means our sale totals are increasing substantially.

"Mitchells' reputation is growing not just regionally but nationally which means we’re attracting higher and higher quality lots for our sales.

"The large scale taxidermy in this sale also attracted buyers beyond our usual sporting sale audience which had a positive impact on the hammer prices.”

The most valuable lot in the sale was amongst the taxidermy, a massive moose shoulder mount which finally sold for £4,100 against an estimate of £1,000 to £1,500.

The moose came from the home of the Carlisle-born author, adventurer and conservationist Dave Hill who wrote “The Arctic, the Inuit and the Polar Bear” in 2016.

From the same home, a black bear skin rug with mounted head also did very well selling for £950. A Victorian Golden Eagle with mountain hare prey mounted on a driftwood log made £700.

The most valuable gun was a rare Duval MacNaughton, a cal 577/450 rifle with Martini Henry style action and 26 inch rifled barrel which sold for £3,500.

A cased 12 bore side by side shotgun with 27 inch barrels by R Blanton, Market Place, Ringwood, Herts made £1,700.

The sale also featured the last ride out for The Solway Vintage Guns Museum Gundle shop delivery bike which sold for £420, part of the private collection of the late Reg Carruthers (1935 to 2021) entrusted to Mitchells before he sadly passing away in January this year.

A much loved and familiar face around shooting grounds and salerooms in the county, Reg’s widow Elizabeth and family were present in the saleroom as his collection of over 400 lots of vintage guns and accessories from the Solway Vintage Guns Museum which he founded were sold, including some rare and unusual items.

A massive wildfowling Punt gun measuring 8ft 4in in length made £2,600 and a Coombes of Bath large flintlock musket made £1,200. A cased Joseph Lang pinfire double barrel shotgun in fine order was also sold for £700.