MOUNTED rhino horns worth thousands of pounds on the black market are being kept in a secret location after being found, forgotten, in Jedburgh library’s attic, writes Sally Gillespie.
Eleven sets of horns, including two of rhinos from Africa, were discovered “extremely dirty and in poor condition” last year - and may have lain in the loft for more than 80 years said SBC area curator Shona Sinclair.
She is now preparing a report for councillors on what to do with them:. She said: “The horns don’t fit within our collection. There is a formal museum transfer process where they could be offered to other museums or scientific collections but it will be up to councillors.”
Rhino horn, used in traditional Asian medicines, is reported to have a street value of US$33-$133 a gram (£900 - £3,700 an ounce) but selling on the open market is not an option because of agreed SBC ethics.
Ms Sinclair said: “We cannot sell on the open market and we don’t want to sell on the black market. There are all sorts of laws concerning these things.”
The find includes the two double mounted rhino horns, a couple of water buffalo skulls, water buffalo, impala, water buck and red heart beast horns, most, if not all, the work of noted British taxidermist Roland Ward, and likely stuffed and mounted between 1879 and 1898.
It is likely they belong to the Royal Burgh, for Ms Sinclair has found minutes of a meeting held in the library in April 1926 noting: “A gift of mounted heads and horns of wild animals for the Museum was intimated from Mr Kenneth Campbell, (Hartrigge).”
Councillor Len Wyse commented: “This is surely a great find but it’s a pity it’s not a wealthy one.”