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Charlie Boy set to ‘go for a song’ at auction?

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Tom Waldron admires ‘Charlie Boy’ the Mynah
bird, set to sell at the firm’s Friday 24th
February auction



As far as taxidermy goes, this little Mynah bird may look rather unassuming. However, the story behind ‘Charlie Boy’ harks back to the golden age of variety shows and family entertainment – and this is one bird that certainly had the ‘X Factor’.  

A Greater Indian Hill Mynah, a species renowned for its ability to mimic, Charlie Boy won the hearts of the nation with a repertoire that included some 24 phrases, coughs, sneezes and whistling the dog. He made regular TV appearances during the late 1950s to early 60s and was awarded the joint honour of ‘best talking bird’ and ‘most talented bird’ in the 1959 National Exhibition of Cage Birds and Aquaria, held at London’s Olympia.

As Champion bird, Charlie – and his owner, Mrs W. Wilsthire of Southwark, London – went on to feature in programmes such as Blue Peter and even took part in a research experiment conducted by British scientists at Cambridge University’s Department of Zoology. When, as with many great talents, Charlie’s career was cut tragically short his doting owner preserved him for eternity in the form of this handsome piece of taxidermy.

‘Charlie Boy’, along with a host of ephemera charting the little bird’s rise to fame including certificates, trophies and letters from both the BBC and Cambridge University to just scratch the surface, is set to come under the hammer at Cuttlestone’s Wolverhampton Auction Rooms on Friday 24th February as part of its Specialist Collectors’ Auction. Wolverhampton Auction Rooms’ sale room manager, Tom Waldron, says:

This really is a fascinating lot. Taxidermy has a strong following in its own right but when you add into the equation the provenance of this lot and its links to the world of entertainment, you have a whole new dimension. We anticipate strong interest from those with an eye for TV and 20th Century entertainment memorabilia as well as collectors of taxidermy.

Full details of the ‘Charlie Boy’ lot, along with all the other lots in the specialist collectors’ sale will be available in the online catalogue at from Friday, 17th February. The sale will commence at 10am on Friday, 24th February with live online, telephone and commission bidding options available for those unable to attend. For further details call 01902 421985.

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