Unique cased lamprey could save club

A rare brace of cased fish expected to fetch thousands of pounds at auction could secure the future of one of the country’s oldest angling clubs.

Crewe Amalgamated Angling Association control a variety of waters in the local area, with over 150 members of the social club they operate from regularly meeting for a day on the bank. But now the outfit have run into financial trouble and have been searching for ways to raise funds.

In a bid to reverse their fortunes they plan to sell a pair of lamprey that were cased by the legendary J. Cooper & Sons taxidermists after they were caught from the River Severn by a club member in 1924.

Early estimates from Peter Wilson Fine Art Auctioneers – the business charged with conducting the bidding process – suggest that it could fetch over £8,000.

Committee memberJeff Soper is desperate to see the association remain intact and said: “I have been fishing almost all my life and I am now 60-years-old. This club has given me so much throughout that time.

“We need money to keep our clubhouse going as without it no one will get together and the fishing section will almost certainly die off.”

Auctioneer Chris Large believes the unique item will prove a popular lot during the event at their premises in Nantwich on November 27 and 28. “It is unusual to find a single lamprey preserved and mounted, but exceptionally rare, if not unique, to find a pair,” he told Angling Times.

“The fact that the preservation and display work was carried out by Cooper only adds to its importance. The high quality of their work and uncompromising attention to detail is unrivalled.”

Who are J.Cooper & Sons?
John Cooper was born in 1825 and began taxidermy of birds, fish and mammals in 1844. In 1850 his son – also named John – joined the business, with both of them skilfully casing hundreds of fish until they handed the business over to the Griggs family in the 1930s. Their work is highly sought after, with collectors travelling the length and breadth of the country to visit auctions where their pieces are on sale.