Leakey collection
Carved figures from the collection of celebrated palaeoanthropologists, the late Louis and Mary Leakey, that will be auctioned at The Cotswold Auction Company on October 25-26.

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The Cirencester sale is a long way from Tanzania and Kenya where the Leakey’s made their name, however this collection is being sold by relatives in the New Forest after the death of the Leakey’s daughter-in-law Janet Brooke-Leakey.

The 70 lots, including fossils, animal skulls, pottery, jewellery and beadwork, were brought to The Cotswold Auction Company by their consultant Sophie Neophytou who had been recommended to the Brooke-Leakey family. Many of the items have been in storage for many years and have a range of estimates, with many lots at under £50.

The collection will be auctioned as part of a two-day sale on October 25 and 26 at the firm’s new Bankside saleroom in Cirencester.

Human Evolution

The Leakey’s were responsible for some of the best known evidence that humans originated in Africa and evolved from apes.

A 1950s discovery of early human skulls, fossils and tools at Olduvai Gorge, in what is now Tanzania, established that the human race evolved in Africa. They found the bones that led to the classification of a new species called Homo habilis, proving humans evolved much earlier than previously thought.

Louis Leakey also helped fund and promote the study of living apes and helped now well-known primatologist Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Mary Galdikas begin their studies of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans in the wild.

white metal and coral mounted part skull bowl

A white metal and coral mounted skull bowl from the collection of celebrated palaeoanthropologists, the late Louis and Mary Leakey, that is estimated at £40-60 at The Cotswold Auction Company.

After Louis’s death, Mary found footprints preserved in volcanic ash in 1976 which was crucial evidence of early hominines walking upright.

Janet Brooke-Leakey worked with Mary in Africa before returning to the UK.

Live online bidding is being hosted by the-saleroom.com.