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World's Record Pair of Tusks (235 lbs. and 226 lbs.)

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World's Record Pair of Tusks (235 lbs. and 226 lbs.)

It seems that there are mixed stories on the provenance of this world's record pair of Elephant tusks...

A person from Holland and Holland claims that the tusks had been found, since there was no record of whether the bull had been killed or had died from natural death. The person writing for the museum stated that the ivory was taken by a hunter, it is said that they came from an Elephant killed near Kilimanjaro by an Arab hunter after he had been trailing it for several weeks. Another person claims that the bull was killed on the mountain but not by whom. It is also said that the body size of the tusker was not large and that the Elephant was shot by a native hunter who used an old muzzleloader rifle. A book by a Spanish professional hunter and writer claims that there were also two separate Elephants, the biggest a single tusker, killed by an Arab hunter, whose tooth weighed 235 lbs. when taken in 1899 and a pair of tusks now in the British Museum, which weighed 235 and 226 lbs. fresh. According to the Spaniard, the tusker was taken by an Arab hunter named Senoussi who worked for the slave trader Tippoo Tib, also on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Mr. Humble, the dealer himself, supplied this photograph of the tusks when they were still together in Zanzibar in 1899.

The known history of the ivories themselves is well documented after their original sale. After the tusks were cut out, they were caravanned to east Zanzibar. An American firm bought them and shipped them to Landsberger, Humble & Company in England where they were seperated. The larger tusk was purchased by the British Museum at an unmentioned date for 350 British pounds, quite a bargain. The smaller tusk was sold to the famous cutlery firm of Joseph Rodgers and Sons, Ltd., in Sheffield, England.

After many years the tusks were at last reunited, acquired by the British Museum through Rowland Ward. The ivory was on public display until about 1973 when it was removed to the security storage area in the museum's basement where it is still to be found. The Natural History Museum is apparently most cooperative in arranging a showing for interested sportsmen.

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