Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is a Sawfish Rostrum?


This item is SOLD.

A Sawfish rostrum is the protrusion at the business end of a Carpenter Shark or Sawfish.  While hunting of these fish is mostly prohibited now, at one time, Sawfish were highly sought, in part for the trophy of their rostrums.  The fish use these protrusion to dig through sand and silt searching out crustaceans.  These days, antique specimens of the Sawfish rostrum are scarce and add an eyepopping touch to the interior design of any room.

Recently Found Rostrum
I recently found one at a Delaware auction.  I've added the photo to the right so you get the idea.  As with lot of things in life, size matters.  The longer the specimen, the more valuable it is.  Some rostrums can be purchased that range upwards of $6,500 as this 49 inch specimen from the Gentleman Collector is priced.  A 41 inch specimen was sold at Christie's for $2,725 in 2009. 

Like any other taxidermy, condition is important.  Sawfish rostrums are prone to damage.  They are basically made of bone, cartilage and skin with the paired rows of teeth that line the sides and tip.  The teeth are frequently broken in two ways:

1.) Carelessness of the human owner.
2.) Fighting by the original owner.

These two types of damage have repurcussions to value differently.  Human damage to rostrums seem to devalue the rostrum somewhat whereas battle scars in the sea don't seem to impact value at all.  How do you tell the difference?  It's difficult.  If a Sawfish loses a tooth, it does not grow back, so you have to look for signs of wear that occured after the tooth loss.

Items like this are definitely an oddity, but they can be enormously beautiful mounted on a wall.  Certainly anyone with a trophy room or an interest in natural and scientific items would find these very useful for decor and interior design.  It's powerful to imagine that you own the snout to these graceful and powerful creatures that can grow up to 23 feet.  Only antique specimens should be purchased, and if caught Sawfish should always be released.

I have decided to offer mine at a very reasonable $350.  It is a 27.5" specimen putting it at a little larger than a medium specimen.  You can check it out here.

Happy hunting and check out the shop!

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