News / Shaun in the City

Shaun in the City auction raises £1m

By martin booth, Friday Oct 9, 2015

120 sheep. Two cities. One auction. £1,087,900 raised for Bristol Children’s Hospital charity Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal and more than 20 other children’s hospices and hospitals across the UK.

Security was tight inside the tent as the biggest auction of sheep sculptures the world has ever seen came to Bristol.

To be precise, the biggest auction of sheep sculptures the world has ever seen came to a tent in a car park at Cribbs Causeway.


Look! It’s big Bob Crampton off of the telly, just there in the distance as guests start to arrive.

If ITV are doing the evening weather from live inside the tent, it must mean something very big is going on.


A brass band plays a few ditties as the first guests continue to file in, glasses of bubbly in hand, keen to fill those front row seats.


There’s a little bit of time to look at the sculptures.


Some are familiar from the Bristol trail. Some are not.


You needed more than the commemorative £5 coin around Shaun-Xiào’s neck to buy this sculpture by Royal Mint designer Stephen Taylor.

In the Chinese year of the sheep, it eventually went for £6,500 to a bidder in the room.


For sale the day after the final of Great British Bake Off is Star Bake.


“Go on, have a bite,” says auctioneer Tim Wonnacott to polite titters as Bristol artist Tom Hovey’s design is sold for £16,000.


“He’s certainly got the taste buds tingling,” Wonnacott says as Jarsberry Ram by Simon Tozer – seen over the summer outside the Pump House – comes up for sale.

“I knew he was juicy,” Wonnacott continues to groans before an internet bidder wins at £16,000.


The paddles continue to be raised in the tent.

Wonnacott even shows off with a Shakespeare soliloquy during the selling of To Sheep Perchance to Dream.


The most expensive sculpture sold on the night is Globetrotter by Aardman designer Sarah Matthews, bought by smiling IMDb founder Col Needham.

Needham founded his global film database business in Bristol and despite being bought by Amazon it still has an office in Avonmouth. Typically, he and his family made a spreadsheet of all 120 sculptures – which they all found – and ranked them in preferred order. Then promptly bought their favourite.


£500,000 is raised in total on the night with the purchase of Beach Boy by Mike Ogden.

He was found during the Bristol trail near the Cascade Steps.


One of the most popular sculptures is Starstruck by Richard Williams.

The director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? raised £21,000 with his starry design.


The room starts to slowly clear as more lots are sold.

Most of these people have got considerably more money than you.


One sculpture came with an added adornment not seen on the trail.

The Shear Speed Helter Skelter by Aardman senior designer Gavin Strange comes complete with an illuminated ‘Fun fleece’ sign, created by Strange and Chris Underwood. It sold for £8,000.


Ruffles from the London trail came with five special fabric ruffs to adorn the sculpture.

These were delicately embroidered by Deborah Wilding and students at the Royal School of Needlework. It sold for £4,800.


Time for a musical interlude from London with this video from Jamie Brightmore.


Thousands of stamps made up Frank.

It sold for £6,000.


Not as many adornments though as on Dolly.

Julie Vernon’s sculpture has more than 25,000 round glass droplets and hand-cut mosaic tiles. It sold for £8,500.


The room seemed to be flagging slightly. Not these guys though.

They were bidding on everything as the total nudged over £900,000 at 10.15pm. They bought Baaroque for £8,000 as waiting staff cleared up their spilt drinks around them.


And then they helped to push the price of Sparkles the up to £25,000.

It was eventually won by a father and daughter team in the room.


One million pounds!

This moment happened after the 114th sculpture was sold soon after 10.30pm.


But there was disappointment when Shrek only sold for £7,500.

Compare this with Dreamworks’ Buzz Lightyear Gromit which sold for £65,000 in 2013 as the Gromit Unleashed auction raised more than £2.3m.


The original Shaun the Sheep was a late addition to this year’s auction.

Featuring on neither the Bristol nor London trails, it sold for £20,000.


Then it was just the mini versions remaining.

The five of these included two who traveled on the City Sightseeing bus and a Bristol ferry during the summer.


Shaun the Sheep creator Nick Park comes to the stage with the Grand Appeal’s Nicola Masters.

“I was going to auction myself off, just to raise two million pounds,” he jokes.


And that is that. See you in 2017 for a Morph trail?

See photos of all 70 Bristol sculptures.


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