A FASCINATION with the Tasmanian tiger has led a Hobart man to pay top dollar for a photograph of the last known thylacine in the wild.
The original photograph, purchased by Nevin Hurst, sold at Gowan's auctions for $9775 last Saturday.
According to an article in The Advocate dated Wednesday, May 14, 1930, the photograph depicts a man named Wilfred Batty, who shot and killed the animal after seeing it kill poultry on his farm at Mawbanna, on the North-West Coast.
The tale said the animal was "exceptionally large", measuring five feet and six inches in length.
It said the thylacine "caused a great deal of trouble in the Mawbanna district, having wrought havoc in fowl pens, while it had also frightened several children."
Mr Hurst said the reserve price for the photograph was set at $20 but later raised to $250.
He said he was not sure how many people he was bidding against because it was done over the phone.
"We don't know who put the photograph into auction, except that it was a lady."
Mr Hurst said the photograph, which measures 5cm by 10cm, was in excellent condition.
"We need to preserve what little we have, which is why the photograph is just so important."
He said his son shares the same fascination with the creature.
"I have been buying Tasmanian tiger skins and putting them into a collection. One reason we collect is we hope to match the stripes on his back in the photograph with one of our skins.
"The photograph and skins will all go into a private collection and won't be released until we are absolutely satisfied with it."
He said he still holds hope that the thylacine exists.
"If there's any tigers out there - no one is saying there isn't - the gene pool is so small they would be inbred and without strength. They would be destined to become extinct anyway."