Cryptozoology enthusiasts will get the chance to own some classic photographic evidence supporting the existence of the elusive Yeti.

British explorer Eric Earle Shipton photographed unusual 13-inch footprints during a 1951 expedition with Dr. Michael Ward in the Himalayas. Believers in the mythical ape-like creature believe these photos are the best evidence supporting Yeti’s existence.

Shipton’s photos are up for auction as part of a two-week-long online auction that began on August 27 on the Christie’s website. Two of these 12-inch by 13-inch photographs show the alleged Yeti footprints, with human footprints for comparison. The other two photos better depict the massive scale of the mysterious footprint by showing the Yeti footprint next to an ice ax and a boot.

The auction’s description reads:

"Eric Earle Shipton (1907-1977), Photographer
Yeti footprints in the Menlung Basin
the photograph of footprint with mountain boot alongside inscribed by Tom Bourdillon in ink on reverse: 'Dear Mick. Here are the footprint photos: sorry for the delay. We came across them on a high pass on the Nepal-Tibet watershed during the 1951 Everest expedition. They seemed to have come over a secondary pass at about 19,500 ft, down to 19,000 ft where we first saw them, and then went on down the glacier. We followed them for the better part of a mile. What it is, I don't know, but I am quite clear that it is no animal known to live in the Himalaya, & that it is big. Compare the depths to which it & Mike Ward (no featherweight) have broken into the snow. Yours, Tom Bourdillon.'
carbon prints
each 6 7/16 x 4½in. (16.3 x 11.5cm.)

The mainstream scientific community regards the Yeti as nothing more than a mythical creature. LiveScience explains that, in 2013, geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford used DNA analysis from two different hair samples thought to belong to Yeti. He determined those two samples came from an ancient polar bear.

Some also assert that Shipton hoaxed his Yeti footprint photos. But many still believe in the creature’s existence.

Yeti’s North American cousin, Bigfoot, is better known in pop culture. Although many claim to have seen the man-beast, and some claim to have evidence proving its existence, mainstream science feels the same about Bigfoot as it does about Yeti.

True believers aren’t deterred by the opinion of mainstream science. Hardcore Yeti proponents are sure to agree with James Hyslop, a specialist who cataloged Shipton’s photos for the online auction. He describes the photo collection as a “massive part of history.”

The set of four pictures is expected to fetch more than £5,000 (more than $8,000) at auction.

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Tags: Yeti Bigfoot