Jurassic skeletons sell for $440k

"Samson", the bones of the third most complete T. Rex ever discovered, remains homeless after a Bonham's auction last weekend.

The $3.6m highest bid for the 66 million-years-old collectible just wasn't high enough, failing to meet its estimate of $6-8m.

Some have blamed the credit crunch for the failed sale. In comparison, "Sue", the most complete T. Rex ever found, sold for $8.36m prior to the recession in 1997.

Nevertheless, the National History auction - the first ever held by Bonham's - hosted a number of successful and fascinating sales.

The skeleton of a dinosaur related to Triceratops sold for $440,000; a world-record for a such an item, although it failed to meet its $500,000 estimate. It was bought by Larry Lawson of Alaska, who overall spent more than £1m at the auction.

"I've been into this kind of stuff since I was a little boy," Lawson enthused.

Duck-billed Dinosaur

Likewise an impressive 28 feet-long skeleton of T. Rex's contemporary, the duck-billed dinosaur, sold for $458,000.

Some pieces easily exceeded expectations.

For example, a highly-coloured Canadian ammonite resembling a squid sold for $67,100, surpassing its upper estimate of just $45,000. And a 17 feet long bony fish from Kansas sold for $422,000 (est $250,000).

The ammonite was amongst $142,000 spent by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who use the fossils as a tourist attraction in their Venetian Resort-Casino in Las Vegas.

"I'm disappointed that we couldn't find a buyer [for the T. Rex] - but we will, and I'm pretty happy with the results overall," commented Patrick Meade of Bonhams and Butterfields.

Photo: Bonhams and Butterfields


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