T. Rex sells for 'about' $5m

Several weeks ago Bonhams and Butterfields held their first ever Natural History auction in Las Vegas.

The sale was generally a solid success, with some complete skeletons and a lot of fragments sold, notably to a Larry Lawson of Alaska, who spent over $1m.

But the party was ruined by one rather important exception: Samson the T. Rex remained homeless. His $6-8m estimate had not been reached - not even close. The top bid was a (relatively) tentative $3.6m.

Now the auctioneers have agreed on a compromise which is still short of the estimate, but a lot closer to it. Bonhams won't give the exact figure, but indicate it's in the region of $5m.

It is difficult to estimate the value of something like a T. Rex skeleton as not many are found and fewer still make it to auction. At 56% intact, Samson is the third most complete T. Rex ever found.

Samson T Rex Dinosaur fossil
Samson the T. Rex
(Click to enlarge)

Still, perhaps the changing fortunes of an individual piece might show an increased confidence at the highest end of unique collectibles. In the very select area of fossil collecting bidders were already prepared to pay hundreds of thousands for fossils.



In fact in the Netherlands a mammoth named Olaf sold for a record breaking price of €302,440 ($444,680 or £280,373) back in September.

Perhaps now however, with the US out of recession, multi-million dollar bids for unique lots are to become more common.

Samson's new owner is understood to be in negotiations with museums to allow them to display his pet.


Images: Bonhams and Butterfields



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