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Remember Those Dinos Heritage Auction Sold? They're a New Luxury Market


by Jerome Weeks 15 Nov 2011

Fossilized dinosaur roadkill are the new must-have — if you happen to be the kind of person (would that be the 1 percent?) who can drop more than 800 very large on a triceratops skeleton at Christie’s.

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In June, Heritage Auction sold, among other bones and a stuffed polar bear, the “Fighting Pair” — a matching set of stegosaurus and allosaurus fossils, found together in a Wyoming quarry. They went for nearly $2.75 million to an undisclosed museum overseas (pay wall).

Turns out, dinosaur roadkill are the new must-have — if you happen to be the kind of person (would that be the 1 percent?) who can drop more than 800 very large on a triceratops skeleton at Christie’s.  Or pay $1000 per inch for T-Rex teeth.

Not unlike a hot new accessory, dinosaur fossils have their devoted celebrity following. In 2007, Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage went head to head at I.M. Chait auction house in Beverly Hills, fighting over a 67-million-year-old T-Rex skull. Cage won out at a whopping $267,000. Harrison Ford is also allegedly an avid collector.

The American West remains the hot spot for dinosaur fossils. This is not because more dinosaurs lived in America but because “the rock layers laid down during the age of dinosaurs are currently exposed. It also helps that the landscape is dry, so there’s not a lot of vegetation covering the rock.” Many other countries do not allow commercial fossil export, meaning that if you’re getting your fossils from abroad chances are you’re buying them illegally.

Naturally, the HuffPo Arts story doesn’t reference the Heritage sale, which dwarfed the ones it does mention.

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