Chronology : 1987 2007
Fossils classified in the chronology of the specimens, not of their discovery. Minerals below.
Not including jeweled gems.
The Snake Necked Turtle
2010 SOLD 460 K€ including premium
Formerly, reptiles dominated the planet. Their skeletons are now fossils, and provide fun to scholars and collectors.
The main quality of a fossil is to be complete. We have already admired in this group a marine reptile belonging to the order of the ichthyosaurs. The 5.40 meters long skeleton preserved at 90% for the skull and 75% for the rest of the body had been sold 180 K € including premium at Christie's on April 7, 2009 in Paris.
The specialized sale at Sotheby's, also in Paris, on October 5 includes rarities. In the release shared by Paul Fraser Collectibles, let us pass without stopping over the star of the sale, a brave flesh-eating dinosaur from Wyoming preserved at 70%, for discussing a plesiosaur announced as complete.
Shaped like a turtle without shell, this predator of the seas that lived 190 million years ago was a pioneer of hydrodynamics with the neck of a snake and the tail of a crocodile. The piece of Sotheby's, 3 meters long, is estimated 320K €.
It was found less than 20 years ago in England, the country where Mary Anning discovered the first plesiosaur in 1821.
Many skeletons presented in the sales appear to be recent discoveries. Perhaps finding techniques have been improved. The excavation techniques are certainly more effective than before for unearthing complete specimens.Fossil lovers, be prepared: this market will grow!
POST SALE COMMENT
This fossil skeleton was truly exceptional. It deserves its price: € 460K including premium.
2020 SOLD for € 3.07M including premium by Binoche et Giquello
2007 Battles of Giants in the Jurassic
2011 SOLD 2.75 M$ including premium
The inhabitants of the Earth sometimes have difficulty in supporting one another. I take the example of a terrible battle that was fought in the Jurassic.
The techniques of discovery and excavation of fossilized dinosaur skeletons are improving, and recent findings supplement and amend our knowledge. It is a matter for professionals, of course. Wyoming is their preferred ground, for the abundance of such remains.
In spring 2007, researchers at International Dinosauria were excited by the discovery of an Allosaurus, whose dentition is well preserved. As they progressed in the recovery of bones of this flesh-eating dinosaur, they make a stunning and unprecedented discovery: a Stegosaurus skeleton is mingled with the bones of the Allosaurus.
There is little doubt that the animals killed one another 155 million years ago. Their corpses did probably fall into a river or were quickly buried by a mudslide, and the skeletons were not dispersed by other predators of the time.
It was anticipated that the dinosaurs were fighting. Grass-eating specimens were often the losers, as already shown by the bite of an Allosaurus in the neck plate of a Stegosaurus. But the discovery of two skeletons together was a considerable scientific novelty.
Both fossils are for sale in one lot, by Heritage in Dallas on June 12. The Allosaurus named Dracula is 6.30 m long and 70% complete. Fantasia, the Stegosaurus, is 5.40 m long and 75% complete.
POST SALE COMMENT
The two dinosaurs were sold together. I followed the event live on LiveAuctioneers. There was one bid at $ 2.3 million, covering the reserve price. With premium, that is $ 2.75 M.
It is a remarkable price in its category, rewarding a unique group.
2013 An Elderly Dinosaur
2018 SOLD for € 2M including premium
These fossils of skeletons arouse a growing craze. A juvenile specimen 3.80 m long was sold for € 1.4M including premium by Binoche et Giquello on April 11, 2018 from an estimate of € 500K.
When paleontologists begin to release a new fossil in 2013 they immediately believe that it is an allosaurus. After the completion of its excavation in 2015 and of its preparation in 2017 they observe that this beast was different from allosaurs by a slightly larger quantity of teeth. The bone structure also has a few unprecedented characteristics including an extended shape of the pubis.
This dinosaur 2.60 m high, nearly 9 m long and 70% preserved was an old adult. It was probably dead by a fall in the river and not in a landslide because its bones were not compressed during the fossilization, allowing for example to construct with accuracy the three-dimensional shape of its muzzle. Its bone pathologies are discernible.
It has been inspected by specialists but it remains to find its actual place in the evolution of theropods. Its next owner will be invited to contribute to its scientific designation.
After a public exhibition on reservation from June 2 to 4 on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, this fossil will be sold by Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine on June 4 in duplex with its showroom. It is estimated beyond € 1,2M, lot 1. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The Nightmare of the Nuit Blanche
2010 SOLD 1.3 M€ including premium
Since 2002 in Paris, la Nuit Blanche (white night) is an annual cultural event during which activities are offered free to the public for much of the night.
With a remarkable sense of media, on Saturday, Sotheby's opens until midnight the exhibition of its sale of natural sciences. The auction itself will take place on October 5.
On this occasion, the comfortable room of Sotheby's will be occupied by one of those antediluvian horrors that excite both imagination of adults and passion of children: the fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur.
The happy tenant is an Allosaurus, which lived during the Jurassic 150 to 140 million years ago. Its species was a distant forerunner of the Tyrannosaurus, a very similar beast that began its long career in the Cretaceous, 50 million years later. The Allosaurus for sale is a large size specimen, 10 meters long, which further strengthens the comparison with Tyrannosaurus.
Its skeleton is complete and 70% original. It is illustrated in the release shared by Artdaily.
The auction house has not published an estimate, but several sources on the web announce the convincing figure of € 800K.
The famous Tyrannosaurus Sue was only 13 meters long, but was original to more than 90%.
POST SALE COMMENT
After being the star of the Parisian cultural news, this fossil skeleton grew higher than its estimate. It was sold € 1.3 million including premium.
2013 River Sediments in Wyoming
2016 SOLD for € 1.13M including premium
The allosaurus has a remarkable similarity with its much later successor the tyrannosaurus but it is smaller. It has all the characteristics of the most formidable predators. The claws gripped and lacerated the prey and the 7 cm long teeth were curved backwards to prevent the victim from escaping. The very tall hind legs attest to its frightening power.
On June 12, 2011 Heritage sold for $ 2,75M including premium a group composed of an allosaurus and a stegosaurus whose bones were found intermingled, meaning that the carnivore and the herbivore had killed each other. This allosaurus named Dracula was 6.30 m long and 70% complete.
On October 5, 2010, Sotheby's sold for € 1,3M including premium an allosaurus 10 m long, which is very large for this species, also complete to 70%.
A new specimen named Kan found in 2013 in Wyoming will be sold by Aguttes in Lyon on December 10, lot 28. It measures 7.5 m and is also 70% complete. It is remarkable for the conservation of its skull with teeth still in place on the jaw and a very good articulation of the cervical vertebrae. Please watch the video in French shared by Art et Communication.
1987 The King of Badlands
2020 SOLD for $ 32M including premium
We have to face the facts : the tyrannosaurus, a distant successor to the allosaurus, had characteristics much more efficient than humans, in terms of sight and smell, running speed, strength and appetite. I have no reliable data about its intelligence.
The deposits are mainly concentrated on the Hell Creek Formation, an island continent bordering Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming. The distribution of the species was certainly wider, but the swamps of these Badlands originally limited the dispersal of the skeletons and provided good conditions for fossilization. More than 50 specimens have been found.
Hell Creek has been known since the beginning of the 20th century as a reservoir of tyrannosaurs. It was an amateur prospector who discovered in 1987 the hip bones of a specimen that was given his own first name, Stan. An error in paleontological interpretation delayed the researches. The excavation required 30,000 hours of work between 1992 and 1995. This male tyrannosaurus, approximately 70% complete in mass, is one of the largest specimens, measuring 11.3 m between the muzzle and the tip of the tail.
Traces on the bones provide valuable informations on the life of prehistoric animals. Stan had lesions created by the teeth of other tyrannosaurs. His broken neck had been healed by fusion of two injured vertebrae. He ate an edmontosaurus and a triceratops just before his death. In our time he plays the stars with more than 60 complete casts for use in museums and exhibitions.
The fossil includes 188 original pieces, compared with the 350 bones of a complete animal. The skull is almost perfect. Missing elements are represented by casts. It will be sold without a reserve price by Christie's in New York on October 6, lot 59 estimated $ 6M. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Stan deserves a similar notoriety as Sue, the 12.3 m long male tyrannosaurus found by a lady named Sue in 1990, which was sold for $ 8.4M including premium by Sotheby's on October 4, 1997.
1990 Sue the Tyrannosaurus
1997 SOLD for $ 8.4M including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
The bones had not been scattered. The animal had lived about 67 million years ago and probably died in a stream of water that pushed it against some obstacle.
The tyrannosaurus is the most spectacular of the dinosaurs, and Sue was the largest and most complete specimen at the time of its excavation. The skeleton is 90% complete by mass and 73% by the number of elements. The cranial fossil weighs 270 kg and is 1.40 m long and the teeth are almost intact.
The owner of the land, a member of the Sioux tribe, claimed that the team had paid him the right to take and clean up the fossil, but not the transfer of ownership. Justice follows and he becomes the sole owner of Sue. He then commissioned Sotheby's to manage the auction. Due to Sue's exceptional scientific interest, paleontologists were worried about the risk of purchase for a private collection.
Nothing equivalent had happened on the market. On October 4, 1997 the bidding was started at $ 500K. Sue was sold for $ 8.4M including premium to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
At the time of the sale, this dinosaur had been identified as exceptional but had never been mounted. Its exhibition at the Field Museum was inaugurated in May 2000. Scientific investigations have not been interrupted. The age of the animal is estimated at 28 years, making it until 2013 the dean of the tyrannosaurs. It was 12.30 m long and 4 m high at the hips and its weight in life was estimated at about 10 tons.
The image is shared by Wikimedia with attribution to the user Zissoudisctrucker. It shows Sue in its most recent display configuration at the Field Museum.
Skeletons of Mammoth
2017 SOLD for € 550K including premium
The woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) occupies a special place in our imagination. Our ancestors painted its image on the walls of the caves. Its morphology is very close to the Asian elephant but is distinguished by the extension of the tusks used for catching food by burying the snow.
Among the extinct species the woolly mammoth is of the utmost interest in contemporary biology. The discovery of frozen bodies with a well preserved DNA makes hope for a regeneration of the species.
On December 16 in Lyon, Aguttes sells the skeleton of a large specimen of Mammuthus primigenius, lot 55 estimated € 450K. It is 3.40 m high including its straight head, 5.40 m long and 80% complete. Its beautiful tusks preserved at 90% are curved without being symmetrical for a linear length of 3.32 m and 3 m and a weight close to 80 Kg each. It was collected in Siberia.
The detailed inspection provides information on the medical history of this old male who probably died of a necrosis of the lower mandible that no longer enabled him to eat.
The 90 % complete skeleton sold on November 26, 2014 for £ 190K including premium by Summers Place was a male of similar size but shorter tusks. Among the specimens whose preservation rate and tusk size were not available in the catalog, let us remind Le Président that sold for € 310K including premium at Christie's on April 16, 2007 and another skeleton sold for € 240K including premium by Sotheby's on October 2, 2012.
Please watch the video shared by Aguttes.
1970 Three Samples of Lunar Dust
2018 SOLD for $ 860K including premium
Korolev was the manager of all the important projects : ballistic missiles, Sputnik which was the first spacecraft to orbite the Earth, the approach to the Moon by the robotic Luna probes, Vostok which first traveled a man in space, and the Soyuz space vehicle.
Luna made several great achievements : first impact on the Moon of a man-made spacecraft with Luna 2 in 1959, first photograph of the far side of the Moon in the same year by Luna 3, first soft landing by Luna 9 in 1966.
Luna 16 in 1970, Luna 20 in 1972 and Luna 24 in 1976 scratched the soil of the Moon and brought back some dust for a cumulative weight of 326 g. For comparison Apollo human missions carried 380 Kg of lunar rocks and dust on Earth.
As a tribute to Korolev, three tiny particles collected by Luna 16 were presented to his widow. They were encased together under glass below an adjustable lens. This set is the only example of lunar soil from the space programs that has ever been in private hands : samples kept by governments and their diplomatic gifts cannot be available for trade.
This lot was sold for $ 440K including premium by Sotheby's on December 11, 1993. It is estimated $ 700K for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 29, lot 63.
2017 Fragments of Moon
2018 SOLD for $ 610K including premium
Only a geological analysis makes it possible to know the origin of a meteorite. The surface of the Moon has a composition of a limited variety due to the absence of air and water and to its low gravity field. Lunar rocks account for less than 0.1% of the meteorite population.
A breccia weighing 1780 g voluntarily split into two halves was sold for $ 330K including premium by Heritage on October 14, 2012. It is typical of rocks on the far side of the Moon and was found in Dar al Gani in the Libyan Sahara.
In an online auction ending October 18, RR Auction sells a lunar breccia rock found in 2017 in Mauritania, lot 4004 estimated $ 500K. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This meteorite is composed of six naturally separated fragments that fit perfectly like a puzzle for a total weight of 5.5 Kg. The largest piece weighs 2939 g and measures 180 x 150 x 105 mm. One of the faces of the reconstituted assembly shows traces of fusion generated by its descent into our atmosphere.
ASTOUNDING is the only word for it!#Meteorites in the new @RRAuction catalog include (we assume?) the largest & most unusual #moon rock ever offered at #auction— Meteorite Men (@MeteoriteMen) September 30, 2018
View online --> https://t.co/YYM45aW9mo#astronomy #space #auctions #geek #nerdvana #STEM #NASA #museums pic.twitter.com/xV6lreeS5q