Mounted Skeleton of Allosaurus for Sale at Auction
Times may be hard and the world economy struggling to recover from the recent financial crisis but Sotheby’s in Paris are expecting the mounted skeleton of an Allosaurus to fetch an estimated 800,000 euros when it goes under the hammer later this year. Although not likely to fetch as much as its more famous theropod cousin T. rex, if you would like a 10 metre plus mounted skeleton of this fearsome Late Jurassic carnivore in your living room (presuming you have a living room large enough), you will be expected to fork out in excess of £660,000 GBP.
The fully prepared and mounted skeleton is believed to be a female, the fossils were found in Wyoming and represent an individual animal.
The Allosaurus will go under the hammer at a special auction of fossils and other prehistoric items at Sotheby’s Paris headquarters. If an Allosaurus is not your particular fancy, then there are the fossils of a pterosaur (flying reptile) or a beautifully preserved Plesiosaurus discovered in a block of stone in Gloucestershire to bid for.
The Plesiosaurus (marine reptile) was dug out from a limestone outcrop in Blockley, Gloucestershire, in the early 1990s. Sotheby’s says that the 6ft 7in by 9ft 10in skeleton is the best-preserved specimen of a Plesiosaurus to date, meaning it could easily go for more than £300,000 GBP.
The Plesiosaurus family has recently been revised with a number of specimens assigned to other marine reptile genera. This is one of the earliest group of ancient animals to be studied with the likes of the great English anatomist William Conybeare studying and describing the Plesiosaurus fossil discovered by Mary Anning at Lyme Regis in the early part of the 19th Century.
At Everything Dinosaur, we remain uncomfortable with the continued popularity of large fossil specimens and the quantity of fossil material ending up in private collections. This deprives scientists from being able to study them and encourages individuals to dig up specimens irresponsibly.
We can’t offer you a £300,000 Plesiosaurus fossil specimen but for a lot less we can recommend an Elasmosaurus model from the Wild Safari Prehistoric World series. This model has been well received by collectors and dinosaur fans alike and it is lovely to see a scale model of a plesiosaur introduced into a major model series.
The Safari Ltd Elasmosaurus Marine Reptile Model
The Elasmosaurus model and other marine reptile figures: Wild Safari Prehistoric World Models.
For those of us with a slightly smaller budget you could snap up a pair of fossilised crabs found near Vicenza in Italy and dating from the Cenozoic.
Alternatively, there is a fossilised palm leaf and accompanying fishes dating from the Eocene, some 50 million years ago, about 15 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct but before mammals had fully risen to take their place as the dominant, large terrestrial lifeforms.
Commenting on the sale lots, Professor Eric Mickeler, a palaeontologist and the expert consultant on the Sotheby’s sale stated:
“Whether you look at them as artistic masterpieces or wonders of nature, dinosaur skeletons, fossils and minerals retrace the saga of evolution, especially that of mighty terrestrial and marine mammals that are now extinct.”
It is clear that fossils, especially Mesozoic fossils are big business. According to Lorraine Cornish, a senior conservator at the Natural History Museum in London, who is involved in the museum’s attempts to purchase fossil specimens.
Commenting on the problems that these auctions bring, she stated:
“We try not to buy on the commercial market. For a start we have limited funds, but we also don’t particularly want to encourage the sale of fossils that may be dug up without the details of the find being recorded, which would mean the loss of important scientific information. But we have to accept that dealing in fossils is a reality. Some very wealthy people are passionate about the fossils they collect and they want the best, just like some people want the best works of art.”