Tyrant Lizard on the Auction Block Rare Dinosaur Skull to be Offered on June 1 in New York

From the scientific to the superbly decorative, astoundingly unique fossil specimens will be offered by international fine arts auctioneers Bonhams on June 1, 2007 during the firm’s Natural History auction in New York. The 525 lot sale offers a diverse group of high quality and distinctive mineral specimens, gold nuggets, lapidary works of art, gemstones and jewelry as well as exceptional fossils from prestigious collections around the world.

Leading the auction is a rare tyrannosaurid skull – one of only three or four Alioramus skulls to have been discovered (est. $120 000- 140 000). Known as the ‘Tyrant Lizard from the Age of Dinosaurs,’ this rare specimen from the Late Cretaceous period was found in the Nemegt Formation, Gobi Desert, Central Asia. Although very little is known about this rare tyrannosaurid, Alioramus is smaller and more slender than its famous cousin the T-Rex, and boasts a higher tooth count. This animal was most likely a very swift hunter with the ability to be faster and more agile than many of its contemporaries. The present skull specimen is from an individual which would have measured over 20-feet in length and impressively displays the 76 serrated, knife-like teeth.

Also featured in the June auction is a well-documented Triceratops skull (pictured, left) from the Hell Creek Formation, North Dakota (est. $100 000- 125 000). Unquestionably one of the most popular dinosaurs, Triceratops lived over 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period. The dinosaur is famous for its iconic three horns and large bony frill profile. Along with giving this creature lasting celebrity, the external defenses undoubtedly helped to protect the animal from its predatory contemporaries, such as T. Rex. The present skull specimen is beautifully preserved and exemplifies the famed behemoth of the ‘Age of Dinosaurs’.

A Large Jurassic Ichthyosaur specimen — highly sought after by collectors– will also be offered at auction this summer (est. $60 000- 80 000). From the famous Holzmaden quarries, the Ichthyosaur is believed to have filled a similar ecological niche as today’s dolphin. Of all known reptiles, they were best adapted to a marine existence. A fine example of this fascinating inhabitant of the Jurassic seas, the present specimen displays expert preparation with all four flippers visible. The skeleton is virtually complete and displayed in an attractive lateral presentation.

The décor section of the sale will feature two monumental halves of an entire petrified wood tree aptly dubbed ‘The Twins’ (est. $125 000- 150 000). From the Triassic period, the magnificent offering was discovered at the Chinle Formation, Northern Arizona. Staggering to the imagination is the number of hours and the degree of expertise required to remove, split and polish this ancient treasure which is evidenced by the mighty presence of the unique pair. The cut faces display brilliant red hues, earth tones, cream and black, augmented by a fine polish. Each petrified wood log measures approximately 8-feet tall.

Also featured amongst the strong selection of items suited to interior design is a collection of very important petrified wood slabs artfully inlayed with ancient fossilized wood and suitable for use as a tabletop or bench; works in polished quartz and citrine on illuminated bases as well as a diverse selection of framed and unframed fossilized items from the world famous Green River Formation.

Additional highlights will include an uncommon Alaskan Mammoth Tusk of impressive size (est. $20 000- 25 000); ‘The Dragon’s Head’ (pictured, right), a zoomorphic gold nugget from Victoria, Australia weighing nearly two troy pounds (est. $35 000- 45 000); a hand-sized gold nugget boasting a rich, buttery patina (est. $28 000- 35 000); a baby snapping turtle from a distinguished private collection (est. $10 000-12,500) and the ultimate prize for the serious meteorite collector, a group of three Martian meteorites (est. $2 500 – 3 500).

Bonhams & Butterfields Natural History auctions are the largest of their kind, both in terms of number of lots and overall estimated value. The June 1st auction will include more than 500 lots and feature a diverse group of high quality and distinctive mineral specimens, gold nuggets, lapidary works of art, gemstones and jewelry in addition to exceptional fossils as well as numerous items of unique décor in the form of wall art and sculpture.

Published in: on May 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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