May 17, 2004 in City
Bids lackluster for dinosaur bones
LOS ANGELES – A collection of fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex bones, believed to be some of the first ever found of the animal, fetched $93,250 at an auction Sunday, far less than what organizers had hoped.
The partial skeleton of the sharp-toothed dinosaur nicknamed “Barnum” had been expected to bring between $400,000 and $900,000. The highest bidder was a consortium of investors from South Dakota, said Levi Morgan, a spokesman for auction house Bonhams & Butterfields.
Morgan said the lot of remains, auctioned under a court order to settle an ownership dispute, was sold without a reserve, or minimum, price.
“The bidding wasn’t as competitive as we thought,” he said. “Bidders didn’t want to spend more than they did.”
The first T. rex was discovered in eastern Wyoming in 1900 by dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown. At the time, just 13 percent of the skeleton was recovered. Those remains are now part of the British Museum collection in London.
Casts made of the auctioned bones, believed to be about 20 percent of the large beast, appear to match the remains now housed in London, said Thomas Lindgren, director of natural history for the auction house. The bones, found in 1995 in the same area as Brown’s original discovery, include teeth and portions of the fearsome dinosaur’s forearms and feet.
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