Opportunities for dinosaur ownership just don't come up often
enough these days, but Oct. 3 is looking promising. That is when, according to this article
approximately 50 "impressive, museum-quality" natural history artifacts, including some dinos,
will be auctioned off at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas. The big
seller is supposedly going to be a T. rex named Samson, with an estimated
value of $2 million - $8 million. According to the article:
Prepared at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh,
Samson’s skull is regarded as one of the finest and most complete T. rex
skulls in existence, and displays 22 teeth. The skeleton contains
approximately 170 bones, more than 55 percent of the total bone count
of an entire skeleton.
nice, but this is not the best economy, and we don't all have millions
of dollars to be spending on fossils. That is why I have browsed the auction catalog
and come up with some more budget-conscious picks to bid on. All of the following picks come in well under the million-dollar mark, with auction values starting as low as $1,000!
Best Bargain-Bin Item: Lot 1, "A Fine Fossil Fish"
[Estimate: $1,000 - 1,250]
According to the catalog description, this Diplomystus dentatus
is a "requisite acquisition for any serious fossil fish collection." More importantly, it is also looking like the cheapest thing you can buy in this
particular auction--well, either this or the lame-ass "Ammomite with Bite Marks
," but frankly, if you're going to drop a grand on a fossil, it shouldn't have a bite taken out of it.
Best Thing to Buy if You Really, Really Like Vertebrae: Lot 19, "Triceratops Vertebra"
[Estimate: $1,250 - 1,500]
If you buy one vertebra this year, I recommend you go with a
Triceratops vertebra. Their vertebrae have a "distinctive appearance"
featuring "three horns and a large bony frill,
which, besides giving this creature lasting celebrity, may have served
several purposes." From the looks of it, I think one of these purposes
could definitely be 'most awesome pencil holder of the past 35 million
Best Thing to Impress the Ladies: Lot 21,"Set of T. Rex teeth"
[Estimate: $7,500 - 10,000]
Some background: a couple years ago, I was in a bar with my sister
Kate and her friend Ashley. Ashley was approached by extremely
hardy-looking man in a Hawaiian shirt. Despite it being Saturday night
at a bar, this man was dressed like a.) he was on a boat, and b.) he had
never been anywhere else in his life other than on a boat. Not knowing
what to say, Ashley simply pointed to the shark tooth he was wearing
around his neck and said, "Sweet tooth you got there, man." The guy
looked Ashley directly in the eye and said, "Lady, I've got a shark
tooth at home that's as big as your hand." The amount of confidence in
this statement led me to believe that this comment had been used to
impress many, many women in the past.
Which brings me to this item. I cannot say the shark tooth line
successfully worked on Ashley, but I can't help but think that if it
had been an entire set of T. rex teeth that man had mentioned having at home, well--he and Ashley would probably be married by now.
Most Practical Purchase: Lot 30, "Pair of Dinosaurs Known as 'Xenia' and 'Ben'"
[Estimate: $500,000 - 600,000]
This is a true recession special. For an estimated $500-$600K, you get two Late Cretaceous Einiosaurus procurvicornis
relative) skeletons for just a fraction of the price of one T. rex.
The fact that E.p.
is not one of your big-name dinos definitely does not
mean you aren't getting quality here! Ahem: "The virtuoso mounting of
these specimens is exemplified by the
treatment of Xenia's skull, which can
be turned from side to side.
The skeleton is completely modular: almost every bone can be removed
from the armature for scientific study; metal clips and cradles are
used to secure the bones to the armature." Additionally, "Ben's" skull
can be rotated along two planes, up-and-down as well as side-to-side."
I know exactly what I would do if I had this pair of dinosaurs. Xenia
would stay at home on display in the living room (note to self: get
way bigger house ASAP). Then I would pull Ben along behind me all day
in a giant wagon, and whenever anyone asked me a yes-or-no question, I
would say, "I don't know--let me ask my DINOSAUR. Ben, do you think we
should have turkey burgers for dinner?" Then I would shake Ben's head
yes or no in response. Because I could.
Best if You Can't Afford an Entire Duck-Billed Dinosaur: Lot 22, "Dinosaur Arm"
[Estimate: $9,000 - 11,000]
Yes, it is possible to buy a full Edmontosaurus annectens ("duck-billed dinosaur") skeleton, but like I said: bad economy. Instead, let me recommend this tasteful single arm of the same species. The listing boasts that this lovely arm is "offered on a custom stand," which is a relief, because I have seen those generic, non-custom Edmontosaurus annectens arm stands they sell at Kmart, and those things are CRAP.
Those are my picks, but there's plenty more to see in the auction catalog here.