Millionaires keep dinosaurs out of museums

This is a National Geographic video about Nigersaurus.

From the Belfast Telegraph in Ireland:

Jurassic parts: bones fetish spurs collectors’ market

Forget fine wines and fast cars – today’s millionaires prefer collecting dinosaur skeletons. But are they pricing museums out of the market? Rob Sharp reports

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dinosaurs are scary. Skeletons, even more so. So a dinosaur skeleton, you’d think, would make most run a mile. But despite their rictus grins and rattling bones, such objects are proving a hit with the rich and famous, always searching for something new to jazz up the country pile or Beverly Hills mansion.

Moneyed collectors are flocking to fossil auctions like never before. Just look at the catalogues of major auction houses over the past six months. In April, a 65-million-year-old Triceratops skeleton went under the hammer in Paris, and sold for a cool £400,000. In March, a prehistoric Siberian mammoth fetched an equally jaw-dropping £200,000 in New York.

With Christie’s holding regular dinosaur auctions in the French capital, and similar events being held at Bonhams and fellow auctioneer Chait in Manhattan, there are more opportunities then ever to pick up a bony memento. And they are attracting their fair share of star power.

Among those with a dino fetish are the actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicholas Cage, who locked horns in a bidding war to obtain the head of a Tyrannosaurus bataar (the Asian cousin of T rex). Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director of A Beautiful Mind, is also a fan. Bonhams says its client lists include a raft of Hollywood A-listers, captains of industry and royalty.

But here’s the bad news: those who can’t afford to keep up with escalating prices are losing out. This includes Britain’s museums, whose budgets are pitiful compared to your average Hollywood hotshot or shipping magnate in pursuit of his next palaeontology fix.

Dinosaur fossil prices: here.

Fossil Auction News: here.

Dinosaur diggers bring mobile lab, new techniques to Eastern Montana: here.

Dinosaur mummy Leonardo: here.

Private fossil collections must be shared with all: here.

T-Rex skeleton to go under the hammer: here.

Spinosaurus Skeleton and Dinosaur Teeth Featured at Paris Auction: here.

Capitalism vs. science: here.

12 thoughts on “Millionaires keep dinosaurs out of museums

  1. It is the same with art, whenever people have enough money they start acting for the indulgence of their interests, it could be balanced when like in arts these millionaires would lend their collection to museums


  2. Hi Juanita, thanks for this comment. Indeed, there are similar problems in art. See, eg, here.

    If these millionaires would lend their collections to museums: that would indeed be a solution; but not all of them do.


  3. Mar 20, 4:55 PM EDT

    Complete dino skeleton offered at NY auction

    NEW YORK (AP) — A bit of the Jurassic era is going on sale this weekend when a gallery auctions off a 150-million-year-old complete skeleton of a dinosaur.

    The rare fossil of the 9-foot-long dryosaurus could bring up to $500,000, according to the I.M. Chait Gallery.

    Josh Chait, who runs the gallery, said the fossil was taken from private land in Wyoming in 1993 and is being sold by Utah-based Western Paleontological Laboratories.

    Other fossils for sale include a 20,000-year-old wooly mammoth, measuring 7 feet tall and 15 feet long, and a 20-foot-long giant marine lizard. The dinosaur skeletons are part of what the gallery is billing as a natural history auction.

    On The Net:

    I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers:

    Western Paleontological Laboratories:


  4. Jaws of giant, prehistoric shark in Paris auction

    The Associated Press

    PARIS — The giant jaws of a prehistoric shark and the skeleton of a saber-tooth tiger are set to hit Paris’ auction blocks.

    The items are among about 100 lots at a sale of natural history-related items organized by Christie’s auction house. The sale is to take place on Tuesday.

    The jaws, which stand over 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall and have 168 teeth, belonged to an extinct carnivorous shark that lived 10,000 years ago. They are estimated to be worth euro150,000 ($202,000).

    The saber-tooth tiger’s skeleton, which is complete and quite rare, is estimated to be worth euro80,000-euro100,000 ($108,000-$135,000).

    The sale will also include a petrified dinosaurs’ nest with an adult Psittacosaurus and nine babies. The group likely died in a natural disaster, like a volcano.

    AP Photo – A girl looks at the skeleton of a Cave Bear, Ursus spelaeus, showing the animal hunting for salmon (around 115 million years old) [Really??!!] is displayed as part of an unusual collection of minerals and fossils, including several prehistoric mammals, at Christies auction house in Paris, France, Sunday, April 5, 2009. The collection of paleontological curiosities will be auctioned at Paris Matignon Christie’s next Tuesday, April 7, 2009


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