You Want Vintage? They’ve Got REAL Vintage
The international auctioneers at L.A.-based Bonhams & Butterfields are holding their first natural history-themed auction at The Venetian on Sat., Oct 3. Up for bid? Gobs of fossilized, long-dead awesomeness, including:
- an assortment of ancient leaf and fish specimens much like the little smudgy ones you’ll find at rock shops for $25, except much bigger, clearer and valued between $1,000 and $50,000
- rock-embedded opalescent ammonites, looking like snail shells dipped in delicious rainbow sauce
- the long, underbite-stricken skull of a prehistoric cave bear
- a single, mounted vertebra from a Triceratops — that squat, three-horned thing we’ve all seen ramming its lethal head into the underbelly and crotch of attacking Tyrannosaurus in movies and dreams.
- a set of four mounted Tyrannosaurus rex teeth B & B expects to go for as much as $10,000
- a 25-foot shark skeleton found in Kansas, where they don’t like to talk about what happened 82 million years ago
- the world’s largest known set of shark jaws, including seven-inch teeth and massive enough for a man to stand inside and pretend it’s the last place he’ll ever stand
- a complete wooly mammoth skeleton, tusks and all
- a “massive turtle cluster,” indicative of some catastrophic geological event that waxed them all at once
… and the auction’s flagship piece:
- “Samson,” a 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton unearthed 17 years ago in Buffalo, South Dakota
Samson is one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever found, consisting of 170 bones (55 percent of the original animal) including a very intact skull on which scientists have even found evidence of healed injury and disease, providing valuable clues as to how this creature — actually a female — spent its days on ancient Earth. In 2000, the finding fossil hunter tried to sell Samson (then dubbed Z-Rex) on eBay for between $8 million and $12 million. No dice. The skeleton was successfully sold a year later to British millionaire Graham Ferguson Lacey for an undisclosed amount, before then spending a couple years on loan and under intense scientific scrutiny at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
Now Samson is on the block again, looking for another loving, drenched-in-disposable-income owner who’ll perhaps display her in some cavernous basement rumpus room until, perhaps, said owner finds himself relentlessly haunted by the billowy, CGI-ish ghost of a long-dead superpredator demanding the dignity of proper re-burial.