The Norman Transcript

November 20, 2013

Dinos fail to sell

By Ula Ilnytzky and Deepti Hajela
The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Two fossilized dinosaur skeletons, dubbed the “Montana Dueling Dinosaurs” because they appear forever locked in mortal combat, failed to sell Tuesday at a New York City auction.

A pre-sale estimate had predicted that the skeletons, offered as a single lot, could fetch between $7 million and $9 million — a price out of the reach of most museums. There were hopes that a wealthy buyer would donate the skeletons to a public institution but the price failed to meet the reserve at the Bonhams auction; the highest offer was $5.5 million.

Auction officials said they remained hopeful a buyer could be found, possibly among institutions that previously expressed interest.

“We already had parties contacting us in advance of the sale, that should they not sell, please keep us in mind, we’re very interested,” said Thomas Lindgren, Bonhams co-consulting director of natural history. “Those negotiations will begin immediately.”

There is precedent for a wealthy bidder to purchase and donate such a find. Sue, a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in South Dakota in 1990, was purchased and donated to The Field Museum in Chicago.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.