Discovered only weeks ago, in the late summer of 2011 in Garfield County, Mont., is one of the largest T. rex teeth ever found. The magnificent piece brought a new world auction record for the most expensive pre-historic tooth ever sold at public auction. Estimated to bring $25,000–30,000, the meticulously prepared tooth sold for $56,250 during the December 11 Natural History auction at Bonhams in Los Angeles.
Thomas Lindgren, Co-Consulting Director of the Natural History Department at Bonhams, said of the specimen: "Bonhams is pleased to announce a new world record price for one of the largest individual T. rex teeth to be offered at public auction. The newly discovered T. rex tooth represents the 'fresh-to-the-market' approach of the Natural History Department of Bonhams."
The tooth measures 5 1/8 inches (linear measurement), from base to tip. It is more massive than any of the teeth of the well-known T. rex Stan, and is possibly larger than those of Sue, the famous T. rex residing in the Field Museum, Chicago.
Other highlights of the December sale included one of the largest saber-toothed cat skulls ever offered at auction, a gigantic Machairodus giganteus skull, measuring almost 18 inches; the specimen, which was estimated at $50,000-60,000 sold for $116,500 and included several vertebrae.
On a more esthetic note, an exquisite fossil palm flower from the famed Green River Formation of Wyoming was also on offer. Estimated at $45,000-55,000, it is a spectacular example of the rarely-seen flowers from the palm trees of this 51-million-year-old Eocene geologic formation, reflecting the subtropical climate of an area that is now high desert. The piece sold for $50,000, one of the highest prices ever paid for a fossil palm flower.
The $1.22 million December sale concluded with a diverse group of high quality and distinctive mineral specimens, gold nuggets, lapidary works of art and gemstones, as well as exceptional examples of fossils, unusual jewelry and "phenomenal gems."
An oval Burmese Star Sapphire was the marquee lot of the "phenomenal gem" section (est. $38,000-45,000, sold for $43,750). The cabochon boasted excellent proportions with a large face-up appearance. The asterism present in the stone was both very strong and central. This sapphire has a fine medium cornflower-blue color and a high degree of transparency making it a desirable stone for the collector.
Items of note also included a sea-blue 61.77 carats "Paraiba" Tourmaline from Alto Ligonha, near Nampula, Mozambique (est. $12,000-15,000, sold for $35,000); a rare, large 4.20 carat Benitoite, the official state gemstone of California (est. $25,000-30,000, sold for $27,500); a 7.93 ozt esthetically pleasing rugged gold nugget of slightly zoomorphic form Leonora, Western Australia (est. $25,000-30,000, sold for $31,250); a gemstone sculpture of a tropical scene titled "Orchid and Hummingbird" by noted Idar-Oberstein lapidary artist, Gerd Dreher (est. $10,000-15,000, sold for $31,250); a large and impressive 2100.0 carat "Swiss Blue" Topaz from Brazil (est. $15,000-20,000, sold for $31,250) and a stunning suite of 10 crystal Opals from Lightning Ridge, Australia (est. $30,000-40,000, sold for $31,250), among others.
Press Contacts: Jannelle Grigsby
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further five throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Boston in the USA; Toronto, Canada; and France, Monaco, Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 57 specialist areas. By the end of 2009, Bonhams had become UK market leaders in ten key specialist collecting areas.For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com.