An auction house in Paris will put two dinosaur skeletons belonging to a diplodocus and an allosaurus under the hammer on Wednesday. The auction will be held at Binoche et Giquello auction house in Paris, according to AFP, and anybody with big pockets and large living rooms can bid to buy these prehistoric ornaments at the auction.
The allosaurus skeleton is about 3.8 meters long and could fetch up to $812,500 (€650,000). The diplodocus is approximately 12 meters in length and has a guide price of $562,500 (€450,000) to $625,000 (€500,000).
“The fossil market is no longer just for scientists,” Italian expert Lacopo Briano of Binoche et Giquello told AFP.
“Dinosaurs have become cool, trendy — real objects of decoration, like paintings.”
Celebrities like Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio are also big fans of such prehistoric fossils. In 2007, Nicolas Cage bought the skull of a dinosaur that was a close relative of T. rex. However, Cage returned the fossil to authorities after he found out that the fossil was stolen and illegally smuggled out of Mongolia.
According to Briano, multinational companies and European/American billionaires are “traditional” buyers of dinosaur skeletons, but recently several Chinese businessmen have also shown interest in buying these fossils, especially large specimens discovered in China.
Some rare fossils can fetch millions for the owners. In December 2016, a nearly complete skeleton of an allosaurus named Kan was sold for $1.37 million (€1.1 million) at an auction in Lyon, France, according to The Guardian. Kan was a ferocious carnivore whose species went extinct from the planet about 135 million years ago. Kan’s skeleton, about 7.5 meters long and 2.5 meters tall, was discovered in 2013 in the Morrison Formation in the U.S. and was bought by a French buyer, who preferred not to disclose his identity at the auction.
In 1997, the skeleton of Sue – a T. rex – was bought for Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. It was one of the best-preserved skeletons of a T. rex ever found and was bought for $8.36 million. Today, millions of people visit the museum every year to see this skeleton.
In June this year, a huge skeleton of a theropod will go up for auction in France, and according to Reuters, this skeleton could fetch up to $1.84 million (€1.47 million). This nine-meters-long skeleton was discovered in Wyoming in the U.S. and is currently on display in Lyon, France. It is about 70 percent complete and belongs to a British businessman.
According to Eric Mickeler at the Aguttes auction house, this market is currently very small, and just five to six dinosaur skeletons are put up for auction worldwide in a single year. Carnivores usually fetch more money than herbivores because people like their teeth.