One of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever discovered is set to go on the auction block in Las Vegas in October.
The 66 million-year-old fossil was found 22 years ago in South Dakota and has come to be known as Samson. It is 40 feet long and 15 feet tall and consists of around 170 bones, more than half of a complete skeleton.
“In the last 110 years, there’s been a total of 46 specimens found of Tyrannosaurus rex of which this is the third most complete and has the finest skull,” said Tom Lindgren, who is co-director of natural history for the auction house Bonhams & Butterfields.
The last time a T. rex was auctioned, the most complete specimen ever found, known as Sue, went for more than $8 million dollars. The winner was the Chicago Field Museum.
Sue was still in pieces and unprepared when she was put on the block, and was only expected to fetch around 1 or 2 million dollars. Lindgren hopes Samson will exceed his estimated worth. One thing he has going for him is that he is fully prepared and mounted and ready to go on display.
“I’m going to estimate it’s in the neighborhood of 2 to 8 million, but it could easily go for upwards of $10 million,” Lindgren said. “I want to hold the record for a natural history auction.”
Samson is clearly the star of the upcoming auction, which will be held October 3 at the Venetian casino, but there will be more than 50 other lots of rare specimens.
Highlights include a 25-foot long shark, the largest fossil shark ever found.