Mammoth fossil auction at Sotheby's

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2015-06-26 10:38:21

Mammoth fossil auction at Sotheby's

30 Aug 2012, 09:44 GMT+01

Sotheby’s have announced that their Wonders of Nature sale on October 2nd will include 100 fossils, skeletons, and mineralised panels.

From prehistoric plants to extinct animals, increasingly these natural history items are circumventing purchase by natural history museums, and falling into the hands of a growing community of private collectors who revere them as works of art.

A complete Siberian mammoth skeleton is tipped as the top seller. The species walked the earth at around at the same time as Neanderthal man in the middle Paleolithic, and Homo sapiens in the upper Paleolithic, becoming extinct 12,000 years ago. The skeleton is offered with an estimate of €170,000-€250,000, and the opportunity for the buyer to name the mammoth as they wish.

It will be followed onto the block by a woolly rhinoceros skeleton, the star of many a cave painting, valued at €70,000-€100,000, and a 145 million year old turtle fossil, at €55,000-€80,000.

Other highlights include a pair of mammoth tusks found in Russia, dating from the late Pleistocene period, estimated to sell for €30,000-€50,000, a prehistoric alligator skull, 1.8 million years old and the largest and most complete of this species ever discovered, valued at €30,000-€40,000, and a fossilised Caiman skull, 45 million years old and amazingly well-preserved, valued at €18,000-€28,000.

A gorgeous 80 million years old Placenticeras ammonite is set to sell for €12,000-€18,00, and a 190 million years old Eparitites ammonite from England for €9,000-€15,000.

Large panels of mineralised wood have found much favour as beautiful pieces of art. A remarkable example will be offered, extracted from the ancient giant forests of Arizona, displaying white, grey and red, valued at €35,000-€50,000.

It wouldn’t be a fossil auction without a palm frond, and a Eocene Epoch example surrounded by little preserved fish is set to fetch €60,000-€80,000.

Likewise, that staple of natural history curiosity cabinets, the elephant bird egg, will also be represented, offered at €35,000-€45,000.

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