Triceratops fossil going to a Private Collector

After failing to find a buyer at the recent Christie’s auction of natural history objects in Paris, the exceptionally rare and nearly complete Triceratops skeleton was put up to receive telephone bids in an attempt to reach its reserve price.

A private American collector has paid close to $1 million USD for this example of three-horned face that roamed the Western United States at the end of the Mesozoic.

The unnamed collector paid 592,250 euros (944,167 dollars) for the fossil skeleton in a deal announced after the fossil failed to find a buyer at an auction held at Christie’s on Wednesday.  During the actual auction bidding for the 7.5 metre, 70% complete specimen reached 490,000 euros but fell short of the seller’s reserve price on the day.

However, the auction team decided to keep the telephone bidding lines open and to extend the deadline for receipt of offers for 14 days.  Within 48 hours the Triceratops had been sold.

The Triceratops was the star attraction at the auction of palaeontology objects that totalled 2.1 million euros and set 11 record prices.  The auction has been criticised for encouraging private collectors to purchase rare items of great value to science and preventing them from being studied further.

It would be a dreadful shame if palaeontologists and other researchers were denied access to this wonderful specimen, whilst the patronage of wealthy individuals can lend much support to museums and other educational bodies, this trend to have rare and precious items purchased by private individuals for personal collections is very sad.

Lets hope the Triceratops is allowed to be studied and also put on display so that it can be viewed by the general public.

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