The Ultimate Dino Trophy: A 93 Percent Intact Triceratops Skull

To be directly in front of the thing, though it’s just a skull, is to sense just how impressive a beast the triceratops was. It is as long as an NBA player is tall, and as wide as a Formula One race car, mainly due to the fact that the frill is naturally fused to the back of the cranium, common in found adult male specimens of the massive, 30-foot long giant. Even these comparisons, however, cannot capture the palpable sense of power that emanates from what is merely a fossil, a relic, of one of the greatest, most terrible – in the regal sense of the word – creatures to ever wander the planet.

Now, for anyone that ever dreamed of owning a piece of unrivaled natural history, or dreamed of having a pet dinosaur of his or her own, a 93 percent intact Triceratops skull – a very rare find – will be on the auction block in Dallas on Sunday, Jan. 18, at Heritage Auction Galleries’ Natural History Auction, taking place in the main showroom of its Downtown headquarters. The auction is sure to garner attention of collectors and non-collectors alike due to the singular nature of the Triceratops skull and the amazing condition in which it was found, and is sure to bolster Heritage’s reputation as the acknowledged leader in the field of Natural History auctions.

“This Triceratops skull is definitely among the largest and most complete ever discovered,” said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History Auctions at Heritage. “A relic like this does not come along too often and we expect that to factor into the bidding.”

With a pre-sale estimate of $240,000-$280,000, the brute does come with a cost, but to the determined collector, or museum, this is the chance –and the deal – of a lifetime.

It is not, however, the only rare and remarkable lot in the auction. As Heritage has grown into the leading Natural History Auctioneer, just one of several categories in which that claim can be made, the quality and scope of the consignments has grown as well. Throughout the auction bidders will see a wide variety of museum quality fossils, meteorites, gems and minerals, Dinosauria, Zoology and pieces of the Moon and the planet Mars.

Several other lots, which could easily lead other auctions themselves, stand out in this extensive collection, including a spectacularly rare, fully intact specimen of a large lizard trapped in prehistoric amber, dating back somewhere between 30 and 90 million years. It is estimated at $90,000-$100,000.

“This is a very rare find,” said Herskowitz. “This is not only the largest lizard ever found in amber, it’s the largest vertebrate ever found fully preserved in amber. Its importance cannot be emphasized enough.”

Flying dinosaurs have received much attention in recent years, due to their relationship to modern day birds, but the beauty and power of an extremely rare fossil of a flying Pterodactylus, from the Jurassic Era, brings the lesson into full form as a wonder of paleontology, but also as a delicate and beautiful piece of art. While not as large as its earlier cousins, perhaps, this beautifully preserved and articulated flying dinosaur is a gem indeed. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $45,000-$55,000.

Among the more interesting of the smaller lots up for bid in the auction is an interesting pair of prehistoric gnats, well-preserved in amber, and captured at a very delicate moment, to put it lightly.

“Let’s just say this particular pair of flies chose a very bad time to start a family,” said Herskowitz. “On the lighter side, though, you could say that love really is timeless. In this case, their embrace has remained intact for 35 million years.”

For more information on this auction, to view the entire catalog or to see fully enlargeable images of each lot, and to bid, go online to www.HA.com/6012.

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