“Dinosaurs (skeletons) have become cool, trendy — real objects of decoration, like paintings,” said art expert Iacopo Briano of Binoche et Giquello to AFP. He added that Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage are fans of these outsize prehistoric ornaments. In 2018, Two Jurassic age (161-145 million years) dinosaurs skeletons, a Diplodocus and an Allosaurus, were auctioned on April 11 at the Drouot auction house in Paris.
Skeletal Art like this US$2.95 Million Baby Tyrannosaurus is the new “Conversational Piece” in Ultra High Net Worth homes
It’s not just wealthy celebrities but also Chinese buyers and multi-national corporations which have joined the market of high net worth Europeans and Americans.
In 1997, McDonald’s and Walt Disney bought the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosauraus to be ever discovered and now, a baby T-rex can be added to your eBay cart for $2.95 million. Alan Detrich, an archaeologist and fossil hunter, discovered and listed the remains of this baby Tyrannosaurus on eBay and while it is a peculiar purchase, it is but one of a growing number of skeletal artworks which used to average 5-6 transactions a year.
The 68-million-year-old skeleton, nicknamed Son of Sampson, was unearthed in 2013 on private land in Montana. It has a 15-foot body, 21-inch skull and 12 serrated teeth in its lower jaw, according to the item description. “This Rex was a very, very dangerous meat eater,” Detrich said. It was approximately 4-years-old when it died.
The baby T-rex listing has resulted in experts from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) in Bethesda, Maryland, expressing their concern In an open letter that they are worried because the fossil will no longer be available for study.
They also claim Mr Detrich used the fossil’s scientific importance, including its exhibition status at KU, as part of his advertising strategy.
When it comes to controversy and dead animal displays sold for exceptionally high prices, art collectors are bound to think of Damien Hirst. During his 30 year career, the controversial artist has continually used animals as part of his creations, with some of his most famous work featuring creatures including a shark and zebra in formaldehyde.
Hirst’s The Kingdom is a sculpture, created in 2008, with tiger shark, glass, steel, silicone and formaldehyde solution with steel plinth was sold for a shocking $15.3 million.
Similar to the baby T-rex fossil is Hirst’s golden woolly mammoth skeleton which sold for $15 million and can now be admired at Faena Hotel Miami Beach. Titled Gone but not Forgotten, the three-meter tall Mammuthus Primigenius became extinct about 10,000 years ago.
Indeed, collectibles like these require eccentric taste and money but one can’t deny how much of a conversation starter if you choose to use it as a home decor.