England

Wyoming diplodocus skeleton fetches £400,000 at auction

  • 27 November 2013
  • From the section England

A diplodocus skeleton has been sold at auction for £400,000 ($652,000).

The 17m-long (56ft) dinosaur was found in a quarry in Wyoming, US, and then assembled in Rotterdam. It is thought to be one of only six relatively complete specimens in the world.

An undisclosed institution bought the skeleton, which auction officials said would be going on public display.

The Natural History Museum had ruled itself out of bidding for the dinosaur before the auction in West Sussex.

The diplodocus, nicknamed Misty, was discovered by the teenage sons of German palaeontologist Raimund Albersdoerfer.

They had travelled to the US to help their father dig up a different skeleton before being allowed to try to find their own fossils. It was then they came across the dinosaur.

'Sorry to see her go'

The sale took place at Summers Place Auctions, in Billingshurst. Misty was sold there as the auction's curator, Errol Fuller, knew Mr Albersdoerfer.

Rupert van der Werff, from the auction house, said it was a "truly tremendous object".

He said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. It has been an awful lot of work and a very exciting project, and to finally get to this final conclusion - we are delighted.

"I can't tell you who bought it but it is going on public display."

Before the auction, the Natural History Museum, in London, said it would not be bidding for the dinosaur despite its own diplodocus only being a cast of one displayed in Pittsburgh.

And that skeleton cast is itself made up of two different diplodocuses.

Speaking before the sale, auctioneer James Rylands said: "We will be sorry to see her go - the downside of being an auctioneer is that once you've sold something you very seldom get to see it again.

"Hopefully this won't be the case with Misty. It's more likely to be bought by a museum.

"There's a fast-developing museum market in Asia and the Middle East.

"The other big thing is upmarket shopping malls or hotels, especially in the US, because of their high ceilings and atriums.

"Within the context of a shopping mall you can make a real 'wow' statement."

Diplodocus skeleton
The diplodocus was assembled in Rotterdam before being taken to Sussex to be auctioned

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