Later this month, Sotheby’s New York will auction an extremely rare Gorgosaurus skeleton, which is estimated to fetch as much as $8 million (£6.7 million). It marks the first time in history this vicious prehistoric species has come to auction.
Measuring over 3 metres tall, it is one of the best-preserved specimens of this apex predator ever discovered. The Gorgosaurus was a type of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur – a much smaller but perhaps faster and deadlier cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The creatures roamed the Western plains of North America about 76 million years ago, using serrated teeth to kill their prey.
All other examples of Gorgosaurus skeletons are now held in public museums, so this is a rare chance for a private collector to acquire such a sought-after piece. The ferocious fossil will be auctioned on 28 July during “Geek Week”, Sotheby’s second series of science and popular culture sales, for a presale estimate of between $5 million to $8 million (£4.2 million to £6.7 million).
“In my career, I have had the privilege of handling and selling many exceptional and unique objects, but few have the capacity to inspire wonder and capture imaginations quite like this unbelievable Gorgosaurus skeleton,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s global head of science and popular culture.
The Gorgosaurus was discovered in a prehistoric riverbed near Havre, Montana, in 2018. Over millions of years, sediment from the river slowly built up around the dinosaur, preserving its skeleton in a remarkable condition. The skull is particularly well-preserved – three rare major bones that form the orbit are still visible.
Collectors have been gripped by dino-mania recently; in May Christie’s sold a Velociraptor skeleton for $12.4 million (£10.4 million) and in 2020 the auction house achieved $31.8 million (£26.6 million) for a huge Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. The exceptional Gorgosaurus remains can be viewed in person at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries in New York, from July 21–28 2022.