Las Vegans Give Cold Shoulder to 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur

A fossilized dinosaur is still looking for a posh, retro burial home after bidders failed to meet the minimum sales price this Saturday at a Las Vegas auction. dinosaur

Not surprising.  

What the hell do you do, after all, with a 66-million-year-old, 40-foot-long, 7.5 ton dinosaur?  Serving up as freeze dried meals you say?  It’s really not an option, even if the delicacy was once the well known lumbering beast of all beasts, a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Samson.  Wall hanging?  Well, there’s gauche, then there is masse sickening.  Besides, how many of you honor and hang your dead relatives on your wall?  (We’re really not interested in your answer.) 

The 170 fossilized bones of  the T-Rex found on a South Dakota ranch in 1992, only garnered a top bid of $3.7 million (we don’t want to know about those sicko bidders either), falling way below the minimum target price of $6 million set by auction house Bonhams & Butterfield at the Venetitian auction in Las Vegas. 

To put this in perspective,  loveable “Sue,” a fully preserved female T-rex, sold for a whopping $8.36 million at a 1997 auction.  Cheapen the legacy of her death?  I don’t think so.

But Samson, which is a little less well preserved than Sue, was one of 17 dinosaur and fossil items which failed to sell Saturday, perhaps a sign of our depressed economy. 

Officials from the auction house Bonhams & Butterfields did attempt to put a positive face on the auction that netted more than $1.7 million dollars, selling 25 other dinosaur and fossil lots. 

A pair of a less-known species of dinosaurs related to the triceratops, sold for $440,000 dollars — below the $500,000 estimate noted in the prospectus but, according to Bonhams & Butterfields, a world auction record nevertheless for such an item. 

They were  bought by Larry Lawson of Big Lake, Alaska, who spent about $1 million dollars in all. The 44-year-old oncologist said the items will adorn his home and offices and be available for schools to visit. 

Some items, however, did top their auction estimates, including several of those bought by Las Vegas Sands Inc. chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson. 

They dolled out $5,185 on an ancient cave bear skull found in Romania that was expected to only net $4,000.  They also chipped in $67,100 dollars for a colorful squid-like ammonite specimen found in southern Alberta, Canada that was expected to fetch at most $45,000 dollars. 

The Adelsons, whose Venetian Resort-Casino in Las Vegas hosted the auction and displayed the items as a tourist attraction for five weeks prior to the auction, reportedly spent more than $142,000 dollars at the auction. 

The rich old couple – probably with more money than time on their hands – coyly said they plan to display some of their purchases at the private high school they fund in Las Vegas and, yes, their home as well. 

OK, let’s be nice now and not cast any dispersions on the Adelsons and their tastes in haute giving and fine decorating. 

[If you want to read more on the auction, please read the Aug. 30 article by Las Vegas Backstage Access.]

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