Dino Tracks Lead To Phenomenal Martian Rock In Chait’s May 6 Natural History Auction In addition to the Martian meteorite the sale will feature the skull of a baby triceratops, a fossilized dragon skull, a complete dinosaur skeleton and a selection of coprolites and dinosaur eggs.
its warmly patinated surface to its wickedly curving, well-delineated claws. It could make $20,000-$25,000 on auction day.
Appropriately for the Year of the Dragon, I.M. Chait will auction a fossilized skull of a creature now known as an Ankylosaurid but originally thought to have been a dragon – and it’s easy to see why people of ancient times might have thought as such. The long snout, large spikes and cranial protrusions on the broad, flat-topped skull certainly suggest a dragon-like physiognomy. Very few Ankylosaurid remains have ever been found, more than warranting a $30,000-$40,000 presale estimate.
A fine and complete dinosaur skeleton measuring 39 inches long would be the ultimate prize on any CEO’s desk. The specimen is a remarkably well-preserved, fully articulated skeleton of a Psittacosaurus, a primitive member of the Ceratopsia, or horned dinosaurs. In a forward-crouching mode, this beautifully presented skeleton has a large parrot-beaked skull with distinctive jaws that once grabbed and shredded leaves with ease. It has a presale expectation of $10,000-$12,000.
In addition to their bones, dinosaurs left behind other evidence that they existed, like fossilized dung known in geological terms as “coprolites.” Two consecutive lots of coprolite fossils, cross cut and polished to reveal its inner coloration, are cataloged in the sale. A hefty 8¼-inch wide multicolored specimen from the Morrison Formation in Utah is estimated at $800-$1,000; while a group lot of five coprolites, quite likely from ancient turtles, carries a $2,500-$3,500 estimate. Such specimens are very popular with collectors and always garner media interest. “Even a leading business publication featured a coprolite from one of our past auctions on its front page,” said Jake Chait.
Dinosaur eggs of various types and species also will be available, ranging in size from 3 to 4 inches in diameter all the way to 16 inches for an Asiatic Gigantaraptor egg. The latter is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.
Chait’s sale includes the only fossil of an Indarctos zdanskyi (predecessor to the panda) ever to be offered at auction. “There may be one in a museum somewhere, but if so, its existence is not commonly known,” said Chait. “We don’t even know of a private collection that contains an Indarctos zdanskyi.”
The 16-inch-long “panda” skull is around 2 million years old. Like the “dragon” in the auction, it was found in central Asia. Mounted with jaws agape, the skull displays outstanding three-dimensionality, fine bone texture and coloration. Estimate: $65,000-$80,000.
A number of insects and taxidermied animals will be auctioned. Of particular note is a pair of large mosquitoes captured in amber resin while in the act of mating. Described in Chait’s catalog as “a perfect snapshot of prehistoric life,” the 2¼-inch-long golden-orange specimen of Baltic origin could realize $500-$700.
The Archaeological and Tribal Artifacts section of the sale includes an authenticated Egytian mummified human hand with a considerable amount of cloth wrapping still intact. It is at least 2,000 years old, putting it somewhere between the New Kingdom and Ptolemaic Eras. Estimate: $5,000-$6,000.