Bonhams & Butterfields Natural History Auction Sets World Records in Las Vegas

Fascination with dinosaurs and natural works of art fueled bidding on Saturday, October 3, 2009 as Bonhams & Butterfields offered and sold property during the company’s first Natural History auction held at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. The sale brought more than $1.7-million for approximately 50 lots of high quality and distinctive dinosaur specimens and exceptional fossils. Today’s sale was Bonhams & Butterfields most successful Natural History auction to date.

“Although the T-rex ‘Samson’ did not sell in the auction room, several world record prices were set and we have received several post auction offers. Bonhams & Butterfields fully expects ‘Samson’ to ultimately find a great home,” said Director of Natural History Thomas Lindgren.

Applause broke out in the crowded space formerly occupied by The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, after many lots were hammered as “sold” by Bonhams & Butterfields Chief Operating Office and auctioneer Patrick Meade.

“Having the opportunity work with The Venetian in this incredible space was a unique and wonderful experience. The exhibition attracted over 15,000 collectors, visitors, Las Vegas residents and school children. It was an awe inspiring preview. Bonhams & Butterfields was thrilled that so many of these rare and unique fossils found homes,” said Meade.

Top lots from the October 3 sale included:
$458,000 paid for a Duck-billed Dinosaur A Virtually Complete Mounted Skeleton –A WORLD AUCTION RECORD [lot #25]

$440,000 paid for a Pair of Dinosaurs known as “Xenia” and “Ben” –A WORLD AUCTION RECORD [lot #30]

$422,000 paid for a Kansas King Fish – Formidable Fossil Fish from Kansas –A WORLD AUCTION RECORD [lot #35]

$97,600 paid for a Woolly Mammoth Skeleton [lot #32]

$67,100 paid for a Large Opalescent Ammonite on Stand [lot #40]

$61,000 paid for a Fossil Cat Skeleton [lot #29]

$33,550 paid for a Canadian Ammonite in Matrix [lot #39]

$30,500 paid for a Titanothere Skeleton–A WORLD AUCTION RECORD [lot #26]

Auctions of Natural History at Bonhams & Butterfields continue on December 6, 2009 in Los Angeles. The holiday sale will feature a diverse group of distinctive and high quality mineral specimens, exceptional fossils, gold nuggets and unusual jewelry including a selection of “phenomenal” gems as well as lapidary works of art.

Highlights include The Winter Palace, an illuminated music box of fabricated of Rock Crystal, Diamonds and Aquamarines by German lapidary artist, Manfred Wild (est. Estimate $200,000-300,000); The Cat’s Meow, an unusually large and highly sought after cat’s eye chrysoberyl ring weighing 47.80 carats (est. $120,000-140,000); The Holt Kunzite, an immense emerald-cut 722 carats Brazilian Kunzite (est. $35,000-45,000) and a five pound natural non-nacreous pearl, possibly the second largest ever discovered (est. $300,000-400,000).