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Rare Tyrannosaurus rex Skeleton to be Offered on October 3 at The Venetian® in Las Vegas

  • LAS VEGAS, Nevada
  • /
  • September 15, 2009

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One of the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever discovered will be offered on Saturday, October 3, 2009 during the company's first Natural History auction to be held at The Venetian® in Las Vegas.
Bonhams

T. Rex known as “Samson” on the Auction Block

One of the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever discovered will be offered by international auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields on Saturday, October 3, 2009 during the company’s first Natural History auction to be held at The Venetian® in Las Vegas. The auction will contain approximately 50 lots of fossils with the centerpiece of the sale focusing on the expertly mounted female T. rex, expected to bring millions of dollars.

The rare 66-million year old Tyrannosaurus skeleton – dubbed “Samson” – is arguably one of the three most complete specimens to have been discovered. Native to North America, Tyrannosaurus rex is recognized as the ‘Tyrant Lizard King’ and is the most famous of the behemoths of the “Age of Dinosaurs.” This rare example from the Cretaceous period was excavated near Buffalo, South Dakota over 15 years ago.

Originally prepared by scientists and technicians at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “Samson’s” skull is considered to be one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus skulls in existence. The entire specimen contains approximately 170 bones, more than 50% of the total bone count of an entire skeleton. In life, “Samson” was equal in weight to “Sue,” the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton which sold for $8.3-million in 1997.

Of further interest are pathologies (evidence of healed injury or disease) of the skull and portions of the skeleton that open a window into the life of this virtual beast. The skeleton is beautifully prepared and mounted utilizing the most modern methods, which allows for new discoveries and enhanced aesthetic qualities.

According to Peter Larson, Tyrannosaur Paleontologist: “Although research on this particular Tyrannosaurus is still incomplete, it is believed by experts to be one of four possible examples of a yet unnamed species of Tyrannosaurus. I look forward to seeing the entire assembled and fully prepared skeleton in Las Vegas.”

This animal was most likely a very skilled hunter with binocular color vision and an extremely sensitive sense of smell. In life, “Samson” measured approx 40-feet in length and could have looked into a second story window. Its massive skull and powerful serrated teeth could have bitten through the leg bone of any contemporary dinosaur. During the Cretaceous Period, Tyrannosaurs occupied a position at the apex of the food chain giving this creature lasting celebrity.

“Bonhams & Butterfields’ fall auction celebrates the art of natural wonders and the continued excitement associated with a possible new discovery,” said Thomas Lindgren, Co-Director of Natural History at Bonhams & Butterfields.

In addition to “Samson,” the October 3rd sale will also feature approximately 50 lots of high quality and distinctive dinosaur specimens and exceptional fossils. Other highlights will include a fully mounted, 28-foot-long “duckbilled” dinosaur skeleton and a 7-foot-long fossil shark from the Permian Period, which was discovered in Germany (estimates upon request).

The illustrated catalogue will be available online for review at www.bonhams.com/us in the weeks preceding the auction. The specimen will be exhibited and sold in the space formerly occupied by The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, designed by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas.

Public Auction: October 3, 2009, The Venetian, Las Vegas

Public Preview: September 18-October 3, 2009, The Venetian, Las Vegas

Press Contacts:
Bonhams & Butterfields: Jannelle Grigsby, jannelle.grigsby@bonhams.com,
310.567.7990

The Venetian: Dawn Britt, dawn.britt@venetian.com, 702.414.4334

NOTES FOR EDITORS
About Bonhams
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America and in August 2003, Goodmans, a leading Australian fine art and antiques auctioneer with salerooms in Sydney, joined the Bonhams Group of Companies. Today, Bonhams is one of the largest and fastest growing auction houses in the world. It offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further seven throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; and Switzerland, France, Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 50 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to www.bonhams.com. For other press releases, go to www.bonhams.com/press.

About The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino
The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, the largest property in the country to receive AAA’s Five Diamond Award and Mobil Four-Star, is one of the world’s most luxurious resort and convention destinations. Re-creating Venice’s legendary landmarks, the resort offers unmatched service and quality for leisure and corporate guests. Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, The Venetian features The Grand Canal Shoppes, an indoor streetscape complete with gondolas and singing gondoliers, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub, world-class gaming, exquisite restaurants, and a wide variety of entertainment such as Phantom-The Las Vegas Spectacular, Blue Man Group, David Spade and Wayne Brady on its premises, as well as extensive convention and corporate services. For additional information, visit www.venetian.com.


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