One of the great dinosaurs of the Cretaceous era, an eight-foot tall, 24-foot long, 75% complete Tyrannosaurus Bataar – the slightly smaller Asian counterpart to the legendary North American T-Rex, has sold for $1,052,500, contingent upon resolution of a Texas state court proceeding. Heritage Auctions sold this dinosaur on May 20 as part of the company’s Natural History auction in New York. The entire auction realized $2.63 million, not counting post-auction sales, which are still in progress.
This is a once in a generation dinosaur and collectors definitely responded to both its rarity and its fierce beauty, said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History at Heritage Auctions. A dino like this is rare to come across in any condition, let alone one as pristine as this.
The sale – marking the first time a fully prepared Tyrannosaur has been made available at public auction (Sue the T-Rex was sold in 1996, but was still in field jackets) – was not without controversy, as the Mongolian government released a statement 48 hours before the auction suggesting the fossil belonged to the country.
We respect the various opinions on the subject and wish to protect the legal rights of all parties involved, said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. We have legal assurances from our reputable consignors that the specimen was obtained legally. As far as we know, the Mongolian government has not produced any evidence that the piece originated in its territory, but the final determination will be up to the American legal system.
The proceedings were not without event, however, as Mongolia’s Texas-based attorney, without authority from the New York judicial system, tried to interrupt the auction.
The Tyrannosaurus bataar roamed what is now Central Asia in the Cretaceous period, around 80 million years ago. The dino had been in storage in England, still in its field jackets, until it was brought to the United States last year.