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Press Release - June 16, 2011

'Fighting' Dinosaurs Bring $2.748+ Million In $5.45+ Million Heritage Auction

Exquisite Triceratops realizes $657,250; magnificent Rhodochrosite brings $358,500 in June 12 auction

DALLAS, TX – The “Fighting Pair” dinosaurs, an allosaurus and stegosaurus so named because they were found literally on top of one another in Wyoming’s Dana Quarry – with the jaw of the allosaurus clamped around the leg of the stegosaurus, leading to the speculation that they were engaged in mortal combat at the moment of their demise – sold for $2,748,500 as part of Heritage Auctions $5.45+ million June 12 Signature® Platinum Natural History auction, conducted at The Tower Building at Fair Park in Dallas. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

The pair was sold to an overseas bidder and will head for a museum scheduled to open two years from now.

“I’m ecstatic that ‘The Fighting Pair’ found such a great home,” said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History at Heritage Auctions. “These are important and iconic Jurassic era specimens, which science did not even know existed together at the same time, and now they will be going to a final destination where the public will get to enjoy them and where they will be of maximum benefit to science.

Also selling in the auction was a pristine, almost complete 19-foot long Triceratops, out of South Dakota’s Hell Creek formation, which brought $657,250. The triceratops sold to an important private collection.

While it was the impressive dinosaurs bones that generated much of the pre-auction publicity, gem quality minerals, precious metals and meteorites always form an important component of any Heritage Natural History event. Buoyed by a dedicated and enthusiastic collector base the June 12 auction saw some notable results from the superb selection.

Chief among those offerings was a magnificent, deep cherry colored Rhodochrosite from the Good Luck Pocket, Main Stope, Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Buckskin Gulch, Alma District, Park Co., Colorado, which realized a jaw-dropping $358,500.

“This very important specimen comes out of one of the most legendary mines in America,” said Herskowitz. “The ‘Good Luck Pocket,’ discovered on Sept. 21, 1992, is only 4x3 feet and only 2-6 inches across. Yet it’s yielded some of the most beautiful minerals on the planet, of which this is one of the finest.”

The “Eagle,” a very rare piece of natural state crystal gold weighing 25.045 troy ounces – found by a lucky prospector in 1997 in Nullagine, Pibara Region, Western Australia – dazzled collectors with its brilliance was the top lot of precious metal and went home with a smart collector for $119,500.

The top meteorite offering was a spectacular complete slice of meteorite with natural gemstones, originating in Chile’s Atacama Desert, with provenance in the British Museum, which ended up in a high-end collection with a final price realized of $80,663.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

Rare Complete “Great Elephant Bird” with unique embryonic bones: This fascinating and important specimen, more than 170 times larger than a chicken egg, is from the largest bird ever to have lived: the Great Elephant Bird of Madagascar. The Aepyornis was a ratite (flightless bird), like the Moa, the Rhea, or the Ostrich, believed to have grown to more than 10 feet tall and weighing close to 900 pounds. Human desire for these eggs may have been the cause of its extinction as shell fragments have been found amongst remains of human-made fires; suggesting that they were a substantial food source. Realized: $113,525.

Magnificent Contra Luz Opal – 2,290 Carats: Opal Butte, Morrow Co., Oregon, USA. Precious Opal from Opal Butte has produced some of the finest play-of-color Opals in the world. This large "contra luz" specimen weighs an impressive 2,290 carats and has a faintly golden colored transparent body with pinpoint & broadflash play of colors: reds, purples, greens, and golds – essentially all colors of the rainbow are suspended in the opal body itself. It measures 3½ inches high by 2½ inches wide and is approximately 2 3/8 inches thick. Realized: $95,600.

An actual Moon Rock – superb end piece: NWA 2995 - Lunar Feldspathic Breccia, Algeria. Found in 2005. The Moon is among the very rarest substances found on Earth. There are only about 60 lunar meteorites classified, and their total weight is less than 30 kg, of which only around 10 kg is actually available on the market outside museums and institutions, and much of that is in the form of small fragments or slices. This is a first-class specimen; the end-piece of the NWA 2995 meteorite. This is a superb three-dimensional specimen with an incredible expanse of finely-textured fusion crust, and a cut and polished face almost identical to the Apollo Mission moon rocks, with large white anorthosite fragments leaping from the speckled dark gray matrix. A highly desirable, world-class specimen, it measures approximately 1½ x 1½ x 1 inches and weighs 51.1g. Realized: $66,920.

Gibeon – Exceptional Scalloped example featuring four pronounced concavities: a 102-pound iron, fine octahedrite Gibeon from Great Nama Land, Namibia. It is virtually unheard of to have more than two scoops aligned along the same plane in a meteorite, let alone four – an effect created by a host of variables where depressions expanded into smooth cavities after exposure to the seasons over thousands of years. Naturally carved by its descent through Earth's atmosphere and its elements, it would prove difficult to find a more alluring example of an exotically shaped iron meteorite. Provenance: The Macovich Collection. Realized: $53,775.

An exceptional Tyrannosaurus-Rex tooth with root: Late Cretaceous, 65-68 million years old, from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana. One of the best-known and most fearsome of all prehistoric creatures, the Tyrannosaurus rex, ruled the Earth in the last age of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. Its position in popular culture has meant that any remains of this terrifying animal are highly sought-after by collectors. Among the more desirable remains of T-rex are their teeth. Most T-rex teeth that are discovered are usually the crowns, as the T-Rex shed its old teeth and grew new ones periodically throughout its life. Rarely are T-rex teeth found with roots and even more rare are complete specimens such as the present extremely large and robust tooth, the largest T-rex tooth ever offered at public auction, measuring an incredible 13¾ inches in length. Realized: $41,825.

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