Two dinosaur skeletons marketed as hip design objects – one of a diplodocus, the other of an allosaurus – sold for more than €1.4 million (about R20.7 million) apiece at an auction in Paris this week.
“The same foreign buyer acquired the two dinosaurs,” the Drouot auction house said, hailing “exceptional” prices for dinosaurs, though neither was a record.
The diplodocus – a herbivorous giant measuring 12 metres long from nose to tail – fetched €1.44 million.
The other lot, the carnivorous allosaurus, a minnow in dinosaur terms at just 3.8 metres long, fetched € 1.41 million.
The two dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the late Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago.
Only about five dinosaur skeletons are put up for auction around the world every year, mostly snapped up by ultra-rich collectors or museums in Europe or the US. But auctioneers have noted a surge in interest in China.
“Dinosaurs have become cool, trendy – real objects of decoration, like paintings,” fossil sales expert Iacopo Briano said ahead of the auction, citing Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicolas Cage as fans of such outsize prehistoric ornaments.
The nationality of Wednesday’s buyer was not revealed.