I’m sitting here preparing for an exciting sale of Natural History items. We’ve had these special sales before… fossils, meteorites, skeletons, dinosaur eggs, gems/minerals, etc… but this time there’s a bit of controversy.
The highight of the auction is expected to be the sale of an extremely rare sabre-tooth tiger skull extracted just outside the boundaries of the county (La Brea) tar pit boundaries. The media is all over this because evidently many paleontologists & members of the scientific community are upset that such items are being put up for sale to the public. The L.A. Times Calendar had a front page story about it yesterday (seen here at the Baltimore Sun).
What do you think about rare fossils being put up for sale to the public? Should they be “preserved” by an institution for study?
If you’re in the Beverly Hills neighborhood, swing by to watch the jozjozjoz action (or bid for something yourself) in the room. Or you can watch the auction action live at eBayLiveAuctions.com (direct link found at chait.com)
UPDATE: The sabre-tooth tiger skull sold for $190,000, evidently to a private collector.
UPDATE #2: Thanks to Will Campbell for catching the blurb in the Times. The $223,250 price is the final price including the 17.5% buyer’s premium. The $190K amount was the hammer price in the room.
The buyer, Stuart Pivar, is not just your average NY businessman. He is an avid art collector, one of the co-founders of the New York Academy of Art & friend of Andy Warhol. Aside from buying rare sabre-tooth tiger skulls, he’s also in the news for revealing some financial shenanigans (fraud) of the bookeeper for the Academy. (Pivar has not been on the Board of the Academy since the mid-90s.) Links below:
From the NY Ppst: http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/19811.htm
From the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/29/education/29academy.html (subscription)