NEW YORK — A 100-million-year-old egg with its delicate embryonic skeleton exposed fetched a mere $24,150 Saturday, a fraction of what it was believed to be worth, auction organizers said.
"The dinosaur sale was very disappointing," said Mark Newman, a New York fossil collector who worked with Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers & Appraisers in setting up the unusual sale.
"Dinosaur memorabilia is supposed to be hot. The egg was undervalued. It should have sold for $50,000 to $100,000. The person who bought it got the bargain of the century," he said.
The ancient egg was discovered in the Nanyang Valley in China's Henan province in 1989 by a team of U.S. archeologists, said auction organizer David Herskowitz. A Phillips statement said the egg was 100 million years old.
The rare egg was bought by a private collector in Dallas who wanted to remain anonymous, a spokeswoman for the auction house said.
"The egg belonged to an unknown dinosaur and very little is known about its growth stages," Herskowitz said.
He said further study needs to be done by paleontologists for at least two years to begin to understand what might be inside.
"Our consultant, Charles Pellegrino, who is called the father of 'Jurassic Park,' told us that since the egg was enclosed with the mineral calcite and has been mummified for millions of years, he believes that inside the tiny little bones, dinosaur DNA can be extracted," Herskowitz said.
The movie "Jurassic Park," based on the novel by Michael Crichton, is about the fictional extraction of dinosaur DNA from insects in amber that contain traces of blood from the great reptiles. Scientists then use the DNA to re-create dinosaurs.
Surprisingly, a large collection of dinosaur droppings, expected to bring in between $175 to $225, fetched more than $862.