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Ancient Fossils Go for $1 Million in Auction

November 01, 1999|From Times Wire Services

Dinosaur aficionados plunked down nearly a million dollars Sunday for hundreds of prehistoric fossils that were sold to the highest bidders by the Butterfield & Butterfield auction house's Los Angeles office.

Among the items on the block were meteorites, dinosaur claws, dinosaur eggs, dinosaur foot and skin imprints, a 5-foot woolly mammoth tusk and a 2 1/2-foot fossilized snake.

Top dollar was paid for a baby ichthyosaur, a sea reptile that lived 190 million years ago. It fetched $46,000. In all, the items brought in about $980,000.

Some had criticized the idea of selling such rare, ancient finds, but David Herskowitz, Butterfield & Butterfield's director of natural history, said nothing irreplaceable was put on the block.

"We're not selling anything museums need and we don't sell anything that's new to science," Herskowitz said.

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