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Tyrannosaurus may bring $1,000,000+ at Heritage Auctions' Natural History Signature auction
"This beautiful Tyrannosaurus skeleton is one of the most complete, most spectacular specimens that we've ever seen," said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History at Heritage Auctions.

NEW YORK, NY.- One of the great dinosaurs of the Cretaceous era, an eight-foot tall, 24-foot long, 75% complete Tyrannosaurus bataar — the slightly smaller Asian counterpart to the legendary North American T-Rex — will be the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions May 20 Natural History Signature auction, taking place at Center 548 (548 W. 22nd Street, between 10th Ave. and West Street), in New York. The stupendous, impeccably preserved museum-quality specimen is expected to bring $950,000+.

"This beautiful Tyrannosaurus skeleton is one of the most complete, most spectacular specimens that we've ever seen," said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History at Heritage Auctions. "These dinos, distant cousins of the T-Rex, were recently reclassified as Tyrannosaurids. They're incredibly rare to come across in any condition, let alone one as pristine as this."

The Tyrannosaurus bataar roamed what is now Central Asia in the Cretaceous period, around 80 million years ago. The dino was discovered within the past decade and has been in storage in England, still in its field jackets, for the last 2-1/2 years.

"Dinosaurs of this size and scarcity almost never come to market fully prepared and fully mounted like this, making it a singular opportunity for the right collector or institution," said Herskowitz. "Consider this: Sue, the famous T-Rex that' Sotheby's sold back in 1997, was neither prepped nor mounted when she came across the auction block, ultimately realizing a price of more than $8 million."

In complement to the full-sized Tyrannosaurus, Heritage will also offer a fantastic Tyrannosaurus bataar tooth with and erupting crown, arguably the finest Tyrannosaurus bataar tooth known and certainly one of the largest, measuring 10-1/2 inches long with 3-3/4 inches of enamel on both crowns, estimated at $18,000+.

The Tyrannosaurus bataar is not the only spectacular dino specimen offered in the auction, as evidenced by the presence of a truly fantastical ankylosaurid skull from a Cretaceous era Saichania chulsanensis, literally meaning "Beautiful one," estimated at $60,000+.

"Broader than it is long, with two sets of distinctive horn-like protrusions at the rear, it's no wonder dinosaurs like these were thought to be dragon skulls when they were discovered in ancient times," said Herskowitz. "They could grow to about 23-feet in length, roughly six feet high and around 2 tons. Standing next to this thing you can really get a sense of not just its heft, but also its dreadful beauty."

Other dinosaur highlights of the auction, which will also be on display in New York in May, include a very fine Cretaceous-era Troodontidae, or "Bird-Dinosaur" skeleton, 28 inches in length and 17-1/2 inches high, estimated at $45,000+, a superb "Duck-Billed" dinosaur skull from an Edmontosaurus annectens out of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, an amazing 75-80% original and 47 inches long overall (estimate: $35,000+), a superlative American Mosasaur skull (Tylosaurus kansasensis) — a family of serpentine marine reptiles, apex predators and the scourge of the many and varied ocean-dwelling creatures with which they shared the ancient waters from the Smoky Hill Chalk, Niobrara Formation in Western Kansas, USA, estimated at $30,000+.

70-Ounce Natural Gold Nugget Highlights Expanded Gems And Minerals Offerings
In showcasing its newly expanded Fine Minerals category, Heritage auctions will be offering a tremendous 70+ ounce Gold in Quartz nugget — found in desert country a few miles east of the Colorado River canyon bottom in Arizona during the winter of 1989 by amateur gold hunter Bud Guthrie — estimated at $300,000+ on May 20 at Center 548, 548 West 22nd Street, in New York City, as part of our Natural History Signature Auction.

The auction represents the first time Heritage has expanded the fine minerals and gemstones section of its Natural History auctions into a separate catalog, a step that will lead to Gems and Minerals being the subject of their own auctions starting later in the year. To that end, Heritage has engaged the services of longtime and well-known Gems and Mineral experts Jim Walker and Mary Fong/Walker as Directors of the newly formed department. They will be assisted in their efforts by specialist Craig Kissick.

"The quality and diversity of the specimens we're seeing right now is among the finest we've come across in a long time," said David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History at Heritage, "so we think they deserve the spotlight as their category. We've also seen the category of Fine Gems & Minerals expand greatly over the past few years, so to meet the demand and insure that we maintain the highest level of quality, we're broadening the category."

The astounding Gold in Quartz nugget, found in Dolan Springs, Mohave County, Arizona, was the find of a lifetime for Bud Guthrie and the nugget has achieved a good bit of fame in the subsequent 20+ years after its unearthing. After spending hour after cold hour searching with his "gold bug" metal detector, and turning up little save an occasional stray bullet, Guthrie moved a few miles east into desert country where there appeared to be some old mine workings. Sweeping the open areas between scrub bushes, he was rewarded with a beep and began to dig. A full 16 inches down he ran into something solid and the rest, as they say, is history.

One of the auction's most important pieces, a stunning Azurite on Malachite from the Chessy Copper Mines, Chessy, France, comes with a provenance directly related to one of the most famous natural history collections in the world, that of Archduke Stephan of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen (1817-1867). It is estimated at $15,000+.

"Archduke Stephan Franz Victor was a passionate mineral collector," said Jim Walker. "Mining was in its heyday all over the Empire during his reign and, with his royal connections, income and demonstrated aptitude for minerals, it's not surprising that he amassed one of the most important collections in the world — at one time numbering more than 20,000 specimens. The vast majority of that collection resides today at the Natural History Museum in Berlin, though treasures like this one occasionally show up on the market and are always highly sought after."

Further highlights of the auction include an exceptional Blue Fluorite on Quartz, measuring 17 x 9 x 6 inches high from La Viesca Mine, Asturias, Spain, estimated at $300,000+; a gorgeous large Gem Tanzanite Crystal from the Merelani, Arusha, Tanzania, more than four inches high and estimated at $300,000+; a Trapiche Emerald Parure from the Muzo Mine,Colombia, with a total carat weigh of 110 carats and the largest cabochon measuring 17.1 x 13.6 mm, estimated at $135,000+ and a massive Blue Tourmaline from the Paprok, Nuristan, Afghanistan, a superb Tourmaline prism is surrounded at the base by a ring of pale, lilac Lepidolite crystals, interspersed with a few blades of colorless Clevelandite, estimated at $120,000+.

Unmounted Gems Shine In April Jewelry Auction
The April 30 Jewelry Signature Auction will also feature an impressive array of unmounted gems. Dazzling colors, stunning cuts and brilliant depth for aficionados of the most beautiful things nature can produce.

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April 21, 2012

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Tyrannosaurus may bring $1,000,000+ at Heritage Auctions' Natural History Signature auction

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