‘Apex’ Stegosaurus To Sell for $6 Million

Sotheby’s annual Geek Week sale will offer “Apex,” the most remarkable Stegosaurus specimen ever to hit the market at an estimated $6 Million.

11 feet tall and 20 feet long, this is a nearly complete fossil with incredible preservation. Estimated $4-6 million, “Apex” is one of the most valuable dinosaur fossils ever to be offered at auction.

The size and completeness of “Apex” makes it a one of a kind in the world of palaeontology. The preservation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study and display.

The fossil’s preservation allows researchers to learn more about the life and environment of the Stegosaurus and the broader dinosaur biology and ecology.

A Historic Auction

The 17 July auction is a first in paleontological history. For the first time, an auction house has documented a dinosaur from discovery to sale.

Sotheby’s worked closely with the owner of the specimen to document every step, from excavation to mounting, with the utmost transparency and care.

Sotheby’s Unveils "Apex": The Premier Stegosaurus Specimen

This is a new benchmark for future natural history auctions. By documenting every step Sotheby’s not only increases the credibility of the sale but provides valuable data for research.

Continuing a Legacy in Natural History

Following the Gorgosaurus skeleton in July 2021 and the record-breaking Tyrannosaurus rex skull “Maximus” in December 2022 “Apex” solidifies Sotheby’s position in this market. This goes back to the 1997 auction of Sue the T. Rex, the first dinosaur to be sold at auction.

Sotheby’s continues to thrill collectors and enthusiasts around the world with exceptional natural history specimens. Each sale not only showcases incredible fossils but also the importance of preserving and studying them.

By bringing high-quality specimens to market, Sotheby’s plays a crucial role in advancing public interest and academic research in palaeontology.

Public Exhibition Prior to Sale

Before the auction “Apex” will be on view at Sotheby’s New York galleries. As part of Geek Week, this will include other highlights from the Natural History and Space Exploration categories. The exhibition is free and open to the public, come see this amazing specimen in person.

Sotheby’s Unveils "Apex": The Premier Stegosaurus Specimen

The public exhibition serves as an educational platform, allowing visitors to appreciate the intricacies of the Stegosaurus and its significance in the prehistoric world.

By making these exhibitions public Sotheby’s increases public appreciation for natural history and public engagement with scientific discovery. This is in line with their broader goal of making important cultural and scientific objects available to more people.

The Discovery and Significance of “Apex”

“Apex” was discovered in May 2022 in the Morrison Formation, Moffat County, Colorado, near the town of Dinosaur.

The excavation finished in October 2023. “Apex” has no signs of combat or predation damage but shows evidence of arthritis so it lived to an old age. The name “Apex” reflects its position as top of the Stegosaurus family, the pinnacle of dinosaur discoveries.

The Morrison Formation is famous for its dinosaur fossils and has produced some of the most important paleontological finds in North America. “Apex” adds to that legacy, a nearly complete Stegosaurus specimen that will give us a lot of information about the species.

The fossil is in such good condition that palaeontologists can study features that are rarely preserved, such as skin impressions and cervical ossicles.

Ensuring Transparency and Collaboration

To ensure transparency and future research the buyer of “Apex” will receive a copy of the dinosaur’s scan data and full license to use any 3D data, scans and moulding. This way the data will stay with the specimen and facilitate future collaboration in palaeontological research and education.

Sotheby’s Unveils "Apex": The Premier Stegosaurus Specimen

By providing access to detailed scan data, Sotheby’s enables further scientific study and potential educational uses. This approach not only benefits the buyer but also the broader scientific community, as it allows for ongoing analysis and discovery.

The commitment to transparency and collaboration underscores Sotheby’s dedication to advancing knowledge and preserving the integrity of important natural history specimens.

Unearthing a Landmark Specimen

“Apex” was discovered by a respected commercial palaeontologist on his private land. This palaeontologist has a history of unearthing significant dinosaur specimens, many of which are housed in prestigious institutions worldwide.

His “minimal intervention” approach means the fossils are prepared to show their natural beauty while preserving critical contextual information, such as skin impressions and cervical ossicles. “Apex” was found alone, with no other fossils nearby, as it was found in life.

The palaeontologist’s attention to detail in preparation and preservation increases the scientific value of “Apex”. By keeping the fossil intact he is ensuring it will be a valuable resource for future research. This is a sign of respect for the specimen and a commitment to paleontological knowledge.

Simplified Commission Structure

Sotheby’s Geek Week sales will also introduce a new simplified commission structure. Buyers’ fees will be 20% for all items at or under $6m, making it easier to calculate fees and more accessible to bid at Sotheby’s than other international auction houses.

This new commission structure is to attract more buyers by making the auction more transparent and affordable. By reducing fees Sotheby’s hopes to get more bidders and make the auction more accessible. This is a customer-focused approach, putting clarity and fairness in the auction process.

Promoting Educational and Research Opportunities

The documentation and licensing of “Apex” is to promote educational and research opportunities. By providing detailed scan data Sotheby’s is making primary data more accessible and encouraging scientific research and public interest in palaeontology.

Sotheby’s Unveils "Apex": The Premier Stegosaurus Specimen

This helps to bridge the gap between academic research and public education, to increase our understanding of prehistoric life. The scan data allows for the creation of accurate replicas and digital models which can be used in educational settings and exhibitions. Sotheby’s commitment to knowledge is what makes them custodians of cultural and natural heritage.

Enhancing Public Engagement

The free public exhibition of “Apex” and other Geek Week items is to engage and educate the public. This is part of Sotheby’s broader mission to promote natural history and make big science accessible to everyone.

By making these exhibitions free Sotheby’s is inviting a broad audience to get to know palaeontology. This will create curiosity and wonder and inspire the next generation of scientists and enthusiasts. The public engagement is part of Sotheby’s community outreach and education programme.

Images: Sotheby’s

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