T-Rex skull, mummy hand, piece of Mars sold by auction

The skull of a large carnivorous dinosaur and the tusk of a shaggy-coated mammoth from the Ice Age sold for a combined $372,000 at a natural history auction Sunday, auction officials said.

The auction, which also featured a meteorite and other items, brought in a total of $1.55 million.

'This is the highest-grossing collection of natural history sold at auction since such sales figures began in 1995,' said I.M. Chait Auctioneers' director of natural history, David Herskowitz.

The prepped and mounted 32-inch-long tyrannosaurus skull was sold to an anonymous California collector for $276,000, the third-highest amount paid for a prehistoric specimen at auction, said Darryl Pitt, the meteorite expert for Chait.

The highest ever paid was $8.36 million for the skeleton of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur named Sue in 1997, Pitt said.

The 10-foot tusk of a woolly mammoth found on the Siberian tundra was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $96,000, the most such an item has commanded at auction, Pitt said.

An 11-pound iron meteorite discovered in southwestern Africa fetched $32,000, Pitt said. And a gold nugget from western Australia weighing 62 troy ounces sold for $72,000, the AP reports.

'It was another banner day for extraterrestrial real estate but also for the terrestrial real estate as well,' he said.

Among the 345 lots sold during the auction were a 75,000-year-old dire wolf skull for $60,000, a 10 million-year-old fossil penguin found in the Atacama Desert in Chile for $9,600, a multihued crystal from Afghanistan for $32,000 and a fossil plate of a flying dinosaur skeleton from Germany for $48,000, the company said.

Other select lots include:

Egyptian Mummy Hand - The mummification indicates a possible date between the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic period.

Piece of the Planet Mars - An extraordinarily rare specimen.

Rare Juvenile Aquatic Reptile - Similar to a dolphin arid quanied in Gennany, this outstanding specimen is approximately 200 million years old, 1010wins.com reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov