An online auction for a pair of dinosaur teeth from the American Southwest, valued at more than $2 million, went into the air on Saturday with bids topping $300,000 for the iconic creatures.
The auctioneer, the online auction firm Auction House of America, said the auction was held in conjunction with the California-based Smithsonian Institution and had the support of local governments and community members.
Auction house chief executive Eric Korshaus said the online-auctions platform, which had no affiliation with the Smithsonian, was able to secure the items after an intensive, year-long auction process.
“The auction has the support and support of a number of people in the local community who were really supportive of it and the effort,” Korsbach said.
“We had a very tight deadline to complete it, which is one of the reasons we have been able to pull it off.”
The auction, which was set to go into the weekend, was cancelled on Sunday afternoon due to high bids, but Korsbaus said it was not the fault of the auctioneer.
“[It was] just very difficult to get the bids to come in on time,” he said.
The auction was to be held at a property in the San Luis Obispo County, about 90 kilometres northwest of San Francisco, Korsbs said.
The bidding was due to close by 7 p.m.
PT on Saturday.
The auctioneer said he would be “out of the loop” about the bids and had not been able “to communicate with the seller”.
The items, known as “Gens II” and “Troy,” were discovered in the 1990s by a team of archeologists.
They have since been collected by researchers in the United States, Canada, and Australia, who have shown that the teeth were carved by a carnivorous species of dinosaur known as the roe deer.
“We have a lot of information out there that shows these were carnivores and were eating other dinosaurs, so that’s why the bid was so high,” Korbs said, adding that he believed the bid could have been lower if the species were not known.
He said the dinosaurs had been known to be eaten by other large predators in the area and that he had spoken to the auctioneers about how the items could be used in the conservation of endangered species.
Korsbaas said he expected the auction to be “a very good fundraiser for the museum and the museum staff”.
“It’s been a good day and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of it,” he added.
While the auction of the Gens II teeth was set for Saturday, the auction for the Troy items was to take place later in the day.
Bidding on the auction site has surged since the discovery of the dinosaur fossils.
The bid for the teeth, known to science as the “Gustavosaurus,” went up to $2.5 million on Friday, while the bid for a “Trent,” which is more widely known, was up to more than twice that amount on Saturday, Korbans said.
Korsbaus said the Troy teeth were collected in the 1930s and 1940s, and were valued at between $2 and $3 million at the time of discovery.
Many people believed the dinosaur’s teeth had been carved from bone from the extinct sauropod, a large carnivorous dinosaur that lived in the same region as the Grosbeak and had its teeth engraved with human characters.
The “Grosbeaks” had their teeth carved into stone and then placed in the sand to make the Gosset’s head appear more like a head of corn.