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The 10 Most Expensive Types of Dinosaur Fossils of All-Time

When the fossil of a dinosaur is uncovered, it is an exciting discovery for both the public and for the world of science. Dinosaur fossils can reveal a lot about how dinosaurs lived, the different species of dinosaurs, and how the animal kingdom has evolved since dinosaurs became extinct. Fossils are potentially valuable items, although their worth depends on many factors. These include the age of the fossil, the size, the clarity, and the level of scientific value. There are many examples of dinosaur fossils that are worth staggeringly high sums of money. Here are 10 of the most expensive dinosaur fossils of all-time.

10. Triceratops Skull- $250,950

According to Just Collecting, the skull of a triceratops was discovered in Montana in 2008. These are one of the most recognizable dinosaur skulls because of the three large horns on their head. Research shows that these dinosaurs lived in North America during the late Cretaceous period. The Triceratops skull discovered in Montana was sold by Heritage Auctions for $250,950.

9. Triceratops - $550,000

Discovered in South Dakota in 2004, the skeleton of the triceratops was almost complete, says Singaporefossils. It took months to painstakingly assemble the parts of the skeleton. In 2011, the triceratops dinosaur fossil was sold by Heritage Auctions for a whopping $550,000.

8. Misty the Dinosaur - $652,000

In 2009, a German paleontologist discovered a rare Diplodocus skeleton in a quarry in Ten Sleep in Wyoming, says MSN. The paleontologist and his two sons nicknamed the dinosaur Misty. As the skeleton was embedded in rock, excavating the dinosaur was a long and painstaking operation. Once the bones had been mounted onto a frame in Holland, Misty was shipped to the UK. She became the first large dinosaur auctioned in the UK and she sold for  $652,000 at Summer Place Auctions in 2013.

7. The Wyoming Triceratops - $657,250

In June 2011, Heritage Auctions sold the fossil of a Triceratops found in Wyoming for an impressive $657,250. This was an extremely rare example of a dinosaur. Many that are displayed in museums are actually the parts of many dinosaurs that are put together. However, when this was discovered, it was almost 70 percent complete, making it very unusual, reports MSN.

6. Trophy Dinosaur 1 - $1.65 Million

The Parisian auction house Hotel Drouot sold an Allosaurus to an undisclosed buyer for $1.65 million in April 2018. Scientists believe that this dinosaur roamed the Earth approximately 150 million years ago.

5. Trophy Dinosaur 2 - $1.68 Million

At the same April 2018 auction at Hotel Drouot in Paris, the same buyer paid $1.68 million for a Diplodocus. This dinosaur also walked the Earth 150 million years ago. The double sale totaled $3.33 million and the duo became known as the Trophy Dinosaurs.

4. The Mystery Dinosaur - $2.36 Million

A mystery dinosaur was discovered at the Morris Formation site in Wyoming in 2013, says Fox 23. Originally, scientists believed that the dinosaur was an Allosaurus. However, further investigations revealed that this was not the case and the dinosaur became known as the Mystery Dinosaur. It is believed that the dinosaur is approximately 150 million years old. The dinosaur sold at an auction in Paris to an anonymous buyer in 2018 for a reported $2.36 million.

3. The Battling Allosaurs and Stegosaurus - $2.7 million

Just Collecting lists this battling duo of dinosaurs as one of the most expensive dinosaur fossils. They were discovered in Wyoming, and experts estimate their age at 155-million-years-old. The scientists involved hypothesized that the duo were in combat and killed each other before they were encased in mud. In 2011, the duo of dinosaurs was sold at Heritage Auction for $2.7 million.

2. The Trio of Diplodocus - $5.8 Million

Discovered in Jurassic soil in Wyoming in 2008, the discovery of three Diplodocus together was exciting. Singapore fossils says that the trio was nicknamed Prince, Apollonia, and Twinky. Scientists believe that Apolonia is a smaller female adult, Prince is a larger male, and Twinky is a juvenile Diplodocus. Almost 80 percent complete, the trio were sold to the National University of Singapore Museum of Natural History for $5.8 million, and they remain at the museum today.

1. Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex - $8.362 Million

The most expensive dinosaur fossil ever discovered was a Tyrannosaurus Rex that was given the nickname ‘Sue’. She was named after Sue Hendrickson, who discovered the fossil along with Peter Larson in 1990. Sue was discovered on land in the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The discovery of the 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex caused a lot of controversy regarding ownership rights of fossil collection, says Forbes. The fossil contained the finest T-Rex skeleton ever discovered as it was almost 90 percent complete. Larson and Hendrickson had planned to keep Sue at the Black Hills Institute, where they both worked and paid the landowner of the land where Sue was found $5000. Two years later, the FBI seized the dinosaur saying that it belonged to the government because it was found on land that was in trust to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A judge ruled that Sue should be returned to the landowner as he did not have the right to sell the dinosaur. He then gained government permission and contacted Sotheby’s for a sale to private collectors. Eventually, Sue was sold for a record $8.362 million to The Field Museum.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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