Photo Tour: Bonhams & Butterfields' Natural History Auction Preview
At Bonhams & Butterfields Natural History auctions it's often the big items like the massive Alledomsmus shown above (estimated at $130,000-$150,000) that attract attention but a lot of the smaller specimens would actually work with people's decor. Many of the items to be auctioned off at Bonhams & Butterfields annual holiday auction of Natural History on December 12, 2010 in Los Angeles are prehistoric pieces that could be quite beautiful on display in modern homes. The collections of arrowheads, sea urchins, shark jaws and coral and even butterflies are both decorative and mounted history.
There is also a selection of fine jewelry including pieces that incorporate dinosaur bone, fossil ammonites and trilobites, carved mammoth ivory and various types of petrified wood. A few highlights of the preview are after the jump.If you see anything you like, bidding starts at 10 a.m.
Tortoise shells are fairly common but large fossil tortoises are rare. This specimen was found in South Dakota and measures approximately 27 x 21 x 10in. It has an estimate of $15,000 - 20,000.
One of the star lots of the auction is this shimmering Canadian Ammonite. It is one of the largest and finest specimens of its kind from this locality and shows iridescent red and green shades. The matrix measures 47 x 33 x 2.6in and the specimen in the center measures 25 ½in. It weighs 268 pounds and comes with a custom designed box with wheel base for direct display or wall mounting. It carries an estimate of $45,000 - 55,000. It's one of several large ammonites up for sale in this auction.
It looks like modern art but this fossil palm frond was embedded in the limestone matrix in which it lay for 51 million years before its discovery. It was excavated in the high desert of Wyoming but represents the flora of an Eocene subtropical environment, when the area now known as Southwestern Wyoming was full of fishes, crocodiles, turtles and other creatures, which thrived in and near an ancient freshwater lake system. It measures 36 x 60in and has an estimate of $16,000 - 20,000.
This wall mural features a freshwater stingray specimen and a fossil fish from the Eocene. There are 49 fossil fish specimens from a prehistoric lake system. It is estimated at $3,000 - 4,000.
Shown at right above is a prehistoric woolly rhinoceros skull found in Siberia. The now-extinct Woolly Rhinoceros was one of the largest animals to roam the vast Arctic tundra of the Pleistocene. The massive horn is thought to have been used to sweep away snow to forage for vegetation and possibly to attract mates. This piece has an estimate of $30,000 - 40,000.
The sale includes several large collections of butterflies arranged in a double-glass presentation. This one is estimated at $1,800 to $2,200.
Like python purses? Then you might want to check out this 25-foot long python skin. It is estimated at $2,500 to $3,000 and comes from a snake large enough to have overtaken a human adult.
This large aquamarine on feldspar was found in Pakistan and has an estimate of $20,000 - 25,000.
Chrysanthemum stones come from China and have naturally occurring flower-like forms of celestite crystals formed within dark stone. This stone weighs 110lbs and has an estimate of $1,200 - 1,500.
This moose antler carving is typical of the Inuit work done in Alaska and the Canadian northwest with a detailed carving of a pair of eagle's heads as well as six eagles in flight, and two bears, signed on the back: J. Sinnok, length 29 1/2 inches. It is estimated at $2,800 - 3,500.
This rock crystal quartz carving of a family of four storks with gold vermeil feet on a rutilated smoky quartz base is estimated at $4,000 - 6,000.
This California tourmaline gem tree comes from the Stewart Mine, Pala, San Diego County, California. It was fabricated circa 1978 by the mine owner, Ed Swoboda and was one of the first ever to be produced. It was displayed at the entrance to the offices of the mine for over 30 years in the company collection. It is estimated at $15,000 - 25,000.