A composite Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton called Trinity sold for over 6 million USD at a Swiss auction on Tuesday. The 3.9-meter (12.8-foot) high skeleton, made up of bones from three different T-rexes estimated at 65 to 67 million years old, was sold at the Koller auction house in Zurich after being shipped from the United States in nine giant crates.
The skeleton, called Trinity, was put up for sale by an anonymous U.S. private individual and was expected to fetch between five and eight million Swiss francs. Instead, it was bought by a private European collector and is expected to be on display shortly.
Trinity came from the same area in Montana and Wyoming that yielded two other significant T-Rex skeletons: “Sue,” bought for $8.4 million in 1997 by the Field Museum of Natural History, and “Stan,” which fetched a world-record $31.8 million at Christie’s in 2020.
But unlike Sue and Stan, Trinity is not a replica. Instead, more than half of its bone material is original — level experts say a T- Rex skeleton must be considered highly valuable.
After traveling from Arizona, where it was initially discovered, to Switzerland, the skeleton was mounted on a red carpet and adorned with crystal chandeliers before going under the hammer on April 18 at Koller Auctions in Zurich. Koller’s marketing director Karl Green told FOX Weather that the skeleton went for a total of 5.5 million Swiss francs, including the buyer’s premium and fees.
Reassembling the skeleton was challenging, Yolanda Schicker-Siber, curator of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum in Switzerland, said in an interview with AFP. During the process, she and Aart Walen, who works at the museum, filled in cracks with dental tools and a modeling compound.
They also fixed a fractured vertebra whose tethers had slipped off. After that, they re-attached the thigh bone and other parts.
Once the skeleton was complete, it was displayed in a concert hall in Zurich for two weeks. Over 30,000 visitors viewed it, the auctioneer says.
It was finally time for this spectacular T- Rex to be removed from the shadows and into a permanent home. It will be displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., where it will be kept on a 24-hour monitoring system that monitors temperature and pressure conditions.
The skeleton is being sent to the Smithsonian aboard FedEx’s custom critical service, which includes around-the-clock tracking and temperature and pressure monitoring. It is the latest in a long line of bizarre cargo that has been transported by the company in recent years, including 15,000 sea turtle eggs and rescue capsules used in the 2011 Chilean mine rescue.
The Smithsonian had longed for its own T-Rex since at least the 1990s when it began collecting bones at the Hell Creek and Lance Creek formations in Montana and Wyoming. So when a T-Rex skeleton named “Sue” was auctioned off in 1997, backers offered up $2.5 million. But it wasn’t enough.