Forget Old Masters - hottest art is prehistoric
Two dinosaur skeletons marketed more as trendy design objects than prehistoric fossils have sold for almost €3m at auction in Paris.
A diplodocus - a huge herbivore measuring 40ft from nose to tail - fetched €1.44m, compared with €1.41m for a carnivorous allosaurus with "60 sharpened teeth", a mere 12.5ft in length.
Both roamed the Earth around 150 million years ago, in the late Jurassic period.
Sixty percent intact, the allosaurus had been expected to fetch up to €650,000. It lived in an area in what is today North America and Europe. A North American dweller, the diplodocus had been estimated at up to €500,000.
Only a handful of dinosaur skeletons are auctioned off around the world per year and are mostly snapped up by wealthy collectors or museums in Europe or America. Scars from battle or disease can raise prices.
The pair were bought by an online overseas buyer, the Drouot auction house said. "It shows the interest of a new generation of fans both for the Jurassic era and the tools of the 21st century," said Iacopo Briano, a fossil sales expert.
He hailed the "exceptional" sale prices, although neither was a record. The nationality of the buyer was not revealed but auctioneers have noted a surge in interest in China.
"Dinosaurs have become cool, trendy - real objects of decoration, like paintings," Mr Briano said.
In 1997, McDonald's and Walt Disney were among donors who raised €6.7m to buy Sue - the most complete and best preserved tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed - for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
© Daily Telegraph, London