Rare saber-tooth cat skull fossil could make $1M at auction

Rare saber-tooth cat skull – the iconic American fossil. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – The largest example ever recorded of one of the most instantly recognizable of all fossils could bring as much as $1 million in Heritage Auctions’ Nature & Science Auction Sept. 28. The rare saber-tooth cat skull is one of fewer than 10 full skulls ever brought to auction.

Excavated from the Rancho La Brea Formation, which has produced the most desirable among saber-tooth cat fossils, the offered skull is estimated to sell for $700,000-$1 million. Fossils from the Rancho La Brea Formation, which has been closed to private collectors for nearly 50 years, are so rare in private collections that they rarely get brought to auction. This specimen is unmatched in its completeness and size, and rates high in both scientific integrity and desirability. Merriam & Stock records the largest Smilodon Fatalis skull in the Los Angeles County Museum collection at 324.7 millimeters from the anterior edge of the premaxilla to the end of the occipital condyles; the offered specimen measures 355.5 mm, making it one of the largest ever recorded.

Other top lots include:

– A rare theropod dinosaur skull (60 inches long by 42 inches high by 23-1/2 inches wide) from an ancient riverbed in Morrison Formation’s Bone Cabin Quarry in south-central Wyoming. (estimate: $250,000-$350,000).

– A nearly 16-foot-long ferocious “bulldog” fossil fish skeleton (estimate: $200,000-$300,000) from the chalk deposits in the Niobrara Formation in Kansas.

­– A double fossil palm frond (estimate: $80,000-$120,000) from the Green River Formation in Wyoming.
– Also from Wyoming’s Green River Formation comes a superb fossil turtle skeleton (estimate: $50,000-$70,000).