Now You Can Buy Your Own Dire Wolf (Skull)
On April 19, Auctionata, an online auction house, will give Game of Thrones fans the chance to take their obsession (and antiquing hobby) to a whole new level.
They're auctioning off the cast skull of a real-life dire wolf (yes, those actually existed—that would be "Canis dirus" to you), at a starting price of $300. The lucky bidder/probable GoT groupie will be taking home a copy made from an original specimen that was found in the La Brea Tar Pits and is currently on display in the city's George C. Page Museum. (A company bought casting rights to the head and can therefore make as many casts as it wants; if you're seeking a one-of-a-kind object, this isn't for you.)
The dire wolf cast is one of more than 100 lots from Auctionata's Fossils and Natural History auction, which will be entirely conducted online. While the Berlin-based auction house has existed only since 2012, it has already gained a steady following, auctioning off anything from vintage Patek Phillipe watches to 800-year-old African sculptures. In March, the company announced that it had raised an additional $45 million, making it one of the leaders in the burgeoning online auction world.
The other standout of Sunday's auction—and by far, the most expensive lot of the sale—is the 70-million-year-old skeleton of a baby Mosasaur, a type of marine reptile that looked like a cross between an iguana and an alligator. (Except on a very large scale: The largest Mosasaurs are thought to have been as long as 60 feet.) At a length of five feet, Auctionata's skeleton is more modestly sized. Its starting price of $40,000 means Auctionata is looking to attract collectors with deep pockets.
For bidders that have smaller budgets for million-year-old ephemera, a range of other casts are available. Like that of the dire wolf, they were made by companies that purchased casting rights to an original fossil. Not sure what do with your new coffee table? How about a 3.6-foot-tall cast of an approximately 80-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex? (Starting bid: $2,600). Or, if you're more of a cat person, may we recommend a 15-inch-tall cast of a saber-toothed tiger skull? With a starting price of $400, that costs little more than the stack of coffee table books it would replace.
Dozens of additional, original pieces include a complete ichthyosaur embedded in stone and a fly trapped in amber. Jurassic World fans, that one's for you.