Graphic shows Big John Triceratops and record selling T. rex Stan.


World’s largest Triceratops goes under hammer

By Duncan Mil

September 2, 2021 - October 21, 2021 - “Big John”, the largest known Triceratops fossil skeleton found in 2015, fetched €6.65 million at Drouot auction house in Paris on Thursday. It was sold to an unidentified private U.S. buyer.

Sixty-six million-year-old Big John roamed the lands of modern-day South Dakota. His eight-metre long skeleton is more than 60 per cent complete and includes a near-complete skull, which measures 2.62 metres in length and two metres wide. Palaeontologists unearthed the first piece of bone in 2014.

The Drouot auction house estimated Big John’s skeleton could fetch between €1.2 million and €1.5 million. Instead, it’s hammer price, before commission and other costs, was €5.5.

“I imagine there are about 10 buyers worldwide for this kind of piece,” said Alexandre Giquello, the auctioneer at Drouot.

“Usually buyers manifest a bit later, shortly before the auction, but here we have already noted a lot of interest,” he said.

In October 2020, a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex specimen named Stan became the world’s most expensive dinosaur when it was auctioned by Christie’s for a jaw-dropping $31.85 million. Stan took the record from Sue, another T. rex fossil which was auctioned in October 1997 by Sotheby’s, for $8.36 million -- nearly $13.5 million today, given the inflation rate.

Big John’s showing in Paris will only last until it is sold on October 21, at Hôtel Drouot.

PUBLISHED: 21/10/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images