67 Million Years Old “Stan” the T. Rex Highlights Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale

Nazia Safi
Published on
Stan, the T. Rex. Photo by the AP/Mary Altaffer.
Stan, the T. Rex. Photo by the AP/Mary Altaffer.

Part-time paleontologist and a plumber and electrician by occupation, Stan Sacrison’s deep interest in fossils began in the 1960s when he found his first dinosaur bone. Sacrison was eight at the time, and he hasn’t stopped since. In the spring of 1987, he was exploring South Dakota looking for dinosaur traces when he spotted a large pelvis, visible from the side of a cliff. It was not until Sacrison showed it to the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in 1992 that he realized what he had discovered. The 188-bone T. rex skeleton, one of the largest and most complete examples, took more than three years to excavate and reconstruct. The dinosaur was named Stan, in honor of its discoverer.

The Black Hills Institute has displayed and studied Stan for nearly 20 years. The skeleton also served as the source of inspiration for numerous articles and studies. This month, Christie’s and the Black Hills Institute announced they would auction Stan as part of a settlement agreement.

Stan, the T. Rex on Display at Christie's New York Rockefeller Center. Photo by Christie's.
Stan, the T. Rex on Display at Christie’s New York Rockefeller Center. Photo by Christie’s.

Stan will be auctioned as part of Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale in New York, scheduled to be held on October 6. “It’s a once in a generation chance. There simply aren’t T. rexes like this coming to market. It’s an incredibly rare event when a great one is found,” says James Hyslop, Head of Department, Scientific Instruments, Globes & Natural History at Christie’s. With no reserve or minimum price, the T. rex has a pre-sale estimate of USD 6,000,000 to $8,000,000. 

Stan the T. rex lived on Earth approximately 67 million years ago, measuring 13 feet high, and almost 40 feet long with eyes the size of baseballs. Its tail is fully outstretched. “I’ll never forget the moment I came face to face with him for the first time, after his remount in Colorado,” Christie’s Hyslop says. “He looked even larger and more ferocious than I’d imagined, a specimen that only further establishes the T. rex’s position as the King of Dinosaurs.”

T. rexes are considered one of the largest carnivores, and since 1902, only about 50 skeletons have been discovered. A complete T. rex skeleton is very rare, and the last time a complete skeleton was sold, a T. rex named Sue, the final price was $8.36 million to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in 1997.

The T. rex Stan will remain on display at Christie’s New York Rockefeller Center showroom until October 21.