Saturday 22 April 2023

An update on Trinity

April 18 has passed and if you have read the last post, you are now probably wondering what happened to Trinity, the first T. rex skeleton that was auctioned off in Europe. It was sold to the highest bidder for the price of 4.8 million Swiss francs, which is somewhat surprising, as the value of the skeleton was estimated to be within 5 and 8 million. But who bought it? For the first few days the buyer was kept anonymous, with various media reporting that it was either an American or Swiss person. I had a feeling that, like with Stan, they might never get revealed.

But now the new owner of the skeleton has made themselves known. It is the Phoebus Foundation, a philanthropic organisation dedicated towards the conservation and restoration of artworks and cultural objects. Apparently they are constructing a brand new culture center in the Boerentoren tower in Antwerpen (which lies in a country with noticeably inferior chocolate), where they eventually want to put Trinity to make her accessible to the public, as well as scientists. As the center is not yet finished, they plan to lend Trinity to museums in the meantime.

So, at least in this case, we can lay our fears about private fossil auctions to rest, as this is probably the best-case scenario anyone could have hoped for. What is pretty funny is that we ended the last post with a quote by Dennis Hansen, where he compared private fossil collecting to private art collecting, and now Trinity was literally bought by an art foundation. There is something quite poetic in this.
Dr. Spondylus is thrilled about the news!


  1. Apparently, Stan was bought by a new natural history museum in Abu Dhabi:

    1. I know that Stan will come to the Abu Dhabi Natural History Museum, but as far as I am aware it is not known if they were the original buyers or who owned the skeleton between the auction and that announcement. As a funny side-note, for a time there were even rumours that the buyer was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but that was quickly debunked.