‘Year of the Dinosaur Sales’ Doesn’t Always Mean the Dinosaurs Are Selling

When we told you that 2009 had officially become “the year of dinosaur sales,” following the announcement that there was to be yet another skeleton put on the market, we should have added a footnote saying that just because they hit an auction doesn’t mean anyone will actually buy them. Such is the case with the aforementioned “Samson” Tyrannasaurus rex, which was attempting to be sold at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas this weekend. Despite lots of press and some wealthy person buzz, the skeleton only wound up getting a bid of $3.6 million, which didn’t manage to hit the seller’s reserve and thus, won’t be going anywhere. This, according to the auction company handling the sale, is an indicator of how rough things have gotten for the industry:

On Friday, Thomas Lindgren, the curator in charge, and auctioneer Patrick Meade had talked about just that between meetings with prospective buyers. People from across the world had expressed interest in Samson, but nobody was committed to bidding.

“If I’d have had this T. rex two years ago, we would have set world records,” Lindgren said wistfully. But, he said, the recession had caused everyone — museums, schools and even eccentric collectors with deep pockets — to scale back.

We feel badly for them, that it didn’t sell, but we like the idea of a Dinosaur Index as an economic indicator. That’s a lot more interesting than how many houses or cars are being sold.