Oddly Enough

Ancient meteorite goes unsold as dung sells

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some dinosaur dung was snapped up at auction in New York even as a 4.5 billion year old meteorite which was supposed to top the sale went unsold.

The two chunks of 130-million-year-old coprolite, otherwise known as fossilized dinosaur dung, fetched $960 at Bonhams in New York on Wednesday, the auction house said.

The Jurassic-era rocks were sold for more than double their maximum estimate, said spokeswoman Staci Smith.

A 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, on which a Chinese desert hiker habitually ate lunch before he discovered it was valuable, failed to meet the minimum reserve however.

Bonhams had expected the space rock to sell for $2.25 million to $2.75 million.

Smith said negotiations over the meteorite continued after the auction and that a deal could be struck in days.

The owner of the meteorite, Marvin Kilgore, the curator at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Meteorite Center, was mystified by the sale of the fossilized dung which is much more common than rocks that have fallen from space.

“Some people want it on their shelves, I guess,” he said.

The dung was bought by a phone bidder which the auction house declined to identify.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner, editing by Sandra Maler