The Story Behind Russell Crowe's Dinosaur Skull That Sold at Sotheby's

It involves Leonardo DiCaprio...

The Story Behind Russell Crowe's Dinosaur Skull That Sold at Sotheby's

In April 2018, the New Zealand-born Hollywood actor Russell Crowe and singer Danielle Spencer divorced after 15 years of marriage, and that same month, Sotheby's Australia hosted the Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce auction, selling 226 personal items of the actor, such as costumes and props from the movie Gladiator, for a total of $3.7 million.

In 2018, actor Russell Crowe auctioned off personal items at Sotheby's Australia | Photo: Instagram / russellcrowe
In 2018, actor Russell Crowe auctioned off personal items at Sotheby's Australia | Photo: Instagram / russellcrowe

One of the highlights of Crowe's collection was the fossil skull of a Platecarpus ictericus, a species descending from the reptile Mosasaur, which swam the oceans up to 100 million years ago.

New reconstruction of Platecarpus specimen. Image:  Dmitry Bogdanov via Wikipedia
New reconstruction of Platecarpus specimen. Image: Dmitry Bogdanov via Wikipedia

On a recent June 2019 episode of the Howard Stern Show, Russell Crowe explained how he came into possession of this dinosaur skull.

Crowe bought the fossil skull of a Mosasaur from his colleague Leonardo DiCaprio | Photo: Sotheby's Australia
Crowe bought the fossil skull of a Mosasaur from his colleague Leonardo DiCaprio | Photo: Sotheby's Australia

In December 2008 in LA, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio were enjoying a few glasses of vodka together at DiCaprio's home when Crowe spotted the dinosaur skull and wanted to give it to his two young sons, who were dinosaur fanatics at the time.

He asked DiCaprio about the price and DiCaprio said he could have it for about $30-35,000, what he had originally paid for it. Crowe displayed the prehistoric skull in Australian home, until it sold at Sotheby's a decade later for $65,000, double what Crowe (and DiCaprio) paid for it.

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