Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Fossil Ichthyosaur
    Stenopterygius quadriscissus
    Lower Jurassic
    Posidonienschiefer Formation
    Holzmaden, Bavaria, Germany

    While often (incorrectly) referred to as Dinosaurs, which were represented taxonomically, by two strictly terrestrial orders, the marine reptiles often associated with the "Terrible Lizards" were actually not of the same classification but did live at the same time, populating the vast Mesozoic oceans. One such aquatic creature was the aptly named Ichthyosaur (meaning "fish lizard"), one of the most iconic marine reptiles of all time. The Stenopterygius variety somewhat resembled a modern-day dolphin, and this astonishing example of immense size and exceptional preservation is a museum-quality representation of such type.

    The famed Holzmaden Lagerst├Ątte in Germany produced this fossil measuring some 11 feet (3.4 meters) in length that is wonderfully placed in a natural shale matrix with an irregular, organic shape. A Jurassic example out of the renowned Posidonia Shale, this fossil was likely inlaid back into the matrix after the requisite preparation and repair, which was minimal on this specimen that was restored years ago and, thus, exhibits a more rustic appearance due to the style of the day when the work was performed. Only minimal crack fill and minor restoration is visible over this fossil, which is in excellent overall condition.

    The large, attractive piece appears to have a 100 percent natural skull as well as an incredibly preserved 'manus' paddle and tail. Restoration to the vertebrae and ribs was performed, and there is the bonus of a black mass of stomach contents, which has been heavily stabilized to preserve the last meal of the big aquatic reptile, offering a further element of intrigue to the already visual and very impactful specimen. The background rock contains numerous ribbed, golden hue and highly detailed round Ammonite fossil impressions, evidencing the marine environment, and the Jurassic age, of this sedimentary association.

    An incomparable, extremely large specimen, with unlimited dramatic visual impact, this represents one amazing fossil of size and quality from one iconic locality, of a caliber not often available for acquisition.
    Overall Measurements: 139.00 x 73.00 inches (353.06 x 185.42 cm)

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    19th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,762

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Charges to be determined based on Actual Shipping Costs incurred. Note: Additional invoice may follow original. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Mar 19, 2021 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 19 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    My sincere thanks and appreciation for the professionalism in handling, promoting, and selling my painting.
    David H.,
    Dallas, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search