Exceptional Collector Grade Sparnodus Bolca Fish Fossil
"The Best of the Best"

Sparnodus sp.

Class Actinopterygii, Order Perciformes, Family Sparidae

Geological Time: Eocene period (50 million years ago)

Size: Fossil fish is 17 cm (6 5/8”) on a 49 x 33 cm (19 X 13”) plate

Fossil Site: Monte Bolca Quarry, Monte Bolca, Italy

Fossil Code: PFF180

Price: $2300.00 - sold

SparnodusDescription: In March and July of 2008 I had the unique privilege of purchasing two large lots from a most important collection. The collector had painstakinglyaccumulated a superb group of decapods, echinoderms and other fossils during a twenty-year period. The vast majority of the specimens came from self-collecting, academic resources, trading, and selected purchases. Very few of fossils came from the normal channels of trade shows and commercial internet resources. Any specimen presented under this introductory paragraph will generally be a superior collector grade fossil; be it of rarity, preservation, or, both.

Presented here is a marvelous fossil fish from a locality of great historical provenance. The Sparnodus was reassembled from about five large pieces. The master craftsmen who perform this curation have not changed their methods for hundreds of years. Sparidae(Please read below for more information) Fossils from the Monte Bolca Quarry are perhaps the most collectable of all fossil fish. Famous for hundreds of years and noted for their beauty, preservation and rarity. Because of these factors and lack of future availability, specimens of this size and quality above reproach are considered investment grade fossils of the highest degree.

The Monte Bolca quarry has a fascinating and illustrious history. Here are a few comments by the collector, from whom I acquired this specimen.

“The Bolca Quarry is a fantastic place. They mine these fish by boring tunnels deep into the hillside following the seam where the fossil fish layer goes into the mountain. The same family has owned this quarry for almost four hundred years. When the weathered matrix is split the fish open, but the rock ALWAYS shatters; so all but the smallest Bolca fish are "repaired." The bigger ones (any bigger than this, and of course the REALLY big ones) are often put back together from dozens of pieces. These fish have been collected for CENTURIES, and were considered during the crusades (yep, THOSE crusades. THE crusades) to be remains of the last supper (WOW.) and are still considered to this day by many as evidence of the great flood... (again, wow.) Kings of Europe collected them for their sheer beauty and rarity. The Italian government considers Bolca fossils to be a national treasure, and as such, while the government has granted permission for the quarry owners to sell the fish again after many years of prohibition, the tax collectors take approximately half of all proceeds.”

This specimen is the positive side of the plate. (You may recall that I had posted the negative side a few months ago on my first lot purchase from the collector. That specimen was recently purchased.) All the physical structures are present, including some teeth, fins, backbone, ribs, spines skull and body parts. Sparnodus from the Bolca Quary site are represented by two species, S. vulgaris (Blainville, 1818) and S. elongatus Agassiz, 1839. I don’t have sufficient background information to positively id this one yet, but am still trying.

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