Auction Catalogue for Unique Marine Conservation Event






World’s Most Unique Auction Support of Marine Conservation

Saturday 19 July 1967

6:00 P.M.


For Additional Information Contact

Katie Phillips


Santa Barbara, Ca.

(888) 222-NIMR

Sotheby’s will hold a unique silent auction for 20 lots and the proceeds will benefit marine conservation programs associated with the long-term preservation of such species as well as other environment and biodiversity-related programs.


Fifteen of the 20 lots will be for the naming rights of new marine species, supporting programs or expeditions.  All winning bidders will be presented with a certificate displaying the lot number, a photograph of your successful bid along with the latinization of the name for the species or the expedition name.


The last five lots will be a group of secret lots.  The bidder will not know what they are specifically bidding on, but are guaranteed a very unusual exciting unique experience.  The winners of the secret auction lots will also be given a certificate for display.


You may submit sealed bids prior to the gala dinner and entertainment.  Bidding will continue until conclusion of the event.  The winners will be notified within one week.






Lot # 1 – Naming of the Walking Shark


Suggested opening bid: $500,000





The naming of Hemiscyllium Cendrawasih (walking shark) is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative


This shark is known only from Cendrawasih Bay

The completely singular evolutionary path this shark has taken, finds it pectoral fins uniquely developed for «walking». This form of motion, unknown in other sharks, made this distinctive species an international media darling when it was discovered. Although it can swim if frightened, this shark commonly crawls across shallow coral reefs in search of its prey. Also notable are the male’s unusually large clasper organs.


Lot # 2 – Naming of the Lion Fish


Suggested opening bid: $250,000





The naming of the Pterois lionfish is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative. 


Lionfish are one of the most spectacular and dangerous of reef fishes, having poisonous spines that cause excruciating pain for up to three days after a wound is inflicted. Docile during the day, they emerge just before sunset and perform elaborate courtship displays with their showy fins extended. This species can “herd” small fish by throwing its pectoral fins out like a net, encircling its prey, and then striking out with lightning speed to ingest its quarry whole. First collected from Cendrawasih Bay, this new species has now been photographed from Northern Sulawesi to eastern Papua New Guinea.



Lot # 3 – Naming the Pseudanthias fairy basslet


Suggested opening bid: $150,000





The naming of the Pseudanthias fairy basslet is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative.


This is a highly unique fish in the aspect that all fairy basslets mature first as females, later changing sex to become males, as they grow larger. Males typically oversee a harem of up to 20 females. Fairy basslets form massive colorful shoals that hover a few meters above the reef, feeding on plankton. This species has been collected only from deep reefs in Cendrawasih Bay.


Lot # 4 – Naming of an Expedition supporting the NGO


Suggested opening bid: $200,000


Naming of an expedition is a personal gift from His Supreme Highness.  The lucky winner will meet Prince Rainer and then be included on an expedition to support biodiversity and environmental protection programs carried out by Monaco NGOs under the leadership of the Prince Rainer III Foundation.



This is for those individuals who are keen to discover their own new species. We are arranging a 10-day expedition with six CI marine scientists to explore and find possible new species in the waters around Indonesia. Rest assured this won’t be roughing it; the winning bidder can bring up to eight additional guests on board a Buginese schooner, one of the most luxurious live aboard dive vessels in the Indonesian fleet. This package includes the full 10-day charter of the Buginese schooner, all diving equipment and instruction, food and accommodation but airfares to Papua must be arranged separately. Dates for the expedition would be by negotiation with the winner, subject to availability of the ship.

Lot # 5– Naming the Hippocampus bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse


Suggested opening bid: $250,000




The naming of the Hippocampus bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse

is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative. 


The Pygmy Seahorse only grows to 2 cm in length and has a short snout, rounded knob-like coronet. Only two colour morphs are recorded for this species, one is pale grey or purple with pink or red tubercles, the second is yellow with orange tubercles. It is remarkably well camouflaged. The colour of the fish matches the gorgonians (sea fans) of the genus Muricella it inhabits at depths of 16-40m.


Lot # 6 – Naming the Chrysiptera damselfish


Suggested opening bid: $150,000






Naming the Chrysiptera damselfish is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative


Considered the gems of the coral reef, brightly-coloured Chrysiptera damselfish are found exclusively in areas of healthy coral. Although small, these fish can live up to 15 years and produce copious numbers of offspring — with the males actually taking the primary role in tending the eggs. The beautiful species on auction is known only from Sebakor Bay



Lot # 7 – Naming of the Corythoichthys pipefish


Suggested opening bid: $100,000




The naming of the Corythoichthys pipefish is auctioned to support the Bird’s Head Marine Enforcement Initiative.


Pipefish, like their seahorse relatives, stand out in the fish world because of their “male pregnancy” — the female deposits her fertilized eggs in a specialized pouch on the male’s belly and he tends the eggs until they hatch. The subtle but ornate color pattern on this new species differentiates it from other pipefish, while also keeping it camouflaged on the reef’s shallow coral heads and in gorgonian sea fans.


Lot # 8 – Naming of the Tridacna gigas Giant Clam


Suggested opening bid: $75,000





Naming the Chrysiptera damselfish is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative


The giant clam has a system of channels, which branch out to all parts of its mantle, and the algae live in these channels.   The clam can discard old algae if there are too many or if it becomes overheated, or retain all of them if it needs more. They can weigh more than 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and measure as much as 1.2 metres (4 feet) across, and have an average lifespan in the wild of 100 years or more.

Lot # 9 – Naming the Paracheilinus flasher wrasse

Suggested opening bid: $ 400,000





The naming of the Paracheilinus flasher wrasse is auctioned to support the Indonesian Marine Empowerment Initiative.


Considered the most spectacularly coloured of all coral reef fishes, flasher wrasse derive their common name from the unique courtship behaviour of the males – which rise up in the water column and suddenly “flash” electric neon colours while simultaneously erecting their fins to draw the attention of potential mates. Photographing a male in full courtship display is considered a “holy grail” for accomplished underwater photographers. This species is arguably the most stunning of all the flashers. It is known only from the southern Bird’s Head Seascape, from Raja Ampat to Triton Bay.

Lot # 10 – Naming the Melanotaenia rainbowfish


Suggested opening bid: $45,000




The naming of the Melanotaenia rainbowfish is auctioned to support the Indonesian Marine Empowerment Initiative.


The lone freshwater fish in the auction. This rainbowfish has been found in only two small mountain streams on the island of Batanta. With approximately 60 known species in this family of fish, each having a very limited distribution. these regions are very isolated from the next Rainbowfish habitat, therefore have had thousands of years to evolve separately from the Rainbowfish found in the next river over or the next lake. The striking males of this species can “flash” iridescent blue colours to attract mates in the deep pools that form below stunning waterfalls in the streams on Batanta. Some species are found in only one very localized region.

Lot # 11 – Naming the Pseudochromis dottyback


Suggested opening bid: $100,000




The naming of the Pseudochromis dottyback is auctioned to support the Indonesian Marine Empowerment Initiative.


Distantly related to groupers, the dottybacks are secretive fish highly sought by advanced scuba divers. This distinctive species — with yellow and black “racing stripes,” blue eyes and cherry belly — was discovered amid the deep reefs in Triton Bay, where it typically lives in mated pairs and displays a strong curiosity for scuba divers. Unlike many fish, dottybacks are committed parents and carefully care for their eggs until they hatch.




Lot # 12 – Naming the Pterocaesio fusilier


Suggested opening bid: $ 50,000




The naming of the Pterocaesio fusilier is auctioned to support the Indonesian Marine Conservation Enforcement Initiative.


Colorful fusiliers typically form large conspicuous shoals of thousands of individuals that swirl around divers visiting outer reef slopes. This species is one of the smaller but more vividly colored of the known fusiliers, with gold blaze across its body making it visible even in the dark depths.



Lot # 13 Seaview’s Fantastic Diving Expedition


Suggested opening bid: $400,000


This highly prized lot is a, 2- week scientific diving expedition for four people on the NIMR submarine Seaview, as a guest of Admiral Harriman Nelson and his crew.


You will be able to personally dive in the waters where Seaview’s Command Staff have previously dived and view the marine life that is being support by this unusual auction.

Depending upon the area chosen for your dive, the diver may encounter anything from a multitude of unusual sea life to wreck diving.


In the event you or some your guests do not desire to dive in these beautiful waters, they will still have a fabulous time viewing the fantastic scenes through the unique windows in Seaview’s nose.   Seaview may possibly surface allowing you and your guest the chance for strolling along a pristine beach, snorkeling or even a picnic lunch provided Seaview’s premier chef.


Lot # 14 – Naming the Asthenosoma Fire Urchin


Suggested opening bid: $150,000




Naming the Asthenosoma Fire Urchin is auctioned for the benefit of the Marine Conservation Education Initiative


This is a large urchin species and it has small short spines that inflict a considerable amount of pain and discomfort if a diver is unfortunately stung. The test of this species is quite flexible which allows it to squeeze into tight crevices and holes. It can be found living on coral reefs, in coastal bays and lagoons and on sandy or rubble bottoms. There are many different species that can be found living on Asthenosoma varium.  You can see the Striped Urchin Crab Zebrida adamsii on this specimen.

Lot # 15 – Naming the Pictichromis dottyback


Suggested opening bid: $140,000






The naming of the Pictichromis dottyback is auctioned to support the Indonesian Marine Conservation Enforcement Initiative.


Known only from Cendrawasih Bay in the eastern Bird’s Head region, this gorgeous magenta and yellow fish inquisitively investigates any divers that come near it. It is normally found below 15m depth and hides under reef overhangs. Its vibrant colours make it perhaps the most beautiful of the dottybacks


Lot # 16 -Naming of the Floating Ranger Station


Suggested opening bid: $200,000



The naming of the Floating Ranger Station is being auctioned to support biodiversity and environment protection programs carried out by Monaco NGOs under the leadership of the Prince Rainer III Foundation.


This patrol vessel will be purchased and refitted by your generous bids as a customized vessel for patrolling the remote reefs of Raja Ampat. A full patrol team can be stationed comfortably at sea for several weeks on this vessel, which uses a fast speedboat for engagement with suspected illegal fishing activities, such as blast fishing and shark finning.


Lots # 17 - 21


These surprise lots could be anything from an invitation to the Monaco Grand Prix as a personal guest of HSH Prince Rainer III and HRH Princess Grace, with dinner at the Gala reception afterwards, to one day’s diving lessons conducted aboard Seaview by it’s highly qualified personnel. Also available, a one-day cruise of the Mediterrian or along the California coast aboard the world’s most extraordinary submarine and dinner hosted by her officers and crew. How about a trip in the Flying Sub flown personally by Capt. Crane? There is even a possibility of two distinct events being combined for this very unique, exciting event of a secret auction.   The possibilities are endless you could even join with a group of friends in hoping that your auction bid is the one containing two completely dramatically different excursions, which you could share.   By successfully bidding on a secret lot you are guaranteed to have an unusual and very memorable experience with whichever one you win.



NOTE:  This idea was inspired by the Conservation International website and the actual Blue Auction held in the support of marine environment.  The majority of the photo’s are from the Blue Auction site and Conservation International and are used without their permission. Thanks as always to Lill. for her hard work with the catalogue, invitation and auction flyer.