Sue was discovered in the summer of 1990 by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and was named after her. She contacted the Black Hills Institute, whose staff retrieved and prepared the bones.
First, ownership disputes were settled in court. There was a long dispute between the owners of the land, the Sioux tribe, the United States Department of the Interior, and the Black Hills Institute, whose staff had done the work.
The fossil was then auctioned in October 1997 for US$8.36 million, the highest amount ever paid for a dinosaur fossil.