Thursday, May 14, 2020

Mile High Meteorites Collection Pieces in the Bonham's Meteorite Auction May 21, 2020

I have submitted several HIGH-QUALITY collection pieces to the Bonham's "Meteorite and Meteorite Impact Memorabilia" auction.  The auction ends on May 21, 2020, so be sure to have a look.  All of my pieces (all images are property of Bonham's auctions) are shown below.  

Please visit Mile High Meteorites!

Belmont Meteorite-

Sericho Pallasite Meteorite-

Vinales Cuba Meteorite with Impacted Roof Tile and Rice Cooker-

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

What are meteorites worth? Or how much is MY meteorite worth?

I get asked this question several times per week, sometimes by new collectors but mainly by people that think they have a meteorite and want to sell it.  Actually, it is THE most common question I get and the most difficult one to answer. Here is the answer: It depends. Lame? Maybe, but here are the reasons from my perspective.

If you are a new collector I'm sure it feels overwhelming seeing the wide array of different meteorites and a vast range in pricing. I will say it's not like collecting vintage sports cards (my other interest), meaning there's no price guide or grading system.  There is a fairly tight range of prices that you will see for some meteorites, let's say slices of the Gibeon meteorite They typically range in price from $3 per gram (meteorites are typically sold by the gram or kilogram). But the same meteorite uncut with a very unique shape may sell for double that. If you saw the raw uncut outside of Esquel, you would wonder what makes it special? It is only when it is cut and polished that it becomes is the most beautiful meteorite in the world - brilliantly displaying yellow and lime-green olivine crystals set in a shiny metallic matrix. A pallasite meteorite at its finest! It now routinely sells for over $40/gram if you can find it. Aesthetics (beauty) are a major driver in price.

A piece that comes out of a museum typically sells for more than a piece that was purchased from the finder in the field or from a dealer without provenance. Many meteorite collectors prefer meteorites to have paper or painted labels either with or on the piece. That same type of philosophy applies to antiquities. However, this doesn't mean that meteorites without museum documentation are always worth less. It depends.

Scientific importance also is a driver of price.  For instance when I started collecting, buying, and selling meteorites back in 1996, I could buy Murchison meteorite for about $25 to $35/gram.  Since then Murchison has one of the most special types of meteorites (carbonaceous chondrite with little alteration) from a scientific standpoint and the price is over $150/gram. This is mainly a supply and demand issue; there was much more available back in 1996 and much less now.  Scientists, collectors, and museums snatched it up once discoveries were made and now it is more difficult to find.

Supply and demand (mentioned in the paragraph above) is probably the most major driver in price.  If you have been around the meteorite community for as long as I (and some others) have, you will have seen the effect of supply and demand in all of its shades.  This is certainly amplified when there is a new fall.  For instance when the Vinales meteorite fell in Cuba in February of 2019, dealers offered pieces for over (sometimes well over) $35/gram. As the days went on after the fall, more pieces were recovered, the supply increased and the field price began to drop. Collectors had their fill and demand waned.  The price eventually settled around $5-10/gram, maybe less depending on quality. Sometimes it pays to be patient, but you may also miss the freshest pieces. It depends.

Since we do not have a price guide (bad idea for meteorites) your best bet if you have REAL, AUTHENTICATED METEORITE, would be to: A) ask a dealer what they would pay (be polite and do not take offense if they say they are not interested), B) search different dealer websites looking for meteorites similar in classification or appearance, C) peruse the completed auctions on Ebay, D) look around on the various meteorite for sale/collector groups on Facebook.
I will add more thoughts on meteorite pricing when time permits.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Why Collect Meteorites?

So I was driving home with my daughter the other evening and we were talking about meteorites (imagine that!).  She point blank said, "Dad why do you collect meteorites?" It caught me off guard a little bit. I thought about it for a few seconds and told her a few things...

I collect meteorites for a few reasons, here is my list. What is yours??
  • I love all things space and I love all things geology.  Meteorites are a perfect combination of the two for me.  We are literally touching a rock that has traveled through space. How cool is that??
  • Meteorites are really REALLY old...the oldest objects we can actually hold on planet earth. They are OLDER than the earth. Yes, seriously. Grains in Murchison (and Allende) meteorite are presolar...they predate our SUN!
  • I love the history and stories attached to them.  For example, the Ensisheim meteorite fell in France on November 7, 1492.  That was the same year Columbus sailed for the New World.  I have a slice of Ensisheim in my collection.  On December 14, 1807 there were a series of stones falling near the town of Weston, Connecticut.  This was the FIRST meteorite to be classified in the newborn United States and thus is the beginning of meteorite science in the U.S. Thomas Jefferson was a naysayer and reportedly said “I would more easily believe that (a) Yankee professor would lie than that stones would fall from heaven.”  Once again, you can obtain a piece of this meteorite. What history!! There are so many more meteorites with cool stories attached to them
  • I like they way they look.  Some are shaped like rocket nosecones (we call this "oriented"). Some have flute marks and striations.  Some have glossy black fusion crust that looks like it was dipped in black glass. Some have pits and indentations (called regmaglypts to us meteorite folk).
  • They come from exotic places. A meteorite (rock) from Mars? Yes.  Fragments of asteroids like Vesta? Yes. A piece of the moon? Yup. How about the core (iron meteorite) of an old planetoid? Yes. How about a piece of the core-mantle boundary of a differentiated asteroid (pallasite)? Sure thing. Amazing.
  • They have VALUE.  Yes, believe it or not, some can be worth quite a bit of money (more than gold), but MANY are not worth a whole lot.  In any case, it is nice to be able to sell them and get money back out of them when you want to buy another!
If you want to buy a meteorite please visit MILE HIGH METEORITES!
The Ensisheim meteorite-Fell in 1492 when Columbus sailed for the New World

The Weston meteorite-Thomas Jefferson remarked on this

The Allende meteorite-Contains material older than our Sun

The Johnstown meteorite - Fragment of the asteroid Vesta

The Fukang meteorite - A pallasite from the core-mantle boundary of an asteroid

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Belmont, Wisconsin Meteorite - Connection to the Roswell UFO Incident

A connection to the Roswell UFO Incident. Named for the original capital of the Wisconsin Territory, the Belmont meteorite was struck by a plow as a farmer cleared his field in the spring of 1958.  In 1960, it was identified as a meteorite by W.A. Broughton, a professor of geology at the former Wisconsin Institute of Technology and Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, founding Director of the Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico. Dr. LaPaz witnessed two UFOs only days after the famous Roswell UFO incident and purportedly was called into interview witnesses and determine the flight path of the recovered craft. Dr. LaPaz was also interviewed by Project Blue Book’s (yes this is the current TV show on History Channel) Dr. J. Allen Hynek about a UFO landing in Socorro, New Mexico. Our slices at Mile High Meteorites were sectioned from the meteorite mass that was acquired by Dr. LaPaz that currently resides in the collection at the Institute of Meteoritics.

232 gram slice of the Belmont, Wisconsin meteorite sectioned from the LaPaz mass 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Meteorite Collection of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science DMNS 17

Pick up your copy of this publication!  An excellent synopsis of the history of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science meteorite collection by Hagadorn, Spindler, Bowles and Neu-Yagle.  It contains several never before seen photos of H.H. Nininger and shots from the DMNS archive. Also contains a full listing of the DMNS meteorite collection catalog  WELL worth the few bucks it costs for a printed copy. Our friends at the Colorado Geological Survey have some additional meteorite photos courtesy of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Purchase here

Or download a free PDF here

Visit Mile High Meteorites for more meteorite-related stuff!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What IS a meteorite?

What IS a meteorite??
Simply put, a meteorite is a rock from space.  These rocks can originate from the moon, Mars, or other bodies in our celestial neighborhood.  They come in many different types: ones that are made mostly of stone, some mixed with various percentages of metal and stone and those that are nearly completely metallic.  They can be extremely old, even older than the earth and some contain grains of pre-solar martial (YES OLDER THAN OUR SUN).  Just recently one meteorite called Murchison, which fell in Australia in 1969, was found to contain grains that are 7 BILLION years old!!

Many years ago meteorites were also known as "aerolites". The word "aerolite" is French, meaning "rock from the air.This word has generally fallen out of favor and we now use "meteorite", which is rooted in the Greek word "meteĊra" meaning "the celestial phenomena, things in heaven above," and "-ite" is added meaning "connected with or belonging to."

Visit Mile High Meteorites for more meteorite-related stuff!

Stone meteorite called Nakhon Pathom from Thailand

Stone and iron mix meteorite called a pallasite from Fukang, China

A meteorite composed of iron found near Glorieta, New Mexico