The world’s first meteorite auction was held in New York’s Bonhams auction house over the weekend. Among the purchases was an iron meteorite from Siberia which fetched $123,000 (£60,000). Even famous meteorite memorabilia was sold, such as Carutha Barnard's private mailbox in Claxton, Georgia, which was hit by a meteorite in 1984. The mailbox alone fetched an impressive $83,000 (£40,000).
"The results were stronger than anticipated with a near-perfect result," Bonhams meteorite specialist Claudia Florian said after the sale.
She says Bonhams is hoping to sell the unsold lots "in the next several days". Some of the 54 lots of "fine meteorites" sold at the auction house fell to Earth many thousands of years ago. One of the meteorites sold was documented as having made a fatal impact. The Valera Meteorite hit a field in Venezuela in 1972, killing an unsuspecting cow.
"It's very rare to have a meteorite actually impact a living being... so now that particular meteorite is considered to be collectible," Florian said before the sale. The piece sold for 1,300 dollars.
However, the piece de resistance, the "Crown Section" of America's famous Willamette Meteorite which was discovered in Oregon in 1902 did not sell. It’s estimated price is 1.1m dollars.
The pieces for the collection were drawn from around the world and many examples are richly colored and have interesting patterns, some are even loaded with gemstones, such as the Brenham meteorite which features naturally occurring olivine gemstones. That particular meteorite is also still available, FYI, for those of you who can afford space gems.
Another non-seller was an historic piece from the l'Aigle Shower of 1803 in Normandy, France. That particular meteorite was critical in convincing European scientists that rocks could, indeed, fall out of the sky.
Posted by Rebecca Sato
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