Bonhams' Natural History auction concluded yesterday with its typical wide range of fascinating and startling collectibles: everything from dinosaur teeth through rare sea-coconuts to a trilobite earring and necklace set went under the hammer.
Of course for space collectors, Natural History auctions mean one thing only: meteorites.
One the most remarkable pieces in the sale was an 'Enormous Complete Slice of a Published Lunar Meteorite' (for 'enormous', read 82.9 x 52.7 x 1.5mm - everything's relative). Specifically it's a slice of the NWA 2995 meteorite which landed in Algeria.
Meteorites from the moon are among the rarest materials on Earth, millions of times rarer than top quality gem diamonds. Not only must the material escape the Moon's atmosphere (after having been bombarded by a space object), it also must be captured by the Earth's atmosphere and survive its fiery descent to be discovered by a human.
The mineralogy and structure of this particular lunar meteorite (Lunar Feldspathic Breccia) almost exactly mimics Apollo Mission moon rocks. It sold roughly as expected at $19,520.
The two top lots of the sale, due to their sheer size were iron meteorites - octahedrites. Both names will be well known to seasoned collectors: Campo del Cielo and Canyon Diablo.
This particular Campo del Cielo specimen was found several feet underground in a closed forest. Campo del Cielo specimens range from quite rusty to crumbly and unstable, having been immersed in damp soil in the lowlands over thousands of years and this vast 850lb piece sold for $26,840 - a great investment.
The Canyon Diablo example is a complete specimen weighing approximately 128lb. A large and attractive piece it sold for $39,040. Watch this space for all the latest news on meteorite sales.
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