Invaders from Mars descend on Bonhams

As we've reported, Bonhams is to hold a Natural History auction on May 27. The auction house is one of the world leaders in this area, and for space collectors it's a chance to take a look at a range of highly collectible meteorites.

The top lots in that section, as we've reported, are likely to be two impressive pallasites - almost universally regarded as the most spectacular and beautiful meteorites of all. One has been through the Macovich collection and even the British Museum

However, not all meteorite collectors are interested in beauty above all, and there are some meteorites which are even less common than the very rare pallasites: meteorites which originated on other planets.

There is a small lunar meteorite, from a landing in the Sahara desert. Weighing 1.32g, it is expected to sell for $1,200-1,600.

More remarkable still is a complete slice of angrite. Angrites are meteorites commonly thought to have originated on Mercury, but as humans have never landed a probe on Mercury, proof is hard to come by.

Bonhams slice of Angrite
Scorched by the Sun: a slice of Angrite

Certainly they have been a part of a large body which has gone much closer to the Sun than the Earth ever has, and angrites are thought to be generated by a large impact (in this case probably a sizeable iron meteorite) which disturbs the mantle of the body

The 8.98g specimen is a complete slice with large polygonal grains of anorthite (dark purplish-gray material), shocked olivine (green to black material) and spinel (orange crystals) contained in a fine-grained matrix, and is estimated at $3,500-4,500.

The auction is particularly strong in Martian meteorites, however, with three high quality pieces on offer.  The two best of these are a complete North-West African meteorite and a slice of the Los Angeles LA 002 meteorite. Both are basaltic shergottites.

Complete Martian Meteorite
A complete Martian Meteorite

The former, weighing in at 3.64g, actually contains pockets of glass. It carries a guide price of $4,000-6,500, whilst the latter, at a heftier 7.6g, is offered with a guide price of $7,000-9,000 - though intriguingly it does not carry a reserve.

The sale takes place in New York. Collectors and investors interested in rare space collectibles may wish to take a look at this portfolio of Apollo 11 and moonwalker memorabilia, which is currently available.


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