Largest UK meteorite auction makes a big impact

The auction of the Robert Elliot Collection of Meteorites, the largest collection of meteorites ever to come on the market in the United Kingdom, was a great success.

Ninety percent of the 171 lots found buyers, with enthusiastic international bidding and some fantastic prices for rare pieces.

The sale was held by Lyon & Turnbull auctioneers earlier today (Wednesday, January 13).

Elliot's passion for space and science began aged 8, as Apollo 11 prepared to touch down on the Moon. His interest in junior astronomy grew until, years later, a cursory skim through an astronomy magazine led him to pursue meteorite collecting.

His collection began with a purchase from an international seller: a piece of meteorite found in the Namibian desert.

Robert Elliot's passion for space was inspired by the Apollo 11 Moon landing

Eventually, Elliot decided to throw his full effort into the business of buying and selling meteorites for a living.  A bank loan allowed the purchase of some high-end, exotic meteorites, which Elliot then cut and sold-on to meteorite collectors.

He also approached several museums, scientists and curators who might be interested in either studying the material, or simply adding it to their own meteorite collections.

Over time, Elliot became a frequent visitor and acquaintance of institutions and museums of natural history around the world, acquiring many rare, important and historical meteorites.

Today, he is ranked as one of the world's top meteorite dealers. Robert Elliot has sold 4.5bn year-old space rocks and the like to celebrities, artists, known scientists and other people from all different walks of life.

Notable sales included the Wold Cottage meteorite, whose fall to Earth was witnessed in Yorkshire in 1795. The rock became a major piece in encouraging people's belief that stones sometimes fall from the sky.

It sold at Lyon & Turnbull for £3,100.

Another big sale - and sold at the right time of year - was the so-called Christmas Meteorite. A section of the rock went for a final hammer price of at £8,000.

The Christmas Meteorite fell on the village of Barwell, Leicestershire on December 24 1965.

According to auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, widespread international media attention met the sale, resulting in a busy saleroom with much Internet and telephone bidding.

Robert Elliot has now retired as a dealer and collector, and will instead focus on meteorite hunting - an expensive pastime, which the proceeds of Lyon & Turnbull's sale will reportedly fund.


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Images: Lyon & Turnbull


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