'Unparalleled Space Gem Showpiece' lands $67,100 at Bonhams

Bonhams' Natural History sale concluded last week, with some encouraging sales for anyone considering investment in meteorites. Of the 30 lots on offer in that section, several beat their estimates and most performed at least as well as expected.

The best performance was that of the smaller of the two pallasites we focused on: the square slice of the well-known Imilac meteorite, which landed in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Perhaps the excellent provenance of the rare meteorite with its classic, beautiful olivine 'space gems' embedded in a nickel-iron matrix made all the difference.

British Museum Pallasite Slice
British Museum/Macovich collection slice of Imilac pallasite

The piece had previously been exhibited at the British Museum of Natural History, before being exchanged for another meteorite from the Macovich collection. The Macovich collection of aesthetic iron meteorites will be recognised as a mark of quality by collectors of other-worldly material.

Expected to sell for $13,500-16,000 the slice, measuring 77 x 77 x 33mm and weighing just under 1kg, is apparently balanced on its stand on its corner thanks to a natural magnet. Eager bidders pushed the price up to $23,180.

Other, more moderately rare iron meteorites from the Macovich collection also did well, for example a 'natural sculpture' octahedrite from the Argentinian Campo del Cielo fall brought $4,880.

Likewise the 9g dark, purple-and-greenish-brown angrite, thought to have been struck from the surface of Mercury, trounced its $3,500-4,500 guide price to bring $6,710.

Bonhams slice of Angrite
Slice of Angrite (possibly from Mercury)

But the overall top lot amongst the meteorites was a piece of the famous Fukang pallasite. Although it lacks the recent history of the Imilac slice, the piece (of which all the olivine is of gem quality) makes up for it with its impressive size at 16 by 20in, (weighing 4.2kg).

Described by the auction house as an 'unparalleled space gem showpiece' it sparked a little lively competition in the audience, it sold on target at $67,100.


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