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Lot
49038

SPECTACULAR COMPLETE SLICE OF A METEORITE WITH NATURAL GEMSTONES - FROM THE HIGHEST DESERT ON EARTH AND THE BRITISH MUSEUM OF ...

2011 June Dallas Signature Platinum Natural History Auction #6061

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Auction Ended On: Jun 12, 2011
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders Number of Bidders
4,072 page views
Location: Fair Park
The Tower Building
3809 Grand Avenue
Dallas, TX 75210

Description:
SPECTACULAR COMPLETE SLICE OF A METEORITE WITH NATURAL GEMSTONES - FROM THE HIGHEST DESERT ON EARTH AND THE BRITISH MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
And Who Said Baseball Isn't The Universal Sport?
PAL - Pallasite
Atacama Desert, Chile
Comprising less than 1% of all meteorites, pallasitic meteorites - named in honor of 18th Century geologist Peter Pallas - are by far the most dazzling of all meteorites. Imilac is among the most sought-after pallasites... and most sought-after meteorites, period. The specimen offered here was cut from the broadest area of the single largest Imilac, its main mass, which was recovered from the highest desert on Earth - Chile's Atacama. Not only is this complete slice - with its spectacular mosaic of sparkling crystals embedded in a nickel-iron matrix - incomparably beautiful, it is also exceptional for a few earthly reasons. The meteorite from which this slice was derived was the centerpiece of the British Museum of Natural History's Meteorite Hall for decades. In a similar situation to the Willamette offering (see lot 49053), it was cut to reveal its internal structure. Bordered with fusion crust, this specimen contains an area of highly translucent gem-quality olivine and peridot (birthstone of August), as well as an area of opaque and uncommonly angular crystals. And not only does this complete slice resemble the shape of home plate, its dimensions are uncannily similar. There are only a handful of such slices, of which this is the largest.

This specimen was featured on the popular Japanese television show Nandemo Kanteidan, the Japanese equivalent of Antique Roadshow, where a panel of experts declared the value of this specimen exceeded (USD) $420,000. While we believe this valuation is excessive at the present time, accompanying this specimen is the thirteen minute segment in which this offering appeared.

It may also have been excessive to name a class of meteorites after the German geologist Pallas, for he fervently believed the unusual boulder he found in Siberia in 1749 could not possibly be from outer space (see lots 49022 and 49023). In fact, it was... and so is this wondrous example of a pallasite. Accompanied by a custom steel frame in which the specimen "floats," this is an extremely noteworthy offering: the largest complete slice from the Imilac main mass. (To learn about this meteorite's formation, see following description.) 457 x 457 x 4 mm (18 x 18 x 0.2 inches) and 4148 grams (9.1 pounds).

Provenance: The Natural History Museum, London (formerly the British Museum of Natural History); The Macovich Collection of Meteorites, New York City.

Condition Report*:

Condition report available upon request.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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