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    Iron, ataxite (ungrouped)
    Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia

    Why this specimen was withdrawn from our previous sale, and its triumphal return

    In December 2009, two meteorite researchers wondered if Lovina - certified by scientists as a meteorite in 2008 - might not be a meteorite after all, but instead be a highly exotic form of oxidized slag. Further research into Lovina's origins immediately commenced, but the results were not available prior to our January sale, and so the specimen was pulled from the offering. This past February, the world's foremost expert in iron meteorites, Dr. John Wasson, announced the results of his new research. "I am convinced Lovina is a meteorite; every single element is within the range commonly encountered in iron meteorites. Metals that have been made by man will always differ from meteorites in terms of several elements and element ratios." Dr. Wasson's findings were endorsed by the scientists who prompted the new investigation, and Wasson's determination reaffirmed Lovina's standing as a singularly unique meteorite. Months later Wasson stated he was still puzzled by the object which he thought was most likely a meteorite. Heritage Auction Galleries is honored to be able to offer a select complete slice from what is inarguably one of the most exotic metallic objects on Earth. The unabridged January 2010 catalog description follows.

    From Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia, comes the meteorite for which museums and private collectors are today clamoring. Scarce and only recently available, this is the first public offering of Lovina - what scientists have described as the single most unique iron meteorite. In terms of its external structure, Lovina is the only meteorite with pyramids. In terms of its internal structure, Lovina is the only iron meteorite to reveal an organized, lattice-like matrix of inclusions and vugs. In addition, Lovina is also one of a handful of underwater meteorite finds, and is the only meteorite find recovered from a body of water where there was not an additional meteorite from the same event first recovered from the shoreline.

    It was in 1981 that a 13-year-old Canadian boy recovered an unusual metallic rock from the tropical Balinese shallows while searching for shells at Lovina Beach. He knew nothing about meteorites - had no idea at all what they looked like - but this did not prevent him from earnestly reporting to his family that he found a rock from outer space. Extremely exotic, the heavy rock looked nothing like any meteorite ever seen. With two-dozen one-inch metallic pyramids perched on a coral-like base, this would easily have to be the most unusually shaped meteorite to exist. As the years went by, the boy was entirely content to hold onto his find. He returned to Canada with his family, kept his rock in a tackle box and became a miner.

    In 2008, he was introduced to meteorite researchers at Western Ontario University. When the rock's extraterrestrial origin was confirmed, the owner was nonplussed and later conveyed, "Over all these years, I've never had as much faith in anything as this being a meteorite."

    With its 34.5% nickel content, Lovina has the 4th largest nickel concentration of any meteorite, which intrinsically makes it among the most valuable meteorites per unit weight. In a curious anecdotal twist, long before he was informed of his meteorite's mineralogy, the young boy who found the meteorite with one of the greatest concentrations of nickel worked as a young man at one of Earth's largest concentrations of nickel - in a nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario.

    The extraordinary ziggurat (stepped pyramidal) structures are partially the result of the meteorite being rich in tetrataenite - a polymorph of taenite, but with nearly three times the nickel content. Troilite inclusions and vugs arrayed in a novel latticework also promoted ziggurat growth. As a result of its mineralogy, this meteorite was selectively resistant to the oxidizing effect of the tropical waters in which it was immersed for centuries. In sum, the pyramidal structures are the result of several exotic attributes of the meteorite and circumstances (falling in the wave-swept shallows of a tropical ocean and anchoring to a terrestrial rock) that serendipitously came together.
    The complete slice offered here, one of only eleven complete slices, reveals a plentitude of vugs and inclusions and is accented by three natural holes, artifacts of weathering in tropical waters. Said Marlin Cilz of the Montana Meteorite Laboratory (which has prepared specimens for the American Museum of Natural History (New York), The Natural History Museum (London) and countless other institutions, "Lovina is the most bizarre, unreal meteorite I've ever seen in 30 years." For the sophisticated collector, this is an exceptional representation of what will forever be one of the more remarkable meteorites - and one that can grace only a limited number of collections. Lovina weighed less than eleven pounds and a five-pound section containing the pyramidal structures was removed in anticipation of it becoming a museum centerpiece. This lot comes accompanied by a copy of its abstract in Lunar and Planetary Science (XXXIX) and a high res image of the entire mass. 42 x 46 x 3 mm (1¾ x 1¾ x 1/8 inches) and 31.53 grams.
    Provenance: Macovich Collection of Meteorites - the world's finest collection of aesthetic iron meteorites.

    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    6th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,095

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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