Iron - IIIAB
    Oregon, United States - (45° 22'N, 122° 35'W)

    An extremely noteworthy offering, here is an opportunity to acquire the largest complete slice of a centerpiece exhibit at a world-renowned museum - specifically the largest slice of the Willamette meteorite at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. It is believed that Willamette, the largest North American meteorite, fell in Canada or Montana untold millennia ago and was a glacial erratic (i.e., it was deposited in Oregon by glacial activity during the last Ice Age). Willamette was discovered in 1902 by an ambitious miner named Ellis Hughes, on property owned by Oregon Iron & Steel adjacent to his own. The 15.5 ton meteorite was ingeniously moved by Hughes onto his property over a period of months, where it was then exhibited to curiosity-seekers for a fee. Unfortunately for Hughes, one of his customers - an attorney from Oregon Iron & Steel - noticed the groove through the forest from where it had been hauled. Oregon Iron & Steel sued to have the meteorite returned and, after being awarded possession, exhibited the meteorite at the 1905 World's Fair in Chicago. It was then sold to Mrs. William E. Dodge, who gifted the meteorite to the American Museum in New York - where the meteorite has been on display for 104 years.

    Its tenure there has been far from quiet. In 1990, tens of thousands of Oregonian schoolchildren signed petitions to have the meteorite returned to Oregon. A bill was proposed in the U.S. Senate in support, and an Oregon congressman even proposed withholding federal funding earmarked for the Museum until the meteorite was returned. The adults pressing for Willamette's repatriation were convinced to end the schoolchildren's civics lesson and discontinued their efforts. In 1999, controversy arose yet again when a coalition of Oregonian Native Americans filed a claim to have the meteorite returned to Oregon by invoking the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). According to Clackamas Indian tradition, the meteorite, called "Tomanowas", was delivered from the Moon to the Clackamas from the beginning of time, and carried messages from the spirit world. The Museum responded with a lawsuit in federal court, and as part of a settlement, it was decided the meteorite would remain a Museum centerpiece and never again be cut. The complete slice offered here - which bears an uncanny semblance to a coyote baying at the...asteroid belt, from where it originated - is the largest complete slice of that will ever exist of the most famous meteorite in the world. 271 x 254 x 3mm (10.66 x 10.00 x 0.1 inches) and 526.17 grams (1.2 pounds)

    Provenance: American Museum of Natural History, New York City

    Estimate: $85,000 - $95,000.

    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.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    14th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,590

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 June 22 American Indian Art - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    While I regret my inability to personally view the work, you provided an excellent substitute for my not being able to do so, and I look forward to future Heritage auctions.
    Allan Rappaport,
    Tiburon, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,098,328