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    L'AIGLE - AMONG THE MOST IMPORTANT METEORITES IN HISTORY... BUT NOT TO THOMAS JEFFERSON
    L6
    Normandy, France
    When it pierced Earth's atmosphere at 1:00 PM on April 26, 1803, l'Aigle forever became among the most historic of all meteorites, as it provided proof as to their existence. The popular acceptance that rocks could fall out of the sky did not occur until French scientists - who were at the vanguard of so many of the sciences in the late 18th and early 19th centuries - accepted the l'Aigle phenomenon in Southern Normandy as fact. This complete l'Aigle specimen bears an antique parchment identification label in which it is written "Meteorite which fell in l'Aigle in Normandy in a shower of 3000 April 1808 20(54)." (The event occurred in 1803 and it would appear a "3" morphed into an "8" in the source material used by the label's author.)

    The scientific acceptance of meteorites did not travel well to the New World. Following news of the l'Aigle event, the president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a friend,

    "I find nothing surprising about the rain of stones in France. There are in France more real philosophers than in any country on Earth; but there are also a great proportion of pseudo-philosophers there. The reason is the exuberant imagination of a Frenchman gives him greater facility of writing, and runs away with his judgment unless he has a good stock of it. It even creates facts for him which never happened, and he tells them with good faith."


    Jefferson in this instance was mistaken, and this "fact" is accompanied by two antique catalog cards dating from this specimen's inclusion in important German and Russian collections. This is a richly evocative example of one of the most important meteorites in history. 54 x 24 x 28 mm (2 x 1 x 1 inches) and 74.4 grams.

    Provenance: deaccessioned by the Russian Academy of Sciences in Kazan in an exchange with the Macovich Collection.


    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, 2011
    12th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,461

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