Lubilhac, Haute-Loire, Auvergne, France

    Most highly esteemed minerals are derived from a few, well-known localities. As such, it is easy to overlook discoveries made in bygone eras or obscure places and currently represented by the tiny number of specimens not already lost to natural disasters, war, or just plain ignorance of their worth/history.

    This Stibnite is a prime example of that observation. Besides the obviously different crystal habit, its unusual origins are substantiated by an accompanying label indicating that it is from the Lubilhac district in the Haute-Loire of France. French Stibnites are as rare as the proverbial 'Hen's Teeth.' A search of extant records indicates that a more accurate and definitive origin of the best examples to be from the Mine de Dahu of the Concession de Lubilhac*. This is in accord with the high quality of the piece and the S. Henson Label indicating Lubilhac origin. It almost certainly dates to the period of 1888-1914 that encompassed the majority of the areas' Antimony production.

    Like older Japanese specimens it displays a faint iridescent cast to the dark, metallic luster of the crystal faces. Unlike most other Stibnite specimens, it also shows a distinctive, "feathery" surface texture on the exposed prism faces that is quite unique, another proof of its' origin. The specimen is formed of a number of stout prisms, fanning out in various directions and ending in terminations that appear to be composed of stacked 'sheets' oriented parallel with the 'C' crystallographic axis. Although not the equal in size of the giant Japanese or Chinese examples, when considered against Stibnites from other world localities, it must be noted that this is still a sizable representative of the species. Considering the delicacy of the terminal faces, it is clear that its considerable worth was appreciated from the first moments of its discovery by a miner to its current position in the Hoppel Collection. It is in remarkably pristine condition, particularly considering its age.
    Overall measurements: 8.5 x 5 inches (21.6 x 12.7 cm). Offered at no reserve.

    *Reference C. Vialaron: La Mine d'Antimoine de Dau, 127p, Le-Puy-en-Velay (1999)
    Provenance: Dave Bunk, S. Henson label [Hoppel Catalog # D1527]

    [Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]

    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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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    2nd Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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