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    Leonard Mine, Berkeley Pit, Butte, Butte (Summit Valley District), Silver Bow Co., Montana, USA

    Butte, Montana is by far, not an average sort of place. Ever since its' founding in the late 1800's it has held a unique place in US history. Butte held several records, some of them dubious or debatable - such as: most miners killed in a mine accident: 168. Largest truck operated open-pit mine in the U.S. "Richest Hill on Earth". Largest National Historic Landmark District in the US. The list of superlatives includes many more. This specimen is one of them ... although fine U.S. Enargite specimens were frequently offered by dealers in the past, that "past" was many years ago and now specimens such as this one are few and far between. This one is special both for what it is and for its particular history. It consists of a number of well-formed black Enargite prisms bearing characteristic diamond shaped cross-sections, profusely covering the surface of a matrix of the same mineral. The luster is exceptionally bright for this mineral, in spite of the fact that all of the crystals have heavily striated sides. The largest crystal measures just over one inch (2.6 cm) and another, fractured during growth measures 1.88 inches (4.6 cm). Condition is fine to excellent with a couple or so of broken crystals, of no consequence.

    It is on the bottom of the specimen that things get interesting. Besides some typical Malachite and Pyrite, there is a collections number "EMG 581" that corresponds to an accompanying label from the collection of E. Mitchell Gunnell - a Colorado dealer/collector of prominence, now deceased. The really interesting part is the fact that the piece was originally acquired by Ed McDole: legendary dealer/miner/collector, whose success at finding the best mineral specimens provokes thoughts of Faustian bargains and the like - even today. This man was on top of more fine specimens than most museums own. His connection to the specimen is recorded on the Gunnell label, where a typewritten note on the front states: "Acquired by P Edward McDole 1956" Presumably the "P" is shorthand for "purchase". On the back side of the label it says: "Acquired on January 13, 1956, as a large specimen, later (1961) broken into 2 specimens, this is the finest crystals." Besides being an excellent example of an American mineral that is increasingly more difficult to find, it is also an important piece of collecting history wrapped up in one black rock.
    Overall measurements: 2.75 x 3 x 1.5 inches (7 x 7.6 x 3.8 cm).

    Provenance: Western Minerals, ex. E. Mitchell Gunnell Collection, ex. Edward McDole Collection [Hoppel # D1708]

    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
    October, 2013
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,660

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