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    Description

    GALENA
    Neudorf, Harzgerode, Harz Mountains, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
    Galena, the primary ore of Lead, is found on every continent and in almost every country. Surprisingly, well-formed and aesthetic examples of this ubiquitous mineral are uncommon. Besides the simple rarity of their occurrence, the collector value of Galena specimens is connected to some degree with their place of origin. Localities that produced fine examples, and that are now closed, are valued very much like print editions that are similarly closed. Because of their uniquely identifiable form and because of their "closed" supply, Neudorf Galena specimens are considered to be amongst the most desirable for acquisition. A history of residence in a famous collection or two doesn't hurt either.

    This Galena is a prime specimen when considered using all of the aforementioned criteria. The crystal form is the mixed type that is instantly recognizable as coming only from Neudorf, Germany, and the largest of the several crystals is approximately 1 ½ inches across - large for Neudorf examples. The presence of tan Siderite crystals on the specimens is further proof of its Neudorf origin. As to supply, the mines were closed in 1903, lending rarity to the value aggregate as well. It is in the area of provenance that the specimen truly pulls ahead of the pack - it is from the historic Carl Bosch Collection. Bosch, born in Koln, Germany in 1874, was the German chemist, engineer, and Nobel Prize winner who, along with Fritz Haber, developed the Haber-Bosch Process for production of nitrates. This process today uses over 1% of the worlds energy to produce fertilizers that feed somewhere around 1/3 of the Planet's population. He was a founder and first head of IG Farben, one of the largest producers of industrial chemicals in Europe, or the world, for that matter. He was the recipient of the Siemens-Ring, an award for the highest contributions to the technical sciences in Germany in 1924 and in 1931, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work in the field of high-pressure chemistry.

    Considering his history, it was quite natural that he would become a collector of minerals and meteorites and, considering his economic position, that he would be able to amass a collection of specimens that was overpowering in its scope. The Neudorf Galena seen here was part of that collection. Moreover, it was part of the personal display portion of that collection. That fact is conveyed by the accompanying black leather label with gold embossed lettering that is also part of this lot. Such labels were only attached to those specimens and no others. Unfortunately, his personal life deteriorated over time as a result of his strong moral values. As time went on, he became disenchanted with the German government and was a frequent critic of Nazi policy. This gradually led to his marginalization by the power structure and ultimately to depression, alcoholism and his death in 1940.

    After his death, the mineral collection ended up on loan to Yale University and was ultimately sold to the Smithsonian in 1965. This specimen was traded or sold to noted collector William Pinch of Rochester, New York, and it resided in his collection for over 40 years. There is an accession number: "star" 1665 on the obverse side. In excellent condition, this historic specimen represents an established connection with an important part of world history. It measures 3 ½ inches high x 2 ½ inches wide x 1 3/8 inches deep and has a custom labeled stand that also displays the Bosch leather label.

    Provenance: Ex. Carl Bosch (personal collection); Ex. Smithsonian; Ex. William Pinch 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. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    12th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,481

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

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