Invaders from Mars to go under the hammer



2015-06-26 11:45:17

Invaders from Mars to go under the hammer

Mars rocks and rare pallasites amongst meteorites at Los Angeles auction

Bonhams' Natural History sale, at which the huge Palawan Princess pearl is being sold, is also offering a selection of meteorites.

The range is quite small - just 15 lots - but a few will certainly catch a serious space collector's eye.

One interesting piece is a slice of the Albin meteorite from Wyoming. The pallasite was first noticed in 1915, but it was not recognised as a meteorite until 1935. On offer here is a long slice weighing 165g displaying a classic mixture of iron rich stone and yellow-green olivine crystals.

The Mars rocks are limited, as you would expect. There are fragments in a couple of collections of tiny meteorite pieces, and a tiny 0.5g Saharan piece expected to sell for around $700 (though with so few Mars rocks to go round, that's very unpredictable).

The best piece for a Mars obsessive however is a slice of the LA002 meteorite which landed in Los Angeles ten years ago.

Mars meteorite basaltic shergottite Basaltic Shergottite from Mars

The 5.5g fragment is from a basaltic shergottite - an igneous Martian rock which it's argued may have been exposed to water before leaving the Red Planet judging by deposits on the outside. The lot is expected to achieve $7,000-9,000.

The Mars meteorites are not the highest valued lots, however. These are two large and beautiful pallasite pieces from the Fukang meteorite fall.

Fukang pallasite meteorite space Fukang pallasite meteorite (Click to enlarge)

The two etched and polished pieces are a 700g slice, cut square, and a more naturally shaped piece of 1.29kg. Considering how few pallasites, which make up less than 1% of meteorite falls, make it to Earth at all, and most of them are shattered or vapourised completely, the Fukang pieces are extraordinary.

They are estimated at $14,000-16,000 and $25,000-35,000 respectively. Either would make an excellent centrepiece for a collection. The sale takes place on December 6.

Images: Bonhams

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