METEORITE MARKET TRENDS

Feb, 2007
by Michael Blood

The end of January and beginning of February was the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
As always, this event provides
the strongest single indicator of the direction of the Meteorite
Market.

This year surprised even me, as prices had increased in most areas very significantly. I knew there
was an increase in progress, but did not realize the magnitude. Last year had shown an increase in
prices, but this year was perhaps three times the increase as was last year's.

There were still one or two Martians available in the $500/g range and at least one Lunar under
$1K/g - at about $800/g.
However, pallasites were nearly at an all time high and many, many
historic falls were as high, nearly as high or
higher than I have ever seen them. Finds were still
lagging
a bit, however, though definately rising as well.

Interestingly enough, the NWA material was the most variable in pricing from category type to
category type, and some
very good buys could still be had on some of the super rare types.
However, H and L and LL3s have climbed nearly to the levels as high as ever charged on most
of the domestic 3s. In addition, oriented
stones are higher priced than ever - both domestic and
NWA.

Sikhote-Alins could be had for under $1/g if bought by the Kilo at the right place. However, in
my opinion, the material
is now almost exclusively 3 rd rate in quality compared to the hay day
several years back when it could be had by the piece for
under 40c/g! That doesn't mean it was
rusty junk - just far
less interesting than was available then, though a few hand picked specimens
were very good. Of course, you couldn't
get the lower price on picked ones, which seemed to
average
about $2/g now.

Most hammers were particularly high priced, much to my disappointment. (many dealers have
bemoaned the low prices
of recent years, which I never understood. I make the same % on
$1,000.oo invested whether the prices are low or high, so,
low is preferable to me, as I can provide
more bang for the buck.

The New Campost have decreased in quality and increased in price, so, the days of the New
Campos are numbered. Some good ones could still be had, but the percentage of quality
pieces is lowering while their kilo price is increasing.

In any event, the auction presented the best prices I saw at the show, though in many instances
pieces did bring more than in
the past and in a few cases, much more. Of course, there were
plenty that sold at real bargain prices, especially some of the Martian material entered at the
last moment - but other items,
as well.

Over all, I would say, even taking the auction into consideration, prices were "up" and markedly
so. There are still plenty of bargains
to be had, but they are decreasing, not increasing, in
number. The Tucson Show still presents the single greatest opportunity for both variety and
bargains, but the prices have risen there and can only be expected to go up from that level.

Besides our favorites, Angel and I ate at two new restaurants this year that are well worth
going to during future shows.
One was La Parrilla Suiza at 2720 N. Oracle, just up the road
from
Inn Suites several blocks past the Birthday Bash, Fossil Co-Op & La Fuente.

They were surprisingly good with prices noticeably lower than El Charro and La Fuente.
They specialize in more sothern food
than the Sonoran food of the other two. I particularly
enjoyed
the green Chilaquillis and the sautéed onions with the queso fondu. Everything we
ate was delicious, though I tasted the red
Chilaquillis and did not enjoy them nearly as much
as the green.

The other "new" restraunt at which we ate was Little Abner's Steak House at 8501 N Silverbell
Rd. It is a bit out there, off Ina. Fred Olson's old college roommate
is part of a band that plays
there. They are a combination of Blue
Grass, Folk and Western - and VERY entertaining. They
were
given standing ovations several times while we were eating and it was hard to leave them
when we were done.

They serve a limited
menue of meat all grilled over a huge Mesquite log gill. They serve chicken,
NY strip, T Bone and Porterhouse stakes. The T Bone is
"only" a pound, but the Porterhouse
is 34 OZ - and absolutely
delicious. Even I could not finish off an entire stake and I enjoyed the
remainder for an entirely separate dinner. The Porterhouse was
$32, but given the size and
quality it was well worth it - and then
you get the "concert" thrown in on top of that, which
makes this place a delightful
bargain. (These guys really are entertaining).

Until next time, Michael

December 2006
by Michael Blood

Just seems that it recently happened, but we are, again, already facing THE meteorite event
of the year: The Tucson Gem & Mineral
Show. This year the Birthday Bash will be Fri, Feb.2
and the Auction Sat,
Feb. 3. I assume Al Lang will have his annual "silent auction" on Sat,
Feb. 3 as well.
So, the week leading up to and that weekend will see the majority of meteorite
dealers and a slew of serious collectors gathered all in
one place, selling, trading, bargaining,
bragging, lying, drinking and,
at least in Blaine's room, a good many other things not quite
seemly
to put in print - but valued moments, none the less. There will be the now famous
Harvey Awards at the Birthday Bash and a slew of killer
pieces available at the auction - the
vast majority of which will be at
truly no minimum - something that makes any meteoritic
enthusiast's
mouth water   - here there are well over 100 pieces, some of which are worth
thousands, and a very finite number of collectors and dealers with definitely finite pocket
books, so, ANYTHING is possible - people
have made outrageous buys - yet, any given item
may strike the fancy
of two, three or even more buyers and go for much more than anyone
would have expected. Oh, and people have been known to have a few drinks, as well - and
not just at the auction, you can be sure.
This is where the stories, lies, bragging and more than
a few confessions
come in. If you don't believe me, just try hanging out at Blains once "after
hours."

So, what does all this have to do with "the meteorite market?" Well, to my never ending
astonishment, despite the fact that nearly every dealer
there will be offering material lower
than at any other time throughout
the year - and certainly auction prices are no measure of
"market value"
yet, the perception persists that what things sell for in Tucson are some how
indicative of what a given fall or find is "worth." Ha! If so, show me where you are buying
at such prices! I'll tell you where.... only at Tucson. That
is the beauty of this event.

This does not mean, however, there are never any market determinants related to the show.
There are. For instance, it is at the Tucson Show when people
became unexpectedly aware
that the price of Sikhote-Aline had risen sharply.
This when every Russian dealer suddenly
was asking two and even three
dollars a gram after several years of declining prices which
had gone as
low as under 40cents a gram. Suddenly, no more "cheap" S-A. (And believe me,
dealers base prices as much on "replacement cost" as they do on what they paid for a given
specimen)
It is also were people "got it" that whole Gibeons were no longer plentiful, and are,
in fact,
now very scarce and tending to be four to six times as expensive as they were as
recently as a few years ago. Similarly, the Tucson Show is where one gets
the first hint of
availability and GENERAL pricing of "new" material such as
the Seymchan and Fukang
pallasites. However, other than such instances,
the show is the only place most of the prices
across the board will ever be
offered - and that is particularly true, of course, of the auction
items. (One
other place of note is the last couple of years with Bob Haag offering previously
unavailable main masses and others of his personal collection pieces)

I have been attending the Tucson Show since before I was an undergraduate - many years before
I knew you could actually own a meteorite. Then, once I did start
collecting meteorites, Tucson
was a show I simply could not afford to miss.
I could tell you stories of stuff I DIDN'T buy
(and should have) at prices that
would make you cry. Still, year after year I come home lamenting
some opportunity I let slip through my hands..... and the regret sometimes lingers
for years. It is
the nature of the beast. SO many goodies, and always
the stinking limited amount of cash.

Now, for those of you that can't make the show.... here is a "secret" you may or may not have
figured out for yourself: four to six weeks before
the show many dealers are fiercely trying to put
together funds for
opportunities to buy this or that and they will sell some of their stock for far
less than they otherwise would. This is particularly true of stock
they have been offering for a
year or more and of stock they have multiples
of. Most dealers would not dream of offering
some of this stuff at "below
market" because it would undermine the prices of their remaining
stock. However,
they would be happy to sell a piece below market to raise show money if the
price is never advertised. So, if you have been drooling over something a dealer has had for a
while
or of which he has many pieces, you might make an offer lower than would otherwise be
accepted and get away with it this time of year. Also, of course,
dealers will also often offer
prices lower when trying to put together money for the
show and so sales are quite real at this
time (very different than some dealers who raise their prices for a month or two, then offer "a
sale" at the price they were asking just a couple of months earlier)
. The irony is that such
very real sales are offered just before
or right after Christmas - a time when most collectors
suspend their
spending on meteorites, ann thus miss out on such bargains. So, if you are not
going to the show, you would do well to save asside some of yoiur meteorite money to spend
at this crucial time of year.

If you ARE going to the Tucson Show, there is a secret word you should always   remember:
"cash." In fact, some rich dude (Donald Trump) titled
an entire book CASH IS KING. Now,
I am not talking "good" checks - I
am talking green money type cash - and I am not talking
about making
a show of it in front of other prospective customers. If you are looking at
spending a large enough amount   of it, you can sometimes get some
fabulous deals - especially
if you are willing to spend your last cent. Most
dealers are like very good poker players and
will know if you are bluffing.
So, this is one way to go - just before you are ready to leave,
count up every
cent you can spend, remember something you really want you have seen at the
show that is not too much more expensive than that and tell
the dealer, "Look, this is all I have
left. If you will take this much for it, I will
buy X." This will often work when you are down
to your last dollars or
few hundred dollars. However, if you have, say, some SERIOUS money,
you need not wait until the last day. You can simply ask to speak to the dealer alone, show him
the cash and say you will pay X amount for Y item.
However, only do this if you are willing to
walk away and not look back if
he does not agree. If you are really willing to pay more, he will
know it and
such an approach is a ploy and not an "honest" offer - rather more like an opening
gambit. Most dealers will sense this and you will get nowhere
with it. Better, if you are willing
to pay what is being asked, just ask the
dealer, "What is the best price you would sell this to me
for?" He will often
give you a brake, even if it is "only" 5 or 10% - that can be a lot of money
on a high priced item.

Then, there is the auction.....man, it just doesn't get any better than that. (Of course, I am not
biased!)

So, while next month I will have a lot more specifics for you about the show, itself, this is a good
"primer" for those getting ready to go - and even those that
are not able to go.

If you haven't been there before, be ready to have your socks knocked off. If you have been, then
you know very well what I am talking about. Oh,
and don't forget to hang out in the bars and lunch
rooms and get to know your
fellow internet friends in person. And whatever you do, don't miss the
Birthday Bash or the Auction, both of which are well worth coming to early.

Until Next month - Happy Hunting! Michael

 

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
October, 2006

The Meteorite Market in the month of September was reflected primarily in the Denver Show.
The Denver
Show was relatively small (limited activity) with the following meteorites continuing
their market trends:

Sikhote-Alines were selling at the increased rate of a couple of dollars a gram with even the
multi kilo
sized specimens priced at over $1 per gram. Furthermore, they were available in
increasingly smaller numbers relative
to recent years, with most Russian dealers having no
more than a couple hundred small specimens each, at most. Furthermore, the large specimens
were reported as being inferior both in form and in surface quality in comparison to
only a
year or two ago.

Unclassified NWA material was available at 14c/g with completely rigid resistance to any
negotiation re discounts
regardless of quantity purchased. This is in stark contrast to the
same material continuing (at least for now) to be
available on eBay at only 5c/g. Expect this
situation to
change dramatically the moment old stock has been exhausted. This unclassified,
strait run material will very soon be at
least 15c/g in any and all venues. It is only a question
of when.

Lunar material continues to hold at mostly $1,000/g at the low end, with a couple of Dhofars
dipping as low as $700/g.
Of course, the more interesting material is more costly. Likewise,
Martian material is holding steady while witnessed
falls, especially older ones, continue their
steady increase.

In other words, the entire market is climbing and you can expect a tripling of cost of Unclassified
strait run NWA material in
the reasonably near future, along with slowly increasing prices of
witnessed falls, especially true of the older falls. I would venture to say the older the fall, the more
rapid the increase in price one can expect.
  

A word of warning: recently a rather large quantity of yet to be officially classified "lunar"
material was sold to
a dealer who passed it on to his buyers. When it was finally classified,
it turned out not to be lunar. Fortunately for all concerned
but the dealer, he is an honest
and reliable person and has
been refunding in full. However, this stands as an example of
how risky it is to purchase or sell material supposed to be
this or that, but which has not
yet officially been classified.

While the Denver Show did little more than to verify the market trends of the last few months
its passing marks the beginning
of anticipation of The Big Show, itself - that being Tucson, of
course. What that will bring is yet to be seen, but it should, as always, be most interesting. This
is the one show that not only reflects the market but also influences and, at least in part,
sets it.

Until next time, happy hunting - Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
September, 2006

The market continues to strengthen as prices across the board continue
their (relatively) slow rise.Some items continue to lead the pack, increasing
at a significantly faster pace than the norm:

Lunars are a particular strength, now reaching $2,500-, having dropped to
an all time low under $1000/g for the cheapest varieties. Similar, though
less dramatic than a 250% increase, are the Martians.

Since the Moss fall in early August - see article at: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article1415787.ece?service=print
the price brought by NWA CO meteorites has climbed to about $20/g from
an all time low of under $5/g - sometimes
far under $5/g on eBay. Not so since
the Moss fall (which is not only a hammer, having struck a building, but also
thought to be a CO, pending lab analysis). NWA CVs have also jumped, going
over $12/g - actually bringing more than the best buys still occasionally found
on Allende. Moss, itself, is holding fast at $200/g and people are paying it, though
Mike Farmer the other day suddenly suspended all sales of his Moss material,
stating once he polished a piece it looked like nothing he has ever seen and won't
sell more than the
committed pieces until after lab analysis. This flamed speculation
of this new fall being anything from a Winonaite to a Kakangari type to " something
we have never seen before." When you combine a hammer with a rare typology -
then throw in significant rarity (only a few Kg TKW), you
have the makings of a
very expensive meteorite. Those who purchased
right away may be counting their
blessings if this turns out to be more
rare that a CO.

Overall, in August meteorites across the board continued to increase
in price
at an accelerated rate greater than in the previous few months.

An additional factor effecting the market is the clear indication of an influx of
new meteorite collectors. I had two or three times as many people ask to be included
in my email sales list this month than in any month ever before. Likewise, I note a
dramatic increase in meteorite bidders on eBay with a "0" rating, indicating they
had NEVER completed a single eBay transaction. A significant increase in the number
of new collectors coupled with the drying up of NWA in general and in some countries
the closing down of exports all make a very powerful combination of factors for
increased
demand coupled with decreased supply - a case right out of an economics text
book for an increases in prices.

However, as stated many times before, prices are STILL lower now than they are
likely to ever be again - at least in the foreseeable future, so, even though market prices
are increasing, it is definitely still the time to buy, as every single indicator implies
prices will continue to increase through the indefinite future.

Until next time, it is Michael, wishing you HAPPY HUNTING!

 

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS

By Michael Blood
August, 2006

This month just a few observations hither and yon....Kainsaz was at $5/g and is now back
to up to $50/g.This following a couple of Russian dealers dumping a moderately sizable amount
of Kainsaz material on the market. As soon as it was all snapped up, it immediately returned
to its pre-dump price. (This reminds me of when a private collector wanted me to sell multiple
specimens of Nakhla, "at any price you can get - but sell it now." I sold a bunch at $2,000/gram
and when it didn't all sell, I sold it at $1,200/gram. One buyer complained the value of his
purchase {at $2K/g} had been diminished, but I convinced him he should actually get more
at $1,200/g.... he did, and since then it cannot be found for less than $4K/g.) The point here
is that in such situations, you are not faced with your collection diminishing in value, rather
you are being given an golden opportunity to purchase far below market value at a price
that will disappear as soon as the stock being offered is sold. This rarely happens away
from the Tucson Show, and it is not usually nearly so dramatic, even at Tucson, so, when
given the opportunity you must determine whether you are facing a major downward trend
in the price of the particular material you are being offered or whether you are being
offered a one time shot at a super low price. If the latter, failure to jump on it will almost
always be followed by regret.

Symchin is now bring about $8 to $10/g after selling at the last Tucson Tucson show as low
as $5 to $6/g. This is still a very good buy for a splendid Pallasite. (no, I don't have any for
sale).

Prices of all historical falls, both US and European, continue to rise at a rate much greater
than the market average. This is even more dramatically played out in the arena of witnessed
falls that have struck something. Even the most modest hammer (other than Valera) now sells
for a minimum of $25/g with most others selling for much more. Those very hard to get are
often available only if one is willing to pony up $250/g! (I know because I have had to pay that
on several occasions to "fill a hole" in my own collection). Meanwhile, Valera, one of the greatest
hammers is up to $10/g from all time lows of $6/g and even less. At $10/g it is still so very under
priced it takes my breath away. (This puppy is a highly documented cow killer) However,
so much of this material is "on the market" that unless the main mass goes into an institution,
further price increases can reasonably be expected to remain far more moderate than other
hammers. The other exception, of course, is Sylacauga at the other extreme of the spectrum.
It cannot be had at any price. I had to trade lunar and Martian material in the range of
$5,000 to $10,000/g when I got my modest piece years ago, and I have not seen it available
elsewhere at ANY price since.

Speaking of Martian material... this has come way up from as low as $150/g only 2 years
ago for the cheapest find to nothing under $1,000/g now, other than a few showings of
Zagami at as low as $400/g. This post-ALH 84001 all time low occurred right after Bob
Haag dropped a couple of full slices at $150/g a while back to pay for his splendid wire saw.
Once this material has all been resold, look for Zagami to pull right back up to well over
$1K/g. So, if you want a nice sized piece of Zagami for your collection, NOW is the time
(no, I don't have any for sale, myself. Since I have found it necessary to make such a
comment, I guess I would reveled that I find it most fascinating I am not infrequently
accused of using this forum to market my own material... I guess that is an inevitable
reaction from some, since I AM a dealer. However, 95% of the material I talk about in
these columns I do not have in stock, myself, or have only one or two small pieces for
sale, even then).

Most of the common NWA chondrites are selling for as much as (and some for even
more than) many of the common chondrite US finds.

While "unsorted" NWA material is no longer available, there are still very low priced lots
of 1 Kg and up for dirt cheap, but these are "4th and 5th tier" quality material - i.e. broken,
weathered, thoroughly picked through, etc. Still, look for this material to either disappear, |
or, more likely, disappear following a rise in price as time goes by.

NWA 869 has gone from readily available at 10 cents/g to less available at 20c/g.

Sikhote-Alin is now well over $1/g and can be found offered as high as over $3/g. Certainly,
truly exceptional specimens (highly oriented, displaying holes or having other exceptional qualities)
sell for well over $3/g and sometimes well over $10/g, and in rare cases, for MUCH more.

Small Campos with character are bringing eye popping prices, but decent New Campos can
still be had for very low prices.

Prediction: expect prices to remain stable as they slowly increase in the coming months.
Sharp increases will likely be seen in select types, similar to the increases seen recently in Martian
and S-A material. Lunar prices have been steadily climbing as well and will certainly continue to
do so unless new material is discovered in quantities which act to keep down or even lower prices
of lunar real estate.

Overall, the market continues to offer exceptional bargains, but also continues to slowly inch
upward while leapfrogging in some instances. It will not be all that long before today's prices
will be looked upon with great sighing and woulda, coulda, shoulda commentary. As the song
goes, "these are the good old days!"

Until next time, Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
July, 2006
by Michael Blood

A combination of a "drying up" of finds and new laws - or new
enforcement policies of old laws have combined to result in a
significant constriction of material coming out of Africa. The
results have been interesting:

1) Some dealers are still selling bulk lots at the old prices - or
even lower. Certainly lower than the price at which they can be
replaced. (I suspect, however, these lots have been "high-graded"
much more thoroughly than in the past). While this is counter
intuitive, my theory (and Lord knows I could be wrong) the vast
majority of meteorite dealers operate with such dependence upon
a "cash flow" dynamic that little of this material will be held back
by the dealers, themselves. Of course, there will always be a few
exceptions.

2) Some of the biggest sellers of NWA material report a 30% increase
in prices of rarer material in just the last couple of months. It should
be noted that a 30% increase over unbelievably dirt cheap is still very,
very inexpensive. I predict this increase will steadily continue - the only
question is: at what rate? 10% per month? Faster? Slower? We will see.

3) Dealers are reporting and I am witnessing a similar increase in prices
of the non-African falls - about 30% give or take, depending on the fall.

4) I have witnessed a similar increase in non-African Finds. This is
particularly noteworthy, as non-African finds of non-rare typologies
have suffered the most from the last 5 or 6 years of the flood of NWA
material.

5) Prices of "hammers" (meteorites that have struck man made objects,
animals or humans) have increased the most. This I know, as I collect
hammers, personally - and have been attempting to build up a stock
of said specimens. I have been flabbergasted at the doubling and
quadrupling of prices of most of this material. I question, however, to
what degree this specific sector of the market has been affected by NWA
import degreases. Still, it is a significant market trend - more because
of the profound increase rather than the number of falls involved, which
is within very narrow limits - I now have compiled a "combined" list
(inspired, initially by the list compiled by Walter Branch) that includes
only about 110 falls - I don't count roads, but one that hit a haystack did
make the list). So, while limited in number, the price increase in just the
last year or two is staggering. (easily 100 to 400% increases in most cases).

So, "what does it all mean?" Well, fairly strait forwardly - prices are
going up. No question about it. In most cases, not horribly so, so far, but
quite clearly there is a significant increase in prices - and every reason
to believe said increase will continue.

For years I have proclaimed the inevitability of this event. A couple of years
ago I began hearing others express the same thing. Well, folks, it is here.
The good news
is that prices are still dirt cheap - just not as phenomenally
dirt cheap as a few months ago. However, I suggest collectors (and dealers)
look at the
situation thusly:

You can no longer buy dollar bills for betwen 2 cents to a nickel.  
They now are going to cost you between 8 cents and a dime.
Not too bad, eh?

Until next time, Michael


METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
June, 2006
by Michael Blood

On May 20 Afonso Armando wrote the following regarding the activities
of overseas meteorite hunters in general, and of Mike Farmer and Bob Haag
in particular. It is with Afonso's permission that his post is entered below
and I do so not because I agree or disagree with his position on the matter,
but rather that I believe there are more than
one way of looking at things -
and, in fact, almost always
more that two or three ways.... and each way
of looking at
it is as "realistic" or valid as any other. Somehow this relative
nature of reality seams to be escaping people right
and left - no pun intended!

(NOTE: spelling has been corrected - where applicable and corrected grammar
corrections are noted by [   ].

--
Afonso Armando

"In 1968, an Ataxite of 25 kg [fell] in Alandroal, not far of the popular Ourique.
The authorities came immediately, and confiscated the stone, to store it temporarily
at the local prison.
Days after, it was moved to the national museum, were it was
analyzed and where it remains [on] display today.
This is the meteoritic reference
for thousands of Portuguese students. I still remember, when I was a kid, of the
impact it made on me. I have al the reasons to be convicted, then, that this is the
way that [these types of] things have to be done.

"In 1998, another meteorite [fell], and this time, most of it was sold to tourists, and
dispersed like toys [on] ebay,
finishing as key chains, glued to a piece of paper, or
something.

"Between the 2 episodes, please choose:
In the first case, the stone was studied and saved to the benefit [and enrichment] of
all of us. These things are cultural [objects], yes. In a universal sense.
In the second case, if someone benefited from it, it was the tourists who were able
to take it from poor people for pocket money, to resell it at the prices that we know.

"If your neighbor does not close the door, it does not [mean] that his TV can be
harvested, or collected, by some "smart" guy, does it?
If the Alandroal meteorite was found today, it would sell for a few bucks, and would
end [up] in someone´s office as a decorative item, like a Campo del Ciello.
That
would be a BIG loss to us, Portuguese natives.
I mean it.

"In the book of R. Norton, "rocks from space" it is described how Bob Haag
"extracted" from an African (synonymous of stupid, between the lines) country, a
valuable stone.
That was done after a psychological maneuver, to take it from the
hands of the museum curator - he exchanged it for the equivalent of the colored glass
beads of 'diplomatic procedures' with natives, of other times, ie for voluminous
rubbish.

"This and other similar stories are presented like [comic] pieces. This is a predator
attitude, and I think that those persons, principally their descendents, were abused
[by taking advantage of] their naivety.

"I think that Oman is poorer today than it was a month ago, if you understand.
Obviously I am going to be called of radical, communist, or something like that. Or
that I am only jealous for not having used the opportunity [to] take the TV myself.
After all the stupid neighbor is sleeping. He deserves it."
--

Now, before moving on to the topic of "exploitation" in general, I would like to
specifically address the cases of Mike and Bob.
And first off, I would like to note
that Mike, himself, quite adequately
defended his actions in regards to Orique:

--
Mike Farmer:
"The Ourique meteorite fell on December 28, 1998. I heard about it in APRIL 1999,
nearly 5 MONTHS later. I jumped on a plane the next day and upon arriving in
Ourique, I found over 3.5 KILOGRAMS of fragments scattered all over the ground.
I purchased another 6 kilograms of fragments from nearly 50 people, since the entire
village had come to the fall site and collected pieces."

Also, the pieces Mike gathered were primarily lying in a water filled pot hole in the
road and would have eroded to oblivion had he not recovered them. Since he purchased
the other pieces from locals who had gathered them as souvenirs, he in no way blocked
scientific efforts in any sense or by any definition.

In regards to Oman, my understanding is that the laws of Oman have to do with
"antiquities" which by definition are artifacts - man made objects and, therefore, not
applicable to meteorites. Additionally, what he collects in the desert would also be lost
to time through weatjhering and to shifting sands. While various law enforcement
practices may vary in response to such collecting (ie what happened to Ivan, John and
the 6 or 7 others in that country a while back) my understanding is there is nothing
specified in the laws
of Oman that prohibit collecting or exporting meteorites.  

As for Bob, even as the story is told by O Richard Norton, Bob took an entire collection
of meteorites to that museum with no demand whatsoever, and merely hoping they
would offer him some unknown amount of the Zagami stone. It was not $26 worth
of beads, but rather something more like a substantial $100,000 representative collection
with material of nearly every type known and many well known falls. At that time
no private collectors, to my knowledge, had any Martian material, whatsoever, so,
whatever they were going to offer him, he would likely have accepted. Perhaps some
would suggest he should have told them, "Oh, no, no, don't give me that much!" However,
most would agree that unless they had offered 90% or more, that would be an entirely
unrealistic expectation. No, instead, they offered him about 1/3 rd of the stone - leaving
themselves the lion's share - a hefty 67% and, now they also had a huge representative
collection of meteorites. The fact that Bob made out handsomely is a byproduct of his
ingenuity and his generosity! Remember, Bob went over there offering THEM one hell
of a collection and not requesting any specific amount of the Zagami stone in return.
Of course, he was, no doubt, delighted to be offered, what was it, 17 Lbs? Good on him.
However, I'd bet my bippy he would have taken 100 grams if that had been their offer.
So, Bob's generosity and openness served him exceptionally well.
( I am always amazed at the envy expressed by a minority of dealers I know toward Bob).
I have rarely met a more positive and upbeat person. Yes, he has had great good fortune -
but as in football, "luck" most often has to do with how you are playing
the game to begin
with. It should also be pointed out that
Bob did NOT gouge the meteorite collecting
community regarding the price he placed on Zagami when he sold it,
either. Yes, yes,
I know, even at a modest price 17 Lbs
will make you rich (remember, this was the ONLY
SNC available at the time) but that is not the point - the fact
is he shared the good fortune.
Still, people resent him and
even accuse him of "taking advantage" of the curators of the
Zagami stone. Odd. Odd, indeed.

Now, as for "taking advantage" of other cultures by finding meteorites and exporting them
or buying them "for a fraction of their value" and reselling them for "great profit." I am
sorry, but I just cannot equate this with stealing your neighbor 's TV because he left the
door open while napping.There have been endless discussions as to what the "value" of
a meteorite is. The bottom line always ends up, "what someone is willing to pay for it."
Now, I would add you must also consider for how much someone is willing to sell it. The
collecting public may value, say Allende at $4/gram, but if
there are no dealers - no one
at all, willing to sell it for under
$6 per gram, THEN what is it "worth?" Not only do you
have
a "Mexican stand off," but by the time someone is willing to come up with $6/g, the
price asked may have risen even higher. Conversely, what if several people are willing to
sell it for $2/g...Then what is it "worth?"

Therefore, when one goes to an African country and they offer to sell you meteorites for
7.5 cents a gram or, if you buy 1000 Kg or more, 4.5c a gram are you "taking advantage"
of them if you pay what they are asking? What if you get 1000kg - but when you get back
you decide you would rather keep them all indefinitely than sell them for less than 25c per
gram? Are you then "taking advantage" of the buying
collectors here?

In other words, if no one is holding a gun to the buyer or seller's head, nearly every
transaction is "fair." Or, more
realistically put, at least that is one way to look at it,
and
that way of looking at it is as realistic as any.

Likewise, if the law does not prohibit collecting or exporting meteorites, how can the
person doing so be considered exploitive? This is especially the case when every major
hunter and dealer I know works so closely with the scientific
community, keeping them
"in the loop," as it were.

Before closing, I would like to again point out that just because you agree (or disagree)
with what I am saying, that doesn't
mean it is the only realistic, factual or accurate way
of
looking at it.  

Of course, I could be wrong. My wife assures me I most frequently am.

Until next time, Michael


METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
March, 2006
by Michael Blood

Since The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is the most
significant single event yearly influencing the meteorite
market, as usual, I will devote the March article to
reporting on same.

This year was dominated by the 1400 oriented Brenham
find by Steve Arnold and his partner, Phil Mani which
Marty Zinn placed on display with armed guards at the
Inn Suites, the preeminent motel for meteorite dealers.

Angel and I got a late start Sunday in the motor home,
and spent the night "dry camping" in a parking lot in
El Centro. This made the Monday drive to Tucson a
leisurely one and I got to stop by the Mike Farmer/Jim
Strope/Eric Olsen room, which I decided in retrospect
had the most impressive stock on display – multiple lunars,
Martians and all kinds of other cool stuff, including their
giant most recent lunar. Eric was somewhere else, so Jim
and Mike were up to their usual Animal House frat boy
routines. Suffice it to say they were enjoying the show.

Stopped by Bruno & Carine's & they had their usual premo
specimens, as well as impressive Middle Eastern antiques.
The last place I caught before dark drove the dealers away
to dinner or wherever they go after they close their doors,
was ET's. He had a huge D'Orbigany on a shelf, and next to
it a couple of large stones he said were a lunar and a Martian.
Later, it turned out this was a joke on Mike and Jim that was
unfortunately carried on throughout the show. He had
some really nice specimens and was kind enough to give me
a price I couldn't refuse on a couple of oriented, 100% black
fusion crusted NWA stones not yet named. Real beauties they
were.

The next day I got to see the other rooms at Inn Suites, including
Eduardo, who always has a wide variety of goodies, Alain & Luis
Carion, the Labennes, and a stop by Marvin Killgore's old room
now converted to advertise the U of A Southwest Meteorite
Center. His Fuking pallasite acrylic displays were spectacular
and he reported highly favorable responses to his outreach at
the show.

Tuesday Angel and I went to visit the Alpaca ranch about 35
miles east of Tucson and day dream about getting pet Alpacas.
We are both moved by their regal gentleness.


Alpaca (Click on Photo to enlarge)

Wednesday brought more visits to dealers, including Blaine's, at
which Mike Martinez was in particularly good spirits. Blaine's is
always a relaxing place to hang out and I find myself never failing
to find something I have to buy from him, and this year was no
exception. I was also fortunate enough to find the clicker seller –
those fascinating magnets you throw into the air that click wildly.
I got about 15 pairs for gifts to children and adults young at heart.
This was the day of the solute to Steve and Phil at Inn Suites and
photos were to be had, food to be eaten, friends with whom to
connect, etc. I finally met Hal Povenmire in person after countless
phone contacts over the years.


Steve & Phil
(Click on Photo to enlarge)

Thursday is a blur...but did involve a process of several days with Steve
and Phil & in which my respect for Steve deepened & I was privilaged
to come to know Phil much better. I surely hope they both are richly
rewarded for their efforts in bringing in the big one.

Friday culminated in a better than ever Birthday Bash and people
seemed to be in better humor than ever. More quality time to talk
to people and simply terrific energy through the duration of the
party. Steve, Phil and Geoff graciously accepted "The People's Harvey
Awards" and declared they will be a yearly feature of the festivities.

Saturday was my auction, the preparation of which occupied the
the entire day. The U of A SWMC lectures were hugely popular
and people enthusiastically endorsed a repeat performance next
year.

This year I hired 4 people from Manpower and got one functional
person in the bunch. One of the 4 actually took a cell phone call on
stage and was chatting away until I told him he would have to take
it elsewhere. Amazing. Truly amazing. In spite of that, the auction
went relatively smoothly and everyone seemed to be having a great
time. Starting next year I plan on providing an option whereby buyers
who want to leave early can check out and get their purchase
throughout most of the actual auction. This has been a universal
request all along and my wife finally volunteered to handle it for
me. So, that will make future auctions even more streamlined. Also,
nearly all US sellers are taking payment by mail, so, check out by
sellers is much faster as well.

Sunday I was much relieved to hear consistent feedback that
people enjoyed the auction. Angel and I spent much of that day
checking non-meteorite dealers and I found a couple of ancient
Roman Beads and a couple of cylinder seals from Syria and
Mesopotamia in the first and second millenniums BC. They are
fabulous and just what I needed – more "collectables."

We had a fabulous trip, sleeping an average of 10 hrs per night
enjoying Goldie, the McCaw in the tree next to us in the RV
camp where we stayed & the excellent dining experiences
mentioned below. The trip back was equally relaxing, and
it was our best trip to the Tucson Show ever. It wasn't until
Angel broke bones in both her feet the night after our return
that life became very demanding very quickly. Stepping out of
the motor home, backwards, she broke toes and sprained her left
ankle and broke her right foot (5th metatarsal – spiral break)
and will be severely crippled for 4 to 8 weeks. The time required
for full time maintenance has been phenomenal, as she cannot
walk at all, even with crutches, as she has no "good foot" to
hop on. So, things have been very interesting in our home since
and we are learning all about the difficulties faced by the
handicapped.


Goldie (Click on Photo to enlarge)

In an attempt to enrich the future Tucson Show experiences of
fellow collectors, I am going to include in this report several
eateries well worth visiting while in the fare city of Tucson.

Dining in Tucson can be more than merely filling the
hole in your stomach. There is excellent food to be had,
and most of the best is at reasonable prices. It is the only
location with Mexican food to rival what can be found in
San Diego, and with a very nice change of pace due to
geographic variation of origins. In addition, this year we
found two excellent Bar B Q restaurants of truly outstanding
quality. Here are the several places Angel and I enjoyed
greatly this year:

Art's Bar B Q:
This is a most amazing location for several reasons.
It is on St. Mary's just a block away from Inn Suites, by
far the most meteorite laden location in Tucson. Yet, this
gem has escaped me until this year. It is run by an elderly
husband and wife who are remarkable individuals – both
are retired from careers in education, the wife having been
a Biological Engineer. The restaurant has a completely "homey"
feeling to it – especially the bathroom, with doilies, dried
flowers, hand made curtains, potpourri, etc. The main room
is simple, with gingham oilcloth covered tables and a fascinating
collection of old "negro" illustrations on the walls (the owners
are both African American) depicting card cheating, old time
country store porches, etc.
However, the atmosphere is nothing compared to the personal
welcome extended by the couple who are your hosts. They
have extremely friendly and engaging personalities and will
sit right down at your table and throw something in front of
you and say, "Here, I just made this, tell me what you think of
it…. Do you think I should put it on the menu?"
You just don't get that kind of interaction anywhere else. At least
not in my experience…. and the food! The food is as good as the
company. The deep scent of wood smoke hits you long before
the meat reaches your mouth – and then you are in for a real
treat. And the coleslaw! It has a smattering of horse radish that
gives it a unique flavor and making it the only coleslaw I have
ever tasted that I prefer over that made by Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Yum, yum yum.
The only draw back to Art's Bar B Q is they close at 4 pm. and
are only open 4 or 5 days a week. These folks really are retired
and they do this for "fun." So, 11 AM to 4 PM is all you can get
of this rare experience…. oh, and prices are reasonable, too.

Most Tucson goers I know are aware of the awesome food available
at El Charro, just a few blocks from Inn Suites, though the actual
location can sometimes be elusive. I lived in Tucson a year and
a half when I was in my 20s and was turned onto it by my much
older friend who lived there. They claim to be the inventers of
a completely delectable dish called "carne seca," which is, essentially,
dried beef flavored with spices, onions and chilies, dried in the
Tucson summer sun (that is HOT and very, very dry) and then
"reconstituted" by adding just enough water to soften it up for
consumption. My personal favorite is the carne seca chimichunga
(deep fried burito) with sour cream and guacamole on the side. In
addition,
El Charro serves an excellent salsa and the "green corn talmales"
should not be missed. Atmosphere is excellent and service is good.
Prices are moderate side of high, though you can escape without
spending too much if you abstain from their excellent margueritas.

Another excellent Bar B Q place is Jim's Famous Bar B Q out several
miles north on Oracle. Jim has won many Bar B Q contests, to which
the trophy room that constitutes the entryway attests. (These BBQ
contests are serious business, as anyone exposed to the Food Channel
knows – we are talking major, serious competition in great numbers).
The decor is rustic, but comfortable, with old time fishing gear and back
country antiques nailed to the walls and converted into chandeliers and
the like. The service is good and the servings are huge. Particularly tasty
is the Bar B Q sauce, which is served in a 6 pack of different "flavors."
(hot & spicy, sweet and tangy, etc.) Prices are moderate for the quantities
served.

La Fuente is a restaurant right next to the Fossil Coop on Oricle that
most meteorite folks know as the former location of the yearly
Birthday Bash and presentation of the Harvey Awards. They have a
guacamole that absolutely should not be missed. They make the
guacamole right at the table and you can ask for it to be as mild or
as hot as you like, as well as light or heavy on any of the ingredients.
They too serve carne seca which I consider nearly as good as El
Charro and prices are similar as well. Also a nice environment and
easy to find.

Last on the list for this year is Casa Molina, way, WAY out east on
Speedway, out near where Serge was located this year. They also make
an absolutely killer Chimi Chunga and are, like El Charro, a very old
Tucson restaurant with enchanting ambiance from the entry archway
of Talivera Tile to the back of the far old brick dining room and serve
excellent food. They also have an entire gift shop devoted to Mata Ortiz
pottery. If you find yourself out that far, it is an absolute must on the
dining tour.

So, the next Tucson Show, don't just "fill the hole" when your
stomach growls, three of the five restaurants are within minutes
of the Inn Suites, and the other two are only a ten or fifteen
minute drive further. For the same price or just a buck or two
more you can have food ever so vastly superior to the fodder
put out by the bar at Inn Suites – and if you go to Art's tell
them Michael and Angel sent you, they just might throw an
extra taste of this or that your way.

ADDENDUM:

A friend wrote the following questions via email and was gracious
enough to grant me permission to use his post and my response here:

---------------------

> I was very disappointed that [your] always entertaining,
> and usually informative column gave a report of
> the Tuscon show without a single word, not even a hint
> as, to the trend of the meteorite market.

Sorry...

> Was the show well attended? >More or less than past years?

Yes, while it is impossible to tell, really, how many attended, the
BDBash appeared to have more people than ever. The auction definitely
had more people attending than ever, as was reported in my column.
In addition, for the first time, over 100 bid cards were assigned - I
believe last year was higher than the previous year and last year was
like 71. So, about a 43% increase over last year. I believe part, though
not likely all, of this increase was due to the students and other
interested parties attending the lectures put on by the U of A SWMC.

> Were the auctions well bid? More or less than past years?

This is always "a mixed" aspect... though I believe overall bidding
went higher on the higher priced items than has been the case up
'till now. On the other hand, some small lunars with very low
TKW were purchased at very thrifty prices, while the "historic falls"
tended to be inconsistent - with some going high and some going
low.

> Were certain meteorite types hot this year? If so which ones?
The "hottest" types I noticed were the oriented S-A specimens Mike
Farmer, Jim Strope and Eric Olsen were selling. There were a couple
that were KILLER, and not cheap - but, as I said, killer stinking pieces!
Some of those were snatched right up.
ET had some very low priced unidentified NWA as did Hans, who usually
only carries New Campos - which, by the way, this year were almost all
very small (relatively speaking).

> Were some meteorite types over supplied this year with little demand?
> If so which ones?

Hans did not seam to come close to selling out all those little New Campos,
but that is just one dealer. UNDER represented seamed to me to be Fukang
and Symchin.

> Has the meteorite market general began to recover from it's depressed
> state of the last several years?

Always a good question, but with meteorites there are SO many variables that
I believe this question can only be answered a few years after the fact. I
noticed the price of S-A speicmens is definitely increasing while the
quality seams to be decreasing (lack of totally fresh - some rusting, etc).
While there was a brief - bottom fell out - pricing of D'Orbigney, that
seams to be past and everything available is back at $5K/g.
Anne Black had a great stock of macromounts that seamed unusually
low and tempted me, as a dealer, to purchase many for resale.
The price of Brenham is WAY up - partly because of the spectacular
1400 LB oriented individual Steve and Phil recovered and partly because
much of the smaller specimens all appear to be from a dry matrix and
hope is high they will yield stable specimens when cut - as most of you
know, most Brenham available to collectors up to now came from a matrix
which resulted in specimens that would eventually be oozing Lawrencite
puss, so, this development could be the beginning of a Brenham
renaissance.
>
> Shouldn't some or all of these developments be discernible by an astute
> observer at the USA's largest gathering of Meteorite People?

Yes

> Is there any reason why this information should be kept from the rest of us?

There is a deeply concealed plot, but if I tell you what it is, I will have
to kill you....

> Is any one else as disappointed as I am?

Ya, I got you beat by a mile... my wife broke bones in both her feet and
my best surviving friend died.
Best wishes, Michael

Until next time, Michael
METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
February 2006
By Michael Blood

It will come as no surprise to most of you that there is not
infrequently varying degrees of energy expressed regarding
a perception of competition between at least some meteorite
dealers. This energy, like the surf on the Pacific Coast, varies,
from almost non-existent to gigantic, but usually clearly present,
subject to tides and shifting sand bottoms, but rather moderate.
Occasionally, however, a storm, near or far, produces waves of
exceptional size and force.

Without question, the focus of said competition often tends to shift
between certain dealers, rather than exist exclusively as a generalized
attitude shared equally between all dealers. Irregardless of that fact
a substantial number of dealers hold varying degrees of a competitive
attitude toward all other dealers at all times.

Since the first weeks of becoming a meteorite dealer many, many
years ago, I have always been able to sense from each and every dealer
with whom I interacted this dynamic on what I considered a continuum
between viewing meteorite dealing as an activity of cooperation vs. one
of competition.

While I see myself at the extreme cooperation end of the continuum,
in many ways it is more important where other dealers perceive me
in terms of how much of the dynamics work out. Suffice it to say,
cooperation is what I identify myself with and that is my general bias.
That does not mean I do not perceive aspects of competition and even
act on some of them. Dealers are not running a co-op or communistic
enterprise, and one is constantly making decisions about pricing,
buying, advertising, marketing, etc.

One of the factors that produce occasional "storm surf" in terms of
feelings of competition is when one dealer (or several) feel another
dealer has acted in an unfair manor in such a way as to "cost" another
dealer potential profit or even cause serious loss of investment already
spent. The more money involved and the greater the perception of
underhandedness, the stronger the feelings of resentment and
competition.

It should be noted I used the term "perceived" – as you can be assured
that in such situations there are always two sides to every story. And
you can be equally assured you NEVER can get a truly objective grasp
on what "really" happened.

Such situations are similar to a divorce. Except in extreme cases, such
as physical abuse, chronic alcoholism or chronic infidelity, people are
going to "line up" on the "side" of the person they have known the
longest or to whom they are related. Even in extreme cases, such as
those mentioned above, "loyalty" will sometimes win over obvious
culpability.

Usually, though, no one really knows who is more "responsible" –
even the husband and wife who are braking up – they nearly always
blame the other, and friends and relatives tend to line up on the
side they came from to begin with.

Now, that does NOT mean that occasionally one dealer doe not actually
do some dastardly thing to another dealer. I know of so many instances
of this it would fill a book (which I could never publish if I ever wanted
to have a "working relationship" with the vast majority of dealers alive
today – so don't hold your breath on such a book – though it would be
most entertaining).

In any event, it is all so much more pleasant when the surf is down,
metaphorically speaking, that is. I find it highly refreshing that that
tends to be the case just about the time the Tucson Show comes
around every year.

NOTE: I may be putting out a special early issue of the March
METEORITE MARKET TRENDS about the 15th of February to
highlight the Tucson Show. It always seems far too long to wait
until March 1 for the news on the giant event of the year.

Until next time….. Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
January, 2006
by Michael Blood

The new year, as always, presents the meteorite market
with its most powerful influence: The Tucson Show.

Among other things at the show, collectors, and perhaps
some dealers, will be seeking out is the new Pallasite,
Fukang. Much ballyhooing has taken place about it being
over 900 Kg and flooding the market - no it isn't, most of
it is in institutions / it's a ruster - it isn't a ruster / it's going
to be $25 to $30 a gram retail, it is going to flood the market
and go down to at least below $10 a gram, etc.

I have the following Fukang information on good authority:
1) It is not a "Ruster," in the common sense, with most
Brenham being the all time Lawrencite oozing extraterrestrial
to Brahin being prone to near eventual take over by rust,
like mold in Blue Cheeze. Instead, the word is that most,
but not all, of the material tends to show only a small amount
of rust after nearly a year in a room with humidity over 70%.
Even then, it is said the level of rusting is much closer to the
rusty parts of Glorietta than the far, far worse Brahin. This, if
true, would qualify it as unusually rust resistant for a pallasite.
2) The owner of the main mass has no intention of releasing
any appreciable amount of material in the foreseeable future,
and is considering reserving nearly the entire mass for institutional exhibition and trade (within the institutional
community), with some being given to individuals who are
patrons of various institutions.

So, it would seem that there will not be large quantities
available to the collecting public, at least for a few years,
and that while it is prone to small, isolated rusting, said
rusting tends to be highly localized and the material is
relatively clean for a pallasite. (Esquel, Imilac and Marjalathi
are the only pallasites I have heard of being truly rust
free).

Still, I did hear there were some 9 to 11 KG "in the market"
at the moment and it will be interesting to see what prices
are offered at the Tucson Show – especially to compare the
prices offered in the opening days of the show and how that
compares to the price offered in the closing days of the show.

It will also be interesting to see if the word of my "good
authority" turns out to be highly reliable, partially reliable
or not at all reliable. Unfortunately, to discover that answer
will take a good many years, as opposed to a couple of weeks
of the Tucson Show.

Another issue of late has been the folderol claiming all etched Baygorria was really just Campo. This is pure nonsense.
Baygorria is a completely separate event, though also an IAB
iron, as is Campo. The reason for this nonsense is a couple of
unscrupulous dealers flooded the market with etched Campo
material claiming it was Baygorria. Since the Widmanstatten
pattern is so similar, people fell for this. Of course, when the
misrepresented Campo was tested against known Campo in
an institutional setting, they were shown to be Campos. Unfortunately, this led to a misinterpretation of the situation
and a declaration that no such thing as Baygorria even existed!

Of course, this left honest dealers, such as ET, left with Baygoria
that cost substantially more than Campo but which is now
considered "questionable" by the meteorite community. So,
if you would like some Baygorria you KNOW is Baygorria,
see ET. He will be in Tucton at Inn Suites. He is as honest as
the day is long – and he offered me some of this Baygorria a
year before the scam with Campo took place. You can deal
with him with assurance of provenance.

The list of "dealers" that cannot be trusted is, most unfortunately, continuing to grow. Keep your eyes open and your ears to the
ground, folks. There are plenty of totally honest dealers around.
Word of mouth is a fairly reliable method of sorting out the few
rotten apples from the rest. Just don't limit your information
sources to too few. You can never have too much information –
and the stories you do hear would fill a book!

On another front…. Marvin Killgore has taken a one year
hiatus from being a meteorite dealer. He was approached
by the U of A in Tucson to be Curator of Meteorites for
their Southwest Meteorite Center. He initially responded
he thought they might be better served getting someone
with the academic credentials he lacks, but they pointed out
that he had taken the time and energy to become sophisticated
in meteorite analysis while at the same time he had amassed
a world class personal collection. They stated one of their
primary objectives is to establish a center with a world class
collection and he was their first choice. He responded with
the suggestion he accept for one year and after that time if
they liked what he was doing and he liked what he was doing
they could then look at the possibility of him staying in the
position on a long term basis. Therefore, to avoid any conflict
of interest, he has ceased his meteorite dealing, though his wife,
Kitty, while not actively promoting the business, will handle
requests for orders of existing inventory over the coming year.

Marvin told me some of his immediate goals for the center will
be to obtain two microprobes and maintain five full time staff
to do meteorite analysis, while amassing a collection of at least
a 20 gram sample of every meteorite known. Marvin and 3 other guest speakers sponsored by the U of A Southwest Meteorite
Center will be giving 15 minute talks from 6 PM to 7 PM at the
far end of the VFW Hall where the Tucson Meteorite Auction
will take place at 7:30 PM on Sat, Feb. 4.

Everyone is welcome to sit in on the talks which will include
the importance, identification, and nomenclature of meteorites,
as well as explaining what the Southwest Meteorite Center
hopes to accomplish in behalf of meteorite collectors,
dealers and scientists.

Until next time….. Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
December 2005
by Michael Blood

December sees interest and enthusiasm growing in
anticipation of the world's largest gem and mineral show
AND meteorite show: Tucson. The name, alone, brings a
smile to any meteorite collector's face who has been blessed
with this most impressive of all meteorite events. Every
dealer in the world, or at least so it seems, is there. Then
there are all the collectors – both old friends new faces to
put with phone voices or email communications. Dinners
to be shared, gatherings to attend, and, of course, the now
famous "Birthday Bash" of Geoff Notkin and Steve Arnold,
coupled with the Harvey Awards, oh, and the Tucson Meteorite
Auction as well as Al Lang's Silent Auction, and you have
the makings of what is unquestionably the meteorite collector's
event of the year. (Excluding, of course, actual meteorite
events – such as Park Forrest or Portalas Valley).

Every year it seems more dealers put in an appearance,
renting rooms and offering their countless goodies. Sometimes
these are even dealers one has never heard of, either from Europe
or Africa or even within the US. Sometimes they are right among
the thick of things, with other dealers located only doors away.
Sometimes they are in obscure motels one wanders off to if
one is blessed with enough time to wander about the city in
search of…. who knows WHAT, as it seams The Tucson Show is
capable of offering far, far more than mere gems and minerals.

And therein lies the rub: each and every meteorite collector
that visits the Tucson Show is subjected to nearly countless
distractions that call to him like the sirens who called to Ulysses
tempting him to crash upon the rocks and forsake his goal of
returning to Ithaca. Having promised ourselves not to
spend more $ on anything but meteorites – and certainly not
more on items which could easily tempt us to expand our
obsessions into yet another realm, here we are, in the straits of
the sirens and unless our wives go with us everywhere, we are,
unlike Ulysses, NOT tied to the mast:

Obviously, there are the fossils. LOTS and LOTS of fossils.
Enough to tempt every non-fossil collector in attendance. Enough
to tempt even those of us who have promised ourselves NOT to
spend more $ fossils. But, oh, those fossils can be ever so tempting,
from the fabulously beautiful opalized Amonites to the tiny
dinosaurs which are SO "affordable" to many remarkably
inexpensive shark's teeth, and the list goes on and on.

Then there are the numerous amber dealers with insects in
amber that MUST be purchased – especially at some of the prices
available… or at least some dirt cheap insects in copal! This is
a VERY dangerous area for meteorite collectors. Did you see that
copulating pair of flies for only $125? Or that SCORPION for less
than $3,000? Beware! Beware! This is a truly slippery slope!

Oh, and if you escape, somehow, the pull of the insects in
amber, you walk into a room full of the ugliest specimens you've
ever seen, then wander into a blackened closet with ultraviolet
light only to find a room of treasures so beautiful they could
qualify for a mythical tale of biblical proportions where the hero
is distracted from his holy quest by tantalizing items. You have
taken the nearly fatal steps into the world of fluorescent minerals,
many of which are truly beyond resistance, and, before you know
it you own a not so little black box full of specimens that look by
daylight like a bunch of broken up pieces of cement and mine
tailings, only to come to life to boggle the mind when you turn
on the fluorescent lighting…. oh, this one is unavoidable for those
who venture into the land of Tucson. One can only hope to limit
one's self to that single little box and what it will hold to thereby
prevent further endless purchases. or at least limiting them to very
small sized specimens – like having one ten gallon aquarium and
any fish or stone that won't fit in that one aquarium just can't be purchased…. ok, we've handled that one, now on to the countless
other dangers…

And so it goes, as we find display cases we certainly HAVE
to have – especially at THOSE prices… and saws, or at least a
few saw blades…. and did you see that new lapidary saw/sander/
trimmer/polisher/(fill in the blank)? Some of this stuff – especially
display cabinets and boxes make one virtually PRAY to run into
Ron Hartman and spend one's "display allowance" on those fabulous
membrane boxes. There, maybe that will take care of that! (always
the optimist).

New age hookie zookies, animal hides, didgeridoos,
natural sandstone "paintings" that blow your socks off,
crocodile heads, ancient beads, fabulous mineral specimens,
crystal singing bowls, dinosaur teeth, walrus penises, ancient
Pre-Columbian artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, and that doesn't
even address the fact that the entire town is the center of the
world for gems at the lowest possible prices on earth.

Yes my friends, we will all soon be entering into that
very special place where only Geoff Notkin, Twink Monrad,
Jim Kriegh, Mike Farmer, Eric Olson, John Blennert, Bob Haag
and a few other lucky collectors and dealers live to take
advantage of the show for its entire run. Some of us will be there
a week, others several days and some for only a day or two.
But none of us will be immune to the call of the non-meteoritic
sirens of the Tucson Show….. so, beware, my friends, beware!

Until Next Time………Michael


METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
November, 2005

METEORITE CLASSIFIEDS: Meteorite Exchange announced in
October they are instituting the publication of meteorite
classified ads as part of their website. First it should be noted
that the Meteorite Exchange has quite a history in the Meteorite
Market in that it was one of the very first Meteorite web sites
to exist. Without question, they are the leading advertiser for
meteorite dealers, as they list some 135 meteorite dealers on
their site, already. Furthermore, they instituted the first on
line Meteorite Magazine: METEORITE TIMES (in which this
article appears) .

In a case of profound irony, at the moment The Meteorite Exchange
announced this new feature, the advertising service Steve Arnold
had recently launched was "down" and Steve was out of town (out
of the country?) at the time – causing many advertisers to be
concerned. I left messages with Steve and he had not gotten
back to me. However, over many years of dealing with Steve, I
have never heard of him treating another person unfairly.
Furthermore, reports came in later that his site was back up
and it was the server that hosts his site that was down temporarily
and not his site in particular, but all their customers. It just so
happened that this all occurred while Steve wasn't around. That,
in combination with the coincidental timing of the launching of
the Meteorite Classifieds put particular emphasis on the service
they are about to offer the sellers and buyers of meteorites world
wide. In a last minute announcement, Jim and Paul announced they
had purchased Steve's site from him and are extending full credit
to all advertisers and will be transferring all ads to the new
METEORITE CLASSIFIEDS, encouraging all of Steve's old customers
to submit photos to accompany all existing ads and place additional
new ads as time permits. This is a merger that will surely rock
and promises to be another major leap foreword in the Meteorite Market.

For one thing, their Classifieds are being set up to be activated by
the advertisers, themselves and each item can be removed by the
seller at the time of sale. In addition, they have the significant
advantage of including a photo with each ad as well as a link to
a larger version of said photo. This is aspect is, indeed, huge. Those
dealers among us who go back far enough to be early on the web
scene remember distinctly the immediate impact digital photos
had on sales once they became instituted. This new generation
of advertising is STARTING with photos – huge, guys, just huge.

The other significant feature of note being made available to
marketers is they are setting it up so that each of the Classifieds
is activated by the advertisers, themselves and each item can be
removed by the seller at the time of sale. Payment will be fully
automated via PayPal or credit card, making the entire system
user activated and updated. This will result in keeping costs down
and keeping the ads totally current while requiring very little
moderating by Paul & Jim. As a Grand Opening Special, free
advertising coupons are being offered on the first two ads anyone
places:

Coupon Code-1 ML11051 Expires 11/30/05
Coupon Code-2 ML11052 Expires 11/30/05

Paul tells me they will also soon be offering Reverse Auction
ads, the details of which will be provided upon inauguration
of same.

All these factors point to the possibility of this becoming as big
a factor in the Meteorite Market as eBay. Ultimately, bigger. We
will see. Much depends on people taking advantage of such an
opportunity, but Paul tells me he and Jim are going to be offering
irresistible prices for participation in this super project.
This promotion should be well worth checking out by every dealer
for their entire stock and for every collector interested in moving
former collection pieces that have been "upgraded." Note also that
"Meteorite Wanted" classified ads are entirely free. This promises to
become the cyber equivilant of the Yellow Pages of meteorites, where
you "let your fingers do the walking" instead of surfing through
dozens and dozens of different meteorite web sites.

You can check all this out at:

http://www.meteoriteclassifieds.com/

On other fronts, Greg Hupe announced a new Lunar Meteorite,
"NWA 3163 (Provisional) - Ultra-Rare Lunar Feldspathic Granulite Meteorite

A single 1,634 gram meteorite, believed to have been found in Mauritania or Algeria, was purchased in Morocco in August 2005
by Greg Hupé, who thought at first that it may be an unusual
eucrite or diogenite. Actually it is a Lunar Feldspathic Granulite
and represents the largest known sample of this rare rock type
available for scientific study.

It is composed primarily of maskelynite (shocked plagioclase) with
lesser amounts of pyroxene, olivine, chromite and other minerals.
This extremely rare type of lunar rock is known from small clasts in
a few Apollo 15, 16 and 17 samples.

Click here for image of Main Mass

http://www.lunarrock.com/nwa3163/nwa3163a.jpg

Click here for image of 74.1 gram Complete Slice

http://www.lunarrock.com/nwa3163/nwa3163slice2c.jpg


The mineral compositions are characteristic of ferroan anorthosite (FAN)
igneous rocks from the very ancient lunar highlands, and this specimen is classified as a hornfelsic granulitic impactite, interpreted to have been
produced by burial metamorphism deep in the lunar crust of impact-comminuted olivine gabbroic to diabasic rocks. Excavation from such a deep site is consistent with the abundance of maskelynite"

In laymen's terms: this puppy is comprised of rare material indicating
it was 1) formed as a result of multiple lunar impacts by astroid
material ("meteorite strikes" on the moon) and later, a major impact
resulted in it being blown off the moon and beyond lunar gravitational
pull, ultimately coming to earth as a meteorite, itself.

On top of all this, as one can see in the photo of the 74 gram slice
via the above link, it is a beautiful lunar meteorite reminiscent of
NWA 482 in appearance.

Greg is currently offering this material in micromount & macromount
sizes for only $1,500/g and at descending cost per gram for larger
part slices and full slices.

Other breaking news comes from the Munich Show:
Mike Farmer originally reported "The ´Fuking` Pallasite from China was being offered at less than 10Euros a gram in large chunks, I saw pieces from 100 grams to 2 kilos. Apparently the buyers have divided
the massive pallasite up and are now going to flood the market. Looks like a good buying opportunity when the price collapses. It is beautiful stuff, but with over 900 kilos, coming on the market, we know where
this goes."

However, John Birdsell responded with highly contradicting info, saying,
"Actually, there was probably at most 7.7 kilos of
Fukang end-pieces at the Munich show. There is another
~480 kilos at the University of Arizona which is, as
far as we know, not ever going to reach the market,
and there is another ~480 kg which is destined to be
sold as full slices to very wealthy members of the art
community at somewhere around $250,000.00 per slice.
If anyone thinks there is going to be a 'flood' of
Fukang hitting the market, I wouldn't hold my breath."

Photos illustrating the beauty of this material can be
seen at a link of John's site below (it should be noted, however,
he only had this one partslice, and it has sold):

http://www.arizonaskiesmeteorites.com/AZ_Skies_Links/Chinese_Pallasite/19gFukang/index.html


Until next time…. Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
October 2005
by Michael Blood

A few months ago a private collector contacted me asking me to
sell his private collection for him in order to pay off the entire
balance due on his home mortgage.

In this instance, we were seeing a clearance sale of a private collection
in which the seller wanted money NOW. I know I could get much better
prices if he would have been willing to take 3 to 6 months, but he
wanted cash NOW. Therefore, if something doesn't sell at one price,
the price goes down.

I tried to convey to people this was a blowout situation, but it would
appear I didn't do a very good job. It is difficult when buyers tend to
think you are giving them "hype" when you tell them you are offering
great prices.

If this had been material I had purchased myself, I would put it in my catalog
at a given price HIGHER than the "sale" price initially offered
and sit on it at least 2 or 3 years before I would consider a lower bid.
In such circumstances I have capital invested and must "earn" a profit
to justify the capital investment. So, when I buy personally, I offer a sale
for immediate return on investment at a modest profit. Whatever is not
purchased in my initial sale, most of it sells in the 6 month to 2 year time frame.

However, when you need people to buy NOW, most people are on a
budget and you have to make it too painful NOT to buy it. It's all the ol'
supply/demand dynamic. The bottom line is if the seller wants it all
gone NOW, bargains are to be had.

The thing is, if you offer goodies at a great price and they don't sell,
you have to turn around and offer them again at a lower price. This
can be a very delicate situation, as sometimes buyers of the earlier
offerings can become resentful, especially if you are talking about
the same material. Such a situation arose around the Nakhla I was
offering. I thought you all might find the correspondence between the
buyer and me in that situation insightful:

Email received:

"It's a bit disconcerting to wake up this morning to find the price of
Nakhla dropping like a stone. On your Preposts for the past month:
Sept. 2: 6.3 gram w/ 40% crust, $15,750 or $2500/gram
Sept 16: 0.838 gram w/ 40% crust, $1750 or $2088/gram
(piece I'm buying)
Sept 28: all crusted pieces, $1200/gram
mid Oct: who knows....$500/gram?????
Maybe "the fall of Nakhla" could be a good Meteorite Market
Times article for this month.
Interesting marketing strategy, So, what's going on???
Regards, XXX"

To this I responded:

"Hi XXX,
The 6.3g piece (40% FC) was MUCH more spectacular than
the current pieces - and was a BARGAIN - the $10K piece - have
you ever tried to get $10K from someone? Note also, this piece
has very little FC. It may be WORTH $25K, but my seller does
not want to wait 6 months to a year to get it.
The 833mg specimen you got is superb.
The 4.335g at $1,200/g is a steal - you should jump on it
immediately. HELL, I should get it! But do either of us have
$5,200 to tie up??? That is the question. As stuff gets larger and
more expensive it is much harder to sell. You are, of course,
familiar with supply and demand. Dean Bessey financed his
entire operation starting with selling tiny "Bessey Specks."
The price per gram was astronomical! Do you think he could
get that price per gram in an 8.66g piece?
Even the 2.8g [Nakhla] currently offered is a steal
The 927mg is sold, which was my intent. It is ugly as sin
compared to the piece you got. Is it not? Do you seriously
believe your piece is not worth AT LEAST twice as much???
This is a collection - the seller wants MONEY NOW, my
job is to get it to him. I explained I could get more if he gave
me 3 to 6 months, but he wants money NOW - I priced
accordingly. However, even if I had 6 months, your piece
and the 6.3g piece would have been MUCH higher per gram
(and much higher priced than what they sold at, that's for sure).
Many times I have bought something at a great price and
later (often at the same Tucson Show) seen it at half what
I paid. That did not make my original purchase a bad buy.
If you pay 25c for a dollar bill, are you going to complain
when the seller offers 3 more at 10c each?
This is a limited number of pieces. You would do well
to buy them all, yourself, then double the price. You might
have to wait 2 or 3 months to sell them, but would undoubtedly
be successful. That's quite a profit, isn't it? Do you have the
capital? Can you wait 2 to 3 months to get it back? I don't.
My seller wants money NOW.
All this should be relatively obvious to someone of your
intelligence. But, it is a common trap people often fall into.
Jesus even told a Parable about that way of looking at things -
you know, the one about the guys who worked for 12 hrs
getting paid a fair wage, but when the guys who worked 8
hrs and even the ones who worked 4 hrs got paid the same
amount, those who worked longer complained.... but this is
even different, because it is NOT the same - size, quality, total
price tag & urgency to sell immediately are all factors.
I think you are right. This will make an excellent MMT
article - of course, I won't use your name.
If you aren't tickled pink with your specimen when you
get it, I would suggest you send it back and I will sell it for you
for 2,500. It might take a few months, but I am sure someone
will jump on that puppy.
Best wishes, Michael"

Fortunately, the buyer was not the Tin Man, and actually had
a brain. His response:

"Hi Michael,
You're absolutely correct. Tell the seller that if he agrees I'll also take
the 4.335 gram crusted fragment for $xxxx
I'll pay for it together with the 0.838 g. piece I already committed to
next Monday as agreed. I think this is called dollar cost averaging ;-)
Cheers, XXX"

So, what just happened here? Dramatically different prices for
roughly the same material…. because the seller wanted money
NOW. That does not "set the market price" – either high or low.
This is the same reason an auction does not set the market price
any more than someone asking 10 times or even 20 times what
others are asking – even if they do get a buyer.

As a dealer I am painfully aware that if I want a particular meteorite
in a particular size range and I want to buy it NOW, I am going to
pay far more than if I want the same thing and am willing to wait
for it to "show up" at a good price any time in the next couple of
years.

The same is true for selling. Meteorites are a unique "commodity"
in that the "market" consists of only a few thousand buyers and
several dozens of sellers. Nakhla, depending on Fusion Crust, or
the absence of same, is probably "worth" about $2,500 to $4,000
a gram at this time – and that is a rough approximation. Just because
one dealer can offer 4 or 5 specimens at $1,000 to $1,200/g on
a one time basis does not change that – except in the heads of a
few. But they will be waiting endlessly to see it appear at that price
again – and likely, it never will.

There was an infamous dealer that used to sometimes get 20 times
market value for some specimens. Did that "set the market" on
that material? No. Nor does a one time "blow out" or an auction
sale.

So, what DOES "set the market" for a given meteorite. Simple: when
three or more dealers offer the same material at roughly the same
price OR when one dealer offers huge quantities of the material
at a given price over a very long period of time (IE: Dean Bessey with
NWA 869).

This month's MMT message: one time sales, be they high or low, do
not a market make.

Thus spake Yoblood.

Until next time, Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood
September 2005


Greetings all.

Not a lot of "action" in the market to report. However, there are
a number of events in the market worthy of note:

The September Show in Denver is being held Sept. 16-18 and the
Meteorite raffle graciously organized by Geoff Notkin to benefit
the folks of New Orleans will be held at the Saturday evening
Comets Party. As of yesterday, over $4K had come in. Those who
haven't bought tickets can view the many meteoritic donations
and purchase through PayPal at:

http://www.aerolite.org/meteorite-raffle.htm

Many additions are coming in daily, so, there will be many, many
winners – not just one big one. This is a good way to contribute to
the problem in New Orleans – as well as get some really nice goodies.


Besides for the Raffle and the Denver Show, Matt Morgan of Mile
High Meteorites went in with a private collector and purchased the
remainder of the personal collection of Michael Farmer. The Private
collector is keeping only 4 or 5 of the choicest pieces and Matt will
be offering almost the entire balance of the collection to the meteorite
community in the immediate future.

This marks some real shifts in meteorite distribution, as recently
Dean Bessey, arguably the largest supplier by far of bulk NWA material
left Canada for the tropics, declaring his future meteorite dealings
are, at best, undecided, though likely will continue in some form, yet
to be determined. Now, the same can be said of Michael Farmer,
arguably the worlds "largest" meteorite globe trotter who has also
strongly hinted at a permanent move to Panama. (What's with this
migration to the tropics?) Every time there was a new fall, off went
Mike Farmer to get as much of it as possible – and almost always
with stunning results. Coupling his fall-chasing adventures with frequent
trips to NWA, Mike has been a major factor in the meteorite market
at least since the Portalas Valley Fall. Now, his future roll is up in the
air, similar to Dean Bessey. Where these two end up in the meteorite
"food chain" will be both interesting to see and will be of significance
in shaping the meteorite market in the immediate and mid range future.

Interesting it is.

Until next time, Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
August, 2005


Greetings fellow space debris collectors.

The month of August finds us confronted with potentially
the most significant development to impact the meteorite
market in years. Steve Arnold (The Original Steve Arnold,
not the Chicago!!! Steve Arnold) has just opened a new
site on the web called Find Meteorites Dot Com. It can be
seen at: http://www.findmeteorites.com
While some may view this as merely another new meteorite
site, I predict it will become the Tucson Meteorite Show of
cyber space, wielding impact as yet to be determined on the
Meteorite Market.

After only a few days, there are already listed some 300
different meteorite locations, most of which refer the seeker
to several different sellers where different sizes, forms and
prices can be found. Do you want a part slice, full slice,
whole stone, large, small, thin section, what? In many ways
this site promises to become far more easily utilized than
the real space Tucson Show, since one can rapidly move
from dealer to dealer looking after a specific meteorite,
whereas walking from room to room and traveling from
motel to motel requires far more time. In addition, the site
has the capacity to host every "dealer" in existence, not just
the couple of dozen who can afford the time and expense of
hosting a room at the Tucson Show. Top that off with 365
days a year availability (as opposed to 12 days or so in Tucson)
and you have the real makings of a monster of a "shopping
mall of meteorites."

Since The Meteorite Exchange (the site of Jim Tobin and Paul
Harris) list some 135 people calling themselves dealers, this
site also has the potential to host everyone from the collector
wanting to upgrade a few pieces to the largest dealers in the
world. All this for less than the cost of listing on eBay makes
this a medium from which I predict no seller will want to be
excluded. The number of participant sellers will certainly
increase. Add that to the inevitable increase in the number of
buyers utilizing this site this becomes THE place no one can
afford to miss out on, neither buyer nor seller. (Of course, I
could be wrong – my wife continually assures me I am).

So, what will this mean for the Meteorite Market? That is an
excellent question, and one not easily answered. On the one
hand, I believe it will stimulate sales, as buyers will be able to
find what they are looking for quickly and identify who is
selling it. (Steve has set it up alphabetically, like a buyer's
guide to "METEORITES A TO Z"). This if far easier than surfing
from dealer site to dealer site seeing if this one or that has
what you are after. That can be very time consuming – and
frustrating. While this won't replace people's personal web
sites, for those who use this site, sales will inevitably result
from this dramatic increase in shopping efficiency and the
increase in "customer base."

But what does that mean in terms of prices? That remains to
be seen. As volume of sales increases, normally, prices would
go up… but in this situation, price comparison will be exerting
the pressure of competition, which tends to keep prices down.
This will be interesting to watch.

Also interesting to watch will be which "name" dealers buy into
this first and which hold out…. and for how long. And, if they
do hold out, will they begin to experience diminished sales as
a result? Such would appear to be inevitable since if a buyer can
see multiple dealers' goods in one spot, will they bother to
then search individual sites just to see if they even have any of
what they have already found several sources for?

There is a famous commercial case applicable to this situation
wherein one of the tobacco brands was so popular it quit spending
money on advertising. (was it Phillip Morris?) In any event, their
sales dropped significantly and by the time they realized they
must advertise competitively, they had lost so many customers
they never came close to a full recovery. So, will we have one or
more of the "Big Dogs" hold out indefinitely, and, if they do, what
will be the result? This will be very interesting, indeed.

Conversely, if the majority of dealers fail to participate, what will
that result in? If that actually happened then, one would have to
guess the impact of the site would be significantly weakened.
However, I don't believe mass non-involvement will take place, as
Mr. Arnold has made it too affordable and too enticing to participate.
However, that does provide yet one more element in this emerging
situation fascinating to observe.

Already, there has been a rush to "sign up" and I am delighted to
be able to say I was the first to join and that I was immediately
followed by Blaine Reed (long missing from the internet, and finally
jumping into a situation just too good to miss), Anne Black, the
preeminent "Lady" dealer of the meteorite world and Walter
Zeitschel, of Germany, the Bob Haag of Europe, to name but a few.
Not a bad start at all.

There is a question as to whether a particular old Chinese saying
is meant to be a blessing or a curse. It goes, "May you live in
interesting times." And that, my friends, we certainly do.

Until next time, Michael
METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
July, 2005


The market continues to trudge along at relatively the same rate it has it has for the
last 6 months or so. However, one small and one enormous black cloud have appeared
as ominous signs which may mark the beginning of the end of the flood of cheap
meteorites from Northwest Africa.

First, the larger of the two, the closing of Oman to meteorite export, has recently been
punctuated by the capture, holding, robbing and extortion of 8 to 10 meteorite collectors
visiting that country. The two most notable among them were John Blennert, made
famous by his extensive work in mapping the Gold Basin Strewn Field and his
generosity in donating the bulk of his finds with institutions joined
by one of the more famous and popular of the Russian meteorite dealers, Ivan.
They were accompanied by 6 or 7 other Russians and a German meteorite collector
– all of whom were held captive throughout the entire month of April through
May 10, 2005.

Not allowed to call anyone including friends, an attorney, any of their embassies, a
consulate, a family member or anyone for help, at one point while being transferred
from one camp to another, they luckily passed a signal tower where one of the
Russians secretly called the Russian Embassy from a cell phone he had managed
to keep hidden from their captors or, John believes, they might never have been
heard from again.

As it was, all their material goods were stolen from them, including but not limited
to all cameras, two lap top computers, cash, checks, a wide range of personal
documents, all GPS units, radios, metal detectors, flashlights, binoculars, tire
compressors, etc. Though they never were officially charged and tried, they were
told they were being forced to leave and were forbidden to ever return, but only
after all respective embassies had become involved and after more than a month
– part of the time in actual cells and part under virtual house arrest. In addition,
there was an unconfirmed report that a $50,000 payment was given to an Omani
official to facilitate the release of all "prisoners."

John Blennert's full report can be read at:
http://www.dontvisitoman.com/about_us.html

Lest anyone entertain thoughts of John over dramatizing the events reported, let
it be said I have spent a good deal of time with John, both in the field and as a
guest in his home. He is a rock solid character – like one of those guys in movies
about World War II who is the guy you would want in the fox hole next to you
when things are about to hit the fan - nerves of steel and all that. Sort of like John
Wayne with a brain. Everyone who knows John Blennert will tell you he is far
more inclined to understatement than to overstatement.

This pretty much closes the door on any reasonable person entertaining any ideas
of meteoritic material coming out of Oman whilst current powers exist there.

The second dark cloud may appear far less disturbing, but may prove even more
significant. Dean Bessey recently announced he is moving to New Zeeland and
may or may not be continuing his involvement in NWA meteoritic material. Now,
while there are plenty of dealers who will tell you they bring out a good deal of
material from NWA, and they do, in fact, it is also a fact that Dean Bessey has
brought out far, far more quantity of material than all the others combined.

I readily acknowledge that Bruno & Carine, Mike Farmer & Jim Strope, Adam
& Greg Hupe, Elaine & Louis Carion, The Labennes and others – ET has brought
out entire falls, such as Mt. Tazerzait - (Please forgive all oversights here, as there
are bound to be too many to list here) have brought out much material – and
especially rare types. However, I don't believe it can be credibally argued that
Dean Bessey hasn't brought out the BULK of material. In addition, and not less
noteworthy as far as the market is concerned, Dean always has sold material at
wholesale prices, regardless of quantity purchased. If he bought it for 12.5c a gram
(by the ton) he was likely to sell it for 14 or 15c a gram. He always had a "make it
on the volume" approach to meteorite selling. Given that he was bringing the
bulk of the material out of NWA to the market combined with his wholesale prices,
this has always been a major influence on keeping all NWA prices lower than they
would have otherwise been. Now he is talking about things "slowing down" in
NWA and whether or not it will be worth it to him to continue as he has been in
meteorites and the strong possibility of focusing future purchases and sales on
fossils and antiquities (in which he has always been involved).

If Dean Bessey does, indeed, depart from the meteorite scene – or more likely, drop
his "volume" business in meteorites, this, could prove to be an even greater factor
in the market than the Oman incident. Coupled with the closing of Oman the two
factors will certainly mark the beginnings of a change in NWA prices. There is no
question NWA prices will increase. The only questions will be how quickly
by how much.

Until next time, Michael


METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood
June, 2005

Elton Jones recently wrote:
"…we shouldn't tolerate fake identities, we
shouldn't tolerate being played, and when the liars are
found out we shouldn't tolerate their deceit. An apology
is ok once but when it is used over and over as a "get out
of jail free" card, how do we expect that the apology is
ever sincere ever? In the long run, as was said long ago
on the list,--this trade is based on the trust and integrity
of the person's claim of provenance - that the material is
what it is represented to be. If they are deceptive in other
matters why do we want to believe that they are suddenly
"wholey honest" in their sales weights, sizes, and represen-
tations. How would we know the material was even from
the meteorite they claim it is?"

There is a good deal of basic truth in the above words. There
was a time, seemingly not so long ago, when there was no problem
with integrity in the meteorite community, save one lone scoundrel who's reputation proceeded him and who was eventually convicted
of outright theft of a meteorite from a museum…… but what has
followed has boggled the mind:

Numerous "dealers" have come (and in several cases, thank goodness, gone) who have established a pattern of ripping off buyers. Still, collectors continue to buy from these people. I really don't
understand it.

I had one person write me that a well known European individual had recently sold him a specimen advertised as specific dimensions but
upon arrival was approximately 1/4 the advertised size. When the
buyer emailed him, complaining of the misrepresentation, he reportedly responded simply, "Well, I didn't have any calipers that size, so I estimated." (rephrased here for English grammar) The real irony is that particular "dealer" has had a plethora of reports publicly written about his shenanigans by well established individuals – several of them being dealers, themselves, who have reported the specifics of a variety of rip offs by him. That he is an unabashed scam artist is well established. Still,
this collector had purchased from him. But it doesn't end there… the previously mentioned convicted museum meteorite thief is said to still
be conducting business with a goodly number of collectors – AND institutions – the curators of which claim to believe he was
wrongfully accused and convicted! I hear that ostriches stick their
heads in the sand – but how do they breathe?

What is wrong with this picture?! Why do people insist on dealing
with individuals proven to be cheats, thieves and liars? I thought
it was bad enough when people started buying from everyone
under the sun, extending the same, or even more trust than they
give to dealers who have been around more than a decade or two –
or in rarest of cases, three decades…. I mean, come on! It is one
thing to buy from a "new" dealer who is advertising in METEORITE
MAGAZINE and even though not around a long time, has established
as fact an exemplary treatment of customers, standing by everything
s/he sells with a life time guarantee of authenticity, accepting any
and all returns should a customer be dissatisfied in any way, etc.
But it blows me away that people will not only buy from complete
unknowns – they will buy from people who's treatment of customers
is KNOWN to be fraudulent!

What's with that?!

I have always felt my word was all I had to offer in this business, and
on many occasion ate a considerable loss just to remain beyond
reproach in every way in my conducting of business. And I happen
to know the majority of dealers who have been around more than
5 years or so have done the same. However, I am now beginning to wonder if anyone is noticing. It is not as though I will stop because
the majority act as though they are oblivious to this fact – nor do I believe my colleagues will, either. I do feel I am still, in the main, amongst a group of individuals for whom integrity is an internalized aspect of their being. Clearly, however, many of the Johnny-come-latelys are not cut from the same cloth.

So, why do collectors buy from them? Is it blind greed for the cheapest buy at the moment? Is it lust for that killer specimen or being able to
fill in a particular missing type in one's collection?

It wasn't long ago that collectors frequently uttered the admonishment,
"buy only from established dealers with flawless reputations." It isn't as though there are not enough of us to go around. Yet, now that
it clearly matters, it seems I haven't heard that phrase in recent times….

There is no question in my mind that there are several known
individuals from whom I would never make a purchase – simply
because I refuse to put money in their pockets which will subsidize
their continuing degradation of the field of meteoritics. They needn't
be mentioned here, as everyone knows who these scoundrels are.
When you burn people, word gets around. And, when you treat
people right, each and every time, that gets around, too.

It would not matter if one of these jerks offered me Chassigny at a ridiculously low price, or Sylacauga or some other of the rarest
hammers in history. Obviously, however, there are a good many
people who will gladly support them any time there is a specimen
offered they want. It seems there is no conscience for some when
it comes to collecting. Unfortunate it is.

Until next time, Yodda … er, Michael






METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood
May, 2005


A major area of interest when looking at trends in the
Meteorite Market are the ups and downs of the market
as a whole over long periods of time – IE, by the decade,
or at least over 6 or 8 years, and how prices were perceived
as having consistently risen until the combination of the
flood from Africa with the ballooning of the internet dealer
phenomenon worked together to drop the floor out from
under the market.

However, information has recently come to light that casts
an entirely different light on this long held belief that prices
were so very low "in the good old days."

On Sunday, April 10, on the Meteorite List Martin Altmann
published the information below. In a private communication
with me he mentioned I might want to use it in METEORITE
MARKET TRENDS and gave me permission to do so. I am most
grateful to Martin for his generous offer and I consider it some
of the most revealing information ever regarding the
Meteorite Market and present it in its entirety as follows:

Emil Cohen's Market Trends of 1899 - Old prices in today's $

E.Cohen: Ueber den Wuelfing'schen Tauschwerth der Meteoriten
im Vergleich mit den Handelspreisen.,
published in: Mitth. aus dem naturwiss. Ver. für Neu-Vorpommern
u. Rügen, XXXI. pp 50-66, Greifswald 1899.

(Wuelfing's trade value of meteorites in comparison with the
market prices).

Emil Cohen (1842-1905) was a mineralogist, geologist and an
eminent meteorite researcher of his times, from 1885 on
professor at the university in Greifswald. He started to write a
monumental comprehensive work about meteorites, his
"Meteoritenkunde", but died before the third volume was
published.

In 1889 E.Weinschenck honored him in naming that silvery
iron carbide found in iron meteorites "Cohenite".

This article was a reply to Wuelfing's suggested formula for the
determination of a trade value of a meteorite specimen, depending
on total weight of the class and total known weight of that find or
fall, which was published two years ago in 1897.
Cohen examines there, whether Wülfing's values are reflecting
actually the prices asked on the market.

Furthermore, he makes some remarks about the behavior of dealers
and collectors and wonders about the sometimes strange affectations
of the collectors (private meteorite collecting wasn't invented by Nininger).
(His observations seem not directly unfamiliar to me...)

For the comparison Cohen publishes a list of prices for more than
300 meteorites, which he collected during several years until 1899!
It contains the average price per gram, the lowest and the highest
price.

Now with this old price lists we have the problem, that we don't
know, what would be the old currencies in what the prices are
given be worth today? How to find out the purchasing power of
the old currency to have an equivalent or how to convert in this
case the Mark of 1899 into US dollar of 2005?

Long term indices for the purchasing power I couldn't find. Old
single prices, wages, salaries aren't helpful, as for instance
manpower was cheap at that times, foods expensive - today in
the first world it's other way round.

Thus here my approach:Cohen's prices are given in Pfennige of
Mark (german Goldmark). The Mark was a gold-backed currency.
Consequently I calculated my adaptation via the gold price. I had
the fine gold contents of the Mark, keeping in mind, that the
gold price at that time was subject of manipulation by the national
governments, I chose the New Yorker fixing of that year and in
virtue of today's gold price's, I converted the Goldmark in today's
US dollar. (In fact I did it last year, when the ounce was at 400$).
I got out: 1Mark = 4.61$ (of course the purchase power of gold was
see-sawing through time too, but do you have a better suggestion?)

Or in other words, the following price list is that, what you have
effectively to pay, if you'll run tomorrow to your bank, buy gold,
jump in the time machine, travel 106 years back and purchase
meteorites.

In the following list, I use the meteorite names according to the
Catalogue of Meteorites, I added the type, an asterisk indicates
an observed fall. Given is the average price, in brackets lowest
and highest price.

Meteorites marked as "pseudo" were at Cohen's times already
known as pseudo meteorites. Some finds of the same meteorite
(most already known and listed by Cohen to be paired) were
sold separately at different price levels. A "(?)" is found in
those few cases, where I wasn't able to identify the meteorite:
A:
Agen* H5............................16.34$ (14,29-18.44)
Alais* CI1...........................66.85$ (41.49-92.90)
Aleppo* L6...........................6.92$
Alfianello* L6......................3.00$ (0.92-4.61)
Ambapur Nagla* H5........19.59$ (13.83-25.36)
Angra dos Reis* ANGR.110.64$
Arlington IIE......................17.52$ (16.14-19.36)
Assisi* H5...........................18.44$
Augustinovka IIIA..............8.07$
Ausson* L5........................21.21$ (6.92-34.58)
Avilez (*) H.......................83.90$
B:
Babb's Mill IrUNGR.......12.91$
Bachmut* L6....................18.44$
Ballinoo IIC.........................2.77$ (1.75-3.92)
Barbotan* H5...................20.75$ (11.76-27.66)
Bath* H5..............................6.45$ (3.00-9.22)
Beaver Creek* H4.............9.22$ (3.92-12.68)
Bella Roca IIIAB................4.38$ (3.69-4.84)
Benares* LL4...................55.32$
Bendegó IC..........................4.15$ (2.31-5.99)
Bishopville* AUB...........43.33$ (27.66-65.92)
Bitburg IAB......................44.26$ (42.64-46.10)
Black Mountain IAB......19.50$
Bluff(a) L5...........................2.77$ (1.84-3.46)
Bohumilitz IAB..................4.61$
Bori* L6.............................20.05$ (11.53-23.05)
Borkut* L5........................23.05$
Brahin PAL.......................26.28$ (12.68-35.27)
Braunau* IIAB.................16.14$ (9.22-23.05)
Bremervörde* H3.7........17.52$ (4.61-27.66)
Brenham PAL.....................3.69$ (1.38-7.61)
Bridgewater IID.................7.15$ (5.07-11.06)
Burlington IIIE....................7.84$
Buschhof* L6....................46.10$ (15.67-77.22)
Butler IrUNGR....................6.92$ (3.00-11.53)
C:
Cabezo de Mayo* L6......47.02$ (17.92-76.53)
Cambria IrUNGR................7.38$ (4.61-10.14)
Campo del Cielo...............17.98$ (4.61-31.35)
Cangas de Onis* H5........18.90$ (12.91-25.82)
Canyon Diablo IAB............1.84$ (0.46-4.61)
Cape of Good Hope IVB.11.53$
Carlton IIICD........................4.38$ (2.03-7.38)
Carthage IIIB........................4.15$ (2.31-5.99)
Cereseto* H5......................21.44$ (15.67-27.66)
Chantonnay* L6................10.37$ (4.61-15.67)
Charsonville* H6...............20.98$
Chateau-Renard* L6........11.29$ (6.92-16.60)
Chesterville IIAB.................6.45$ (4.84-8.30)
Chulafinnee IIIAB 10.14$ (9.22-10.83)
Chupaderos IIIAB................7.61$
Coahuila IIAB
- Butcher Iron.....................2.31$ (0.46-3.69)
- Saltillo................................9.22$
Cold Bokkeveld* CM2....41.49$ (36.88-46.10)
Colfax IAB.............................9.68$
Collescipoli* H5................13.83$ (7.38-23.05)
Copiapo IAB.........................9.22$
Cosby's Creek IAB
- Cocke Co........................4.61$ (2.54-7.84)
- Sevier Co........................5.53$ (3.46-9.68)
Cowra IrUNGR................38.72$ (25.82-51.63)
Crab Orchard MES............2.31$ (1.57-3.04)
Cranbourne IIICD
- Beaconsfield...................3.32$ (2.21-4.84)
- Melbourne......................4.15$ (3.92-4.61)
D:
Dalton IIIAB......................10.60$ (9.22-12.22)
Dhurmsala* LL6.................4.61$ (2.86-9.68)
Djati Pemgilon* H6..........36.88$
Doroninsk* H6..................46.10$
Duel Hill (1854) IVA.......29.04$ (9.22-55.32)
Duruma* L6.......................19.82$
E:
Eagle Station PAL ...............8.99$ (5.30-13.83)
Eichstaedt* H5...................41.49$
Elbogen* IID......................13.83$
El Capitan IIIAB..................4.38$ (3.09-5.76)
Ensisheim* LL6................11.53$ (8.30-13.83)
Epinal* H5.......................195.93$
Estherville* MES................3.46$ (2.31-4.61)
F:
Farmington* L5..................3.46$ (1.15-6.59)
Forest City* H5..................4.15$ (2.12-6.73)
Fort Pierre IIIAB................8.07$
G:
Gambat* L6......................19.13$
Gibeon IVA.......................11.76$
Girgenti* L6......................18.44$ (13.83-22.59)
Glorieta Mountain PAL...4.61$ (2.31-9.22)
Gnadenfrei* H5................92.20$
Grand Rapids IrUNGR.....2.99$ (1.61-4.61)
Grosnaja* CV3.3.............59.93$
Grossliebenthal* L6........32.27$ (9.68-55.32)
H:
Hessle* H5........................16.37$ (7.84-26.97)
Hex River Mountains IIAB.2.54$ (2.31-2.77)
Homstead* L5
- grey colour......................2.77$ (0.92-4.61)
- green colour.................19.82$
Honolulu* L5....................24.20$ (22.59-25.82)
I:
Imilac PAL...........................6.22$ (2.77-13.83)
Indarch* EH4...................42.87$ (36.88-48.87)
Iron Creek IIIAB.............77.45$
J:
Jamestown IVA.................6.68$ (5.99-7.38)
Jelica* LL6.........................6.92$ (4.24-9.22)
Jenny's Creek IAB.........12.22$ (11.53-12.91)
Joel's Iron IIIAB.............31.35$
Joe Wright Mountain IIIAB.6.92$ (5.76-8.07)
Juncal IIIAB..........................17.75$ (17.29-18.44)
Juvinas* EUC.......................20.51$ (17.98-23.05)
K:
Kendall County IrUNGr........4.84$ (3.46-6.68)
Kenton County IIIAB.............3.00$ (2.31-3.92)
Kernouvé* H6........................12.45$ (5.76-18.44)
Kesen* H4.................................9.68$ (2.44-23.05)
Knyahinya* L5........................3.23$ (1.48-4.61)
Kokstad IIIE.............................9.22$
Krasnojarsk PAL.....................8.76$ (3.69-13.83)
Kyushu* L6............................10.83$ (7.84-13.83)
L:
Laborel* H5............................23.05$ (20.75-25.36)
La Caille IrUNGR.................11.76$
L'Aigle* L6...............................7.15$ (2.31-11.76)
Lancon* H6............................19.59$ (17.29-21.90)
La Primitiva IIG.....................19.59$
Lenarto IIIAB...........................9.22$
Le Pressoir* L6.....................78.37$
Lesves* L6.............................24.43$ (23.05-25.82)
Lick Creek IIAB...................23.05$
Lime Creek IrUNGR...........13.83$
Lissa* L6................................22.59$ (15.67-27.66)
Lixna* H4..............................28.81$ (25.36-32.27)
Locust Grove IIAB................5.07$ (4.06-5.76)
Lodran* LOD.....................104.19$ (103.73-104.88)
Long Island L6........................2.07$ (1.15-2.54)
Losttown IID...........................6.27$ (4.84-7.70)
M:
Madoc IIIAB.........................23.05$
Magura IAB............................2.77$ (1.38-3.92)
Mainz L6...............................23.51$
Manbhoom* LL6................46.56$ (39.19-54.17)
Marion (Iowa)* L6.............10.14$ (7.38-19.36)
Mauerkirchen* L6..............33.88$
McKinney L4.........................3.23$
Menow* H4.........................23.97$ (15.67-32.27)
Merceditas IIIAB..................5.76$ (1.84-8.30)
Mezö-Madaras* L3.7...... 32.27$
Mighei* CM2 ....................55.32$ (41.49-69.15)
Milena* L6..........................26.74$ (15.67-36.88)
Mincy MES...........................3.23$ (2.17-4.61)
Misshof* H5........................17.52$ (13.83-20.75)
Misteca IAB..........................6.45$ (4.61-10.14)
Mocs* L6...............................2.07$ (1.84-2.31)
Monroe* H4........................12.45$ (9.68-15.90)
Mooresfort* H5..................34.11$
Morristown MES..................3.69$ (3.00-4.61)
Mount Joy IIAB....................0.92$ (0.88-1.01)
Mungindi IIICD.....................4.61$ (2.86-7.74)
Murfreesboro IIIAB...........23.51$
N:
Nanjemoy* H6...................12.91$
Nelson County IIIF..............4.61$ (2.31-7.38)
Nerft* L6..............................15.67$
Ness County (1894) L6..... 4.61$
Netschaevo IIE...................17.52$ (16.60-18.44)
New Concord* L6............11.53$ (5.99-18.44)
Newstead Pseudo..............27.66$ (16.60-38.72)
Ngawi* LL3.6....................70.76$ (64.54-76.99)
Nocoleche IC .....................11.06$ (5.76-15.90)
Nogoya* CM2....................34.11$ (29.04-39.19)
Novo-Urei* URE...............73.76$
O:
Obernkirchen IVA.............11.99$
Ochansk* H4 ........................4.61$ (2.21-7.15)
Oesel* L6.............................22.13$
Orange River (iron) IIIAB13.14$
(or ? Orange River (stone) doubtful)
Orgueil* CI1.........................27.20$ (23.05-34.58)
Ornans* CO3.3....................46.10$
Orvinio* H6..........................24.43$ (18.44-27.66)
Oscuro Mountains IAB........8.76$ (7.38-9.68)
Ottawa* LL6........................50.71$ (43.10-58.78)
P:
Pacula* L6............................20.05$
Parnallee* LL3.6...................7.38$
Pavlodar PAL.......................21.21$ (15.67-27.66)
Pillistfer* EL6......................17.52$ (15.67-20.75)
Pipe Creek H6........................5.99$
Plymouth IIIAB......................4.47$ (3.00-5.76)
Pohlitz* L5............................34.58$
Prairie Dog Creek H3.8.......11.06$ (7.84-14.06)
Pultusk* H5.............................1.38$ (0.69-2.31)
Puquios IID............................11.97$ (5.99-20.24)
Putnam County IVA...........11.06$ (8.30-13.83)
Q:
Quenggouk* H4...................19.82$ (17.29-23.51)
R:
Rancho de la Pila (1882) IIIAB11.76$
Red River IIIAB.....................4.61$
Renazzo* CR2.....................46.10$
Roebourne IIIAB...................3.69$ (2.54-5.53)
Rosario IAB..........................17.06$
Ruff's Mountain IIIAB..........8.30$
S:
St Denis Westrem* L6.......57.36$
St Francois County IC..........6.45$ (3.46-9.68)
St Mesmin* LL6.................39.19$ (31.35-47.02)
San Angelo IIIAB..................2.77$ (1.84-3.92)
Santa Catarina IrUNGR.......0.69$ (0.37-1.38)
Sao Juliao de Moreira IIAB2.77$ (1.52-4.15)
Sarepta IAB............................5.99$
Savtschenskoje* LL6...... 46.10$
Schoenenberg* L6.............43.56$
Scottsville IIAB.....................4.15$ (1.38-5.99)
Scriba Pseudo........................9.22$
Seelaesgen IIICD..................5.07$ (3.69-9.22)
Sevrukovo* L5....................40.57$ (38.49-41.49)
Shalka* DIO.........................51.86$
Shingle Springs IrUNGR..13.83$
Siena* LL5.......................... 42.64$ (26.74-69.15)
Silver Crown IAB.................6.22$ (4.61-7.61)
Siratik IIAB.............................9.22$
Smithville IAB........................2.40$ (2.31-2.54)
Soko-Banja* LL4..................8.53$ (3.78-13.83)
Ställdalen* H5......................14.52$ (11.53-18.44)
Stannern* EUC......................9.45$ (6.22-13.83)
Staunton IIIE...........................4.15$ (2.31-6.92)
Steinbach IVAanom..............9.45$
T:
Tabor* H5.............................20.05$
Tadjera* L5...........................55.32$
Tarapaca (Hemadga)Pseudo9.22$ (7.84-10.60)
Tazewell IIICD.....................12.22$ (9.22-15.21)
Tennasilm* L4......................37.34$ (28.58-46.10)
Thunda IIIAB..........................8.30$ (7.15-9.22)
Thurlow IIIAB......................12.22$ (8.30-15.17)
Tieschitz* H/L3.6................38.26$
Toluca IAB............................. 0.92$ (0,18-1.61)
Tomhannock Creek H5.....35.96$
Tonganoxie IIIAB..................5.99$
Tourinnes-la-Grosse* L6..27.66$
Trenton IIIAB.........................5.76$ (4.61-7.61)
Trenzano* H6......................13.37$ (6.92-20.05)
Tucson IrUNGR
- Carleton Iron....................11.99$ (3.00-23.05)
- Signet Iron (Tucson Ring)13.14$
Tysnes Island* H4..............15.67$ (12.91-18.44)
U:
Utrecht* L6......................... 41.49$ (23.05-59.93)
V:
Vaca Muerta MES
- Janacera Pass/Sierra deChaco10.83$ (4.61-19.82)
- Llano del Inca......................2.54$ (1.57-3.69)
Veramin* MES..................115.25$
Verkhne Dnieprovsk IIE...16.14$
Verkhne Udinsk IIIAB.........8.99$ (4.61-12.91)
Virba* L6............................... 9.22$
Vouillé* L6...........................23.51$
W:
Waconda L6...........................8.76$ (2.07-26.28)
Walker County IIAB..........12.45$
Listed as pseudometeorite
Warrenton* CO3.6.............33.18$ (19.36-46.10)
Welland IIIAB....................... 4.61$ (1.84-7.61)
Weston* H4..........................11.06$
Wichita County IIICD..........5.53$ (2.78-10.60)
Y:
Yatoor* H5............................23.74$ (23.05-24.20)
Youndegin IAB
- Mooranoppin......................17.52$ (11.99-19.63)
- Mount Stirling......................4.01$ (3.92-4.15)
- Penkarring Rock..................6.22$ (3.46-11.53)
Z:
Zacatecas (1792) IrUngr......7.37$ (2.77-11.06)
Zavid* L6...............................13.83$
Zebrak* H5............................38.72$ (36.88-40.57)

Cohen's remarks about the market:
In his article Cohen discloses some observations he made of
the behavior of dealers and collectors, mainly to explain the
deviation of some of Wuelfing's values from the real market
prices (all in all he concludes, that Wuelfing's formula is useful),
which diverge remarkably little from those, which one can
make today.

First of all he notes, that dealer prices depend on supply and
demand and are hardly a matter of the scientific value of the
material, as many collectors are only interested in increasing
the number of locales (still don't know the term in English,
locations? - names) in their collections, therefore willing to pay
high prices for material, which seldom appears on the market.

Further he observed, that often short after the discovery of a
meteorite, the prices are very high, but fall enormously as soon
as substantial quantities become mobile. The opposite happens
often too, if the main mass will have been locked away, as a
general rule, he says, if it's transferred from private ownership
to a major public collection.

Incomprehensible for Cohen is, that the collectors are paying
higher prices for specimens, where some parts of fusion crust
are left, as in most cases those parts are too small to give the
characteristics of the fusion crust, as they would be displayed
on larger contiguous surfaces and furthermore he wonders,
that the collectors don't pay attention to the surface/weight
ratio, which should be a price factor, as long as the specimen
wouldn't be thought for chemical and mineralogical analysis.

An exception, where no common price level exist, are according
to Cohen, the rare types (Angros dos Reis, Lodran, Jelica....),
as for them the dealers ask, what they think they can get for it.
(In his list you'll see almost no stone finds, only irons, and only
a few achondrites and carboneaceous among the observed falls).
On the other hand, he guesses, that for a dealer, who is sitting on
hundreds of kilos or even on tons of a single meteorite, it will be
less harmful, to give away specimens at a low price.

And as far as micromounts are concerned, he writes, that a dealer
who has only 15 or 30g of a meteorite, comes only to consideration
for collectors interested in find locations, as from such pieces the
characteristics of the individual meteorite can't be seen. But any
collector would take small specimens, if no other are available -
the prices paid then are irrational.

His final sentence: In fact in a meteorite trade the personal moment
will be the decisive factor, making a trade still to a not very pleasant
occupation.

Plausibility of the conversion:

As told with exchanging the 1899 German Mark (Goldmark) into
USD of our days, I had to use as a vehicle the gold price of then
and today. - with more modern price lists, I guess, one simply
could use the known inflation rates. The problem with my exchange
is, that we don't know the effective purchase power of gold in 1899.
Hencefore for testing, how realistic the result 1Mark 1899 = 4.61$
2004 is, here some prices and figures from the end of 19th century:

3 eggs costed in 1900 0.10Mark ~ 0.46 today's $
1 liter beer 0.24Mark ~ 1.10 $
1 liter milk 0.20Mark ~ 0.92$
1kg sugar 0.65Mark ~ 3$
50kg potatos 1.75Mark ~ 8$
1kg porc meat 1.5Mark ~ 6,9$
1kg butter 1.86Mark ~ 8.5$
1kg coffee 4Mark ~ 18.5$

A miner in 1900 earned per day 3Mark ~ 13.8$
A dock worker (at this time already known to be paid below the
minimum living wage) got 61Mark per month ~ 280$
An assistant teacher 175Mark/month ~ 800$
A regular teacher 125
Bismarck had a basic salary of 4000Mark/month ~ 18.500$ (our
actual chancellor Schroeder gets 14.800Euro ~ 19.200$)

6 nights in a good hotel 20Marks ~ 92$
1 lunch in a restaurant (without drinks) 2Marks ~ 9.2$
The visit of the doctor coming from 4km away: ~14$
Issuing a prescription for a medicament: 0.5Mark ~2.3$
1 made-to-measure suit 65Mark ~ 300$

Wartburg-automobile 1899 (1.75HP) 3500Mark ~ 16.000$
Benz Dos-à-Dos automobile (5HP) 4500Mark ~ 20.700$
Benz Spider 1902 (15HP) 8500Mark ~ 39.200$
(a 3rd class one-way-ticket for the Titanic was in 1912 155Mark ~ 715$)

and so on....
Thus, I think, that the results of the conversion sound not too
unrealistic and the resulting meteorite prices give at least the right region.

Until next time, Michael Blood


METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
Michael Blood
April, 2005


A recent posting on the meteorite list was a perfect
reflection of the meteorite market. A person stating he
had to leave meteorite collecting for personal reasons
offered a goodly number of meteorite specimens for sale.
Most of them were well known, though not necessarily
common. A few I might not have heard of. The prices
looked pretty much within today's main stream prices,
with some higher and others lower – while a couple
could be considered very low.

After a couple of days he wrote back to ask what was
going on. Had he asked "too much?" The responses he got
were unanimous – no. Some of his prices were a little high
and several were quite low, but most were pretty much
right in the middle of the market.

Yet, he had not sold a single specimen! This is a window
into the market in general. Regardless of price, for the most
part the market is "sluggish," as they say. Not moving much.
Jammed up, in the doldrums, kaput, lousy, nada.

What can be said? There IS a market when a new fall
arrives or a new find with interesting typology, but, apart
from that, while there are some sales, it is "down." Of course,
one can always sell on eBay starting at 1cent or 99 cents. That
guarantees SOME sort of sale, though not necessarily one
whereby the seller recovers his original investment.

What was far more impressive to me than the absence of sales
was the fact that the collector was surprised that there were
no sales. I certainly wish him well, but I must admit I am a bit
shocked that some collectors are only now starting to believe
what I have been writing about and what dealers have been
living with for several years. This is a very "down" market –
which, ironically, makes it the time to buy, and buy heavily.
Not that anyone will do that.

Until next time, Michael

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
. . .by Michael Blood
. . .March, 2005

The dominating items on the market of late seam to be
large specimens from the Haag Collection. Appears Bob
had a "clearance sale" at the Tucson show, featuring
many of the specimens from earlier Haag catalogs,
thought of by many as the exemplary specimen of their
respective falls or finds. (And, indeed, a great many of
them are just that).

Interestingly, the appearance of these items for resale
brought cries of "Blasphemy!" from some in the peanut
gallery, arguing that these were entrusted treasures
handed over by the heir apparent to Ninninger, and,
therefore, it is unthinkable one would sell them for
shameless profiteering motives.

Of course, Bob, himself, anticipated such activity, and,
indeed, welcomed it, knowing if people could resell his
material, he would have a much more active buying
population. In fact, he frequently accompanied his
sales pitches with commentary regarding the resale
potential of a given item. Unlike many meteorite dealers,
Bob always has viewed other dealers as expanding the
base of the meteorite community, bringing more and more
meteorites into the public eye and attracting more and
more customers, while becoming his direct customers
in the process.

Whatever else Bob Haag has been to the world of meteoritics,
he has most certainly been a dealer. I have heard many
dealers and even collector-wannabe dealers make derogatory
comments a bout Bob. All, to me, were quite transparent in
being stung very deeply by the envy bug. I have heard rants
that lasted hours about his "luck" in acquiring Esquel, Zagami,
Calcalong Creek and/or Pena Blanca Spring. All the while,
saying nothing of his tireless bombardment of the public with
exposure, information and never ending enthusiasm about
meteorites, traveling the world in pursuit of meteorites and
arranging museum deals, raising money, etc.

One doesn't have to spend much time with Bob to experience
his relentless gusto for the world of meteorites. Yet he sees
other dealers as colleges, rather than "the competition" –NOT to
say he does not aggressively pursue sales or purchases doggedly.
Indeed, this is the source of some of the deep resentment held
by some old time dealers – he beat them to the punch….. many
times over. But it is clear that Bob lives in a different reality
where "winning the game" doesn't make the other players your "opposition," but rather fellow players - Interesting, and well
worth noting. Like the kid with the most marbles in the play
yard, what fun is it unless there are a lot of other kids to play
marbles with?

Nor does being the world's most successful meteorite dealer
make Bob or anything in his collection "sacred" – in fact, as
stated earlier, he was the first to encourage resale of items he let
go of at the Tucson Show. No fool, he.

Until next time........... Michael




METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
.
February, 2005
. by Michael Blood

Please view all photos HERE

The 2005 Tucson Show revealed some insights into
the current state of the Meteorite Market. However,
it will "read better" if I put it in the form of a narrative,
so, here goes:

Angel and I left for the show well after my Monday
afternoon classes and were confronted with the most
magnificent moon I have seen in years as we passed
over the mountains about 10PM. To say it was "peach
colored" would be a dramatic understatement, as it
was as red as a glowing ember in a campfire! Just
totally stunning. However, by the time we got to
Ocatilla on the desert floor, it had transformed into
a "normal" white moon, much to our disappointment.
We managed to get as far as "Tier Drop RV Resort," just
off highway 8 at the mile 30 Exit, which is 30 miles east
of the California/Arizona border and almost exactly half
way to Tucson.

However, since we never manage to make an "early"
start, we were lucky to get there by 3AM, Tue.
and didn't leave until after 1 PM, putting us in
Tucson near dark. However, we did very much enjoy
the lush desert which appeared to have received as
much rain as San Diego of late, giving it the appearance
of a giant lawn looking into the distance with the highway
bordered by beautiful orange, white, yellow and purple
flowers.

No one appeared to be open but Mike Farmer who had Jim
Strope hanging out talking meteorite trash. Mike showed
me his new lunar and fabulous Shergottite, of which I bought
the main mass. I discovered Bruno & Carine were still open
and was exposed to their fabulous find: a true Chassignite –
only the second known to exist – and priced to sell, at only
$2,500/g. I had to buy some of that instantly. I am still stunned
that many people left Tucson without some of this exceptional
material. Chassigny has been holding steady at $50,000/g for
the last several years – making it $50/mg and yet people were
passing up this material at a mere $2.50/g. I could not grasp
how any collector would leave Tucson without at least a few
mg of this fabulous material – but then I have always been an
SNC geek.

The next day was huge, seeing everyone – at least everyone at
the Inn Suites, where most of the meteorite dealers were congregated.
Marvin Killgore had a new pallasite a can't spell and couldn't get
a good photo of, ET's room was jumpin' despite what I thought
would have been a poor location, Loui Carion was there with his
father, Alain with photos of a new discovery of dozens upon
dozens of strewn fields with the largest shatter cones ever seen.
It looked like a moonscape!

That evening we attended a quiet little gathering at Geoff Notkin's
new home – which is very nice, indeed. He has created a fabulous
back yard and I wish I had photographed it – even in the dark by
dim solar lighting it was spectacular. He also had a fabulous home
made display case of his mostly miniature specimens which was
truly inspiring.

We were all highly entertained by his waterphone, which produces
sounds heard in the background of several select Star Trek series
and a few horror movies. A cross between ultra eerie and enchanting
Theramin "music." A terrific time was had by all.

Thursday was more of the same in the day time, with visits to see
Blain & Ivan across the Hwy and bump into more meteorite comrades.
I was becoming very impressed by the lack of Sikhote-Alins at the
show – of ANY price, and was astonished to find Ivan had NONE! In
fact, all Ivan had at the show was a nice array of thin sections – quite
a change from recent years when his room was filled with S-A.

Thursday evening Angel and I were invited to join Matt Morgan, his
wife and new daughter and his parents, as well as Gary Curtiss,
also from Denver & a splendid fellow – for dinner at El Charro,
our favorite Tucson restaurant, where Angel got the Mariachis
to sing, "La Poloma Trista" which never fails to bring me to tears.
Don't ever have anyone translate the song for you or you, too,
will never make it through with a dry eye.

Friday Angel and I did a little shopping, which is a most dangerous
thing to do at the Tucson show. This year we got fabulous scenic
stone slices from Utah for ourselves and for presents. The largest
and best I have ever seen. I picked up a huge shark tooth display
case for the fossil section of my Physical Anthropology class and
we oooed and ahhhed at the "Art by God" section in the fossil
collective.

That night was the Birthday Bash and Harvey Awards at the new
location of the huge bar in the motel where Blain set up for so
many hears. That sucker has changed names so many times I
can't keep up, but it made for a nice gathering place and watering
hole.

The Harvey Awards held special meaning for me this year. Dr. Art
Ehlmann, Curator of the Monnig Meteorite Gallery at Texas
Christian University, and also a highly respected geologist and
university professor, who built the Monnig collection into one of
the great collections in the country was awarded for many years
of building good relationships between the meteorite collecting
community, and the scientific community. I was awarded
for my role as ambassador visa vi my annual Meteorite Auction.
I am very rarely "speechless," but Steve and Geoff managed to
make me so. Next, the meteorite hunting team of Mike Miller and
Ruben Garcia for Best New Meteorite Finds, for their amazing
finds at Glorieta Mountain and Franconia. and Jose Guggiari,
meteorite hunter, for his extraordinary finds in the Campo del Cielo
strewn field, particularly a 130 kilo regmaglypted iron
which was excavated from a depth of 12 feet deep in very hard earth.
Sonny Garcia, meteorite hunter from Las Vegas, got the "Rookie of
the Year Award." After starting meteorite hunting only about 1 1/2
years ago, he has made numerous important finds, including a 16 lb Palo
Verde, AZ stone, and numerous other new finds in AZ and Nevada.
Last, but most certainly not least, ET (Edwin Thompson) was given the
Lifetime Achievement Award for his generosity in lecturing, encouraging
new collectors and hunters and for giving many prominent dealers and
collectors their start in the field (myself included). A few additional ET
highlights also deserve mentioning, such as packing El Hammami out
of the mountains via camels, years of contributions and exchanges with
museums throughout the world and countless years of over 40 weekends
a year on the road with the traveling Gem & Mineral Show, exposing
thousands to the joys of meteorites. Those of you who know ET know
how deserving he is of this award.

Saturday was a day I tried to take it very easy in preparation
for the auction that evening. The Tucson Show can be very
energy consuming, and the auction always requires tremendous
focus and energy, so, I wanted to be well rested by the time
5 PM rolled around. To that end, I drove the motorhome over
near the "Metaphysical Corridor" (if you haven't been to this
section of the Tucson Show, you really owe it to yourself – it
is the last motel south of the freeway headed east and contains,
among others, "Heaven & Earth" and countless hookie zookie
neo-hippy "chanellers," talisman sellers and no end of far out
goings on). In any event, Angel went to enjoy the scene while
I settled down for a two hour nap, which was most restful – and
a good thing, too.

Arriving at the VFW hall is a thrill – this is where it will all
happen – and damned soon, too. Countless tasks need to be
accomplished in a two and a half hour time frame and under
no circumstances does it ever seem to go smoothly. This year,
my assistant of the last several years never did show up. I was
to learn, days later, that he had been taken ill. If it hadn't been
for John Kerns stepping in to save the day, the situation would
have been dramatically disastrous. God Bless John Kerns! Cecil,
of course was there to do much of the management while I
tried frantically to get all the paperwork in final preparation,
signatures acquired, bid cards and sign up sheet in order, etc.
all the while being bombarded with an endless stream of last
second attempts to put specimens in the auction – most of
which I had to turn away to keep the number down to a
reasonable level. There are always those that cannot, however,
be turned away, such as numerous Martian part slices up to
10 grams with no minimum and the like. So, by the time
7:30 rolls around I am amazed to find things are in surprisingly
good order, thanks mostly to Cecil and John.

The auction went swimmingly, though I was surprised the
space tank didn't sell and the LDG 20ct. faceted gem went
for under $300 – what a beauty THAT was. People seemed
to have a rollickingly good time and check out went well,
with several dealers opting to have funds mailed to them
instead of waiting for payment that very night.

By the time I closed down, with Adam & Greg and Mike
& Jim and a few other generous souls throwing in to help
clean up, it was about 12:30AM and it had begun to rain.
Angel had a stake dinner for me on the table within 20
minutes and you haven't lived until you have eaten a cast
iron skillet stake cooked by that woman. We made it all
the way to Gila Bend before turning in, so Sunday would
be an easy drive back to San Diego and a tiny bit of rest
before classes again on Monday.

It was a great trip, though several people were missed: Roman
Jirasek, Paul Harris, Rob Elliot, Darryl Pitt, O Richard Norton
and his wife, Dorthy, notably. Still, it was a most pleasant
experience. Pondering the meteorite market as reflected in
the show, the first thing that pops to mind is the rarity of
Sikhote-Aline and the return to old prices on the very few
that were there. Then, of course the new Chassignite – and
at such a remarkably low price. Mike Farmer's new Shergotite
was, for my money, far more visually impressive than his lunar
– though no one in their right mind would care to miss finding
such a treasure. Too bad Mike doesn't have any fun. The other
thing of significance to me were the old prices that were paid
for the historic specimens in the auction. People did not hold
back on most of these, and I won't be soon forgetting the
$750 jump bid on Leoville that went back and forth several
times before a final price was reached.

In short, NWA, for the most part, continues to offer VERY
affordable and rare type specimens to the collector, while
most of the historical material seems to be well on its way
to a "comeback." This returning to traditional prices on historic
falls seemed to span a wide array, from S-As to a quite notable
bump in price for Allendes and other recognized falls.

Until next time, Michael.

Please view all photos
HERE



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
January, 2005
by Michael Blood

If you read last month's column, you are aware of the international
concern arising from the Pelissons taking to a court of law their
ludicrous claim of NWA meteorite dealing and collecting being
directly linked to terrorism. If the courts begin to attach credibility
to these claims, the meteorite market as we know it will be changed
forever – and certainly not for the better.

Please note that the Pelissons accuse ALL meteorite collectors who
have ever purchased any NWA material of conspiracy. Don't take
my word for it, read their own wording, below.

If you disagree with the Pelissons, I urge you to write a letter to whom it
may concern and deliver it to Bruno & Carine in Tucson at Room 309
in the Inn Suites. If you are not going to Tucson, please mail me your
letters at:
"Meteorite Propaganda"
c/o Michael Blood
6106 Kerch St.
San Diego, CA
USA 92115-6628
and I will take them to Bruno & Carine to combat the outrageous and
irresponsible claims made on the web site mentioned in my letter below:

Here is the letter I am taking - if you so choose, you may use any part of it,
rewording it as appropriate to fit your own circumstances:

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been a meteorite dealer and collector for well over 10 years. I
have been published in every meteorite periodical in the English speaking
world and author a monthly column in METEORITE
TIMES. I, my customers and my friends all collect meteorites,
many of which come from Africa.

The claim has been made by the Pelissons on their web site at
http://www.saharamet.com/meteorite/data/Sahara/Nwa.html
as follows:

"Smugglers, dealers, investors, all the people who buy, sell, trade and
publish documents about these meteorites want to conceal the truth. As
long as the collectors believe that unknown hunters wish to keep the
locations of their finds secret, that all these meteorites are good for
science and a good purchase, the business will go on! The plundering
of North Africa, the support to organized smuggling rings, the financing
of terrorism, all that happens behind the Moroccan border in Saharan
countries is of little concern for too many people today."

I know the vast majority of dealers who go to NW Africa to purchase
meteorites from nomads and other African nationals and a few who even
find them themselves. I know ALL of the US dealers and searchers who
engage in these activities. Not one single person I have spoken to has ever
seen or heard of one single incident to support these claims. They are
preposterous, slanderous and outrageous. Were the hundreds of collectors
in the meteorite community not so outraged by their claims, the Pelissons
would merely be the laughing stock of the the world meteorite community.
However, terrorism is NOT something anyone finds the least bit humorous
and for the Pelissons to claim a link between the meteorite dealers and
collectors with the terrorist community sickens as well as outrages and
flabbergasts every collector and dealer with whom I have discussed this
matter.

It is my understanding that at least one court is actually considering their
claims at this time and I would like to emphatically state that any credibility
given to these malicious and totally outrageous allegations
would be an error of colossal proportions and without evidence of any
foundation whatsoever.

Sincerely,
Michael Blood
Dealer, collector, author and auctioneer of meteorites.


Back to Michael Blood Meteorites

Meteorite Market Trends
December, 2004
by Michael Blood

As the Tucson Show approaches:
The "Meteorite Week" will be the first week of Feb.
culminating on the weekend with:

- the now famous "Birthday Bash" Friday evening, Feb. 5th.
This year at a new location yet to be announced – but
enough space to hold EVERYONE, which now means A
LOT of folks! Of course we will all be blessed with
celebrating the recipients of the Harvey Awards for the
year presented by the Cheech and Chong of the Meteorite
community: Geoff Notkin and THE REAL Steve Arnold,
usually dressed in Western garb, but with these two – who
knows with these two? This is an event never missed by the
other Steve Arnold (of Chicago!!!), as well. Proud Tom will
also be there, but, unfortunately, since he has been in hiding
low these many months, and since, even when "out" he is
not really "out" – but rather closeted, we will, no doubt, NOT
see him…. though he will undoubtedly be there. (sounds a bit
biblical, doesn't it?)

- Saturday, Feb. 6th will see two auctions:
- the second year of the Al Lang Silent Auction will
conclude in the Executive Inn, Rm130. Bids can be placed
throughout that week. Exact time of conclusion is unclear
at "press time" but you can check with Al
or Iris Lang when writing in your bid that week or early
in the day, Saturday.

- The Michael Blood Auction – or People's Auction – will
be held in the same location as last year at 1150 N. Beverly
Ave. off Speedway. This is the VFW Post #4903 & full
directions are available on the Auction Website at http://www.michaelbloodmeteorites.com/AuctionTucson05.html

- Sunday, Feb. 7th the Macovich auction will be held
at 10 AM next to the pool at Inn Suites. Pieces will be on
display most of the week preceding the auction in Darryl
Pitt's room.

People should look to Meteorite Exchange for a list that
will soon appear listing each and every meteorite dealer
and event not to be missed at Tucson – the meteorite Mecca
of the world.


LATE BRAKING ADDENDUM!

Bruno & Carine have informed the meteorite community of
the following actions taken by Roland and Richard Pelisson
of SaharaMet:


"What the Pellissons are doing is just unbelievable, they already
did contact the French interior Ministry as well as the Customs
offices in different countries. They are linking the meteorite
community to terrorism…"


If one goes to Google and types in "money for terrorism" the
top site listed is a page from the Pellissons' web site:

http://www.saharamet.com/meteorite/data/Sahara/Nwa.html

While a good deal of propaganda fills the pages, it essentially
states that any and everyone exporting NWA meteorites,
EXCEPT THEMSELVES are engaged in the financing of
terrorism! This is the most outrageous crappola to result
from the 9/11 tragedy since the issuance of the "Homeland
Security Act, removing most of the constitutional rights of
US citizens. Read the following paragraph which is a direct
quote from their site:


"Smugglers, dealers, investors, all the people who buy, sell, trade and
publish documents about these meteorites want to conceal the truth. As
long as the collectors believe that unknown hunters wish to keep the
locations of their finds secret, that all these meteorites are good for
science and a good purchase, the business will go on! The plundering
of North Africa, the support to organized smuggling rings, the financing
of terrorism, all that happens behind the Moroccan border in Saharan
countries is of little concern for too many people today."


I have seen outrageous acts committed by meteorite dealers
in an attempt to discredit what they consider competition
(rather than colleagues) but nothing comes remotely close
to THIS.

Thanks to the actions being taken by the Pelissons the entire
meteorite community will likely become tainted in the eyes
of not only the public in general, but by customs in particular
and entire governments!

Of course, the implications of these accusations in terms of
impact on the Meteorite Market are overwhelming.

Stay tuned…… Michael




Meteorite Market Trends
by Michael Blood November 2004

On the eve of the Presidential Election in the
US we have a change in policy by the Nomenclature
Committee regarding the naming of meteorites
from Africa as follows:

" Meteorites from Morocco and surrounding
areas may now receive unique, non-NWA names
if they are very well documented as to their
geographic coordinates and the circumstances
under which they were found. The NomCom
will judge each request individually. Meteorites
with provisional NWA numbers are eligible for
receipt of a non-NWA name. The names of NWA
meteorites previously approved by the NomCom
may NOT be altered."

Note: meteorites NOT YET officially assigned a
NWA # and which are DOCUMENTED as to date, finder
and geographic coordinates ARE eligible to be assigned
names (as opposed to NWA numbers) and, therefore,
by implication, all individuals of such fall will have the
same name.

Additionally, it should be noted that all finds already
having an official NWA # will NOT be eligible for a name.
In addition, as of now, no NWA # meteorites will be officially
assigned "paired" status.

What does this mean for the meteorite market? For one
thing, people have ALWAYS valued more highly meteorites
with a name, indicating the region in which they were
found. My personal estimate is that the rarer types will
be valued at two or three times the price that they would
have brought with a NWA number, while more common
types, ie H or L 4 thrugh 6 will be priced at up to 4 to 6 times
what they would otherwise be priced. For instance, I
predict there will be no named meteorites sold at .15 to
.25 Cents a gram, regardless of TKW.

Are these predictions iron clad – of course not. But I'll
betcha.

Until next time, Michael




Meteorite Market Trends

October, 2004
by Michael Blood

A little of this and that:

List members have been "entertained" by
reruns of "the meteorite wars" with a couple of dealers
going at it like rabid dogs and a stray collector or two
pitching fuel on the fire. It never ceases to amaze me
that otherwise successful businessmen are willing to
regress to Jr. High School – or even grade school
playground mudslinging in public. Not a lot of things turn
off interest in meteorite collecting more than such nonsense.
In addition, numerous collectors decide, at such times,
NEVER to again buy from said participants. One or two
never fail to proclaim such sentiments at the time,
indicating there are inevitably many others of like thought
who prefer not to comment at all, but are none the less
resolved to such behavior.

As Willie the Shake said, "Lord, what fools
these mortals be!"

Another "hot topic" around lately is
whether or not the meteorite market is,
in fact, "down."

Those holding that it is alive and well, point to
lively sales, particularly on eBay. Those who
maintain it is "down" point out that while the
number of sales is plentiful, the prices are often
10% of what they used to be. (In fact,
they are often less than 5% of what they used to be!
This is particularly true of exceptionally rare material).

As my readers already know, my concern
is not about the dramatically lower prices, rather,
it is the inconsistency of prices to the point that
NO price is "cheap enough" for a collector to be
free of suspicion that if s/he were to wait another few
days or few weeks, it might be available for considerably
less.

Of course, the same is true for dealers – knowing that
regardless of price paid wholesale, the retail price
could drop even lower than that virtually over night.

Ironic that during the period of time when the
cheapest rare meteorites can be had – people
hesitate because tomorrow it could be even
less – and, in some instances, considerably
less!

One can only speculate when such a market
might change, resulting in solid, consistently
rising prices such as could be seen from the
1960s into the 1990s will return. Fundamentals
of economics predict the "law" of supply and
demand will eventually take precedence over
a market temporarily flooded with rare material
and a hyper abundance of sellers.

Eventually, the deserts of NW Africa will be
depleted. The question is when. When that
does happen, as it inevitably must, prices
will rise, at least on the rarer types. Until
then, it would appear we will remain in
collector's heaven, where the worst thing
a collector faces is finding out the dollar
bill for which he paid 5 cents yesterday
can be had today for a mere 2 cents!

I have frequently pondered WHEN a turn
around will occur and whether or not it will
be a very slow and drawn out process over
many years or astonishingly rapid, taking only
a few months. If it is the latter, I predict that
even then we will all have time to take advantage
of the incredibly low "starting point" of such future
price increases. I DO wonder how much "human
nature" will prevent collectors from buying then,
as well, as many of us will, no doubt, tell ourselves,
"Now is a TERRIBLE time to buy! Prices are going
UP!" – Just as many currently think, "Now is a
TERRIBLE time to buy! Prices are going DOWN!"

As my old friend, Don Lohr used to say,
"All people are terribly strange, except
thee and me… and I often wonder about
thee."

Until next time… Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood September 2004

I know this column's title, but the fact is, the
meteorite market does not change that much each
and every single month – so, I am going to exercise
my prerogative as a columnist to "improvise" upon
occasion. So, this month, I decided I will occasionally
relate an interesting story or two about people who
approach meteorite dealers with "meteorites" for sale.

We have all heard the many such tales, but these
will include a few I think present some new twists or
altogether interesting aspects, partly because at least
a couple of them really did look like they were going
to "pan out" as actual meteorites:

My favorite "meteorwrong" incident was the
unannounced arrival of a young attractive woman at
my door, saying she had just driven down from the
Santa Barbara area (no call, just showed up as though
she knew for a certainty I would be home – and of
course, I would want to immediately buy all the fabulous
meteorites she had found!).

After all, she did drive all the way from well north
of LA, so, I did not tell her to get her pickup out of my
driveway and call me and make an appointment.
(People showing up unannounced is NOT my idea of
fun – and you wouldn't believe the attitude some of
the more aggressive meteorwrong finders pack around
with them).

While am a very happily married man to one hell of a
woman, I must confess, not being blind it probably
didn't hurt that she was, as I said, a young and attractive
female. It MIGHT have mellowed what otherwise would
have been a less congenial attitude on my part, had the
disturber of my peace been some obnoxious male with a
shave two days over due.

So, I went out to the driveway to look in her pickup
camper. Now, from my front door, that is a very short
walk, but on the way, she managed to get in that she
had collected numerous Allendes and Murchinsons as
well as several other noted meteorites she rattled off
by name….

I inquired where, exactly, she had found them, and
she said on the back roads inland from Santa Barbara.
As I gazed down on a camper floor FILLED with rocks,
I explained that not only were Allende and Murchinson
examples of a relatively rare meteorite type, but that they
were Allendes because they fell in Allende, MEXICO on a
very specific date and they were Murchison because they
fell in a specific area IN AUSTRALIA on a specific date, and
that, therefore, for her to find any on the back roads
east of Santa Barbara a very wealthy meteorite dealer would
have to have driven through the area with a pickup stacked
high with them spilling off like onions from an over packed
onion truck. Now, Michael Casper has made a few wild rides
through this part of the country with a pickup full of meteorites,
but even Krazy Michael Casper never filled it to overflowing.

While she did agree that that seemed unlikely, she
still was totally amazed that none of the rocks that filled
the floor of her pickup camper were meteorites. She had,
after all, looked at their photos on the internet, and these,
after all, "look EXACTLY like them, don't they?"

Utterly amazed, she was – and so was I.



Until next time, Michael




Meteorite Market Trends
by Michael Blood August 2004

Market continues to be sluggish, September Denver
Show approaches & meteorites continue to be available at
prices not seen in decades.

As a collector, my personal collection is growing by
leaps & bounds. As a dealer, many problems prevail – the
largest of which is, one cannot anticipate if one can sell
material for even what one paid in bulk – regardless of how
fabulous the original purchase price.

A good example is a recent trade I made involving a
well known "historical" meteorite – a full slice of which I
traded for several much smaller part slices of a very rare
type from NWA. I had only seen this type sell for $50/g
once before and that had been highly weathered material.
Therefore, I allowed $50/g in the trade. However, when I
went to sell it I had collectors contacting me reporting they
had seen this material for far lower prices. I had one collector
claim (and I have no reason to doubt him) that he saw one
large full slice of the same material offered for $5/g!

Well, this made me far less than jubilant. However, that
is hardly the end of the story… to make matters far worse,
I then was informed that the material I had given in the
trade had had a 1.8kg end piece sold recently at a mere
.47c/g! That is far less than HALF the price I paid years ago
for the material UNCUT. (as most everyone knows by now,
there is an approximate 30% "saw loss," not to mention the
cost of having it cut properly and polished).

As I have repeated many times – the lower market has
no baring on how one can do as a dealer, BUT, inconsistency
in prices DOES effect one dramatically. This is also undoubtedly
one of the primary factors in a "slow" market, as who wants
to buy – regardless of how good the price is, if one might see
the same material at less than half the price the next week?

The irony is, prices are SO good, I, personally, jump on
items I want when I see them at prices I have never seen before.
The result is that my own collection has doubled in the last two
years. Before that, my own collection increased only incrementally
year by year, but in the last two years, I have spent perhaps 15%
of what was in my earlier collection to double the size. I never
regret making a great purchase, even if I later see the material at
half the cost. It is like buying dollar bills for a dime – I am not
going to get upset if I later see them offered for a nickel.

That's my two cents. Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood July, 2004

"PRICE FIXING! PRICE FIXING!"
This is a cry often heard these days by collectors.
Curious, as price fixing would be an absolutely impossible
goal, should one wish to accomplish it, in the arena of
meteorites. Why? Well, of the 6 or 8 "old timers" (such as
Bob Haag, Al Lang, Edwin Thompson, Blaine Reed and others)
there are histories that go WAY back of intense competition –
NOT price fixing. Then you have perhaps one or two dozen
of us dealers that have been around quite a good while, and
while there are fewer stories of INTENSE competition, again,
there is that "rugged individualism" that characterizes this
group, removing it as far from price fixing as William F. Buckley
is from being a member of the Communist Party.

Then there are the literally hundreds of part time and
even full time dealers that have popped up on the internet
like zits on a teenage chocaholic's face….. price fixing? Where
on earth would one start!?

Oh, there have been a FEW instances of two or three
dealers going together to purchase a single fall and then
marketing it at a given price – such as Peekskill is rumored
to have been. Even today, a dealer will occasionally "go in"
with another dealer to get a specific fall or available material
that is more costly than either could afford on their own –
then sell it at a price they determine to be reasonable. This,
however, amounts to a limited partnership (limited to the
specific material purchased together).

However, I have never heard anyone speak of Peekskill
or such limited partnerships as mentioned above in terms of
price fixing. Instead, they tend to yell, "Price Fixing" at the most
odd times! For instance, I recently, I mentioned it seemed rude
to me to "piggyback" on the announcement of a sale of a given
material on the list with an ad for the same material, and that
I thought it would be more considerate to wait a few days and
do one's own advertising. While most responding list members
agreed (about 8 to 12 of them), one yelled, "Price Fixing" and
another quickly proceeded to launch a tirade when I responded,
"Whaaa?" I was talking about simple courtesy – but what they
heard as "PRICE FIXING!" This is not the first time for such
hysteria. This is a repeating theme among collectors. It comes
up again and again.

I am reminded of Mike Farmer selling material for LESS THAN
HE PAID, just to make a point with some other dealer who said he
could beat Mike's prices.

Price fixing: I guess that's when one manages to get a bunch
of other dealers to go along with your idea of a good price. Do
let me know when that happens among meteorite dealers….. I will
need to stock up on air conditioners to sell to Eskimos & perhaps
a few Ben Franklins to sell to the denizens of Hell.

Oh, as for the actual market – prices continue to diminish!
Hard to believe. Certainly this is the time to BUY. I just sold a
pristine La Criolla whole stone for UNDER $2/g! (for a private
collector liquidating his collection – it was purchased by a major
dealer for his personal collection). Please note: I am definitely not
even in the minority of dealers offering such incredible buys. They
are EVERYWHERE! Like I have been saying for a good time, now,
this is the time to BUY. It is inevitable that eventually the NWA
material will become exhausted. When that happens – and it most
assuredly will – next week, next year, next decade…. but at some
point the river of material will dry up. When that happens, the prices
on the old falls will escalate so quickly meteorite collectors will be
kicking themselves in their behinds faster than George W. can butcher
the English language. Other prices will then begin to increase and
people will soon be talking about "the good old days" – which is
NOW, folks.
Happy Hunting! Michael




METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood May, 2004

Dominating the market of late have been the gush
of lunar and Martian meteorites available at better
and better prices all the time.

Matt Morgan had some killer full slices of Dhofar 019,
a very hard Shergotite. They were cut very thin and
"hard as a rock" as the saying goes. Very handsome
stuff.

Of course, the Hupes have a wide variety of both
the lunars and Martians. Adam posted a public statement
recently I think is highly relevant to this article, and I
will be quoting most of it following this paragraph. He
points out that he and Greg have a computer program to
track sales of various meteorite types relative to prices for
which they were sold on eBay. I found the facts in the
following comments by Adam most interesting & informative
and his conclusions right on:
------------------------------------
"Martians bottomed out two and a half years ago according
to our data base. Zagami could be purchased for $140.00 a
gram then and DAG 476 for $120.00. Both sell for around
$300.00 a gram now. It is understandable that the SAU005
and DAG 476 series would be at the low end of the feeding
chain because of the amount of supply. I feel Zagami (a
witnessed fall selling for less than NWA Martians) is under
priced right now because most of it has now been distributed
and larger specimens are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
Nakhla (another witnessed fall selling for less than NWA
Nakhlites) is the least expensive Nakhlite right now but has
held steady at around $1,200 a gram for several years making
it a relatively safe investment. It looks like TKW is the factor
that most influences the price of Martian material. Surprisingly,
it does not seem to matter that some are witnessed falls according
to our database which tracks auction prices not dealers. Martians
were one of the first type of meteorites to depreciate
and are among the first to recover from the downturn of a
couple years back. They have outperformed everything the last
two and half years according to our collection database.

Lunars, on the other hand seems to be under appreciated right now.
We feel that it was priced way too high four years ago and the price seems to have over corrected itself. We have improved our collection greatly taking advantage of these low prices as have several other collectors so you won't hear us complaining. At a fraction of the
weight of Martians, Lunars represent the biggest bargain right now,
in our opinion.

I feel as a whole, the so-called market is still adjusting itself.
Witnessed falls were among the last items to drop in price and
still continue to decrease sharply according to our database
that represents most available falls contained in our collection.
The low petrologic type chondrites and rare material having been holding steady lately indicating the demand is good and the price
has been beaten down about as far is it is going to go. If the supply
were to suddenly drop you can count on rare material to be among
the first to show a sharp rise in price according to our predictions."
-----------------
Man, was that a mouthful, or what? Here you have two of the largest
holders of Martian and Lunar material in the world, and they have
a computer program tracking all eBay sales…. not just on the planetary
material, but nearly all meteoritic material sold on eBay. Pretty
handy information – and very little theorizing going on. What there
is, I agree with: Lunar material is artificially low at this particular
time and much of the Martian material, as well. This is definitely
the time to buy (and, no, I don't hardly have any for sale in my
own stock – wish I did, though).

While the various factors of recent years have made meteorites
a somewhat "iffy" "investment" in general, the data above is
difficult to argue with – Lunar and Martian material is, at least
at this time, a "good investment," as are historic witnessed falls.
Strange in this time of dramatically elongated depressed meteorite
market we have such pockets of actual increase in value. While
we all may have missed the bottom of the turndown on planetary
material, the "upturn" appears to just be starting and prices are,
for the most part, quite near their all time low and, possibly, set
to increase, at least in this particular corner of the market.

That's it for this month. Happy Hunting! Michael




METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood April, 2004

The latest Market trend appears to be toward LL3s and other
rare typologies coming out of NWA, including a recent surge
in interest in the rare LL7s.

A recent surge in interest in building collections of ALL the
(non-Antarctic) SNCs and Lunars also has been observed.
Time was there were six, and ONLY six non-Antarctic SNCs
in existence and two of them could not be had under ANY
circumstances. Now there are well over twenty and a similar
number of Lunars.

Another variation on this theme is those collectors who look
to complete their SNC and Lunar collections in Thin Section
form. This can sometimes be far more expensive than
collecting micromounts, as most thin sections, even of
Lunar material, often have viewing areas many times
larger than many decent sized fragments people collect of
the SNCs and Lunars. However, viewing enjoyment is
frequently far more enjoyable, especially with many of the
SNCs which can be a marvel of color.

It is interesting to note that this renewed interest coincides with
the continued decline of prices of said rare material and it would
therefore be reasonable to conclude that this renewed interest is
DUE TO the increasing affordability of these ultra rare specimens.

I cannot account for the motives of others but I do notice that
various friends and relatives who hold little general interest in
meteorites do tend to perk up and express reasonable to enthusiastic
interest in seeing "meteorites from the moon" (and or from Mars).
This also seams to inevitably lead to increased interest in other
specimens, especially the Pallasites once they lay eyes on any of
them….. so, such increased interest in the "planetary material"
may also be in small part due to the pleasure one experiences in
livening up the interests of uninitiated.
With any luck, we can hope the depressed prices of rare NWA material
will continue, making the collection of Winonaites, Howardites, Urilites,
primitive achondrites and even the Martian and Lunar materials a very
achievable and increasingly fulfilling aspect of our ever increasing
meteorite collections.

Until next month….. Michael




METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood (March, 2004)

February was dominated by the annual pilgrimage to the
Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. The Show is more of an indicator
or the state of the wholesale market than of the retail market.
This is true, not only of meteorites, but of most material available
at the show, which runs the gamut of "rock hound" specimens,
spectacular amethyst geodes from Brazil, skulls of every known
mammal on earth including humans), pre-Columbian artifacts,
ancient Egyptian artifacts, etc, etc, etc.

It always amazes me the alarming number of meteorite dealers
(as well as collectors) seem oblivious to this distinction between
the wholesale market and the retail market. Of course, the more
this line blurs, the better for the collector. However, this is not
the case for dealers and I am astonished at the seeming total lack
of awareness of this fact on the part of same.

Dynamics contributing to this "blurring of the line" between
retail and wholesale have been well documented in this column,
particularly in my 4 part analysis of the contributing factors to
a continually depressed meteorite market. Many of the factors
are one and the same.

In any event, one gets to see an astonishing array of meteorites
at the show – frequently, as exemplified in ET's room, a huge
abundance of a single type (in his case, New Campos). This gives
the consumer a tremendous array of specimens from which to
choose. Personally, I am frequently impressed with the variation
in "taste" regarding such purchases, as at least half the time when
I see someone make a purchase under such circumstances, they
go right by what I consider the "pick of the litter" for what I consider
to be a substantially lesser piece – and, on occasion, what I see as
least desirable piece offered. This is, of course, most fortunate,
as it means a far wider array of people can walk off with their first
choice and dealers can continue to buy in bulk without fear of
being "stuck" with 30% of the their stock. This helps the dealer
as well as the collector, in that it keep prices modest.

This year's show, while providing all the associated benefits, such as
connecting with old friends, getting to know some people better, seeing
"who's who" from names off the meteorite list, etc, there were some interesting tell tale signs of the depressed meteorite market – as well
as some interesting exceptions.

In the auction, I was absolutely blown away at some of the low, low, LOW
prices some of the "high end" items brought – or, in many cases, failed
to get a bid! Perhaps most impressive, was a very nice 90 kilo New
Campo which sold for an astonishing $23.33 per KILO / $10.60 per LB!
I am still kicking myself for not getting that puppy, myself! Then, there
was a perfectly nice, parallel cut 149 gram slice of Esquel with a $2K
minimum (that is $13.42 per gram), yet no one bid on this very nice piece! Amazing.

However, while the high end items were getting short shrift, the moderate pieces between $75 to 3 or $400 were generating quite
lively bidding and sold, for the most part, at respectable prices.
Curious.

To me, the "surprise" of the auction was a packet of
seeds that had been in orbit on the Challenger which sold for
$60! Some people REALLY WANTED spacey tomatoes!

If anything, the show, as far as I could tell, was marked by a lack
of big sales (though Oscar and Eduardo of meteorite.com reported
selling ALL their full slices of beautiful Brenham slabs nearly half
an inch thick and larger than a basketball hoop. These, they reported,
sold primarily to institutional representatives shopping at the show).

Usually, at the show, one hears of this deal or that – someone or other
bought an entire Martian fall or lunar fall or this dealer purchased
all of the XXX stock from that dealer, etc. Also, one or two dealers typically buy many thousands of dollars at the auction. This year,
such rumors and auction purchases were conspicuously scarce or
lacking all together.

In short, with the exception of some heated bidding on modest pieces
in the auction, I saw little to nothing at the Tucson Show that indicated
ANY change in meteorite market trends other than continued suppression of prices, number of purchases and fabulous buys to
be had.

Until next month.....Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood (January, 2004)

A little news prior to the BIG Tucson Show:

The Tucson Auction is moving, as our old hall was
sold to a church…. The new location is the VFW
Hall at 1150 N. Beverly just off Speedway. See
http://www.michaelbloodmeteorites.com/AuctionCurrent.html
for details. Held Saturday, Feb. 7 opening at 6 PM.
I would like to give special thanks to Twink Monrad
for her exceptional help for providing contacts that
lead directly to finding both the old and the new locations.
You're tops in my book, Twink!

The Birthday Bash, celebrating the birthdays of
Geoff Notkin and the original Steve Arnold will be
held Friday, Feb. 6 at Las Fuentes (same as the last
several years).

Al Lang will be holding a "Silent Auction" of 60 specimens
in his room, concluding on Sat. the 7th.

No word as to whether there will be a Macovich Auction
this year. If there is one, presumably, it will be Sunday,
Feb. 8 at 10 AM at Inn Suites – poolside, as that has been
the consistent pattern in previous years.

This makes the weekend of the 6th, 7th & 8th THE meteorite
weekend for the Tucson Show. Be there or be square!

A recent phenomenon occurred on the internet of late that
involved a hysterically funny lampoon of several members
of the meteorite list and their various quirks. One of the
subjects of this hysterical web site was so offended he managed
to have it removed from the world wide web. Since then, the
creator of the "PROUD TOM" website has struck like Zorry,
leaving his "mark" hither and yon from one URL to another,
much to the delight of his appreciative and dedicated readers.

In the second issue of the PROUD TOM website I was honored to
be roasted by this wit of the WWW and, given the hit or miss
nature of his sites – here today, gone tomorrow, I am gratified
to post his lampoon of yours truly here, in a format untouchable
by the buffoon that chases his work about the internet in a vain
attempt to thwart the humor the rest of us so enjoy. So, I give
you the Proud Tom version of METEORITE MARKET TRENDS:



Meteorite Market Trends
Over the years, I have noticed that meteorite prices sometimes rise, but sometimes they fall, and sometimes they stay exactly the same.

I'll be back with more amazing meteorite market trends next time, readers!

and:
That's Amazing!!! - with your host Michael Mojo


Astounding Meteorite Facts from America's Oldest Hippy

On August 16 1923, a 231kg meteorite fell on the home of Mrs Odin O'Hoolahann of Arkansas and passed right through without leaving any trace. Nobody saw or heard anything and the damage was described as "extremely undetectable" - Man, I'd sure like to have a piece of that hammer!

The bright daylight fireball of 28 April 1933 over California (affectionately known as "the Californian April 28 Bright Daylight Fireball"), dropped a 2.5kg stony meteorite onto the car of Mr Boris Smalls.
It went through the roof, bounced on the driver's seat and lodged itself in the ashtray - Man, I'd sure like to have a piece of that hammer!

Bitsy Bobbit, a well known man-about-town in 1920's Chicago, who reputely bedded over 2,000 women in his lifetime, once claimed that a mystical meteorite was the source of his incredible libido. "The meteorite crashed through the ceiling of my boudoir and smashed my whole collection of Barry White wax cylinders" said Bitsy - Man, I need a piece of that hammer!



Until next time, Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood December 2003

Well, the market has outdone itself. It has become even
SLOWER. No one, certainly not I, thought such a thing
were possible after the last few years, but, in fact, even
THAT creeping pace has slowed significantly further.

Now, other than a few dealers on eBay, nearly all meteorite
"action" is strictly collectors selling to collectors. (and, believe
me, the quotation marks are to indicate the word "action"is
being used with the loosest possible interpretation).

It does seem as though greater and greater emphasis is being
placed on the rarer type NWA material, as opposed to the
historic falls and finds – which is quite understandable, given
that far more has been invested in the latter, while the former
is still in the process of coming in from the fields.

The continuing irony is that FANTACTIC buys are taking place
with nearly every sale. People – collectors and dealers, alike,
are GIVING the stuff away! I have seen absolutely PHENOMENAL
prices being given – or, in many cases, such as eBay auctions
ending at a price that leaves one shaking one's head.

On other fronts, someone made a mock web side attributed
to one of the meteorite list fellows that was hysterical. One of
the more entertaining aspects were the comments that resulted,
ranging from hilarity and enthusiastic praise (80to 90% of the
feedback) as opposed to 10 to 20% of the feedback being
terribly offended….very strange. In keeping with this were the
three "subjects" of the site, two of whom got a good chuckle out
of it and one who was so "insulted" as to complain to the web
hosting company, resulting in its being shut down.

My compliments to Steve Arnold of Chicago and to "Proud Tom"
for their senses of humor and good sportsmanship. It is my belief
and firm hope that the perpetrator of this site will "strike again,"

hopefully choosing various list members to lampoon, and, hopefully,
often…all in good fun, of course.

I would say more about the meteorite market, but what is to be
said of something so close to being dead?

Until next time, Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood November 2003

Part 4 of 4: EVERYBODY thinks they are "a dealer" – the
final brake down of the wholesale/retail system.

Three months ago I began a series on the elements which
continue to keep the meteorite market depressed: I began
to address four dynamics I had not previously addressed
in detail:
1. Failure on the part of dealers to generate new collectors
2. The impact of the internet on the meteorite market
3. A few dealers' destructive approach to the market
4. EVERYBODY thinks they are "a dealer" – the final brake
down of the wholesale/retail system.

So, why does "everybody" dealing serve to undermine the
strength of the meteorite market? Well, it works like this:
Joe Blow (you know this guy – he appears frequently in jokes)
goes to the Tucson Show – or the Denver Show – or even to a gem
fair in his home town and there is a meteorite dealer there….
Joe sees the guy has etched slices of, let's say, Toluca. Joe is taken
by this material. However, being a red blooded American, he has
an entrepreneurial spirit and decides that instead of getting one
slice, he will get 10 slices at a discount for volume and sell the
extra 9 slices to pay for the piece going into his collection. Now,
let's say the dealer paid $6 per gram for the material and is selling
it for $10/g (Just you try renting a room, traveling, advertising,
tying up your capital, and then selling for less than a mark up AT
LEAST of that much. Seriously, try it).

So, our friend Joe manages to get these pieces for, instead of the
retail cost of $10/g, $7 per gram (the dealer is having a rough
show and feels he MUST "cover expenses" of the immediate costs
the show has demanded of him and "dumps" these pieces.

Now, Joe is happy as a clam. He only wanted one specimen and
would have happily paid $10/g for such beautiful material, but now
he has 9 slices he can sell – ANYWHERE, eBay, friends, advertise to
the list, it doesn't matter. Then, he figures, he can easily make the
cost of ALL the specimens back and "pay for" the specimen that
will go in his collection (the best one, of course…. who would keep
the worst one?).

Now, for the sake of simplicity, we will say each specimen was 100
grams. So, Joe offers the other 9 puppies (900g) at $8 per gram.
Remember, he only paid $7/g for his piece, so, at $8/g will actually
MAKE him money. Unfortunately, it will also destroy the retail
market on this material, but that isn't Joe's problem… and he can
be a "good guy" and give everyone a bargain in the deal. It doesn't
get any better than that, does it?

So, Joe sells 5 of these guys within the first week; then, nothing.
He waits, and still, nothing. Now Joe is a little nervous. Two
weeks have gone buy and still, no more sales. He "invested"
$8,000 and has only gotten back half his money. Since he only
wanted the one specimen, that makes his specimen $40/g, instead
of only $10/g the guy originally asked for. Something MUST be
done!

So, Joe offers the remaining 4 specimens at $7.50/g. After all,
he only NEEDS to get back $3,000 more, as this would return
him to the retail price originally asked of him. Joe sells one more
specimen at this reduced price. Now, his original buyers are a
bit miffed at him, as they paid $8/g and he is now offering the
same material at $7.50/g, but who cares? He doesn't need their
approval to "conduct business" as he sees fit. It's a free country,
isn't it?

Now Joe is left with 4 specimens: the one he wanted and 3 more
yet to sell. He has recouped only $4,750 of his $7,000 "investment.
What next? Well, he only NEEDS to get $6,000 back and he will
equal the price originally asked for his one specimen. Hell, that's
only $4.16/g! He can do THAT, easily. Hell, he'll ask $5/g and
come out "ahead." And, so he does, and, in fact, is able to sell the
remaining 3 specimens at $5/g, with the following results:
$7,000 spent, $6,250 recovered, and he gets his personal specimen
at only $7.50/g. He will call this, "success!"
Well, there is a little problem here…. the "market" for etched
Toluca is now LOWER than the wholesale price. Now, while this
does not effect Joe, at least in the short run and regarding
Toluca, since Joe has "filled that slot" in his collection, there is
a huge "ripple effect." Another factor eroding the market has
taken place. And not a "small" one, as you might think. Several
things have happened here:

Let's look at the original dealer who sold Joe his specimens. Lets
say he has 100 specimens of this material. By now, he has sold
65 of them, but now the retail market has been dropped to
LESS THAN HIS COST. This is a small community, folks. "Everyone"
"knows" you can get etched Toluca of this quality and size at
$5/g! They have seen it advertised. Now, this dealer MUST
REALLY "dump" the remainder of this stock at less than he paid
just to avoid catastrophe.

So, what's the big deal? That's HIS problem, right? Well, yes and
no. Now, if this were an isolated event, for the most part, yes.
But it isn't an isolated event. Thousands of such incidences have
been occurring for years, now. (This is in part due to the ease of
the internet – but that area has already been touched on).
I conducted a survey of people belonging to the meteorite list.
(about 600 individuals). There were about 20 questions on the
survey. One of the questions was (yes or no) "I am a meteorite
dealer." I kid you not, 26% responded "YES." So, if over a
quarter of all collectors are doing something along these lines,
you can see how this changes things from an isolated ripple
in the pond to a bloody tempest.

As these occurrences continue to be pervasive, the collector is
left with several impressions, whether they are accurate or not.
One is, if I wait, I can get it cheaper later. This causes the market
to slow down, considerably. This has a distinct effect on existing
dealers. (I will speak more to what I mean by the term, "dealer"
a bit later). As a result, dealers become very reluctant to buy
material. Why? Because it is virtually impossible to reliably
predict what the retail value of the material will be. Would YOU
spend $25,000 on material that may end up shortly with a
retail value of LESS than your investment? And, don't forget,
that is only AFTER you have managed to sell it. So, you can
watch your losses, only after advertising and one specimen
at a time, take your lumps? Sound like fun?

So, again, what does this mean to the collector? So what? So
dealers are having a hard time of it. What's it to me? Well,
as the line between retail and wholesale erodes and dealers
become increasingly hesitant to purchase, material becomes
less and less valuable.

Well, still, why should that concern the collector? Well, as it
becomes less and less valuable, it also becomes less and less
available AND whatever you bought last month could drop to
half it's value next month. Oh, so what? I'm in it for the
"science" or the just plane magic of being able to see and
show and tell and TOUCH a piece of something out of this
world. Well, yes, BUT, do you really want to spend thousands
of dollars and have your collection diminish to half, then a
quarter, then a tenth of the value you have in it? It is something
to think about.

Don't get me wrong. I love "low" prices. It is the INSTABILITY
of prices that is the real problem. Not how low or high they
are. And everyone dealing inevitably leads to instability.
Low is great! Give me low any day of the week. Just give it to
me the same next week and the week after, please. I can make
money fine and dandy at 1/10th the prices of 1995. No problem.
I prefer it that way. I can afford to add to my own collection
far more readily. I love low prices.

As "too many cooks spoil the broth" what IS a "dealer," anyhow?
This question was debated for weeks on the list. Some people
even got very upset about it (It never ceases to amaze me
about what people choose to become upset). For the purpose
of this article, a "dealer" is a person who buys and sells meteorites
in such volume as to be financially dependant upon success of
said sales. He may or may not have another source(s) of
income, but his meteorite sales have a significant effect on
the quality of his life. Therefore, most such people tend to
engage in sound business practices, but, as can be seen in
last month's column, not all of them! However, for those
who are not financially dependent upon sales, the percentage
of individuals engaging in unsound practices increases
dramatically.

With the brake down of the wholesale/retail dynamic, business
slows down a great deal, and, even though there may be a
great deal of inexpensive NWA material – even of the rarest
typology, there is still a significant drop in material available
to the collector.

Take myself, just as one example. (I know there are a COUPLE
of dealers that still have a large stock on hand, but the majority
of dealers have made the same adjustments I have) I used to have
50 to 200 different falls and finds available at all times. If you
added the different thin section specimens, that could climb to
150 to 300 different falls and finds. Now, not knowing what the
market will do next month, let alone next year, I cannot afford
to "invest" in such a broad sampling. Instead, I periodically offer
a few different types at a price I hope will clear out my inventory
of these falls and finds instantly. I used to try to keep half of
everything that came in, just so people would have a selection.
Now, it is too risky. As a result, I probably have not more than
20 falls and finds in specimen form and 20 or 30 in thin sections.
That's it.

I am not alone in this approach. In fact, I suspect I am in the
upper 50th percentile, and perhaps much higher, in terms of stock

on hand.

Lastly, I would like to stress one more time: it is NOT the low
prices that are a problem – low is good. It is UNSTABLE prices
that clog up the market and cause the slow down we are seeing.
This instability is a direct result of the brake down of the wholesale/
retail dynamic in the meteorite market, and NO market can
stabilize with out said wholesale/retail structure. It is essential
to the survival of any capitalistic marketplace.
Remember my earlier challenge: Invest capital, advertise, travel
to gem shows, pay show fees, and then try to keep food on
your table through such efforts. If everyone "dealing" did this,
few, if any, of the above problems would exist. People would
be FORCED into holding to a retail price in order to survive,
and the meteorite market would stabilize. The prices might
remain relatively low, but that would be perfectly OK. Stability
would result in an abundance and variety of stock offered
by real dealers and the collectors would benefit as a result.

Lastly, let me point out again the difference between instability
and a weak market: instability is fluctuation in price – the
more dramatic the fluctuation, the less the market is stable,
while a "weak market" is characterized by a lack of numerous,
enthusiastic buyers. They are two very different things. We
have, for some time, been experiencing both.

Now, I readily admit the proliferation of hobby "dealers" is only
one of four major problems in the meteorite market. So, I admit
that while stability would return if it weren’t for "everybody"
being a dealer, before we are likely to see a "strong" meteorite
market, all four of the above listed conditions would have to
change. While these problems are all correctable, I am not
holding my breath.

Until next month…… Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
By Michael Blood October 2003

Part 3 of 4: Factors serving to undermine the meteorite
market: Dealer Behaviors Destructive to the Meteorite
Market

NOTE: Almost all of we dealers are guilty of some degree
of at least one or more of the following behaviors.
I name no names, so, please, insert foot only if the shoe fits!
In many cases I am a witness, in many others, I am simply
passing on what has been told to me by many dealers and/or
collectors.
Of course, all of the characters described below are fictional.
Any resemblances to actual people is strictly coincidental.
Some may be combined characteristics of actual people, some
may be non existent people, while others may be characters
created from the characteristics of multiple non existent
people. Some of YOU may be non existent people, etc.
However, just IMAGINE if…….

Some time not long ago, several dealers went in together
to purchase a substantial portion of a then recent fall of
a rather rare meteorite type. These several dealers invested
tens of thousands of dollars in this material, because, even
with saw loss, at the price for which they got it, they could
offer the material at a price well below what the market had
been in the past for such a type and still make a very
handsome profit.

They began advertising and selling it at a low retail price (given
its rarity). Then, another dealer who held resentment for these
fellows hurriedly located the source of the remaining material and
bought many times what they had - almost all of the remaining
material in existence. This huge purchase allowed him to negotiate
a much better per gram price than the other dealers had paid
(the more you buy, the cheaper per unit the material is - that
is true with almost ANY product, not just meteorites).

He then began widely advertising it for sale retail at his gram
COST, stating that the other dealers were massively "ripping
off" collectors, asking for many times what he was selling it for.

This left the dealers he resented
1) Looking very greedy for selling it for "so much" (even though
they had been selling it only for a few days, so, they weren't
anywhere near having recovered their investment) and
2) they were then "stuck" with a HUGE investment they could
never recover, because a retail price had been established
well below what they had paid for it wholesale.

Realize this dealer did this at NO PROFIT. He did it JUST to hurt
those he disliked. Of course the collectors thought this dealer
was quite the fine fellow. After all, he was selling them precious
material at a FANTASTIC price.

Now, stop and think a minute….. what about when a SIMILAR
scenario occurs when a dealer isn't necessarily TRYING to hurt
any other dealers – he just unthinkingly precedes to undermine
the retail market to recover his original investment. Now, THIS
happens all the time. Someone will buy a large amount of a
meteorite, sell some of it at the current retail rate, grow eager
to recover his capital to invest in something else he sees as
holding greater promise – or just to pay bills, and sells off the
remainder of his stock for what he paid for it per gram in
bulk, thereby destroying the retail market for that material.

Fighting in public: OK, not fist fighting, but arguing, mud
slinging, name calling, etc. This is seen ALMOST on an ongoing
basis. Why is this destructive? Well, besides for the OBVIOUS
"bad vibes" there is a SERIOUS consequence to these public
(usually on-line) tiffs that range everywhere from so called
"heated debates" to outright name calling and including but
in no way limited to accusations of obscene, detailed homophobic dynamics.

Now, on rare occasion, a collector will engage in such behavior,
and a few years back one was kicked off the list for life for being
one of the most severe offenders in the obscenity and homophobia
categories. HOWEVER, the vast majority of this dynamic is between
dealers, and, in fact, one or two in particular. It is amazing that
grown men can achieve financial success and still be so insecure
as to brag and boast and huff and puff like fourteen year old
ninnies and, essentially engage in "my dog is bigger than your
dog" dynamics. Not only that, but take it to the name calling level.

Please be clear, I am NOT talking about legitimate debate between
individuals who treat each other with common courtesy, such as
was witnessed in the celebrated ongoing debates between two
respected individuals as to the existence or non-existence of the
"Nakhla Dog." These debates were just that – debates. Civil and
with reasonable courtesy by both individuals. I am talking about
the down in the mud, immature, ugly, name calling crapolla
we have all been exposed to. This nonsense is far worse than
extremely distasteful. It is clearly destructive to the Meteorite
Market.

Such behavior is so repugnant on so many levels, any comment
on it is inadequate. However, in terms of the Meteorite Market,
you can be sure that more than a few serious meteorite collectors
have STOPPED COLLECTING as a result of this totally unacceptable
and obnoxious behavior. Most meteorite collectors are in it for the
same basic reasons most people engage in most hobbies – it provides
a total escape from the "ordinary" – from the work-a-day world,
and from STRESS. They DO NOT want to see "their hobby"
contaminated by such dynamics. People do NOT want to hear
it/read it. So, with that in mind, let's move on…

Not long ago, a very likable dealer made a fantastic purchase of
a single stone fall that was very visually striking. He set a decent
retail price per gram and stuck with it, selling and trading material
to institutions and other dealers at that rate…… until he recovered
his initial investment. Now, since he had purchased the entire fall
(a single stone) his original cost was considerably cheaper and he
had more than half the material remaining when he was well "into
the black" (having fully recovered his investment and making pure
profit).

This person THEN began to sell this fine material at HALF the cost
he had charged to that point…. then he began to GIVE it away with
any purchase of other material he was selling.

This had profound repercussions throughout the meteorite market:
1) every collector that had paid the original price felt like a fool and
resented the fact they had paid "so much" for something now
available for free.
2) every dealer with whom he traded felt totally ripped off. They
now had material worth literally NOTHING for which they had
traded material worth various amounts, depending on the size of
the trade they had made with him.
3) to this day, the material, which is really quite nice stuff, has
an aura of "worthlessness" about it. No one displays it with pride
and satisfaction.

Did he do anything "immoral" – depends on how you look at it,
doesn't it? If you are a dealer that traded him material you could
just as easily have sold for $2,000, well, then it would feel pretty
much like he had taken $2,000 from you, wouldn't it? If you were
a collector that paid $1,000 for a nice handsome slice and two
months later you could get it for free, thrown in with a $400
purchase of something else you wanted, you might also feel ripped
off, would you not?

Something similar happens much more commonly: Dealers get
"desperate" for sales in a slow market and start dropping prices
on material – sometimes on material that has held constant in
price for many years. This has a similar effect, though on a much
smaller level – however, since it is so common, the impact is
in the same neighborhood: it causes collectors to think twice – or
more, before buying….perhaps, if I wait a while, he will drop the
price…..and some DO!

You don't have to have a degree in psychology to figure these
things out, folks, yet dealer after dealer has engaged in these
practices. If you DO have a degree in psychology, you know that
this is a CLASSICAL behavior modification technique. Way to go,
guys…..

Another time, quite a while back now, (years but not decades)
there was a relatively new dealer who quickly invested LOTS
of money into meteorites and made a nice color catalog – and
priced his material on the distinctly high end of the "normal"
spectrum of pricing in those days – which was, of course, quite
a bit higher for most material than now. Now, whenever someone
contacted him about anything, he immediately offered whatever
they were interested in a price at least 50% lower than his "list
price." This, in itself, while not my style, is not necessarily a
destructive approach. However, he then proceeded to mail his
catalog to EVERY museum with a meteorite collection on
earth.

To understand the destructive impact this had, you must realize
that for years and years dealers had been trading to museums
in a way that was highly beneficial to both sides. They would trade
a variety of material to a museum that had the bulk of this and/or
that fall and would often be able to get a highly favorable "exchange
rate" since the museums were interested only in a scientific and
exposition side of the situation and the dealers were interested
primarily in the economic side of things. A typical transaction with
a museum could easily take from three months to several years,
which was a real hardship, as whatever was offered had to be held
out of circulation, tying up whatever capital was involved with no
certainty there would come an end result – and even if there did,
one was still in a capital stasis for that time. However, since some
exchanges were VERY favorable, it all worked out well for the
dealers and a tremendous amount of material that never would
have reached the collector otherwise was made available.

Everyone has read in ROCKS FROM SPACE, for example, about the
tremendous trade Bob Haag made in getting 17 LBs of the Zagami
stone in exchange for a rather extensive collection of meteorites
worth in the neighborhood of $100,000. The museum got a ready
made collection – and Bob became financially independent over
night.

Now, here are these catalogs in the hands of the museum staff and
their eyes begin popping out, while they mutter to themselves in
disbelief, something to the effect of, "OH NO! We have been giving
away GOLD in exchange for silver and diamonds in exchange
for gold! For years!

This was most unfortunate for everyone involved, really, as the
museums had "profited" nicely in their own way, from the
abundance of variety provided by dealers and the dealers had
profited financially and the collectors had been supplied with
access to material in the process. Kiss THAT dynamic good by
for quite some time. Initially, it halted ALL trading instantly.
Since then, some has been started up again, but now it is far
more complex. Not a good idea, that.

A different dealer has dramatically impacted the market via
his exceptionally cavalier attitude in field situations immediately
following falls.

This character is notorious for running up the price of material
he, himself, is purchasing in the field. According to multiple sources,
he will even readily interrupt deals in progress between a dealer and
a finder, stating rudely, "WHAT?! I'll give you TWICE that much
for it! Here, here's the cash!" and shove it in the seller's hands.

Not only does such an approach violate every sense one may have
of civilized proper interaction, it does something else…. it creates
a NEW FIELD PRICE. People finding meteorites to sell them to
dealers known to be buying them are well aware, for the most part,
of what the buyers are willing to pay, whether it is in Chicago or
Africa or New Mexico, once a price is paid in the field, THAT
becomes the new price everyone expects to be paid for their find.
(yes, of course there are other factors – but this is a major one).

Now, one would have to ask one's self why someone would DO such
a thing – as any grade school child can figure out the immediate
consequences of such activity. The answer is deceptively simple:
the higher the field price, the higher the retail price. The higher the
retail price, the easier it is to "cover" costs of air fair, hotel rooms,
food, etc.

In other words, if I pay $2 per gram for a witnessed fall and sell it
for $4 to $5 per gram, buying, say, 5 kg, I make ABOUT $10,000.
However, if I pay $10 per gram and sell that same 5 kg for $20
to $25 per gram, now I am making more like $50,000.

Who pays for this, the collector. The only cost to the dealer
is the initial field price – whatever the field price becomes,
he can "reasonably" ask 2 to 3 times that to cover his expenses
and time and efforts.

The French dealers were extremely distressed when the American
dealers quickly ruined the African market in this manor. They
had been paying only a few pennies per gram and NEVER
"picking" and the Americans came along and started paying
more for "this kind" and the like, to the point that by the time
the NWA 482 Lunar was purchased – as a suspected Eucrite –
it was at $10 per gram in the field. It, of course, turned out
swimmingly for the dealers who "took the risk" they could
get their $ back - for a Eucrite! Good for them, but a few
years earlier that stone would have been a few pennies per
gram.

Another dealer has steadily and rather quickly become THE
seller of common type material from North West Africa. How
did he accomplish this? Easily: volume. He just took the old
"make it up in volume" formula and applied it to meteorites.
As a result, he has moved hundreds and hundreds of pounds –
even TONS of meteorites. If you are buying, it is great…. or at
least it seams great at first. He buys by the ton, marks it up
a very few cents per gram and sells it 10 LBs or more at a time –
over & over & over. Well, all you have to do is move several
hundreds of thousands of dollars worth and even a ten or
twenty percent markup will start to count for something.

So, what's the problem with that? Well, for one thing, the
wholesale/retail market has been totally destroyed for one
thing. Note for instance, that while there are hundreds of
collectors with 10 to 100 LBs of unidentified NWA rocks
in their "collection" (is a pile of rocks really part of a "collection?"
or, instead, is it something people got to perhaps later use
in trades or possibly even for resale? If this is the case, then,
they are out of luck, because they paid the same as everyone
else, and there is more unidentified NWA material that is
surely composed of a common type than there for what there
can possibly ever be collectors.

Even more amazing, this same dealer will take very rare types
and sell them for nearly the same minimal mark up over his
bulk wholesale cost. No wholesale/retail – therefore, no market
for this material. Nice to have VERY cheap rare types in one's
collection – but no market – none.

And Thin Sections…this same person found the world's cheapest
thin section makers and has TONS of the stuff done – puts them
on ebay at a 1c opening and blows them out the door. This can
be "great" if you want dirt cheap more than you want quality.
And the difference in price is, I must admit, at least if not more
than the difference in quality – both being more than substantial.
I have bought a few, myself, coming cheaper than the $12.50 to
$37.50 it costs me just to have them made by the best. Hard to
pass up a beautiful LL3.4 for $21.75.

Now, don't get me wrong, this guy is one of the nicest guys I know.
He is a personal friend of mine and a generally all around fine fellow.
He made the mistake once of asking me how I thought he should
market a fabulous Howardite he was buying. I used the opportunity
to explain the value of maintaining a wholesale/retail pricing system
and outlined how he could go about selling the entirety of the
material at a good profit during a relatively short time period
using such an approach. He unfortunately responded with something
to the effect of, "Go teach your grandmother to suck eggs! I sell
more meteorites in a year than you have in your whole life!" (NOTE: these were NOT his words… but that is a decent version of the meaning in his response).

We remain good friends – we just view the marketing of
meteorites differently. In nearly every other respect, we are in
pretty much full agreement on the majority of things and get
along quite well. Neither of us have a thin skin and we are both
secure enough in ourselves to be able to easily tolerate differences
we have & his response didn't phase me in the least in terms of
my feelings toward him, personally. Of course, I would have
preferred my message had been embraced as brilliant…. but
then wouldn't we all?

DUMPING: This is one of the things MANY of we dealers are
guilty of, at least on occasion.
(FIRST I must explain what I
mean – at least in THIS CONTEXT, of the term, "dealer." At
least in this context, I consider you a dealer if you depend
on meteorite sales to a significant degree to pay the rent and
put food on the table. And I will tell you WHY: If you do not,
then things are very different for you in the meteorite market
place.)
This is how it works….seemingly nothing is selling, the
rent or mortgage is coming due, the food is getting low, you
need a new set of tires on your car…..whatever. So, you
brilliantly decide to have a "SALE." Only problem is, folks,
with a depressed market, several dealers are having a sale
in almost any given week – or at least month.

Again, this comes down to undermining the trust of the buyers.
If sales are going on here and there half the time – well, I will
just "wait" until I can get whatever it is I want when it is on
sale. This serves to perpetuate slow sales – which tempts more
dealers to have more sales which encourages collectors not
to buy except under sale conditions……and the market
continues to remain depressed.

So, why should the collector give a damn about any of this?
Good question…. and I don't have a clear cut solid answer.
Except in the case of driving up field prices and blowing the
relationship with museums, collectors benefit, at least to a
large degree, from most of the other dynamics mentioned here.

As I have been saying for over a year, now, THESE ARE THE
GOOD OLD DAYS. Now is when to buy. Now is when you can
put together an astonishing collection at a fraction of what it
would have cost you five years ago. Now is when you can FIND
material just not available at ANY price five years ago. Now is
when it can be had for pennies – or, what used to be tens of
thousands of dollars can now be had for a few hundred. You can
actually have a decent sized SLICE of the moon for what a half
BB sized frag would have cost five years ago.

We dealers will continue to struggle for survival and collectors
will continue to benefit. How long? Only the good Lord knows.
Next month: Part 4: How "everyone's a dealer" contributes to
the seemingly endless depression of the market.
Until then, HAPPY HUNTING!







METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
- By Michael Blood, Sept. 2003

Last month I began a series on the elements which continue to keep the
meteorite market down: There are four things not previously addressed
in detail:
1. Failure on the part of dealers to generate NEW COLLECTORS
2. The impact of the internet on the meteorite market
3. A few dealers' destructive approach to the market
4. EVERYBODY thinks they are "a dealer" – the final brake down of the
wholesale/retail system.

Last month I covered #1. This month I will be talking about #2: The internet
– the curse that accompanied the blessing.

Regarding collecting meteorites, the blessings of the internet included that for the
first time, collectors could SEE what they were buying via color photos instead
of just reading the written descriptions from snail mailed advertising sheet. In
addition, this was very rapidly followed by nearly universal acceptance of credit
card payments, which made internet purchases extreamly simple.

In addition, the collector was suddenly privy to SEVERAL dealers – which
would very soon become DOZENS of dealers and following not too far behind,
MANY dozens of "dealers." All of these conditions immediately afforded nearly
all collectors VASTLY greater exposure to meteorites than ever before. Generally,
this is thought of as a good thing….but, just as the old saying goes, "too much
of a good thing…"

Here is how it works: BEFORE the internet, every collector had some type
of specific "adventure" to go along with each and every specimen in his or
her collection. At the very least, they received a mailer with descriptions
of several types of meteorites, then, venturing into the unknown, sent their
money off in hopes of getting something appealing to them for their collection.
Then they waited for the wheels of the process to turn, as their payment was
carried over land and sometimes sea, to be received, then their purchase(s) to
be packed and mailed back to them.

They would have a package in the mail, and, in anticipation, like a child on
Christmas morn, open it to see what Santa had brought. Often, the collector
would go to a gem and mineral show or even the Tucson Show and what an
adventure that would be.

Either way, there was some form of ADVENTURE involved in acquiring
each and every specimen in one's collection. Maybe you even successfully
haggled over price a bit and/or left the one that was more expensive, or
"splurged" and got the one you really wanted, or whatever.

Now, such adventures are missing from most acquisitions by the collector.
Instead s/he is faced with photos of each and every item AND there are a
nearly infinite number to choose from. There is practically "no waiting" for
ANYTHING. Nearly any meteorite that has ever been available is not only
obtainable, but is almost always obtainable at any given moment – and you
can locate the web site and click "HERE" and see the specimen from which
you are separated by mere money. (Some sites even have a "shopping cart").
Not too much in the way of waiting or mystery or "Romancing The Stone"
with this approach.

With nearly everything almost always available there are several dampening
elements at work to curb the collector's enthusiasm. It is not too much to say
that such total availability has a psychological effect of diminishing the aura
of rarity and value meteorites have traditionally held. Destroyed it? Of course
not, but diminished it – yes, and significantly so.

As if this weren't enough, add to it the fact that many dealers and even
collectors have added a photo collection of their entire personal collection
to their web site. Now, it used to be that seeing someone else's collection
was a BIG deal. It only happened rarely and "in person," of course, and
there were always lengthy discussions of sharing the stories of how this
and the other specimen were acquired, and "where on EARTH did you
get THAT?!" comments, etc. Sharing such experiences almost always served
as major shots of adrenalin to the old meteorite enthusiasm gland. Now,
however, with dozens of fantastic collections "staring you in the face"
(there is not much in the way of "sharing" involved in checking out these
collections at two AM on the internet), the vast majority of positive elements
are lost with the added deterrent of the sort of implication of, gee, no matter
what I do, look at all these fantastic collections I will never be able to equal……

It was always somehow OK if one were lucky enough to be exposed to Bob
Haag's collection, or Al Lang's or Marvin Killgore's collection or the like.
No one really EXPECTS to ever "get there" with their own collection.
These are inspirational icons. However, with dozens and dozens of collections
full of specimens most museums would envy, put in your face with no personal
sharing and interaction with the owner, the impact is somewhat different.

Yet another of the SIGNIFICANTLY negative impacts of the internet on the
meteorite market has been the generation of the idea in the general public
that all meteorites are VERY, VERY valuable monetarily. Prior to the internet,
meteorites in the US were still being purchased in the field for a fairly consistant
$1 per gram. Along came the internet spider and sat down beside all the finders
and they somehow became convinced that every single meteorite, especially
their own, was worth a thousand dollars a gram. Steve Arnold used to make a
living just bringing meteorites from the field to the wholesale market. However,
about eight years ago farmers started to suddenly hedge and then came to a standstill
in willingness to part with new finds. Somehow it was OK if they got 16 cents
for a bushel of wheat, even if bread was well over $1 per loaf…. but it was NOT
ok to get $1 per gram on meteoritic material that would bring $3 per gram after
it was sliced, polished, advertised and sold retail. Have you noticed the distinct drop
in the number of finds that have been showing up in the US in recent years?
Many, many meteorites are, to this day, staying in the hands of farmers and little old
ladies convinced everyone is trying to rip them off offering such ridiculous prices for
their precious meteorite. To this day I occasionally get email from a nut case in
Canada CONVINCED there is a conspiracy among scientists and meteorite dealers
to deny him the wealth due him for his discovery of multiple Martian meteorites.
He assures me law suits loom on the horizon of my future and the whole bit.
And this is from a nut case that hasn't even found a real meteorite! Imagine the
countless individuals that DO find a real meteorite – now, it is a matter of everyone
trying to rip them off.

Look at the most recent falls in the US and the field prices that have demanded for
them:
1) Monahans, essentially unobtainable by private collectors after one of the two stones
went to an institution and the other went into a private collection whole.
2) Portalas Valley, finders demanded $10 a gram or simply would not sell, and this was
BEFORE the unique metal phenomenon was established in this material.
3) Park Forest almost immediately went to $10 per gram (though some of this was
due to institutional involvement and sloppy dealer mania, with some dealers disrupting
purchases with clever comments like, "Hell, I'll give you XXX a gram for it!" Still,
"common" material had a field price almost equal the truly impressive and historically
significant "hammers" that penetrated the roofs and ceilings of homes and smashed
into cars and the like.

Now, recognize that while this dramatic increase in field prices is happening, the internet
has managed to play a major role in simultaneously deflating the prices of the majority of established falls and finds. Recognize also that all of this does not even begin to hint at
some of the OTHER problems the internet has generated, and I am not talking about
endless numbers of calls from people who are convinced they have found a meteorite
and, of course, it is worth a FORTUNE. No, one of the most horrific aspect of
the internet is the spawning of countless meteorite "dealers" – the last subject of this
series of Meteorite Market Trends and one of the more undermining effects the internet
has had on the meteorite market.

Next month: the impact a few dealers have had on the marked due to destructive
marketing methodology. (I'll be lucky if I don't get shot for that one!)

Until then....




















Back to Michael Blood Meteorites

--------
METEORITE MARKET TRENDS (August, 2003)
by Michael Blood
Well, here we are again – and still looking at roughly
the same market we have seen over the last several years,
with, of course, a few ups and downs here and there.

As mentioned in previous columns, some meteorites,
such as Canyon Diablo and several others do tend to go
up, but even they do not increase as they would in a
"normal" market.

So, other than what has already been written, what
continues to keep the market down? There are four things
not addressed in detail to this point:

1. Failure on the part of dealers to generate NEW COLLECTORS
2. The internet
3. A few dealers' destructive approach to the market
4. EVERYBODY thinks they are "a dealer" – the final
brake down of the wholesale/retail system.

Now, I know I will "get heat" for this, but here goes:

1. Lack of new collectors

Dealers, overwhelmingly, though not absolutely, fail
to "go after" generating new collectors. Ironically, a
notorious meteorite dealer who has been shunned by the
majority of the meteorite community, was one of the great
exceptions to this pattern!

I always thought it was entirely idiotic when other
dealers expressed resentment over his pricing – which
seemed to run about 3 to 8 times – and even up to 20
times the norm. But there is NOTHING dishonest or "evil"
about that. You won't hold customers, but you will certainly
make a profit while you got 'm. It's not how I want to do
business, but it is in no way illegal or even immoral.

What he DID was advertise like a champ and bring in
LOTS of new collectors! Of course, once they started discovering
other dealers and the "normal" pricing structure they then
purchased almost exclusively from other dealers – and
MANY will not admit that their first purchase(s) was/were
from him. Many is the time, however, especially among some
of the larger and older collectors, I have heard people say
the first meteorites they got were from him – now, they
always tagged on a statement expressing resentment over
his prices – but they acknowledged two things: he sold high
quality specimens and he was the first they bought from.

So, look what he did RIGHT….. he ADVERTISED TO THE
GENERAL PUBLIC. Like Bob Haag, he put out a "slick"
catalog with professional quality photos and extolled the
mystique of meteorite collecting. In fact, Bob is the ONLY
OTHER dealer I know of who does that.

Granted, it COSTS MONEY to produce such a catalog –
BIG money. BUT, who is the man MOST collectors say they
bought from first: Bob Haag!

SOLUTION: Dealers need to stop competing for
existing customers and start educating the public on the
joys of meteorite collecting.

There are more ways than one , but a major and
proven method includes laying out the cash to produce
educational catalogs to be given away to potential
new collectors – AND – advertising to other than
the existing collector market. This is a costly and long term
project – and entirely necessary if dealers want to continue
making a living selling meteorites.

Another productive venue is to do the smaller gem and
mineral shows. HOWEVER, like catalogs, this is an EXPENSE
rather than a money making proposition. My first meteorite
was purchased from someone doing the local fair! He was in
the gem and mineral display area and must have spent two
hours talking to me and answering my questions. For that, he
got a few dollars when I purchased a small Canyon Diablo!
Not a profitable transaction, that. HOWEVER, there was a new
collector "born" from that transaction.

One obvious method of attracting new collectors is to
have a good number of articles on one's web site useful to
people new to the hobby. This is obvious, but I am often struck
with the number of dealers who do NOT provide this sort of
information. Granted, it has limitations – the main one being
that it doesn't actually "attract" new collectors – instead, it
does give the already interested novice useful information
and feed his/her interest.

However it is done, there is no question in my mind that
if the meteorite market is going to continue to support dealers,
even at the existing numbers, "new blood" will have to be joining
the ranks of collectors and the above are two major methods of
bringing that about. Unfortunately, it requires time and money
with little IMMEDIATE "gain" for those doing the most, so, this
will have to be a "group" activity on the part of most, if not all,
of the dealers to make it work. The great motivation is that it
is essential to survival.

Next month, Part II: the internet, the curse that followed the
blessing.

Until then.....

--------
METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood (July, 2003)

As the economy continues to be "depressed"
and interest rates remain at an all time low,
meteorites continue to be available at the lowest
prices in years.

Some consider this a serious tragedy, though,
for the life of me I cannot figure out why. All
markets fluctuate and when our overall economy
returns to robust and interest rates rise into the
double digits (and this is nearly as certain as night
will follow day) the prices of meteorites will again
rise. Especially since, by then, the number of collectors
will almost certainly have increased 5 to 25%.

Even in this market there ARE certain meteorites that
continue to increase in price. They are, primarily, meteorites

with a limited supplyfrom old falls or finds such as
Canyon Diablo – particularly "nice" specimens are
continuing to increase in price, and one can expect
the same of Park Forest, which is severely limited in
supply relative to demand, and can only increase in
price, and likely, in the near future.

Meanwhile, those "in the know" are amassing
large quantities of stock for sale in the future and/or
are increasing their private collections at an unprecedented
rate.

I have said it before, and it is worth repeating: the
day will come, and perhaps not so far off, when meteorite
collectors world wide will look on these times and sigh,
much as most of us have reading about prices of meteorites
in the 1960s. These, my friends ARE "the good old days."

Until next month…..Michael

---------------

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS
by Michael Blood (June, 2003)


A while back there was a spat between a couple of meteorite
dealers on the list (surprise, surprise) and one relatively new
member asked why dealers got so upset about pricing. (really,
it would best be described as ego wars). I responded off list and
below is what I had to say – with just a tad of tweeking for public
consumption:


You ask what goes into meteorite prices, why do people (meteorite

dealers) get so upset about it and isn't it a strait supply/demand thing....
Well, these are great questions and there isn't an easy answer,
but let's start with the second question:


Why people get so upset:


If you spend, say $10,000 to get 10,000 grams of XX meteorites
(it doesn't matter if you bought them or that is the cost of travel,
hunting and field purchases combined) and you do this so you
can sell them and make a living from the profit by repeating this
process over and over.... in other words, you are a real dealer, not
a collector who is dealing to defuse expenses ..... you really must
resell the material either in mass (wholesale) for a slight mark
up (anything under say 50% is a slight mark up, as you have
other ongoing expenses) or you must sell it for a significant mark
up one specimen at a time (significant mark up is usually several
times what you paid for it - such as Park Forrest, where some material
was purchased in the first 24 hrs for $1/g (don't think for a minute
that wasn't sold for $25 to $45 a gram later) though within 1 to 2
days, field prices were $10/g and went rapidly up from there.


So, now you have your $10K invested and dealer B comes along
and buys $10,000 worth and starts selling it for 2/3rds your price.
This will generally result in dealer A (you) being VERY ticked off, as
now you are in a pickle..... you have $10K invested - and, to make it
interesting, let's say you have already sold $4K worth at $10 a gram
and now dealer B is selling it for $6.50/g.....if you don't drop your
price to match or beat his, no one will buy it from you as long as
dealer B is selling it for 2/3rds your price. If you DO drop your price
to match his, all your customers who already bought $4K worth are
going to be VERY ticked at you - You are in a dilemma, hence the

resentment.

However, even this scenario is far more complex, as there are
almost always MANY dealers involved, not just two. Now, you must

realize that is only ONE scenario – there are many, MANY more....
but that is ONE reason people get weird about prices. Add to that same
scenario the collectors who buy 6 to sell 5 just to help pay for the
one they will keep - THEY might sell them for a 10% mark up! Now
you are REALLY in trouble (more on this next month).


An extreme instance of this could happen with someone - let's
say a dealer, where in several other dealers he resents and views as
competition rather than colleagues, go in together to invest tens of

thousands of dollars in a rare meteorite. This brings the per gram
cost way down, and they begin selling it at a good profit, but at a low

retail price for how rare the type meteorite it is. Then, let us
say our resentful dealer finds out where they got it and he buys
like a HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS worth. This gives him a
a much better gram price than they had paid (the more you buy,
the cheaper per unit the material is - that is true with almost ANY

product, not just meteorites).

Now, lets say he widely advertises it for sale retail at his gram
COST. This leaves the dealers he resents 1) Looking very greedy

for selling it for "so much" (even though it was only for a few days and
they aren't anywhere near having recovered their investment) and
2) they are now "stuck" with a HUGE investment they can never
recover. Realize this dealer does this at NO PROFIT. He does it JUST
to hurt those he dislikes.


Talk about resentment - you can imagine? Of course the
collecting public think this dealer is quite the fine fellow. After all,
he is selling them precious material at a FANTASTIC price. There

are many, many businesses in which such an act would get someone
killed - literally.


While the above is, of course, a fictitious scenario, there ARE things
that go on among dealers that generate SERIOUS resentment. So,
when you hear dealers talking trash, there is something to be said
for the fact that, at least to my knowledge, there has not yet been
any bloodshed. Ironically, the ones talking the most trash usually
have not experienced significant financial devastation - at least
not regarding the material being publicly debated at the time.
What you HEAR about is usually the little stuff. The serious
stuff, similar to the story above, you do not hear about. There is a
"code of silence" among dealers, (obviously to a limited degree –
so, you do get the petty trash talking) to not make the ugliest
infighting public for the obvious reason it would turn off
collectors. (Who wants their "hobby" full of psychodrama, let
alone really ugly behavior?)


My perspective is that the crapola you DO hear about is like the
kettle on the stove: it makes a loud noise...... but it is really just the

blowing off of steam. You might not hear the pressure cooker before
it blows the house up (I really have been surprised no dealers have
had anyone whacked.....at least not yet)


Well, I had better stop NOW, as I have violated the unspoken
rule of "omerta" just by broaching this topic - the point is, however,
that there ARE underlying dynamics - behind the scenes exploits
you NEVER EVER hear about and never will - it is not profitable
to bring the really serious goings on into the open. Deals get made
here and there back and forth - someone who stabs you in the back
one month (sometimes on purpose, but sometimes damaging your
prospects quite by accident) may include you in on a deal that
makes half a year's profit for you the next month........ can you
really AFFORD to hold a grudge against such a person? And, if they
do include you in a highly profitable deal, are they really your
"enemy" in the first place?


Last, but certainly not least, it must be remembered that
every dealer is every other dealer's potential "customer," (as
well as potential supplier) so, that also serves as a strong
motivation not to escalate major conflicts to an irreconcilable level.


Yah..... I'd better stop here. I have no doubt several dealers are

already clicking their tongues with what I have already said.
However, watch for next month's "Meteorite Market Trends" and
I will try to address the "supply and demand" issue - that's a bit
less controversial – but not as much as you might think!


Until then, Michael



METEORITE MARKET TRENDS

by Michael Blood (May '03)

Park Forrest.

This L5 Impact Melt Breccia dominated the meteorite
market in April 2003. Falling in the late, late evening of
March 26th in a the suburb of Chicago known as Park
Forest, and extending into a few neighboring areas, this
fall generated meteorite madness like no other before it.

The list was abuzz with postings by Steve Arnold of
Chicago – with something to say…. his home town, Chicago,
had been pelted with meteorites the night before. And pelted
is a good description, as these specimens bashed the hell
out of several structures and dug themselves deep into
lawns and shattered upon impacting the streets. The word
"fall" does not describe the velocity required for the impact
force of these meteorites.

Within 24 hrs, meteorite dealers had decended in number
upon the locale of the fall. Within 2 days the place was crawling
with meteorite dealers, collectors, hunters.

Now, make no mistake, this meteorite is a significant
fall by virtue of its typology, alone, being an impact melt
L5! When's the last time you ran into one of those? Does
Cat Mountain ring a bell?

As if that weren't enough, then try the fact that no
other meteorite I am aware of has "hammered" so many
man made structures in the last two centuries, including,
but not limited to homes, cars, tow trucks, baseball stands
and park playground equipment – and those are just some
of the ones verified with affidavits.

Now, to top it all off, imagine half the Tucson contingent
falling upon this neighborhood and running amok for well
over a week, wheeling, dealing and, in some cases, outbidding
one another to get their hands on the stuff. As if that
weren't enough, we have the police issuing these comments:

Park Forest Police Chief Robert G. Maeyama said Friday. "We're advising people
not to be in a big hurry to sell them. Take a step back and consider that these are
very special objects, and don't take an offer from people who are trying to buy
anything and everything for very little money."
(Chicago Tribune, 3-29-03)

But, it doesn't end there folks…. then you get local
gangs who start ripping off younger kids who have found
stones, you get people finding specimens, realizing more
is being paid if they hit something, so, they start throwing
their finds into their own cars….. the shenanigans go on
almost endlessly. And all this is before we find out it is an
impact melt breccia! Can you imagine what would have
happened had everyone known of the rarity of typology
in the first days after the fall?

So, the meteorite market was, understandably
DOMINATED in April with sales of Park Forest. And a truly
stunning meteorite it is, too. Initial rumors of huge
quantities of material soon proved to be wrong (some dealers
actually TURNED AWAY finders wanting $1/g the first day
if their fragments had "insufficient" fusion crust!). There was,
however, enough found that it at least did not turn out to be
highly scarce. While I have heard no estimates of total weight,
it is at least double digit pounds if not tens of kilos. The
unofficial champion hunter, in terms of numbers of finds:
Steve Arnold of Arkansas.

April saw material being sold in a huge range of prices,
from a very few frags going the first week for as little as $17/g
to someone in the field paying $60/g! Now, that doesn't
even include the hammers that nailed man made objects.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on perspective, no
cats, dogs, people, horses, cows or hamsters were struck in
the fall – but other targets were nailed mercilessly – from
the yellow line in the road to the Garza "Wrecking Ball" that
crashed through the roof and ceiling and tore a young boy's
room to shreds. (Rob Elliot got well over a hundred grams of
various fragments of this most choice of all stones).

The Hupes teamed with Al Lang to purchase the entire
ROOM, ceiling, window, etc. from the Garza home and will
create a traveling exhibit much like the Peekskill car.

Besides the extremes in prices, the majority of material,
not counting the hammers, has sold rapidly for between $25
and $45 per gram, depending on multiple factors such as
weathering, fusion crust, cut slices vs frags vs whole stones,
dealer from whom one purchases, etc.

I have heard NO ONE complain about the material they
have purchased, regardless of the what price they may have
paid or the form of their specimen. Everyone is tickled pink
with this fall, which comes in everything from nearly solid
black to a light turquoise aquamarine hue to "spiderwebbed."

Personally, I have found myself purchasing several specimens,
as one or two just doesn't do this stuff justice, it is so very varied.
One of my favorite is a 99% fusion crusted oriented whole stone
under 10 grams that Steve Arnold of Arkansas was kind enough
to sell me, then several slices showing varying aspects of this
incredible material.

I can certainly see why the market was dominated by this
fabulous fall. This thing was like Holbrook and Peekskill combined,
with the technology of the internet to bring it all into our own
homes…. is that cool, or what?!

Until next time…




Meteorite Market Trends

By Michael Blood (April, 2003)

The meteorite marked is as "soft" as can be. While
there are a spattering of instances of materials, especially
historic witnessed falls, where material is commanding
"Pre-African" prices, there are many, many instances that
indicate the profound deflation of the market is continuing
full strength.

One particularly conspicuous fall is Gibeon. Gibeon has
completely "dried up," having occupied the cat bird seat of
irons for over a decade. However, rather than prices increasing
as would be historically expected – and following the "rule" of
supply and demand, no one, and I mean no one, will pay beyond
a the "standard" prices it brought in its hay day. Instead, dealers
(at least most of them) have simply stopped offering it at any
price. One can find a few etched slices here and there – but
nothing like the quantities that were continually available in the
not so distant past. Etched slices are, perhaps, at about 2% the
quantities that used to be offered. As for whole specimens, it is
almost never seen, and on the very rare occasions it does turn
up, it is, almost without exception, very run of the mill at best
in character.

Another indication of the exceptionally "soft market" is the
Campo Nuevo. As though it were following an accelerated trail
of Gibeon, it has recently begun decreasing substantially in both
quantity and in quality, yet there has yet to be ANY shift in price.

I predict this pattern will next take place in Moldavite. I have
it on excellent authority that the Czech Republic Modivite fields
have "dried up" in just the last six to eighteen months. One should
note, by the way, that this is after CENTURIES of mining! I have a
friend who is a digger over there and he is, naively, I fear, expecting
prices to escalate momentarily. I have tried to warn him otherwise,
but ALL the Czech diggers have gone to hoarding what little they
had on hand at the time of the nearly over night exhaustion of
fields was experienced across the country. He may be certain that
the best and the biggest will skyrocket in price over night, but I
assure you I am not. I expect exactly the same pattern will be seen:
prices will remain modest while quality quickly evaporates. Now,
don't get me wrong, I won't be selling any of my hedgehogs or
giants, but I do not expect an increase in price, either…. not one
iota (well, maybe an iota).

One fall where similar dynamics do NOT apply is Sikhote-Alin.
Since the fall of the USSR and the legal or otherwise release of
material from Russia would lead one to believe this material will
NOT be in short supply for some time. METEORITES FROM A TO Z
lists TKW of S-A at 50,000 kg +. However, I have heard figures
as high as 240K kg. Now, that is a LOT of material. So, the sudden
drop of S-A from a rather "standard" $3/g can be very reasonably
expected to continue at the current levels (SOMEWHERE between
37c and $1/g, with a rare exception, such as the spectacularly
oriented 37g piece that sold for over $500 on eBay). This is for
entirely different reasons. S-A IS conforming to the "rule" of
supply & demand. The supply went WAY up. The only thing that
keeps it as "high" as it is is that it provides one hell of a spectacular
visual iron, comes in many sizes and retains it's eye appeal
regardless of how tiny the specimen gets. It still reminds the collector
of WHY it brought $3/g like clockwork. Personally, I have never heard
a single collector express remorse at having spent $3/g for S-A in the past, and I feel the same way, myself. S-A is THE queen of the irons.

Speaking of which, this brings us to another spectacular iron
and a very interesting "example" of this exceptionally soft market:
TAZA. This material, like Sikhote-Alin, is mostly comprised of pieces
of exceptional eye appeal, regardless of modesty of size. In fact, the
entire fall is only about 175kg total, and the "main mass" took up
73kg of that in one piece. Specimens of Taza sold initially for $6/g
very consistently. They are spectacular whole specimens AND
spectacular when etched. Yet, this material sold (albeit rapidly)
at Tucson this last year at $2.50/g! Yes, yes, Tucson is supposed to
be a "wholesale" show, but we all know the line blurs totally with
meteorites and price goes down with quantity….especially very
large quantity. Not so with Taza. while it sold out quickly, it still
was offered at what is a very low price for material which rather
easily brought $6/g prior to the show. The strange thing about
this fall is the TKW is so low, it still isn't clear where this material
will end up in this market. It won't be going much lower, however,
as I know the major holders of this material and what is "left" sold
for wholesale for near the Tucson price. In addition, the buyer of
the 73kg main mass is a private collector and I would not bet a
penny on that piece ever being cut – not that it should be, as it
is a visual delight, itself, not to mention the main mass of a truly
spectacular fall. It is impressive it "only" brought $38K at auction.
So, with Taza, we still have an "unknown" in terms of the market.

That's about it for this month…..soft market mixed with
some strong prices, mostly for older witnessed falls (IE Honolulu
became available and I was delighted to snap up half a gram or
so for my own collection, even at a very hefty price per gram).

Interestinger and interestinger.

Until next time, HAPPY HUNTING! Michael

------------------------------------------------------

Meteorite Market Trends (& Tucson Report)
by Michael Blood (March, 2003)

The meteorite market of the past month has been dominated entirely by the Tucson Show.
As best I could make out, most dealers and all buyers were very happy with this show.
Unfortunately, with working my auction, I was unable to get to every dealer's room and missed
many of the "must see" locations, not the least of which were the Hupe/Lang and Bob Haag

exhibits at Westward Look Resort – or at Best Western, for that matter, missing all the
dealers in that complex.

Still, all in all, it was an absolutely terrific show. For
the first time I saw Taza go for well under the standard $6
per gram, rather remarkable given its extremely low TKW
and high popularity. Not following this trend, however,
was a specimen held by Bruno & Carine that has to be one
of the 4 or 5 best oriented specimens of any kind in the
world. I was so impressed with its form I neglected to note
the actual weight, but I would put it in the neighborhood
of 400 to 650 grams. Like a bullet, it was, with streaming
flow lines from the center of its perfect "point" which was
larger than a ping pong ball but smaller than a tennis ball,
and about as perfectly rounded. Just a spectacular specimen.
Bob Haag's $5,000 offer had been turned down. And, given
its status among the world's finest oriented specimens, I could
see why.

The private party given by Dr. Kriegh and Twink was, as
always, delightful. Unfortunately, my wife had to take a
phone call from a friend in distress and had to go outside to
hear her. The point is, let me tell you, this show, at night it was

COLD outside! I took her an occasional beer, but am sure that
did nothing to warm her up. This year the smoking on the patio
was at a minimum – that's how cold it was.

However, the video team of John Gwilliam and Bob
Holmes was filming interviews under professional lighting
in the front yard….perhaps the lights warmed their subjects
somewhat. By the way, John & Bob were seen everywhere
at the show and March 7th is targeted for their video "release
date." It should be available at a reasonable price at that time.
You can reach Bob or John after that date at BAn6426804@aol.com
or jkg@theriver.com, respectively. Knowing John & Bob I anticipate
a great tape well worth having, spurring memories for those
fortunate enough to be there and easing the pain of those
unable to make it this year.

One sobering moment was provided by O. Richard Norton,
warning of the growing momentum of the sentiment that all
meteorites should be kept OUT of the hands of private collectors
and held ONLY by the scientific community.

The big bad Birthday Bash at La Fuente was, as always, a
raging success, overflowing the huge room set aside for that
purpose. the Harvey Awards were, of course, the highlight of
the evening.

Awards were given to:

O. Richard & Dorothy Norton for their contributions to meteoritics via
their publications, Dorothy, for providing the illustrations and Richard for his
writing of the cornerstone books, ROCKS FROM SPACE
(I & II) and THE CAMBRIDGE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF METEORITES.

Steve Schoner was awarded for his contributions in the field exemplified
by his tenacious work in the Glorietta Strewn Field. Darryl Pitt accepted in
his absence and Bob Haag gave a moving speech about how it was Steve's
approach to hunting meteorites that let to Bob moving in the direction he
did at a crucial time in his life & therefore, shaping his development in
becoming "the" meteorite man.


James Kriegh was awarded for his discovery and mapping of the
Gold Basin Strewn Field.


David Weir was sited for maintaining his exemplary web page. You can
see his award winning site at:

http://meteoritestudies.com

The brothers Greg and Adam Hupe were awarded for bringing
together an astonishing array of planetary material out of NWA.

Iris Lang was the most beautiful recipient, being awarded for exemplifying
the long suffering wife of a meteoriteophile.

In a final act of blatant materialism, Geoff and Steve auctioned
off the last award – the proceeds going to buy drinks for the legitimate
recipients. Many good hearted participants joined in the bidding,
but Mark "The Big Collector" Bostic "won" the bid at something
over $100, assuring wet whistles for all recipients.

It was a very pleasant evening for all.

Saturday night was my auction and it went very well,
indeed. O. Richard and Dorothy Norton were there signing
and selling books and many last minute entries were topped
by the 73 kg main mass of Taza, which sold that evening for
a record breaking $38,000. Thanks to Adam and David for a
magnificent entry and to the buyer who wishes anonymity.

Blaine Reed and the Jim Tobin/Paul Harris cartel got into
a very lively bidding race after a beautifully fusion crusted
unidentified NWA whole stone that brought a good deal of
levity to the evening.

Thanks to all who contributed to making the evening
such an enjoyable one. Unfortunately, I did not leave the building
until 1 AM and, after a late dinner I did not get to bed until
3 AM and, consequently, missed the Macovich Auction. However,
my wife and I DID discover a chili roaster made by a local
pair of metal workers that we thought we would never find and
brought one home with us.

Sunday afternoon was spent visiting dealers who had entered
items in the auction and visiting Darryl Pitt to deliver a specimen
he won on an absentee bid.

It seemed everyone had what they considered a good show
experience and it was sure great seeing everyone, though I still
regret the rooms we didn't get to.

As for the "Market" aspect of the show, I would have to say
it was "active" and involved strange combinations of very low
priced material, material which is tenaciously holding prices and
some material which is "up" in price. (try finding Canyon Diablo
at any of the "old" prices of even a couple of years ago – or try
getting a bargain on a phalanged button or finding a killer
Campo Nuevo).

Remember, many of the exchanges that take place at the show
are known only to the seller and the purchaser, who are most often
both dealers and frequently involves large quantities of a given
material at far below "market value." Therefore, it will be interesting
to see what the weeks ahead bring, as the 6 weeks or so following a

Tucson Show are always interesting to see what comes available on
the market.

Until next time – HAPPY HUNTING!

Tucson Photos can be seen at:
http://community.webshots.com/album/63396208zpZVuB

---------------

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS

by Michael Blood (February 2003)

Well gang, the long awaited date has arrived! We are
all about to trundle off to the famous & fabulous Tucson
Gem and Mineral Show, with its nearly countless attractions.
As promised last month, we'll take a look at some of the
stuff NOT mentioned in last months article:

One thing meteorite aficionados should not miss are the
NON-meteoritic attractions, the most obvious of which are the
spectacular fossil specimens and gigantic geodes. However, with
just a little bit of persistence, additional treasures await the
adventurous explorer, from Pre-Columbian artifacts down the
hall from the Luis and Alain Carion, to insects in amber in copal
scattered throughout the show, to "singing bowls" made of ground
and re-constituted quartz crystals, to the entire "Metaphysical
Corridor" where a great deal more than the Heaven & Earth
people can be found.

This section of the show, isolated in the southernmost of the
4 or 5 motels south-west of the freeway (the vast majority are north-
east of the freeway), hosts this fascinating conglomeration of dealers
selling everything from the stones and tektites offered for their
talismanic value by Heaven & Earth to people I even consider far to
far out – like the old lady who will give you a massage to balance your
charkas – all 8 of them…. that's right, while the ancient religions of
the East have concentrated on "only" 7 chakras, and St. John The
Devine wrote of "only" the 7 seals, this lady has been "told"
by those in the spirit world of the 8th Chakra! Who could resist?
Well, I for one. It is one of the few places I hurried out of, finding
it more repellant than some of the European dealer rooms manned
by importers who clearly are unaware of the American "obsession"
with deodorant (now, THAT can be scary, too, let me tell you).
Some of the more fun places in the "Metaphysical Corridor"
include some of the aroma therapy places, often mixed in with
exquisite carvings of female deities of fine gem material, the
pyramid power place that is "more pyramid than thou" in every
way imaginable, to the fabulous wands made of crystals & gems
of every kind.

The metaphysical isn't your cup of tea? No problem, how
about some of the most incredible stones you have ever seen? Or
geodes… those hollow stone configurations with crystals growing
and forming crystal caves inside… and not just the magnificent
"Green Skin" Amethyst geodes, ether. There are geodes of Celestite
(an amazing rich aquamarine colored crystal) citrine (the yellow
crystal resulting from amethyst being exposed to radiation – best
when naturally occurring), etc, etc, etc. By the way, if you want to
part with $35 to $3,500 for one of these stunning pieces, shop around,
as prices vary tremendously. You can, however, expect to find a truly
stunning one of substantial size between $100 and $150 IF you search
diligently. I have a pair of amethyst "cathedrals" (like a cut in half very
tall Dunce cap – did you know the Dunce cap was invented by a rather
famous teacher to enhance mental energy?) on my computer desk that
are each about 30 inches or more and I believe I paid $100 for each of
them.

Other goodies are really nearly too numerous to even mention!
I used to live in Tucson and would spend 8 hrs a day for 2 weeks when
the show was a bit smaller and I promise you you cannot walk into,
turn around immediately and walk out of every room in Tucson in that
time. You really cannot see it all. It is not physically possible. BUT, besides
for KILLER buys on tools and miscellaneous, such as Riker boxes, diamond
blades, etc, etc, you will also find high RETAIL prices on these items – so,
again, look around, take notes and come back to such places.
Of course there are sea shells, carvings, ancient beads, geodes, gems
of every type, modern beads, pearls, crocodile heads, human skulls, and
the list goes on and on.

Now, as for meteorites….. go here:

http://www.meteorite.com/tucson.htm

This is the Meteorite Exchange Tucson Guide. While the very best
buys in meteorites may be had at the auctions, believe me, there will be
endless opportunities for items NOT in the auctions at each and every one
of the dealers listed in the above location. It seams everyone has their
special deals no one else has – or at a price no one else can match.
Connecting with these people is essential…. and doing so before your
pockets are empty is a very, very good idea. Of course, if you are like me,
that is a hell of a lot easier said than done. And, of course, like me, you
may run into that "buy" that you know if this is the ONLY thing you get
at the show, your trip was well worth it. Isn't it a shame that it seems
always to involve AT LEAST 85% of every cent you can possibly afford?
The irony is, I have NEVER regretted such a purchase. I look over at the
35 KILO Markovka sitting on my desk…. or the fabulous crocodile skinned
two piece specimen from NWA, or…. and the list goes on. So, I guess I'm
not the world's greatest example of budgeting money at the Tucson Show.
Oh well….

If this is your first time, you are in for the time of your meteoritic
life. If it is not your first time, you may want to try a few of the places I
mention here. You might want to consider 10 to 15% of your purchasing
money for some of this other spectacular stuff. The Tucson Show really
does have a lot to offer beyond its fabulous meteorites….

Until next time – HAPPY HUNTING!

-------------------------------------------------------

METEORITE MARKET TRENDS (Revised - see last 2 paragraphs)
By Michael Blood (Jan2003)

Well, this month the biggest news is the approaching
Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. There are going to be a few
new twists in addition to a few entirely new things on the Meteorite

Market front at the show this year, so, I thought y'all might enjoy
hearing about them:
For the first year ever, Mike Farmer will have a room – in fact,

for that matter, so will Eric Olson, as they are teeming up in room
316 of Inn Suites – the room occupied over the last several years by
the Labennes. Jim Strope will be displaying a few select pieces in this
room, as well, so, this will continue to be a room well worth checking
out.
Additionally, this year's "People's Auction" is kicking it up a notch,

as Emeril Agasi would say. Many higher quality specimens have
already been placed on consignment and are being "uploaded" at
this very time. Those already "up" can be seen at
http://www.michaelbloodmeteorites.com/Tucson%20Auction.html
In addition, most of the select specimens for the auction on display

from Wed, Feb. 5 through Sat, Feb. 8 in the same above mentioned
room – 316 Inn Suites – and, yes, people can still bring in pieces the
day of the auction on site at the Jr. Chamber of Commerce Bldg. at
1115 E. Fort Lowell (see directions and other details at above site).
We always get several excellent pieces at that time, as well.
In spite of a distinct increase in the number of quality specimens

consigned, the auction will continue its "Wild West" atmosphere,
informal social mixing, and overall devil-may-care jocularity.
Not to worry.
One stop that should not be missed at this show is the Westward

Look Resort at 245 E. Ina Rd. (1/2 mi E. of Oracle). This is a show
for eccentric and wealthy collectors that will take place only for a
few days from Feb 7 through 11. While most items will be the
largest and most outrageous of the mineral specimens at the
show – and while most of us won't be able to afford ANYTHING
offered, there will be a couple of sites meteorite aficionados will
NOT want to miss. The Hupe Planetary Collection of main masses
will be on display, and they will be teamed up with Allan Lang,
who will be offering "The best Canyon Diablo specimens from
the Nininger Collection ever assembled" as well as some of his
most impressive historic witnessed falls. With Allan's historic
collection and the Hupes' Planetary Collection we have a real
"Old Meets New" combination going on.
As if that weren't enough, Bob Haag (who rarely has a room

at the show anymore) will bring who knows what – but it is well
known that he possesses some of the most important specimens
ever gathered. He tells me the items offered will include a 4.8 kg
whole stone of Allende, a 9 kg Imilac, a large coffee table sized
whole slice of Esquel and, I kid you not, his "Whale Brain"
Mundrabilla – which I have always considered the most visually
striking specimen in his most impressive personal collection. For
my money, this specimen is second only to the Willamet Iron in
terms of stunning visual impact. For those of you who have not
seen it, this specimen, alone, is worth the visit. Bob's prized Zagami
stone and Calcalong Creek will be displayed, as well. See Bob &
Heidi in Rm 238.
The Hupes, Adam and Greg, will be displaying the main masses

of the Lunars NWA 482 and 032 as well as 998 Nakhlite and 1195
Shergottite. In addition to these main masses of planetary specimens,
they will also offer their Olivine rich Diogenite, NWA 1459 ("The
World's Rarest Meteorite Classification"), NWA 1242 Howardite
and NWA 1222 (EL5) main masses. They will be offering a few other
"surprises," as well. See Adam, Greg & Allan in Rm 243.
Just seeing these main masses and other mind boggling specimens

will be a rare and exciting opportunity not to be missed. By the way,
for those who might not be able to afford a main mass of ultra rare
material, many smaller sized specimens of the entire Hupe Planetary
Collection will be available at my auction Sat evening the 8th of Feb.
They will include sizes from a hand full of milligrams to full slices -
and many are being offered with no minimum or reserve.
"Regular" venues include The Macavich Auction on Sun. Feb 10

at 10AM Inn Suites, Poolside. Darryl Pitt always comes up with some
of the most striking specimens on earth. To view items in Darryl Pitt's
auction go to:
http://www.macovich.com/
More to come next month on all the other "regular" Tucson venues

not to be missed. Until then…
HAPPY HUNTING! - Michael