Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An Education in Denver

I'm in Denver at Martin Zinn's big fall show. I did his spring show here and there is no comparison with the fall one--it's a much bigger show in September!

The bulk of my business this year has been selling Campo del Cielo meteorites. These are iron-nickel meteorites--hunks of iron, often rusty, from outer space.

In August I acquired two collections of meteorites including dozens of different types. The problem was, as a neophyte, I didn't know how to price these little gems from space. I knew enough to know a good deal when I bought them, but that was the limit of my expertise.

Yesterday I was privileged to receive unlimited and free assistance from one of the world's top meteorite dealers: Blaine Reed. With Blaine's assistance I was able to price my new meteorites at fair market prices.

Working with him was a hell of an experience. While I've learned a lot about meteorites this year, I obviously know infinitely less than a top dealer who has passionately collected and dealt in meteorites for decades. His knowledge was impressive. He could easily distinguish one type from another among over 50 different types of meteorites. At one point I questioned him about a price he was suggesting and he replied: "I can't even begin to communicate all of the subtleties of why some meteorites are more valuable than others. I can just help you price them." There was nothing arrogant in his tone. It was a reminder as to how much I have to learn. Blaine was impressed with my meteorites which included some he hadn't seen in a while.

Yesterday I purchased a flat of material from the so called K-T boundary. This is the line in the geological record between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods. (Geologists use the letter K to abbreviate Cretaceous.) The K-T boundary material contains the clues geologists used to give credence to the theory that a meteorite took out the dinosaurs. The story is a fascinating one. In short, a giant meteor is believed to have entered the earth's atmosphere 65 million years ago and crash in to our planet at the Yucatan peninsula. Among other things this not so little rock from space is believed to have created tidal waves a thousand feet high that cruised hundreds of miles inland along thousands of miles of coast lines. Enough matter was thrown in to the atmosphere to shut down photosynthesis and disrupt the food chain killing over 70% of all life on earth including all of the dinos (except for birds who are modern day dino-survivors).

There is much more to this tale but one of the key results was opening the door in the evolutionary chain of events that allowed for the rise of mammals who until that time could not compete with the dinosaurs.

Hence, a meteorite is responsible for our very existence. It's quite a tale and the K-T material I purchased yesterday holds the evidence of this cataclysmic event. I've had many people request pieces of it before and now I have some! It's not expensive, but it is a must have for collectors.

You can read a little more on the K-T boundary at

It's been absolutely wonderful to connect with the meteorite community and especially to see Jose G (my Campo man) whose support has been invaluable in getting my business going this year.