An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine
by Martin Horejsi of Martin Horejsi's Meteorite and Tektite Books
 

 

Haag Heaven:

Collecting Historical Falls from THE Meteorite Collector

Friday evening at the Tucson Show in February, I went to the Birthday Bash Party as did most of the meteorite aficionados. Moments after arriving, Bob Haag shook my hand and bought me a margarita. Of course Bob is a kind and generous guy, but likely the warm welcome came more from the fact that earlier that day we closed the deal on an exchange of some wonderful meteorites I purchased from his collection.

My path first crossed with Bob's back in 1993. Bob was one of the most famous meteorite collectors, and thus a magnet for other collectors. But this year marked a transition for me in meteorite collecting when six wonderful witnessed falls from the Robert A. Haag collection left to join my collection. Further, all but one of the specimens were stones I studied more than a decade again the pages of Bob's 1992 Field Guide of Meteorites and Collection Catalog.

The Robert A. Haag 10th Anniversary Edition Catalog (1992). This copy is worn with years of study and dreaming. Many years ago, I made a glossary for the catalog by alphabetizing all the specimens along with their page numbers. I sent the list to Bob marking our first formal communication.
 
In this month's installment of The Accretion Desk, I am highlighting the unique specimens Bob provided me at and after the 2005 Tucson Show.
Vigarano, Italy

The V in CV3!

Vigarano, Italy is a rare, historic fall from Italy. This CV3.3 (reduced) carbonaceous chondrite fell in 1910, and later became the type-specimen for the CV chondrites.

This wonderful 61 gram parcel of cosmic carbonaceous real estate quickly became one of my most favorite pieces.
 



 
As if a gorgeous crusted slice of the famous Vigarano is not enough, this specimen also has a painted Vienna Museum collection number right next to the classic Haag-painted specimen name.
 


 

Two larger CAIs in this CV3.3 are treasures within a treasure. The CAIs, likely older than the earth itself, make the historical fall date of Vigarano seem quite recent.
 


 

Pictured above are the Haag specimen label and a photograph of Vigarano as pictured in Haag's 1992 catalog. It seems 10g from the 1992 piece have found a new home prior to my turn with this slice.
 


 

Nogoya, Argentina

A rare CM2 fall from 1879

In a stroke of luck for me (and one of madness for Bob), I was able to purchase his 112g partial end section of Nogoya, Argentina, a CM2 that fell in 1879. Only a single stone of 4kg fell, and Nogoya is extremely low in its distribution among collections worldwide.

Inclusions and chondrules in Nogoya are small and multi-colored, and as Bob notes in his catalogs, a more silica rich appearance compared to other CM2s. To me, they have a rather Murchisonesque quality.
 



 

Crust always improves a meteorite's look in my opinion. Topping a tenth of a kilogram, this partial end section offers plenty of surface to look at, both inside and out. Bob traded this rare stone out of the La Plata Museum in Argentina. I doubt anything like that will happen again anytime soon.
 


 
Welcome to Bob's Tattoo Parlor: Names and a number are a slight historical blemish on this specimen, but I prefer to see as a beauty mark. I know for a fact that Bob misses this piece, and I am especially thankful he let me place it in my cabinet.
 

 

 
A hundred grams of any meteorite is a good thing, but 112 grams of a CM2 fall from 126 years ago is amazing. In this case, 12g have left the piece since it starred in Haag's 1992 catalog as pictured above.
 


 

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

An Almost-Witnessed LL4 Fall

Type LL4 chondrites are very rare, but fresh crusted falls of LL4 material are almost unheard of. Top that off with being from Louisiana and a sub-1kg total known weight, and you have a prize piece no matter the size of the meteorite collection.

For some reason I did not buy this piece while in Tucson. But when I came home and came to my senses, I called Bob right away hoping like crazy that Greenwell Springs was still available to me.

It was.

Now it isn't.
 



 
Bob took three lines to write the name on the edge of this slice. Originally Bob purchased his slice from a collector who was able to buy a considerable portion of the single mass of this fall from the finder. The slice of Greenwell Springs I now hold in my collection had been in Bob's collection almost since its 1987 arrival on earth.
 


 
Very few collections hold any samples of Greenwell Springs. The difference in weight between my piece and the one pictured in Haag's 1994 catalog is 23g. I wonder where the missing material went?
 


 

Bovedy, Northern Ireland

A House-Hitting Type-3 whose fall was seen,

heard, and recorded!

A large, crusted slice from an Irish house-hitting type-three chondrite of low total known weight is always a joy to add to one's collection. But adding the Bob Haag history to the slice, as well as an actual audio recording of the fall makes this slice of Bovedy a meteorite that even though it fell recently-in the same year as the first lunar landing, the story of its fall firmly places it in the category of future-historic meteorites.
 


It is always a pleasure to spend time looking at a meteorite whose class type ends in a 3.
 


The name Bovedy is written two ways: on the right in paint, and on the left in ink. Bob received this slice in a trade with another meteorite dealer.
 


Bovedy on its own is a real catch because of its low distribution, but Bovedy as a documented piece from the Haag Collection happens only once. Well Maybe twice since 22g are missing from my slice compared to the picture in Haag's 1994 catalog.
 


 

Alfianello, Italy

More than a Kilo of Crusted Italian History

This slice feels like a bookend- and would work as one too. A fine piece of Italian real estate like this only comes along once in a very great while. When Bob offered me this slice, even though rather expensive, I hesitated for mere seconds.

Although over 200kg of Alfianello is reported to have fallen, less than a quarter of that is accounted for in collections worldwide according to the Catalogue of Meteorites. That places this single piece as between 2% and 3% of all the known material of Alfianello in the world.
 



The thumbprints in this crust are obvious adding more to the wonder of this piece. When slices are thin, one can only assume depressions or rises in the slice's edge are from thumbprints, but with this slice you can actually place your thumb in a thumbprint
 


Years ago, when I studied this photograph of Alfianello as pictured in Haag's 1992 catalog, I had no grasp of how big the piece really was. Now I know it is like holding a hardback book. I can now also imagine something much bigger and that is the original 1.9kg slab Bob traded out of the Berlin Museum (see card above).
 


 

Nadiabondi, Burkina Faso

A real piece!

(Many pieces of "Nadiabondi" are actually Gao-Gueine)

Looking much different than Gao, I was sad I lost out on this piece in Tucson when the Hupe' brothers bought it from Bob. Later, it was offered on ebay (a no-sale), and then I was able to acquire it in a partial trade. I know it is not a rare class, an ancient fall, nor pictured in Haag's 1992 catalog, but it is a real piece of Nadiabondi from the Haag Collection. Further, with a documented total known weight of only 8.1kg, mostly made of smaller individuals, I suspect this is one of the largest pieces of Nadiabondi in the world.
 


As a partial end section, this piece has plenty of crust. Bob Haag was able to trade it out of the Paris Museum of Natural History.
 


I like the added touch of little circles dotting the letter i's. Bob is a happy person and it shows in little details like this.
 


 

The above photograph shows Nadiabondi's cameo appearance in Haag's 2003 collection catalog along with the Haag Collection specimen label.

The intense amount of larger iron flakes scattered throughout the cut face of the slice, as shown in Bob's picture, is another difference between Gao and Nadiabondi.
 



 

Although six months still remain till the next Tucson Show, I am already excited about what wonderful specimens will fly home with me in 2006. But no matter what, the thrill of carrying home so many amazing specimens purchased directly from Bob Haag in Tucson makes me wonder if a similar feeling came over collectors who spent time with H. H. Nininger, then left for home with a bag of goodies.


 

The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback.

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