An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine


This feature is devoted each month to one of the personalities within the meteorite community. This month we are delighted to share an interview we had with meteorite dealer Michael Farmer of Michael Farmer Meteorites.


Photos of me and the village children of Ha Ralimo.
The children were very good meteorite hunters.
They found most of the Thuathe meteorites after the fall.

 

Meteorite-Times (MT) What or who got you interested in meteorites.

Michael Farmer (MF) I bought my first meteorite at the Flandreau Planetarium in Tucson. It was a 60 gram Canyon Diablo that I paid $10.00 for. I still have it. Then when I moved to Tucson in 1995 I met Bob Haag and others at the Tucson Gem show and bought many meteorites. The bug got hold of me and never let me go!

 
(MT) Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating... etc)?

(MF) When it comes to my personal meteorite collection, I prefer to focus on witnessed falls, preferably uncut pieces with lots of crust. I love fusion crust, the more the better. I love the stories behind witnessed falls, every little bit of information makes the meteorite that much more interesting to me. I love oriented pieces, flow lines, lipping, just about anything that fusion crust can do to a meteorite. I do not focus at all on type, I have a large assortment of almost every major class, but I really do not strive to fill any gaps, just add more meteorites whenever possible


MILLBILLILLIE - Specimen weight: 588 grams


Pasamonte - Specimen weight: 39.20 grams with
British Museum label. BMNH#1959-756/Nininger#197V

 

 
(MT) Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?

(MF) My wife could care less about meteorites, but she has taken the time to learn the basics so she can help me at shows like Tokyo and Gifhorn.

 
(MT) Do you have any special approaches to collecting? (Type collection, only stones, only irons, only by aesthetics, etc. or any and all that you like.)

(MF) When it comes to how many meteorites I have, it is literally in the thousands. I have of course my collection and my sales stock, but they are sort of intermixed. Last year I sold off a large portion of my collection, but I have replaced the sold pieces with new purchases.


GLORIETA MOUNTAIN - Specimen weight: 374 grams

 

(MT) Is your collection displayed or kept in a dry box or both?

(MF) I have a collection room in my home with Fiber-optic glass display cases and when not on display, many of my rarest meteorites are stored in membrane boxes when possible in a very large fireproof  safe. It weighs almost a ton!


(MT)
In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?

(MF) My computer is indispensable for my meteorites, from making labels, to ebay, to the website, to emailing and receiving photos, I live on my computer when I am home.

 
(MT) Tell us about hunting for meteorites?


This is a photo of myself holding the main mass
of Bensour. A 9.2 kilo stone broken into three pieces.

(MF) I hunt for meteorites all over the world. My meteorite hunting trips include Australia, Chile, Bolivia, Canada, all over the USA, Oman, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, India  and Mexico. I have found several hundred Oman meteorites, including a LUNAR! I have also found pieces of these famous meteorites, Portales Valley, Mundrabilla, Canyon Diablo, Holbrook, Gold basin, al Mahbas, Imilac, Monturaqui, Park Forest, and many others.


IMILAC - Specimen weight: 183.8 grams

 

(MT) What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?

(MF) I would say at the moment that my favorite meteorite is the new Lunar meteorite, NWA 2995. I own 50% of it, 525 grams of the freshest and most beautiful Lunar meteorite in private hands!


NWA 2995 - Specimen weight: 538 grams
This Lunar meteorite found in November 2005

(MT) What is your favorite overall if it is not the one above?

(MF) I would have to say though, that my total favorite meteorite would be Portales Valley, I will never forget the weeks of hunting in the strewnfield, the friends I made there, the piece I found, and the amazing meteorite unlike any other ever seen! What luck for it to be one of my first chases!


PORTALES VALLEY - Specimen weight: 343 grams

 
(MT) What meteorites are currently on your wish list?

(MF) I really want a large multi-kilo Allende, I have had a couple, but sold them. Otherwise, I want any historic fall I can get.

 
(MT) What methods have been most successful in building your collection? (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)

(MF) I have acquired meteorites in just about every way possible, from ebay to shows to private collection purchases


HARRIMAN - Specimen weight: 750.6 grams

 
(MT) Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?

(MF) I have some impact materials, some tektites, impact glasses etc, I found a lot of Monturaqui impactite, and some Australites while in Australia, but I am really not interested in that aspect of meteorite collecting.

 
(MT) Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)

(MF) I have my own equipment for cutting and polishing small meteorites, I outsource anything large to other cutters to prepare however.


FOREST CITY - Specimen weight: 1,493 grams

 

(MT) Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?

(MF) As far as environment, I am blessed to live in Tucson, where for most of the year the humidity is barely 5 or 6% so I really donít have to take any precautions at all with my meteorite collection.

(MT) With all your trips around the world... which is your favorite meteorite hunt?

(MF) As far as my favorite meteorite hunt is concerned, I would say that Kendrapara India was the most difficult and yet most memorable hunt. The area and the size of the fall were just incredible, difficult, and exciting. I did acquire a small piece but I will never forget that trip!