IMCA Insights – November 2010
Munich Mineral Show 2010
by Martin Altmann
Autumn – time for the big Munich Show.
Together with Tucson the marker, the indicator for the meteoritical course of the following year.
Warm fall winds bestowed days of sun and pushed the panorama of the Alps closer to the city. Full of expectations and pleasant anticipation, having 70 exhibitors listed with meteorites in mind, the visitor entered the halls. Though the longer he walked through the rows of tables, the sharper he pressed together his pupils for his hunting scheme: dark, brown, black, amorphous, lumpy, not colorful, not shiny – the more perplexity crawled up his back. And the darker the clouds got over the horizon.
Where are the meteorites?!?
With this outcry as title and as a résumé the Munich report 2010 would be completely done.
To give any impressions, we have to take leave from comparing with the shows of the previous years.
So let’s start with the irons.
The veteran iron, the Campo of earlier decades, when “meteorite” was a synonym for Gibeon, has after 10 years of prohibition fully disappeared. The last small box of the world with a few rough specimens was found at the table of Granddaddy Karl Sprich. Prices quadrupled from the times, Gibeon still was free.
Sikhote-Alin is exhausted: 4-5 small flats with small shrapnels, and prices higher than those early ones, when you still could pick out handfuls of bullets, buttons, drops, propellers bursting of flow lines by the dozen from such boxes. Only three somewhat larger pieces on the whole show.
The stalls of all our Russian friends together shrunk to a combined length of 3 yards. On their tables, as well as on Bohemian Simek’s, we missed almost all we always were used to seeing: Brahins, Chingas, Seymchans.
Gebel Kamil – after the furious impact in Ensisheim, it seems fully volatilized again. Only a few specimens here and there and a modest box under the table. As small comfort for the disappointed collector, at least a few small etched slices at a very affordable 2-3$/g were available. Morasko? Nil return.
The only constant – like on every show – was of course ever-smiling Hans Campo Koser with his hundredweights of Campo del Cielos in all sizes and shapes. While the visitor lost his smile, when he remembered that two, three years ago, still other prices were noted on the price tags.
The silicated NWA-iron wasn’t available anymore in entire pieces.
Badly missed were all our Australian friends.
The bright spot, the Davidssons with a set of exquisite Henburys with perfect patina and excellent shapes, some even resembling Sikhote-Alins. One has to go far back in time, to remember to have seen, such an assemblage of such museum-quality Henbury.
Iron of the season was, like last year too: Muonionalusta.
All sizes, big, complete or etched. Cleaned or with yellow find patina. Cheap! Leprechaun Dima Sadilenko took the collector by the hand to lead him to Koser’s stall, where he had to place a Muonionalusta, because it was larger than his table. A whopping 630kg, big enough to fulfill the dream of taking a ride on a meteorite.
Let’s get over and done with the most dismal chapter: The desert meteorites.
Who would not dwell about the past years, where even two out of three fossils dealer hadn’t enough space on their tables to place their meteorites by the box – when he saw that disaster of that Munich weekend 2010. Nothing but perhaps 5 or 6 small shoe boxes, full of lousy fragments.
The best selection of UNWA OCs was still on Ismaily’s table, he had also the only (!) useable oriented stone left of the whole show with its 1250 exhibitors. He shared the table with Hanno Strufe, who presented a nice selection of various desert types and his LL-metachondrite there.
Ahmed Pani belongs to the inventory of the show, although he’s specialized in hot desert, this time he had some fantastic distorted Seymchan slices, as they would have been cut from a shrapnel with olivines that popped in the eye of the visitor.
Of course the Tomerellis where there too – this time displaying mainly pre-NWA-OCs of convincing quality, some of them shaped like artifacts.
But the award of the best desert assortment has to go this time definitely to Ali and Mohammed Hmani, comforting to see that the tradition is going from the father to the son to be continued.
They brought the fine main mass of the last years find NWA 5960, the green-skin shergottite paired to NWA 2990 to the show and placed it in the show case next to a 118g-lunar from the 2995/2996er-series which is currently under classification.
The 20kg-CV3, which we still know from Ensisheim was slumbering mighty on the table. A not yet identified larger iron from the Ziz-field built the counterpart. From their other delicacies, a fine fresh lunar-looking eucrite, coming in many individuals is to mention and three jewels from Wabar. The ladies of the harem must have a lot of sorrow – the tears they cried were large as grapes!
Novelties from the hot deserts?
No new unpaired Martians and Lunars at all. No new finds from Oman at all.
Only three larger HEDs, one 2kg fresh crusted eucrite with white interior, a fragment of 4kg with oriented regmaglyptes of a HED and another polymict one. A small handful of other HEDs, difficult to say, which were really new or are later to pair to already known material.
And – shocking – that was all.
Prices? It’s better to remain silent, for not depressing the reader further.
Now to give a positive turn: the offers of historic finds and falls were this year: excellent.
Eisler junior, the only dealer aside Mike Farmer, who hadn’t shied away from the long journey from U.S. this year, had a lot of pallasite slices and a good variety of known and not so known names – for every purse.
The palm, Achim & Moritz Karl took it, with adjacent Mike Farmer, who made up a museum out of their row. The Karls, when asked “what’s new?”, modest as they are, answered: “Nothing”. But the slices of the historics you saw there and the names, drove tears in the eyes of the veteran collectors, let the beginners hectically search in the Blue Book, and the mid-term collector pause, to doubt in their belief that such names would be available only in molecular sized microspecks. Impressively the Karls cemented once again their position as dealers #1 of historic pieces. Mike Farmer’s best new goodies were some Springwaters from his new finds, among them a really cute perfect individual.
The same line of remarkable historical locales followed as always Sergey Vasiliev. His advantage is, that he has always many budget-sizes too. Remarkable this time, a well-sized fusion-crusted Ivuna, usually horribly difficult to get.
Positively to remark, was this years enlarged availability of Impactites and tektites. Finally again black indochinites of all sizes and shapes were basket-wise offered (<30$/kg). And also the choice of moldavites was better than ever. Here to mention expert Thomas Dehner, who also just has edited a new book about moldavites. Good larger quantities, just like last year, of Libyan desert glass were offered too.
No good show without out a novelty.
So as poor as Munich was, at least veteran dealer Uwe Eger rescued the event in this respect this year. He displayed extremely thin slices of a new pallasite from Indonesia. With strangely small orange olivines and almost no metal in between. A find of reportedly 750kgs – under classification.
The character of Munich 2010 wasn’t only the lack of meteorites, but also the absence of many meteorite dealers. Only two dealers came from USA, the meteorite offerers of Australia and Poland stayed completely home, and a lot of the sounding European names were missing: Erich Haiderer, Alain Carion, Chladni’s Heirs, Siegfried Haberer, Bruno Fectay, Luc Labenne, Andi Gren…
After the Fliegerbräu surprisingly had shut down, Andi Koppelt organized the Friday Evening Come-together in the time-honored inn, the Fraunhofer, with rustic traditional food, Munich beer, an atmosphere of Gemuetlichkeit (and with a much better service and prices). It was nice there, about 20 meteorite people tested it and were so content, that this new location will be from now on the new Jour fix for the Munich show.
All in all Munich 2010 was for the meteorite collector a true shock. By far the poorest show for meteorites of the last 10 years. Nevertheless, Munich, Ensisheim, Tucson remain the three large MET-events where those interested in those guests from space, will get so many meteorites in their hands like nowhere else. Therefore these three Shows will always be worth the visit.
This article has been edited by Anne Black and Norbert Classen