Sunday, October 21

Bid for treasures from outer space

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In a “sale of science and art”, Stephan Welz & Co will on May 29 at 3pm in Joburg present what it claims to be the first South African auction of rare and diverse meteorites.

Minerals, gemstones, coloured diamonds and several exceptional one-off collectors’ pieces are among the lots for the sale by the 50-year-old auction house at the Killarney Country Club.

But it will be the chance to see – and secure – meteorites on auction that is likely to be the major attraction. “These remnants of meteors from outer space have survived earth’s fiery atmosphere to land on our planet. They are treasures from space that can now be owned by local collectors,” says Joburg meteorite authority, Dr Ronnie McKenzie.

Among the meteorites on offer will be:

* A slice of Esquel pallasite: Pallasite is a class of stony-iron meteorite. This slice from the Esquel meteorite, discovered in 1951 by an Argentinian farmer, is considered one of the finest of all pallasites; and

* Pieces of chrondrite from the Monze meteorite. Thousands witnessed the Monze meteorite fall in Zambia in 1950. The two chondrite pieces are complete specimens with very little damage.

The minerals to be auctioned include Rhodochrosite from the Kalahari manganese field, quartz crystals from the old Messina copper mine and tourmaline crystals. Gemstones on offer include Cerrusite crystals and a cube-cut diamond with Maltese Cross inscription.

Viewing of the meteorites and minerals on auction is May 27 and May 28 with the gemstones and diamonds requiring a private viewing appointment in the interests of security.

For details of online bidding, email stephanwelz@stephanwelzandco.co.za.

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