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‘Sky is the limit’ at Christie’s $4.4M meteorite auction

Extraterrestrial crystal ball – Seymchan meteorite sphere pallasite – PMG Magadan District, Russia, 69mm in diameter (2.75in) and 861.8g (2 pounds). Sold for $325,000. Christie’s image

NEW YORK – Christie’s Deep Impact: Martian Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites, an online-only sale of rare meteorites, shattered records totaling $4,351,750, with 100% of the lots sold. Seventy-two of the 75 lots offered today sold for more than their high estimate. A record number of bidders participated in the category from 23 countries across five continents. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

“This record-breaking sale reached a wider audience than ever before for the category. Clients from nearly two dozen countries confirmed the universal appeal of these otherworldly works of art; and that the meteorite market is on the rise,” said James Hyslop, head of Science and Natural History at Christie’s.

Meteorites cut into slices and carved into spheres provided many of the sale’s highlights. Leading the sale was the fourth largest slice of the moon cut from the famed Tisserlitine 001 lunar meteorite. Estimated to sell for $250,000-$350,000, it surpassed its high estimate and sold for $525,000.

The fourth-largest slice of the moon – Tisserlitine 001, lunar meteorite (feldspathic breccia), Sahara Desert, Kidal, Mali, 16.33 x 14 x 0.3in, 4.33 pounds. Price realized: $525,000. Christie’s image

An extraterrestrial crystal ball from the shattered core of an ancient asteroid estimated to sell for $14,000-$18,0000, achieved $350,000.

Muonionalusta meteorite crystal ball – crystalline structure of an iron meteorite dramatized in three dimensions, iron, fine octahedrite Kiruna, Sweden. Price realized: $350,000. Christie’s image

A sphere fashioned from the lunar meteorite NWA 12691 sold for $500,000 – 20 times its high estimate of $25,000.

NWA 12691 – rare lunar sphere – lunar feldspathic breccia found in the Sahara Desert, Mauritania, 43mm (1.66 inches) in diameter and 123.9 grams (0.25 pounds). Price realized $500,000. Christie’s image

And selling for 18 times its high estimate of $18,000, a Symchan sphere (top photo) containing extraterrestrial gemstones in its natural metallic matrix sold for $325,000.

The smallest object in the sale, a 1.7 gram exotic sample of the planet Mars sold for $13,750 –more than 100 times its weight in gold. The most massive object in this sale, a 140 kilogram (307 lb) Gibeon iron meteorite with Macovich Collection provenance sold for $437,500.

Gibeon meteorite – a natural sculpture from outer space, IVA Iron, fine octahedrite Gibeon, Great Nama Land, Namibia, 23 x 19 x 12in, 307 pounds. Price realized: $437,500. Christie’s image

“We find ourselves at a moment where we are more receptive to – and hungrier for – wonderment,” mused Macovich Collection curator Darryl Pitt. “Meteorites provide exceedingly well in that regard. At the turn of the 19th century it was finally accepted rocks could fall out of the sky; today the sky is the limit.”

To illustrate that point, a Murchison meteorite containing 7 billion-year-old stardust sold for $40,000 (estimate: $4,000-$6,000), and an Imilac meteorite with crystals of olivine and peridot estimated at $3,500-$4,500 achieved $47,500.

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