RR Auction offers lunar meteorite worth $500K Oct. 18

The Buagaba meteorite is composed of six fragments that fit together, puzzle-like, to form a mass weighing nearly 5.5 kilograms or slightly over 12 pounds. RR Auction image

BOSTON – A rare lunar meteorite will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction on Thursday, Oct. 18. The fully illustrated auction catalog can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers

The lunar meteorite is classified as NWA 11789, lunar feldspathic breccia, unofficially known as “Buagaba” or “The Moon Puzzle.”

The meteorite is composed of six fragments that fit together, puzzle-like, to form a mass weighing slightly over 12 pounds (5.5 kilograms). The largest piece weighs more than 6 pounds (2,939 grams). With partial fusion crust visible on one side, it is a new classification and the largest known, complete lunar puzzle.

“It’s a highly important, world-class example of a lunar meteorite,” said Geoff Notkin, CEO of Aerolite Meteorites Inc., and star of television’s Meteorite Men. “It was blasted off the surface of our moon in the distant past, likely by the impact of a different meteorite, then journeyed the quarter-million miles to Earth and — against all the odds — survived a fiery descent through our atmosphere to be found in the wilds of the deserts of Northwest Africa in 2017,” said Notkin.

When meteorites are discovered in remote areas of the Northwest African deserts, far from settlement or known geographic features, they are frequently given this type of numerical designation by academia.

Sometimes, nomads or meteorite hunters find additional examples of an existing NWA meteorite at a later date. The subsequent finds may be examined and classified by a different expert and given a new name or number. It is sometimes discovered, therefore, by researchers that there are two or more examples of the same meteorite known to science, but with different numbers. In such cases they become known as “paired.” For example, NWA 2998 is paired with NWA 7262, meaning they are both likely examples of the same meteorite fall, but recovered at different times.

A unique or “unpaired” meteorite is more desirable to collectors and perhaps more valuable to science, especially in those rare instances in which the single find is a very large stone. Such is the case with Buagba, or NWA 11789: it has no known pairings and is the only example of this meteorite. Considering that the average size of a lunar meteorite find is a few hundred grams, the magnitude of this offering is impressive.

NWA 11789 / Buagba is a brand-new classification just released by Dr. Carl Agee of the Institute of Meteoritics at UNM, Albuquerque, and the type specimen (a small portion removed for study and classification) remains permanently in the UNM research collection. This moon rock is presented and guaranteed authentic by Aerolite Meteorites Inc.

“Few, if any, of the world’s top museums, have a lunar meteorite that is anywhere near this in size and uniqueness,” said Notkin.

Another highlight is a large slice of the lunar surface (below), Northwest Africa (NWA) 8022, comprised of lunar feldspathic breccia, which is estimated at more than $12,000.

Northwest Africa (NWA) 8022 lunar meteorite slice, comprised of lunar feldspathic breccia. Estimate: $12,000-$14,000. RR Auction image

Further highlights from the exclusive Meteorite Men Collection include:

– Seymchan pallasite meteorite slice, demonstrating the transition from an iron structure to an olivine structure (estimate: $4,000+).

– Chelyabinsk ordinary chondrite meteorite from the iconic witnessed wall over the southern Ural region of Russia on Feb. 15, 2013 (estimate: $4,000+).

– A full slice of the Northwest Africa (NWA) 11303 lunar meteorite certified by Charlie Duke (estimate: $4,000+).

– Sericho pallasite meteorite large partial slice, featuring large quantities of olivine crystals on the cut and polished faces (estimate: $8,000+).

Large Sericho pallasite meteorite partial slice, featuring large quantities of olivine crystals on the cut and polished faces. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. RR Auction image

The Space Exploration Auction from RR Auction will begin on Oct. 11 and conclude on Oct. 18.  More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.