Motherlode of mineral collections yields $3.4 million

Bidding topped out at $200,000 for this 7-pound topaz from Brazil. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

DALLAS – Estimates were smashed as swarms of collectors went after 322 specimens from the estate of one of the most legendary mineral collectors of the last 50 years, driving the results for Heritage Auctions’ Rock H. Currier Collection of Fine Minerals Auction to $3.4 million Aug. 26.

The sale, held in a packed auction room after a heavily attended preview, boasted a 100 percent sell-through rate by value and by lots sold, which is virtually unheard of in the category. The auction celebrated the lifelong passion of Currier, who spent a lifetime traveling the world collecting minerals for his business and for his extraordinary personal collection.

The sale’s top lot was a topaz from the Xanda Mine, Virgem da Lapa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, which inspired 21 bidders before claiming top-lot honors at $200,000, more than tripling its high estimate. The massive seven-pound specimen is a transcendent museum-quality piece that has universal appeal because of its exceptional size, form and color.

An amethyst and calcite “skunk” from the Andre Jachetti Mine in Artigas, Uruguay inspired more than a dozen bidders before it closed at $187,500. The one-time cover piece of Rocks & Minerals magazine included a 35-centimeter curved plate of dark amethyst crystals and a 12-centimeter pale yellow-brown scalenohedral calcite crystal with black goethite stripes. The specimen measured 13.8 x 6.7 x 6.7 inches. 

Another prize that crushed its estimate was a dioptase and wulfenite from the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine, St. Anthony Deposit in Pinal County, Arizona, which realized $100,000, against an estimate of $2,500-3,500.

A 4-inch cluster of heavy intertwined native silver wires growing on calcite from the

Kongsberg Ag Mining District, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway, nearly tripled its estimate when it brought $81,250. Once a part of the Bryn Mawr Collection, this specimen is one of the Kongsberg silvers that are considered one of the top five minerals in terms of collector recognition and desirability.

A stephanite and polybasite from the Chispas Mine, Arizpe, Mun. de Arizpe, Sonora, Mexico, drew $75,000, against an estimate of $12,000-$18,000. Acquired by Currier in a trade with Yale University, the sample includes a cluster of black stephanite crystals with smaller wheels of polybasite in association.