Prices for meteorites defy gravity in online auction

70-pound meteorite found in Meteor Crater, Ariz., from the Macovich Collection, sold for $237,500. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd 2018

NEW YORK — Meteorite prices skyrocketed at Christie’s February 14 online sale titled “Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites.” Of the 44 lots available, 82% of the lots sold and more than a dozen sold for more than their high estimate.

The star of the sale was a meteorite from Meteor Crater, Arizona (shown at top). Nearly 50,000 years ago it was part of a small asteroid that plowed into the Arizona Desert with the force of more than 100 atomic bombs creating the most famous and best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth.  Evocative of a Henry Moore sculpture, this 70-pound meteorite from the Macovich Collection was estimated to sell for $150,000-250,000 and sold for $237,500.

Macovich curator Darryl Pitt commented: “While the world’s fascination with meteorites is roaring, the market for sculptural iron meteorites has exploded — and rightly so. Less than two percent of all meteorites are of the iron variety and less than five percent of those are aesthetic and deservedly regarded as natural sculpture from outer space.”

Highly textured iron meteorite from Russia, auctioned for $81,250. Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2018

Estimated to sell for $10,000-15,000, an unusual, highly textured iron meteorite from Russia (shown above), whose appearance has more in common with a monolithic modern sculpture than a meteorite, went for $81,250. A captivating three-pound totem-like iron meteorite estimated to sell for $1,000-1,500 sold for $10,625. A half-pound specimen of the planet Mars sold for $47,500 and not to be outdone, a meteorite with extraterrestrial gemstones estimated at $1,200-1,800 went for $5,250.

The future of meteorites is bright. “The meteorite market is in its nascent stage,” said Pitt.  “Highly aesthetic meteorites are penetrating the art market and will soon be selling for an order of magnitude more than what was seen today.”

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