IMCA Insights – December 2008
There's a first time for everything, and for me it would be my first visit to the renowned Munich Mineral Show which opened its gates from October 30 until November 2, 2008, for the 45th time. I had heard and read a lot about it, and so I was looking forward as to how one of the worlds largest mineral shows would present itself to me. During my preparations for the show I had been surprised to learn how many sellers would be exhibiting their goodies on an area of 33,000 m² – among them about 90 vendors who were said to have at least some meteorites or meteorite related items on stock.
The Vasiliev's with
Meteorites and Moldavites
Due to my work schedule I could only visit the show on Saturday, and thus I missed the annual Friday Night's Meteorite Party at the “Fliegerbräu”, a habitual haunt and meeting point for all meteorite aficionados. So I left home on early Saturday morning, together with some friends who were more into minerals than into meteorites. And when we arrived at the fairground, the former Munich-Riem Airport, I was surprised to see crowds of people moving towards the entrance. Inside the entrance hall people were lining up at the ticket counters, waiting to be dispatched quickly – just in time before the nearby subway released the next crush of people. This year, 45,000 visitors attended the show during the three days, but fortunately the fairground is large enough so that the people just periodically accumulated and got stuck in the gateways between the exhibition halls.
Glas and Iron…
To avoid running aimlessly across the fairground I had forged a plan that would allow me to see and touch as many meteorites as possible – and to eventually purchase the one or the other rock from space. In the forefront I had set myself a limit which I exceeded just marginally, even if this was very hard to do. With 1,100 vendors from 56 countries and their vast supply of minerals, fossils and gemstones it was hard not to be distracted.
Andi Gren & Olaf
The first exhibtion
hall A6 offered only a few places to buy meteorites. However, my visit
to the stall of Andi Gren and Olaf Gabel proved to be worthwhile – both
offered a great selection of meteorites, tektites and impactites.
Besides that I got the impression that this hall was more quiet than the
others – the bulk of visitors seemed to gather in the other two halls.
Muonionalusta – ‚The
It’s impossible to
mention all meteorite dealers who were there – even mentioning the
highlights wouldn't paint an accurate picture of the show. Hence I will
focus on a few dealers that carry a special importance for myself, and I
beg the pardon of all those I won't mention.
Stefan Ralew & Martin
Altmann aka ‚Chladni's Heirs’
The stall of Martin Altmann and Stefan Ralew, better known as “Chladni's Heirs”, couldn't be missed due to a life-size cardboard astronaut. Besides of their famous boxes with small lunar and martian meteorite samples they also offered a wide selection of larger pieces good enough to make any experienced collector drool. But a brief look into my wallet prohibited any further purchase plans, and so I just stood there admiring all these marvellous specimens. This year's special highlight was a brand-new brachinite, NWA 5471 with a TKW of just 538g, which the “Heirs” offered at a rather favorable introductory price.
Rare Meteorites at
The topics of this year’s fair were the Gold of the Alps and the Minerals and Rocks of Australia, both represented by special exhibits. Marvellous opals were featured inbetween huge gold nuggets from Downunder. At the fairground's entry an 8 ton tiger's eye was on exhibit, and of course there were also quite a few Australian meteorites and tektites on display. One showcase had a great selection of flanged australite buttons which were good to make any collector's heart beat faster. Besides that there were several Henbury irons accompanied by a much larger Mundrabilla iron individual. A huge Mundrabilla slice was one of the highlights of the show, and a coveted photo scene.
Great Tektites from
As always, our friends
from Northwest Africa had a great selection of mostly unclassified
meteorites on their tables. Even though the Hmanis had to cancel their
visit on the last minute the other Moroccan dealers had a lot of
attractive samples for sale, such as Mohamed Ismaily with 15 kilos of
the new NWA desert iron.
Hans Koser and his
2.2 tons of Irons
On my way through the vast halls I ran into the one or the other familiar face and several meteorite people who weren't present as vendors, this year. Mirko Graul, the iron expert from Bernau near Berlin, was moving swiftly through the crowd, his eyes always focused on new iron meteorites. I also briefly ran into Gabriele and Dieter Heinlein – they had a neatly designed display case, this year, featuring “Australia’s Heavenly Treasures”. It was actually Dieter who originally kindled my interest in meteorites, years ago.
For me as a “first
timer” the Munich show was more than impressive. Besides of the many
little stony and iron meteorites I carried the 500g plus main mass of
NWA 4913 home – a beautiful H3 chondrite with a interesting matrix. It
took some haggling to arrive at a reasonable price for this piece, and I
actually enjoyed the atmosphere of the negotiations which reminded me a
lot of the flair of Moroccan souks.
The Author & Hanno
Strufe at Mohamed Ismaily's Table