IMCA Insights – July 2009
Ensisheim Meteorite Show 2009
by Norbert Classen

Welcome to the July issue of IMCA Insights and to our second meteorite show report for this year, Ensisheim 2009. The show was opening its gates for the 10th time from June 19 to 21, 2009, and the 10th anniversary edition attracted even more international visitors, collectors, dealers, and scientists from all over the world than the shows of the past years.

Dinosaurs infront of the Regency Palace

Dinosaurs and a real iron meteorite infront of the Regency Palace
Photo courtesy Mirko Graul

If you have never been to Ensisheim: it's the place of one of the oldest witnessed meteorite falls, and it's an absolute must for every guest to pay at least a short visit to the remaining mass of the Thunderstone of Ensisheim which fell in 1492, and which serves as the centerpiece of the annual show which is organized by the St. Georges Confraternity of the Ensisheim Meteorite Guardians (Confrérie des Gardiens de la Météorite d'Ensisheim) inside of the historic Regency Palace. The St. Georges Confraternity was simultaneously celebrating the 25th anniversary of their foundation, this year, and so there were many side events, meetings, and congratulations from all sides. Besides that, there was a great exhibition with meteorites from the museums of Strasburg, France, and Edinburgh, Scotland, and a great display infront of the Regency Palace with life-sized dinosaurs and a large new iron meteorite find from France which welcomed all visitors.

Zelimir Gabelica opening the 2009 Ensisheim Show

Zelimir Gabelica opening the 2009 Ensisheim Show
Photo courtesy Peter Marmet

This year, Friday wasn't the usual "dealers day", the show was open to the general public from the beginning, something that might be adopted for the coming shows as it made a lot of things easier - at least that's what I've been told. Like in the last years, I couldn't visit the show on Friday due to a tight work schedule at my office, and so I also missed the opening ceremonies as well as the traditional Friday night dinner party.

View of the Main Hall

View of the Main Hall, and of various dealer's tables
Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

I arrived at the show on Saturday at about 11 a.m., and I was welcomed by a lot of friends such as Luc Labenne from France, and Harald Stehlik from Austria. As usual, it took me more than an hour to get into the Regency Palace as there were too many people to welcome, and to talk with. When I finally entered the main hall where all the dealers had their tables I was delighted to see that more than half of them were IMCA members, such as Erich Haiderer, Sergey Vasiliev, Philippe Thomas, Laurent Jaworski, Marcin Cimala, Hans Koser, Moritz Karl, Mirko Graul, Martin Altmann & Stefan Ralew of Chladni's Heirs, Ali and Mohammed Hmani, Marc Jost, Peter Marmet, Jürgen Nauber, Hanno Strufe, Andi Gren, Siegfried Haberer, Giorgio Tomelleri, and - last but not least - our IMCA Vice-President Anne Black from the United States. Please forgive me if I forgot to mention the one or the other.

Ali Hmani and his new silicated iron meteorite

IMCA Member Ali Hmani and his new silicated iron meteorite
Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

On all these tables there were more goodies than one can possibly mention – samples of several new falls, historic falls, and fresh desert finds, enough to fill a book, and enough to make most museum exhibits pale in comparison. Actually, there were more new finds and falls, this year, also from Morocco, and the deserts of Northwest Africa. Several dealers had pieces of Tamdaght, and - among other things - Ali Hmani had a fabulous new silicated iron meteorite, a real beauty, and a sight to behold. There were also samples of Ash Creek, the new fall from West, Texas, and samples of other new falls from all over the world - most at more or less reasonable prices given the high demand for this kind of specimens.

Giorgio Tomelleri and his great desert finds

IMCA Member Giorgio Tomelleri and his great desert finds
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

Even if there hadn't been that much new around - Ensisheim could never become boring. It's not just about buying, selling, or trading meteorites. It's also about socializing with friends, and about the exchange of experience. I had great discussions with master meteorite hunter Dima Sadilenko from Russia who had just found a new one ton Muonionalusta iron, and with the most seasoned meteorite hunters Giorgio Tomelleri from Italy and Luc Labenne from France about desert meteorite hunting, and why strewnfields rarely get hunted out. We all made the experience that the light conditions in the desert, and other factors make it near to impossible that you find each and every stone, and we all had stories to tell about the one that nearly got away, or which was recovered in the very same location by another hunter months or years later.

Stefan Ralew, Norbert Classen, Bernd Pauli, & Martin Altmann

Stefan Ralew, Norbert Classen, Bernd Pauli, and Martin Altmann
Photo courtesy Mirko Graul

I also had a lot of great conversations on the small balcony located right between the tables of Chladni's Heirs and Ali and Mohamed Hmani. This balcony isn't just used as a refugee for the smokers among us, it's also a great place to inspect unclassified or unusual specimens in the sunlight. The photo above shows Stefan Ralew and Martin Altmann of Chladni's Heirs as well as Bernd Pauli and myself inspecting and discussing a specimen of the new Martian meteorite NWA 5789. I had been lucky enough to reserve a specimen early with the Heirs, and I was more than happy to get it personally delivered at the show. Thanks again guys!

Siegfried Haberer and Kazimierz Mazurek

IMCA Members Siegfried Haberer and Kazimierz Mazurek
Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

Only a few meters down the main hall there was Siegfried Haberer's table with a lot of his finds, and great photos of his various meteorite hunting expeditions and adventures. Siggi's place is always special to me as I had the pleasure to accompany him on two of his desert meteorite hunting trips - without this experience I would have no idea how much work it is to hunt for meteorites, something that is easily forgotten if you see all these little treasures neatly lined up on some dealers' tables! Siggi's photos give an impression of what is really involved in meteorite hunting, but then they are nothing compared to the firsthand experience.

IMCA Vice-President Anne Black

IMCA Vice-President Anne Black with her meteorites and thin sections
Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

Of course, I was also happy to meet IMCA Vice-President Anne Black! Anne had her table right infront of the main hall, and she was almost always busy with showing off and selling her fabulous and expertly prepared meteorite thin sections to a lot of interested collectors. In fact, thin section collecting has become a flourishing branch of the meteorite collecting hobby, and more and more enthusiasts have started to enrich their personal collections with thin sections of the various types and classes of meteorites.

Anne Black and a special gift from the IMCA Board

Anne Black presenting me a special gift from the IMCA Board
Photo courtesy Alex Seidel

Anne did also present me with a pleasant surprise, a very special gift from the IMCA Board of Directors: it's a neat little Teddy Bear from our new IMCA Cafepress shop (to be officially announced, soon) wearing an IMCA T-shirt signed by 6 of the 9 IMCA Board Members. This was especially funny since I had insisted that we shouldn't focus on practical stuff only (such as the IMCA shirts, mugs, bags, and diaries in our shop) but also on fun stuff such as this Teddy. Anyway, I had never suspected that I would be the proud owner of such a cuddly pet one day, and so it really came to me as a nice surprise.

Saturday Evening Party

IMCA Member Hans Koser and his Campo iron meteorites
Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

As always, it's hard to cover all aspects of a show such as Ensisheim, and so please forgive me if I forgot to mention some major or minor aspects in my rather personal show report. Anyway, I'm looking forward to see you all in Ensisheim, next year, and if you are considering to visit Ensisheim, you should also consider to stay a few days longer, and to attend the nearby Mineral Show at Ste. Marie aux Mines - one of the largest rock and gem shows in Europe which is also attended by many meteorite people. It's always opening its gates in the week after the Ensisheim show, and this year I had the chance to photograph a neat new meteorite, over there - a brand-new, oriented Mars rock! It's not published, thus far, but I thought I should share a picture of the 400g plus main mass with you. Enjoy!

Oriented Main Mass of a new Martian

Ste. Marie aux Mines Show: the oriented main mass of a new Martian
Photo courtesy Norbert Classen

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