IMCA Insights May 2011
How it all started - Part 2
by Anne Black & Various IMCA Members

In December 2010 I asked our members for input for our IMCA Insights, and a few questions that would shed light on the different backgrounds of those members who were willing to answer. I asked:

  • How did you become interested by meteorites?
  • Which one was your first one?
  • Which one is your favorite one?
  • And a picture of that meteorite would be nice too.

We presented the first six entries in our January 20011 issue, and here are seven additional responses we received, some with pictures, some without. Enjoy!

Martin Goff

I first became interested in meteorites through collecting fossils, specifically Megalodon shark teeth. I became interested in extinction events and how large impacts played their part in some of these events. This all lead to my first meteorite purchase and the rest is history!

My first specimen was a small Campo del Cielo crystal which I still have and this very quickly snowballed into numerous others. My main collecting focus now is French and UK/Irish meteorites and also historic falls from elsewhere.

My favorite specimen is my 7g part slice of Wold Cottage. Having visited the Wold Cottage numerous times now I feel a real affinity with the place. Playing a small part in the re-homing of a piece of Wold Cottage very kindly donated by Dave Gheesling makes me feel very proud indeed. See following article in IMCA Insights.

Martin Goff
IMCA 3387

Johnny Humphries

How did you become interested by meteorites?
I collected Earth rocks as a child. I would spend my weekly allowance on them. I went to sell them back to rock shops and found out there wasn't any real value to them. So I stopped collecting rocks. When I was around 25 years old I bought my first meteorite. It was an iron meteorite the size of my first that was found in Texas. That was all I was told about it. I paid $50.00 for it and sold it that same year for about $250.00. I knew I was on to something good.

Which one was your first one?
An iron meteorite about the size of my fist that was found in Texas

Which one is your favorite one?
My favorite meteorite is my Gold Basin, and it is the first meteorite I ever found.

Here's a picture of it:

Gold Basin Individual
(Photo courtesy of Johnny Humphries)

Johnny Humphries
IMCA 9247

Winfried Gabriel

How did you become interested by meteorites?
I am also an amateur star gazer/astronomer. I picked up my first met as a "conversation piece from space" at science/telescope shop in Toronto, Canada.

Which one was your first one?
Sahara 0075

Which one is your favorite one?
Allende, Imilac, NWA869

And a picture of that meteorite would be nice too.
I have been in hospital and away from my collection for months. Sorry!

(Note from the editor: No problem Winni! You can send it when you get back home. And I hope it will be soon.)

Winfried "Winni" Gabriel
IMCA 3844

Vincent Stelluti

Bonjour Anne,
Here are my answers:

How did you become interested by meteorites?
In 1997 I read the book "Le Fer de Dieu" by Theodore Monod and Brigitte Zanda. I went to Chinguetti (Mauritania) and for 10 days I walked around in the dunes. (I never found the big meteorite).

Which one was your first one?
In June 2000 I went in Ensisheim and the same day I bought: 2 Gibeon (85 g), 1 Bilanga (1,5g), SAH00159 (91g still not classified), Allende (11,5g), Sikhote Alin (40g), Esquel, (0,7g), Zag (320g), Assa (453g), Tagounite (284g). I spent 1550$!

Which one is your favorite one?

Vincent Stelluti
IMCA 4212

The Bencubbinite Gujba, 10.3g Slice

Rick Drew

I have to admit that (like most boys at heart) I always been something of a "rock hound" and a couple of years ago, I decided to spring and add a meteorite to my collection. Having visited Meteor Crater some years ago, the choice of a Canyon Diablo was an easy one and I purchased a very nice CD from the always rational Eric Twelker in Alaska. My next one was a Campo individual and slice that I bought from Bob Cucchiara who turns out to live about 15 miles from me. Bob turned me on to "Rocks From Space" and I was totally captivated by the Sikhote-Alin story as well as the classic look of SA regmaglypted individuals. I read several more books which just reinforced my admiration for and appreciation of the Sikhote-Alin.
In February, I attended my first Tucson show and to put it mildly, my senses were just overwhelmed (I think we've all been through that experience). It was second only to my first date with my wife. Somewhat spontaneously and to the good lady's (i.e. my wife's) shock and consternation, I bought what amounted to a modest inventory in Sikhote-Alin to sell from a variety of dealers. Of course, I had no way of doing that, so when I got home, I developed a website and learned as much as I could about the black art of Search Engine Optimization. Pretty much fits and starts for most of the year but then in December, I sold almost half my inventory! Go figure.... Well, I'm out of time, so, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Rick Drew
Avatar Meteorites
Alamo, California
IMCA 3466

One of Rick Drew's Sikhote-Alin meteorites
(Photo courtesy of Rick Drew)

Don Edwards

Hi Anne,

For the meteorite...

I started collecting meteorites while still doing amateur astronomy. The local "telescope shop" had a few specimens for sale, mostly from Robert Haag, and I bought a few including of course, Odessa. However, at the time, it was mostly just a "curiosity" and not a major interest.

After a while I started looking for meteorites from other sources. What "hooked" me was one that I purchased a year or so after beginning the collection. It was a nice specimen of Bluff (A) and when I looked it up in the old "Blue Book", I saw that it was found by the brother of my Great-Grandfather.

That's mine! It was found by a member of my family. I was "Hooked!"

I now have 3 different pieces of Bluff (A), and my major interests are Texas specimens (OK, I live in Texas) and planetaries (remember that my astronomy interest was what led to my first meteorite).

Bluff-1, my first specimen, 60.6g from Russ Kempton
(Photo courtesy of Don Edwards)

Bluff-2, my largest, 428g from Sharon Cisneros
(Photo courtesy of Don Edwards)

Don Edwards
IMCA 6527

Dick Lipke

The same goes for me. When meteorites became a fascination for me the first photo of the Sikhote-Alin was automatically the image I had in mind of what a meteorite should look like. Of course I eventually found out they are very much like humans. They come in all shapes, all sizes and all colors.

My first, my favorite also, the Sikhote-Alin!

Dick Lipke
IMCA 1155


So far the meteorite most likely to "hook" newcomers and make collectors out of them is certainly Sikhote-Alin. So let's close this month's Insights with a picture of a nice Sikhote-Alin. Or better yet, Two Sikhote-Alin in "as found" condition, thanks to the Vernadsky Institute.

But please keep on sending your responses to me and who knows? Maybe things will change.

Two Sikhote-Alin meteorites in "as found" condition
(Photo courtesy of Anne Black)

This article has been compiled and edited by Anne Black and Norbert Classen

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