A pair of important Martian meteorites and a selection of fossils are among the specimens that will cross the block in Heritage Auctions' Nature & Science Platinum Night Auction on March 19.
"This is an exceptional sale, a curated event that really represents the best of the best in a number of categories," Heritage Auctions Nature & Science Director Craig Kissick said. "What started out as something of a boutique auction has evolved into a truly exceptional Platinum event with incredible, museum-quality fossils and meteorites that can stand as the centerpieces of any collection."
The first meteorite, NWA 1950 Martian Meteorite, is classified as a shergottite-lherzolithic and is an Peridotite specimen estimated to sell for $300,000 to $500,000.
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The meteorite was found in 2001 and nicknamed the "Jules Verne" in homage to his work The Chase of the Golden Meteor, which originally was published in 1908.
The offered specimen is the main mass of the Jules Verne, weighing 231.8 grams out of the total known weight of 812 grams found.
The second meteorite, NWA 2737 Martian Meteorite, carries a pre-auction estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.
The meteor, nicknamed "Diderot" for 18th century philosopher Denis Diderot, is a 185.6-gram specimen that makes up roughly 30 percent of the total known weight of the meteorite, which weighed in at 611 grams.
The meteorite fell in Morocco and has a crystallization "age" dating back 1.36 billion years.
"The current NASA mission to put the rover Perserverance on Mars makes the Martian Meteorites incredibly relevant and important," Kissick said. "The top two lots were part of the surface of Mars, and were jettisoned after impact with some kind of asteroid material. The samples offered here are the kind that could capture the spotlight in a museum collection."
A third meteorite, the Brenham Meteorite Pallasite, has a pre-auction estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.
It is a "flight-oriented" meteorite with markings that indicate the direction in which it was pointed when it entered the Earth's atmosphere, meaning that the meteorite's Earth-facing surface was sculpted smooth by friction with the atmosphere.
The flight-oriented meteorites measures 21 by 17 by 11 inches and weighs approximately 320.77 pounds.
Aside from the meteorites, numerous fossils will be auctioned at the March 19 event. Here is a list of the fossils that will cross the block in Heritage Auctions' Nature & Science Platinum Night Auction:
- Mosasaur Skeleton with a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 that dates back approximately 80 million years.
- Fossil Ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that measures 11 feet in length, with a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 to $150,000
- Fossil Crocodile with a pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $120,000 which measures more than 11 feet in length
- Cave Bear Skeleton with a pre-auction estimate of $30,000 to $50,000 which stands more than 7 feet tall and has a skull measuring almost 17 inches in length
- Woolly Mammoth Tusk with a pre-auction estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 that has been dubbed "The Ocean" because of its blue color
- Fossil Crinoid Plate (estimate: $50,000 to $70,000)
- Rhodochrosite with Quartz & Sphalerite (estimate: $50,000 to $70,000)
- Two Gibeon Meteorite (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000)
- Fossil Lake Mural (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000)
- "Gem" Ammonite in Matrix (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000)
- Gold & Arsenopyrite in Quartz (estimate: $30,000 to $50,000)
- Brenham Meteorite End Cut (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000)
- "Duck-Billed" Dinosaur Leg (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000)
Previews are available on March 17 and 18 by appointment.
Images and additional information about all lots in the auction are available at HA.com/8036.