is not worth anything, as it is impossible to own one. Meteor is the scientific
name for a shooting star, caused when comsic debris or space junk encounters
our atmosphere and begins to burn. A piece of iron or stone that falls
to earth from space become a meteorite
. So, the question you
should be asking is: "How much is a meteorite worth?"
There is no easy answer this quesion, and one might just as well ask
how much a piece of jewelry is worth, or what is the value of an original
piece of art. The answer could be a few dollars, or a few thousand.
VALUE OF METEORITES
Values are determined by many different factors, including rarity of
type, condition, size, and aesthetic appeal. In most cases, if a rock
from space has been properly classified and named by a recognized academic
institution has a higher monetary value than an unclassified specimen.
This is partly due to the fact that once a new meteorite has been studied
and accepted into the existing body of scientific literature, it has
a pedigree and provenance, and any prospective buyer can read details
about that meteorite in a recognized academic publication, such at The
Meteoritical Bulletin. It is also important to make new finds available
to the scientific community for study.
MUCH DO METEORITES COST?
At the low end of the pricing scale are ordinary chondrites.
All meteorites are rare, so the term "ordinary" can be a little
misleading to the beginning collector. Ordinary chondrites, or OCs,
are the most abundant type of meteorite, but they are still much rarer
than gold. Chondrites contain chondrules, which pre-date the
formation of the solar system we know today. Chondrites were once part
of the crust of a large asteroid or planet, and are undifferentiated.
In other words, their ancient chondrules have not been altered by heat
or pressure. During the 1990s large numbers of ordinary chondrites (along
with rarer types of meteorites) were found in the hot deserts of North
Africa. Many of these stones were discovered by wandering nomads, so
the exact find locations will never be known. Stones that were found
in the African deserst and have not been studied by academia are described
as unclassified Northwest African stones, or NWA XXX. Meteorites are
typically sold by weight, and dealers use the metric systems of weights
and measures. Nice examples of NWA stones can be purchased for about
US$0.50 to $1.00 per gram. Complete stones that were not damaged on
impact, or by subsequent weathering, or freshly fallen stones exhibiting
a black fusion crust are typically more valuable.
that were seen to fall to earth by a credible observer are described
as witnessed falls, and they usually command a higher price
on the collectors' market than finds. Witnessed falls, and rare and
some collectors are particularly interested in owning a meteorite that
fell on his or her birthday. Popular examples of witnessed falls include
stone meteorite, which fell in Burkina Faso, Africa in 1960 and
meteorite, a very rare type of achondrite known as a eucrite.
Attractive Gao-Guenie specimens usually retail for about $2/gram, while
high quality Millbillillies are worth about $25/gram. Eucrites are essentially
volcanic rocks that originate from a large asteroid, and they do not
Iron meteorites were once part of the molten core of a large planet
or asteroid, and often exhibit fantastic shapes created as they flew,
melting through our atmosphere. One of the most popular irons among
collectors is the Campo
del Cielo iron meteorite from Argentina. Enthusiasts nickname them
"Campos," and a nice hand specimen can easily be obtained
for $100 or less. Larger, high quality specimens typically sell for
$200 to $300 per kilogram. So, if a collector is willing to spend $1,000
he or she can obtain an impressive tabletop display specimen.
extremely popular space rock is the Sikhote-Alin
iron meteorite, a witnessed fall that occurred in a remote part
of Siberia in 1947. Sikhote-Alins are among the most aesthetically beautiful
of all meteorites and display remarkable surface features such as regmaglypts
(thumbprints), orientation, flow lines, and rollover
lips. Many specimens look like small abstract sculptures, naturally
crafted by the elements. Top quality Sikhote-Alins sell for about $3/gram,
while shattered and torn pieces created by fragmentation in the atmosphere
are known as shrapnel, and typically can be purchased for about
$0.80 to $1/gram.
FROM THE MOON AND MARS
At the high end of the pricing scale are pieces of the planet
Mars, and our own moon. Meteorites land on other astral bodies, just
as they land on earth. Sometimes these impacts will throw fragments
into space, and some of those pieces may eventually collide with our
own planet, resulting in meteorites from the moon and Mars. These extremely
rare specimens are of great value to both academia and collectors, and
may sell for as much as $1,000/gram.
HOW TO START A METEORITE COLLECTION
Fairly often, a new enthusiast will ask us for advice about how to start
a collection. Some beginners like to start their collection with one
example from each of the three main groups: stones, irons, and stony-irons.
When someone asks me "What would make a good first piece,"
I often recommend an example of the Campo del Cielo iron, or the famous
iron meteorite from Arizona. Both are affordable irons, and both
are of historic significance. Campo is one of the oldest-known meteorites;
it was first discovered by the Spanish in 1576. Canyon Diablo is associated
with the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona — universally
regarded as the best preserved impact crater on earth.
SOME ADVICE ON BUYING METEORITES
We strongly recommend buying from established, respected dealers. There
are many fake meteorites and frauds out there, and I know several collectors
who have been duped into buying ordinary earth rocks by unscrupulous
or uneducated sellers. Buying on eBay can be very risky. Every time
I look on eBay I see meteorites that have been described or advertised
incorrectly, and there are always several "meteorites" being
offered for sale that are out and out fakes, or as we like to call them
We are professional members in good standing of the International Meteorite
Collectors' Association (IMCA) and we proudly display their logo on
the front page of our website, and on our eBay auctions. All IMCA members
are required to adhere to the very highest standards of honesty, fair
trading, and integrity within the meteorite community. We stand behind
the authenticity and quality of every single specimen we sell.
So, now that you have read about meteorite values and pricing, we invite
you to visit our meteorites for
sale catalogue. Every single specimen on the Aerolite Meteorites
website has been personally examined and authenticated by meteorite
hunter Geoffrey Notkin — the company owner, and a well known
science author and authority on space rocks.
YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOUND A ROCK FROM SPACE?
If you are reading this page because you think you may have found a
meteorite, and would like to sell it, PLEASE
read our Guide to Meteorite Identification
and follow the instructions on that page BEFORE
YOU CONTACT US.