Historic meteorites with hand painted museum numbers and old collection labels carry a provenance that increases their monetary value but, more importantly, they provide us with a tangible link to the past — to the collectors, researchers, and meteorite hunters who have gone before us. Historic specimens put us in touch with the early days of meteorite collecting. They are friendly reminders that we are only temporary caretakers of our own collections and that we ourselves will, one day, become part of the chronicled history of these marvelous visitors from outer space.
H.H. NININGER, GLENN HUSS & THE AMERICAN METEORITE LAB
Dr. Nininger developed an ingenious numbering and cataloging system for his meteorites — a system which influenced many subsequent collectors and collections. A small strip of white paint was added to one of the specimen’s faces, then a delicate number was added using black paint and a very fine brush. On the specimen pictured above, the number “34” is Nininger’s code for Canyon Diablo, while “3899” indicates that this was the 3,899th Canyon Diablo specimen cataloged. Given Dr. Nininger’s monumental role in meteorite history, specimens bearing his hand-painted numbers are highly desirable.
In 1953, Dr. Nininger reported the following: “In September, 1952, Mr. Orf visited the American Meteorite Museum on U.S.66 west of Winslow, Arizona, on his return from a visit to Kansas. He brought with him several pieces of ‘iron ore’ which he wished to have tested for possible meteoritic characteristics. Casual inspection indicated that the specimens were from an oxidized metallic meteorite.”
When he retired, Dr. Nininger sold part of his collection to the Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU, Tempe. We acquired numerous historic pieces from ASU in an institutional trade and those pieces are accompanied by an original CMS/ASU identification card.
(Pictured) This Pierceville iron meteorite specimen, recovered personally by H.H. Nininger and his wife, Addie, has been cut and polished to reveal its internal structure. Although quite weathered, it still shows typical features of iron meteorites, including a (faint) Widmanstätten Pattern.
These actual specimens were found by Dr. Nininger and his team and were acquired directly from the Center for Meteorite Studies which owns much of the original Nininger Collection. Each historic piece is accompanied by a special handmade certificate of authenticity/specimen ID card personally signed by Geoff Notkin of Meteorite Men and Aerolite Meteorites Inc, verifying that these are authentic Nininger finds. An extraordinary opportunity to acquire an actual find by one of the most important figures in the history of meteoritics.
THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF OSCAR E. MONNIG
Oscar and his hunting team recovered Tishomingo, Pena Blanca Springs, Atoka, and scores of other important American meteorites.
Oscar lived to the age of 99 and bequeathed his magnificent and important personal collection to Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, where much of it is now on display in the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery — one of America’s finest meteorite museums. Glenn and Margaret Huss of the American Meteorite Laboratory cataloged Oscar’s entire collection during the 1980s, and they hand painted the collection numbers (“M1.1”) which we today associate with the collection. Some of the historic specimens offered here carry an official Monnig Collection number (hand painted by Glenn Huss) and a second number painted by Oscar himself! A double provenance from a legendary personality in meteorite history and one of the greatest meteorite collectors of all time.
LABENNE SAHARA STONES
This beautiful Labenne Sahara meteorite is an unclassified ordinary chondrite. Its hand-painted field number, “Sahara 99955,” indicates that it was recovered during the Labenne family’s 1999 Sahara expedition. Precursors to the NWA (Northwest Africa) influx of meteorites, Labenne Saharas are desirable and attractive historic pieces.