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Thoughts from the Mall

Hi list!

Thought I'd throw out some thoughts, from another perspective...from that
barometer of mass market insanity, the MALL.  As the owner of a retail
store that sells meteorites, among other things, I definitely get to see a
whole other side of "meteorite madness" than most scientists and dealers on
this list. People who buy meteorites in the mall are definitely a whole
different breed, so I thought I'd throw my two cents in.  The longer I am
in retail sales, the more I am amazed by humanity - for good and bad. 

Overall, I too agree that meteorites are not necessarily good investments. 
However, one aspect of a particular meteorite that will never change is the
story of it's passage to Earth.  Even if we send a rover to the Big Mama
carbonaceous chondrite asteroid, and come back with the motherlode, it will
not change the amazing drama that happened over Allende Mexico in 1969.

I tend to believe that part of what will make a particular meteorite
withstand the test of time is not so much its scientific rarity, but the
"romance" behind its arrival on Earth.  I've seen this time and again with
buyers in my shop.  I might be showing them a true scientific marvel, but
if there isn't a good story behind it, it's a tough sell.  I'm just
speaking in general, obviously there are exceptions.

Start talking to someone about the Sikhote Alin fall, (The huge red smoking
fireball,  the sonic boom, the witness who painted it, the postage stamp,
people pulling schrapnel out of trees, etc. etc.) and people's mouths just
fall open, and you can see that "I have to have this" look on their faces. 
Try selling a Henbury, or a Gao and it just doesn't happen.  (I now have
some really cool Henbury's and a big Gao in my personal collection!  ; ) 
Now that meteorites are quickly becoming mass market items, we can't forget
that the mass market is who will determine what is desirable, and

To most of my customers, it's like owning a piece of the Berlin Wall.  You
could offer them a piece of a better,  rarer,  smaller wall, but it just
isn't the same thing.

When I go to Tucson, I may be bowled over by something, but my bulk buying
decisions have to be based on what I'm going to sell.  My husband gives me
an "I know what you're doing" look whenever I want something and say,
"Let's just start with one and see if it sells!"  He knows that little
whatever-it-is will wend its way out of the display window and into my
collection at some point.

The "easy sells"  that come to mind off the top of my head are:
Gibeon - The desert, Nama tribesmen making spear points
Juancheng - The supposed portending of Chairman Deng's death....one piece
landed in a pot on 
                   someone's stove.
Canyon Diablo - Meteor Crater
Sikhote Alin - Largest witnessed fall.....schrapnel being pulled out of
trees....the postage stamp
El Hammammi - Packed out by nomads....oxidation from camel sweat

Other examples (that I don't and probably won't have):
Ensisheim - Chained to the church!
Peekskill - The car
The Tucson Ring - blacksmith's anvil
and yes....gulp......Monohans, for all the drama alone!

And I may never have a piece of Ensisheim, or The Tucson Ring, but that's
OK.  Plenty of other great stuff to keep me entertained for a lifetime. 
And I'll still be waiting for the "5th Avenue Mall" meteorite to crash
through the roof of my shop and land on the counter.  (Does my insurance
cover that?.....Better make it an SNC!)

So, in the long run, perhaps the only meteorites whose prices will remain
overly inflated are the ones with the stories, leaving all the others for
those of us to whom more "important" things matter.

"Man is the only animal for whom his own existence
is a problem he has to solve"    -Erich Fromm

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