An extraordinary array of otherworldly meteorite specimens from the personal collection of one of the former stars of the Meteorite Men will touch down July 22 in Heritage
's Meteorites from the Geoff Notkin Collection Part 2 Nature & Science Signature® Auction.
Meteorite Men, a documentary reality television series that aired on the Science Channel, starred Notkin and co-host Steve Arnold, along with featured scientists and professors and guests, as they roamed the earth looking for meteorites.
Part 1 of the Notkin Collection Nature & Science Auction was a hugely successful event in June 2022 that Notkin called something of an "exploration" that told the story of his career and his love of exploration. Part 2, he says, has a more personal feel.
"This auction is personally so exciting, because I'm going back to a place at Heritage Auctions that I know," he says. "Many of the items in this auction were extremely difficult to part with, that I just couldn't bring myself to part with the first time around. This auction is full of items with very personal stories attached to them. Many are absolutely five-star items, with deeply personal stories, the memories of the journeys that led me to them.
"There are some magnificent meteorites of all three kinds irons, pallasites and stones in this auction that are undeniable natural works of art."
Among the top attractions in the auction is a Campo del Cielo Meteorite that was first found in 1576 in Chaco, Argentina. This museum-quality iron behemoth it measures just over 15-1/2 inches long and weighs in at 150 pounds (68 kilograms) is one of dozens of iron meteorites in the auction, and the best example Notkin has seen in his career. This beauty is oriented showing wear caused by in-flight friction that indicates the direction it flew through space and the Earth's atmosphere and is covered in fine, overlapping regmaglypts, the "thumbprint" ablations or indentations that give it a complex surface worthy of being the centerpiece of its next collection.
"This is probably the most spectacular lot in the auction," Notkin says. "It has been the backbone of my personal collection for years, and immediately will take center stage in its next collection."
Another stunning iron is the Canyon Diablo Meteorite from Arizona's Meteor Crater, which has been cut an etched with a window face to highlight the beautiful Widmanstätten pattern. The etching was done by one of the world's top preparators of meteorites, which left an exquisite display surface on this giant example that weighs 31.8 pounds (14.4 kilograms). Canyon Diablo meteorites often are not etched, because they can contain micro diamonds that make the process difficult. This specimen is unbelievable when the etched face provides a base, although it also can be placed on its side in order to offer a view of the beautifully cut window.
A Gibeon Meteorite from Great Nama Land, Namibia, adds Africa to the list of continents that can produce exceptional iron meteorites. This is among the oldest samples from a gorgeous meteorite that has been known since the 1800s.
Among the top pallasites is a Seymchan Meteorite Slice from Magadanskaya oblast', Russia. Many Seymchan examples are rich in either iron or olivine, but usually not both; this is a magnificent transitional piece that offers an exceptional display of both a split display that is believed to be caused by the fact that it was formed near the surface of the core of an asteroid. The undeniable beauty of this example is exceeded only by its rarity: of the roughly 72,000 officially recognized meteorites, only 166 including the one that produced this beautiful slice are pallasites.
A massive (5.7 pounds / 2.6 kilograms) Dimmitt Meteorite from West Texas fell in prehistoric times. This example includes an original Oscar Monnig Collection specimen card identifying it as a Bronzite Chondrite Dimmitt H4. It boasts two collection numbers: M-138.12 (known as "the Monnig Number") and "12D"
which likely was painted by Monnig, himself. The late Dr. Ehlmann, who was a close friend of Monnig's, believed these represented some form of code indicating where those specimens had originally been found.
Among the lots that hold exceptional value to Notkin are a selection of 20 Sikhote-Alin Meteorites from Russia some of which he refers to as "the Sikhote-Alin Zoo" because of the resemblance some samples have to the shapes of animals, including the "Sleeping Dragon," the "Owl," the "Lion," the "Shark" and the "Rabbit."
Not everything in the auction is a meteorite. Other highlights include:
A group of 23 Letters To Or From Harvey H. Nininger a trove of original letters representing the entire correspondence between the legendary Director of the American Meteorite Museum and R.H. Draeger, a captain in the U.S. Navy, between April 1947 and November 1952. The letters reference varied topics, including purchases and exchanges of meteorites and/or equipment. Nininger signed 13 of the letters, one of which also included a handwritten note. Notkin acquired these letters directly from Draeger's estate.
An Original Meteor Crater Exploration & Mining Company Stock Certificate, which represents a share of stock that the certificate's owner in this case, an investor named Woodworth would hold in a company that Daniel Moreau Barringer created. Barringer concluded that a geological feature in northern Arizona known as Coon Butte was, in fact, the result of an extraterrestrial object rather than various theories being espoused by geologists at the time who oddly must have chosen to ignore the nickel-iron fragments lying around the rim of the crater. Barringer formed the Meteor Crater Exploration & Mining Company to drill into the floor of the impact site in order to find and unearth the expected enormous mass that would be below it. While modern science proved there was no monster meteorite underneath the crater floor, the visionary Barringer was correct that a meteorite had, indeed, formed it.
Geoff Notkin's Screen-Used Vintage Rutus Metal Detector used in the "Pultusk" episode (Season 3, Episode 8) of Meteorite Men. When Notkin and MM co-star Steve Arnold learned of its effectiveness in finding samples of the buried Pultusk Meteorite, Notkin tried to locate one in Poland.
"Geoff Notkin has spent his entire career collecting some of the finest meteorites anywhere," says Craig Kissick, Vice President of Nature and Science at Heritage Auctions. "As was the case with the first auction last year, this event is a spectacular chance for collectors of all levels to add trophy-level items to their collections."