Massive 37 Pound Piece of the Moon Up for Auction

March 10 06:04 2023
Collectors and curators are always trying to get the best specimens for their collections. Lunar meteorites from the Moon are among the most prized of the meteorite types that grace the top collections of the world.

Image Heritage Auctions,

The lunar samples brought back by NASA’s Apollo astronauts during the manned missions to the Moon in the 1970’s can only be used for scientific research. They’re not only unavailable to meteorite collectors, but federal law prohibits their possession or sale.

That hasn’t stopped collectors and museums from getting their hands on pieces of the Moon for their collections. Instead of being hefted back to Earth in a space capsule, these lunar samples come here on their own in the form of lunar meteorites. It’s not that uncommon for a museum or private collector to have a lunar meteorite in their collection these days, but it’s rare to see one on display much bigger than about the size of a softball. So, when Texas based Heritage Auctions announced it was auctioning a 37.4 pound lunar meteorite for Colorado based company Top Meteorite in its March 31st Nature & Science Signature Auction, the collector world took notice.

The massive lunar meteorite was approved by the Meteoritical Society’s Nomenclature Committee as a Lunar Fragmental Breccia November 12, 2022 and given the official name Northwest Africa 15368. While it’s not the largest lunar meteorite in existence, check out the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum’s Stiffler Meteorite Collection for that, it’s definitely among the largest lunar meteorites to ever come to auction.

“It was great to be part of the analysis and classification of NWA 15368, it’s not often we get to work with such a large lunar meteorite”, said Dr. Aaron S. Bell, Director of the Electron Microprobe Laboratory at the University of Colorado at Boulder and one of the scientists who performed the analysis and classification for the meteorite.

The enormous space rock has an official pre-auction estimate of just under one million dollars and could fetch considerably more. According to a 2022 article by Market Decipher, the collectibles market topped $400 billion in 2021, and online collectible sales grew by 7% to $13.3 billion that same year. The article noted that “…the number of [individual] artworks and collectibles sold via timed auctions are routinely breaking the million-dollar mark…”

With the collectibles market on an upward trajectory and more-and-more high net worth individuals and investors seeking physical collectible assets to invest in, its likely demand for these rare space rocks won’t cool down soon.

Where this gargantuan piece of the Moon will end up after the final bid is cast is anyone’s guess. Maybe on display at a major natural history museum or perhaps in the courtyard of a Fortune 500 company’s headquarter. Or perhaps an eccentric billionaire with a rocket ship will snap it up and take it back to the Moon. One never knows!

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Company Name: Heritage Auctions
Contact Person: Craig Kissick
Email: Send Email
Phone: 877-437-4824 Ext. 1995
Country: United States

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