[meteorite-list] Dissapointed collector

From: dean bessey <deanbessey_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:43:30 2004
Message-ID: <LAW2-F98nzNwRC6Hixq0001455d_at_hotmail.com>

In these discussions I am surprised that nobody has pointed out that you
likely paid a fraction (Typically 1/5 to 1/4) of the price that you would
have paid for a named, recogonized, and classified meteorite. There is a
reason for such a substantial discount in price.
However, what I want to comment on is this part of your email:
>What Im really trying to say here is that it should be officially
> >recognised and classified before it can be called a meteorite.
Everybody in the world SHOULD be able to all live in harmony and stop having
wars and killing each other to. We SHOULD be able to distribute food
everywhere so that nobody in the world goes hungry. We SHOULD be able to
live in a crime free society. We SHOULD be able to all treat animals
humanely. We SHOULD be able to get any meteorite that is found classified
since it helps learn about the universe.
However, for whatever reason, reality is different from an ideal world and
none of this is going to happen next week. The reason that all meteorites
dont get classified is because of a lack of government funding.
If meteorites could get classified the strewnfields of the sahara would
quickly be forthcoming and the nomads would at least keep all meteorites in
their strewnfields together - even if the actual distribution of meteorites
within the strewnfield is lost. You asked a lot of questions but answer this
question: Why would a nomad bother keeping data on his meteorites? Why would
a fossil dealer in Morocco bother trying to get the nomad to keep the data.
People dont care. Its not going to get classified anyway so just dump them
all together in an onion sack, attach it to the camel, and then sell them.
Moroccan fossil dealers involved with meteorites for the most part are
honest businessmen. They are just trying to make a few dollars like
everybody else. The much accepted attidude that you ceremoniously kick the
moroccan fossil dealer whenever you get a chanch is unfair.
I have had numerous moroccan fossil dealers show me awesome material that
they wont sell. Their big question is: CAN YOU GET IT CLASSIFIED? They know
that it will be worth a lot more once classified but have no way of doing
so. They cant even complain that it would be expensive to get it classified.
Classifying something is an impossibility at any cost. The Pellisons whom I
have had somewhat heated (And often unfair) discussions with on this list
have stated "It takes us 2 years to get our stuff classified" - and they
have proper coordinates and have the strewnfield all mapped out. I recently
had an australian tell me that it took him 3 years to get his meteorite
classified that he found. One of the other French sahara searchers once told
me "The university has cut us off - no more classifications". Everybody
wants to get more stuff classified than they can get done.
You have all seen my photo of the half ton of meteorites that I had last
week that I posted to the list. Why would I bother keeping track of them? I
just bring them in and ship them out. My buyers get a meteorite at a
fraction of the cost that they would pay if it was classified. Like
everybody else I am just trying to make a few dollars. I cant wait two years
to get a classification. I would be out of business (Not that I have the
option of getting them classified anyway). The meteoritical society is doing
the best that they can. Remember Jeff grossman a month or so ago on this
list telling all dealers to not make up their own names for their NWA
meteorites? If they need names to contact the meteoritical society and get
provisional NWA names. At least then there is some order and record kept and
if in the future there is a way to get stuff classified then at least some
partial record of what went on during the great meteorite rush of the turn
of the century will be kept for the future. This event is a one of a time
event and people can buy meteorites for 10% of what they could 3 years ago.
When the desert dries up and more people gets involved in meteorites and
prices go back to normal again this will be known as "The good old days
where you could buy meteorites for only 25 cents a gram". In 25 years time
lets see if you dont say that. We are witnessing history right now. Remember
that I told you so.
If it was easy to get meteorites classified a decent (Albiet still not
totally complete) record of what is going on right now would be kept. In 20
years time people will care. But a lot of data is lost. As you so much
pointed out - those NWAs are cheap. You can bet that if the nomads could
improve the price of their meteorites by 300% that they would keep records.
But the nomads are not going to wait 3 years in the outside chanch that they
might get classified and named. They sell for pennies on the dollar and then
look for more (Which has been getting harder to do recently but the turn of
the century desert meteorite rush will last a while longer yet). Collectors
and science win some. They lose some. I dont want to get involved again with
the debate on that in this email but I am sure that you will hear it again.
Once it becomes possible to easily get a meteorite classified the situation
will improve dramatically - possibly affecting the meteorite world as much
as the great meteorite rush itself. It will take a while for the economics
of doing so to work through the system but better records will then get
kept. Right now why bother? The Moroccan fossil dealers who have been
keeping the good stuff for 2 or 3 years now knowing that the stuff
classified will be worth a lot more will then sell the material and
collectors and science will again benefit because of the new material on the
market. Until then it is a waiting game.
I try and keep at least a sample of each of my meteorites. That way in 25
years time when people start wondering what went on at least a better
ability to get an idea of the number of strewnfields found will be more
available to a researcher - even if the TKW is not obtainable. I might even
write a book on the topic in a few years time after the supply of the
meteorites gets all dried up.
But the biggest issue and biggest reason for the distruction of scientific
data is the inability of getting stuff classified. Nothing will improve
until anybody can get a meteorite classified without difficulty and within a
reasonable time. A Moroccan fossil dealer does not have that ability. But to
paraphrase another list member "The dealer can pick out the good stuff". And
while the Pellisons would have you beleive that the nomads who are in the
middle of the great turn of the century meteorite rush has an IQ of 6, they
are quite aware of the fact that if you find a meteorite that there is
likely more around. So the nomads search. They spend days searching. And
they keep a record of where the strewnfield is located (Yes sacreligious I
know, but beleive it). And 6 months later when they are in the area again
they will reseach the strewnfield, hoping to find meteortes that they missed
the first time around and more that have been recently uncovered by the
shifting sands. The european searchers protects the location of their
strewnfield. Why would you expect anything different from a nomad? Like
everybody else involved, the nomads are just running a business. And finding
the material is just the first part of that business.
I cant get stuff classified and every other dealer involved with desert
meteorites will at least in private complain about this situation. I know of
3 groups right now who are looking into the feisbaility of starting a for
profit classification service. Likely there are others. Once this happens
the meteorite world will start slowly changing and some of the criticisms
that you hear on this list about desert meteorites will start improving.
And remember, in 25 years time this turn of the century desert meteorite
rush that we are now in will be known as "the good old days". The desert
will take 40,000 years to replenish itself. Since most of you wont be around
for the next meteorite rush my advice is to take part in it now (And I can
help in that regard - I would happily part with some of that pile of unnamed
and unclassified meteorites in my living room right now in exchange for way
less of that green stuff than you can buy classified and named meteorites
In 25 years time I will be very vocal in telling everybody that "I told you
so". A round of beer on me for all in tucson if I am wrong.
Dont forget to come to Denver in september to buy lots of unnamed and
unclassified NWAs from me. I will also have classified meteorites available
for you to buy (At a much higher price of course)

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Received on Mon 09 Jul 2001 10:36:51 PM PDT

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