From: meteorites_at_space.com <meteorites_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:44:39 2004
Message-ID: <20010315144833.13370.cpmta_at_c000.snv.cp.net>

Here we go again.

speculation and specks.

On Wed, 14 March 2001, "dean bessey" wrote:

> Steve. I see that in spite of all of your "will never", "would never", "will
> never see me sell it" ect that you have very verbally made you have found a
> way to sell specks and still keep all of your scruples intact. You have
> jumped in a little late though as ebay seems to be filled with speck dealers
> now - At least mostly from what I gather seems to be sellers selling
> legitimate stuff.

First off DEAN!.... I WILL NOT SELL SPECKS. And I am not the originator of the idea of certifying them. Steve Arnold did that very well with his moon rock specks that were "certified" by a major institution (third party) and that to me is EXACTLY what I would do if if I sold such things (which I will state here AGAIN--I WILL NOT SELL SPECKS--- PERIOD!)

> You have however done nothing to improve the verification issue in the long
> run.

However-- if I were to buy one-- IT HAD BETTER HAVE CERTIFICATION SUCH AS THE ONES THAT ARNOLD AT LEAST DID! (And BTW- those are the only specks that I ever considered to buy)

 Its still the dealers word of what it is. In fact you may be making the
> verification issue more difficult.

Ridiculous! A non issue.

 Contrary to what you say a .2mg specimen
> can be verified if the proper work is done. Nasa is quite capable of
> verifying a single piece of moon dust as being the real thing or not. Not
> something that buyers of specks will typically do but it can be done.

Hypothetical issue-- try it. And if they do. Poof, the sample is vaporized and verified, at the expense of the entire sample. And if it is a moon rock the only thing that the buyer would then have is the verbal-written confirmation that it was or wasn't.

Hence in my estimation 2 mg samples ARE NOT COLLECTIBLES-- They are research material. And IF, (and it a very big IF)I were to ever provied such mg specks it would be for RESEARCH to RESEARCH institutions-- NOT COLLECTORS WITH ALL THE HYPE THAT TENDS TO GO WITH THEM ON EBAY.

Sorry it that OFFENDS you--- But that is my OPINION!

Smash your rare ones, that is your opinion and practice if you like-- but you will never see me doing that.

 If it
> is in a sealed cube the seal would have to be destroyed to verify it -
> possibly destroying the sample itself.

If it were encapsulated, and verified in the manner that Arnold verified his moon rocks-- it would never have to be verified again-- (as long as the capsule remained intact). Arnold took pains to verify those moon rock specks at a time when many on this list were going like lunatics to buy their little unverifed specks-- but I almost considered getting those from Arnold simply because they had been VERIFIED BY A THIRD PARTY!

Oh believe me-- if Arnold told me that they were lunar-- I would have little reason to doubt him-- HOWEVER-- that trust ends there if I ever decide to let go of it to someone that does not know Arnold.

THAT IS where THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION comes in... and it is a way of protecting my investment... which in the case of the specimens in question was the sum of several thousands of dollars.


> The stuff that you seal up would surely be real but if your idea caught on
> and became popular people would certaintly imitate your idea and more
> companies and dealers would do the same thing - not all of which might have
> honest intentions.


That will rid the field of imatators. Just as PCGS, ANACS, and the other coin grading services (third party) are recognized as legit graders of coins.

The fact is that we as a community of dealers do not have the credibility to even interest an institution to take up the task-- and I admit that such may even be impractical-- as what is in it for them?

They don't have the time for the most part to deal with us and our money making aims.

As of Arnold's moon rock pieces-- they are heads above ALL and I repeat ALL of the other specks out there as they are the only ones that I know of that ARE ADEQUATELY VERIFIED BY A THIRD PARTY INSTITUTION.

So I say KUDOS to Arnold for at least having made the effort and succeeding with at least a couple of his specks. Yes they were expensive compared to the others of the same rock- but that in my estimation was worth the extra cost. To have such a verified piece makes it a heck of a lot easier to convince a general audience that what you are holding is a moon rock then to hold the same thing up and say "I got this from Dean Bessy or Steve Arnold or ... and they say it is a moon rock."


Such claims may satisfy the end collector that knows all of us-- but when it comes to education, or having to eventually dispose of such a thing, those CERT papers will go A LONG WAY IN GIVING THE SPECK CREDIBILITY.


> To illistrate how this works let me explain a common scam that is often done
> with selling gemstones as "investments" (Most often diamonds but other
> gemstones to). The seller gets someone to invest money in gemstones on an
> ongoing basis over a large peroid of time. The gemstones are photographed
> with the grades and value included and the stones themselves are in a sealed
> container with a recomendation to not open it (Air tight seal protects it,
> protects it from damage, theft ect. Whatever excuse works in the given
> situation). the first few gemstones are usually as good as the seller says
> as the buyers are encouraged to get their own appraisels so that the seller
> gets more trust. Slowly, over time, the quality of the gemstones gets lower
> and lower as the buyer is not going to get every simgle item that they buy
> appraised. After several years the seller goes out of business and
> disappears and when the buyer tries to unload he then discoveres that the
> stones are not of the same quality as indicated on the sales slip (Although
> probably genuine stones - just lower quality than stated and worth only a
> small fraction of what was paid for it).
> With the speak issue you have done nothing to guarantee the authtenticity
> above supplying a dealers reputation. If somebody buys a meteorite speck off
> ebay there is usually a photo with it and a buyer can quite easily save
> that photo on his computer and use it should he want to resell it - therby
> acheiving what you are proposing anyway.

BULL !! That is a real crappy way of verifiying a speck... Pleas re-read it to see how ludicrous it is.


 Its still nothing more than the
> dealers reputation that a buyer is depending on.

The EXACT reason one would want to have thrid party verification... again such as Arnold did with his moon rock specks.

 Since most buyers of specks
> just want an item for their own collection they are not to worried about the
> resell value or the investment potential anyway.

AND REALLY-- that is too bad and in my OPINION... and it is agian my opinon... very selfish. I would build a collection to create a legacy. Specimens that speak for themselves in this regard do not need me or anyone esle to say what they are. If there is going to be a moon rock speck in that collection it is going to be a piece that has THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION--- that way when I die-- my children or whoever should get it will know that it is what the certification says it is rather than "well it came from the late Schoner Collection and he was a legit meteorite collector-- so it must be what he thought it was...



My collection in my OPINION and practice will not be like that.

Sorry if my OPINION bends you out of shape, Dean.

But that is my standard.

> So your conceived strategy of selling them once again boils down to nothing
> more than "my meteorites are better than your meteorites" so "you should buy
> from me and not the other guys". A legitimate sales strategy in some
> circumstances.

WHERE DO YOU GET THIS! I never said that, nor implied it.. I defy you to quote me on it anywhere in all that is archived on this subject.

> On another note somebody said that the apollo material "should not be
> available". Somebody please correct me if I am slightly wrong here but I
> understand that it is in fact available. In the early 1970s NASA gave out a
> packet to various heads of state with a bunch of promotional BS and with it
> contained 3 gram vials of apollo fragments. At least 3 of these have been
> broken up and ocassionally somebody tries to sell small bits (Specks) of the
> stuff. I am not a lawyer so somebody plaese correct me if I am wrong here
> but I understand it is perfectly legal to own this material. What is illegal
> is to carry or transport it accross the borders of the US and its
> possessions. So you could own it but if you were caught with it in the
> United states you would have a hard time explaining how you got it into the
> US without crossing the US boarder.
> A con artist neads a viable story to sell something (Like the guy 80 years
> ago who sold a bunch of copies of the Mona Lisa painting. The guy who stole
> the painting put the painting in hiding and then made fakes of it and sold
> the fakes to buyers who knew full well that the painting had recently been
> stolen).
> Cheers

Again, the above is a non-issue. Totally skirts the issue of verification of specks.

The fact of the story involving the Moon Rock Scam is that the pieces in question WERE NOT WHAT THE SELLER CLAIMED THEM TO BE.

And an a THIRD PARTY (Lunar receiving Lab) determined that the specks of reputed moon rock that he sold were not moon rocks-- He his now serving 21 months in a Federal prison for the crime.

So speck dealers-- beware.

Better tow the line...

Steve Schoner, American Meteorite Survey.

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Received on Thu 15 Mar 2001 09:48:33 AM PST

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