[meteorite-list] Trade Growing In Stolen Meteorites

From: Bill Houdek <bhoudek_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:23 2004
Message-ID: <001b01c0daf7$625e5320$7851fea9_at_bhoudek>

I'm very sadened but not overly suprised. Those collectors and sellers
must be cousins to those trading in elephant tusks, rino horns, tiger
skins et al.. If the "rewards" were swift,certain and final, perhaps
the activity would at least slow down. Bill Houdek
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ron Baalke" <baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>
To: "Meteorite Mailing List" <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 10:11 AM
Subject: [meteorite-list] Trade Growing In Stolen Meteorites

> http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1324000/1324361.stm
> Trade growing in stolen meteorites
> Matt McGrath
> BBC News
> May 11, 2001
> Thieves may be stealing meteorites to order to feed a growing
> trade in space rocks, a BBC investigation has revealed.
> Collectors are willing to pay vast sums of money for rarest
specimens and it
> seems this has now attracted a criminal element.
> We have learned of two major thefts in the past six months in South
> and Germany.
> With a piece of lunar meteorite now commanding a price of 20,000 a
gram -
> that is 3,000 times the price of gold - experts believe the number
of thefts
> can only increase.
> Internet driven
> Dr Monica Grady, who leads the Meteorites and Micrometeorites
Programme at
> the Natural History Museum, London UK, said: "I think once
> gets round that meteorites are very collectable, very tradable, then
> possible there will be more theft.
> "With better communications over the past few years on the internet,
> are able to buy and sell meteorites internationally. There are more
> going out and collecting them for themselves," she told the BBC.
> "It's easier, for example, to get into the Sahara to get meteorites
> bring them back and sell them. There is a huge increase in the
numbers of
> meteorites that are actually on the market, and a corresponding
increase in
> the number of people that are buying them and are willing to collect
> One of the pieces stolen in South Africa, a nickel-iron meteorite
found in
> the Vryburg district of the Northern Cape Province, is described as
> "scientifically priceless". It was just one item in a mass theft of
> than 150 meteorite and mineral specimens from a museum.
> Red Planet
> The German meteorite, known as the Ramsdorf main mass, was taken
from a
> private collector. Other valuables left behind by the thieves made
> think the space rock was stolen to order.
> Beyond their market price, meteorites are hugely important to
science. Some
> of the most important specimens incorporate grains that have been
> unaltered since the birth of the Solar System. The 16 Martian
> for example, have revealed astonishing information about the Red
> wet and warm past, and have even suggested the presence of microbial
> lifeforms.
> But although science may be a victim of this new crime, it might
also be an
> unwitting accomplice, warns Ralph P Harvey, assistant professor at
> Western Reserve University, Ohio, and principal of the US Antarctic
> for Meteorites program.
> He told the BBC that the methods used to get meteorites out of
> particularly Morocco and Libya, were questionable. He said private
> collectors were going to these countries to obtain the space rocks
> selling them on to academic institutions. "But its not clear that
> meteorites came out of these countries legally," he said.
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Received on Sat 12 May 2001 11:22:39 AM PDT

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