[meteorite-list] Thauthe comments that were made earlier

From: Chauncey Walden <clwaldeniii_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:32:45 2004
Message-ID: <4044ADEC.2000509_at_comcast.net>

Since he was "mentioned in dispatch" so to speak, Ronnie McKenzie has
asked me to post this to the list for him:

In response to the recent mis-information posted by Mr Farmer I feel
compelled to clarify the record on Thuathe for a second and hopefully
last time - obviously he either didn't read or could not understand the
content of my previous note concerning Thuathe material which I
purchased in Lesotho. In his previous email he severely criticised
Professor Ambrose and others in Lesotho for swindling locals and I
responded on their behalf to highlight how much they have in fact done
for the local community. In his most recent email he again raises the
issue of Thuathe being bought for next to nothing and has on this
occasion included my name in the list of criminals.

Virtually all of the initial Thuathe material (before Mr Farmer knew
about it) was purchased through two locals and a group from a South
African University who initially had no knowledge of its value. While
some of the earlier material was literally paid for with food and sweets
by them (not me, as I bought all my material from them) they were never
trying to swindle the locals in any way (as inferred by Mr Farmer on
numerous occasions in previous emails) and both had been supplying food
and clothes to locals in the area for years before the meteorite fell.
I am sure it is not the first time that meteorites have been traded for
food at rediculously low prices.
Prof Ambrose is an academic who had no interest in the commercial value
of the meteorite and was only interested in cataloging the material and
documenting the fall from a purely scientific viewpoint. Another group
of academics from a South African University also bought some original
material for next to nothing since they had no idea of its value - they
even turned down an offer on a 2kg speciment because the asking price of
$10 at the time was considered excessive! The one item of truth in Mr
Farmer's email concerns the fact that the asking price increased
significantly during his visit and then to several times more after he
left and Prof Ambrose became aware that Mr Farmer was asking upwards of
$8/gm for the material in the US.
I purchased my first 2 kg's of material from Prof Ambrose and Mr
Ashworth initially for a relatively low price but nowhere near the 1
cent mentioned by Mr Farmer. I then paid an average of approximately
$2/gm (at current exchange rates it is $3/gm) for most of my subsequent
material from Prof Ambrose which provided the funding for the school - I
still have most of the material I bought. Mr Farmer should remember
well what I paid for the 2.5kg 'bear' that appeared on his web site as
well as on the front page of the Meteorite magazine since he was also
bidding on that particular piece - so I am surprised (or rather
dissapointed) by his inaccurate rantings - that piece went for almost
$10 000 at today's exchange - a far cry from the 1 cent a gram mentioned
in his email.

I have stopped subscribing to the meteorite list due to the continual
flood of abusive emails particularly from Mr Farmer and directed at
anyone and everyone on the list. I only respond to such garbage when I
am made aware of a particular email and personally brought into the
fray. Mr Farmer knows only too well what I had to pay for material and
one needs only to discuss the matter with Prof Ambrose who has now built
a school for the local children using the proceeds from his sales to me.
    I still work in the area (developing water supply projects) and am
on the best of terms with the locals, most of whom are extremely poor
and slowly dying of aids. I can easily get Professor Ambrose to
corroborate what I have indicated above (with facts and figures) if Mr
Farmer continues to debate the issue.

I suggest that Mr Farmer drops this issue once and for all and uses the
meteorite list as it was intended and not for personnal gratification or
for publicising petty squabbles. I am sure there are many list
members like myself who joined the list to keep up to date with the
latest information on meteorites and who are fed up with the constant
infighting between the various 'meteorite hunters'. I notice that most
of the true professional meteorite hunters/dealers tend to stick to
constructive comment relating to meteorites which I found very
interesting and useful.
Received on Tue 02 Mar 2004 10:53:16 AM PST

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