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Russian Chebarkul Meteorite Event Warning and Info

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#1 Glassthrower

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

Hi Cloudy Nighters,

Myself, and just about every meteorite dealer on the planet, has been receiving hundreds of emails and thousands of website visitors over the last week as a result of the amazing meteorite impact event over Chelyabinsk Russia on Feb 15, 2013.

The public has been made very aware of meteors and meteorites, and they are curious for more information. Also, many people are hungry to buy a souvenir specimen of this historic impact event that has dominated the world news of late. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of scam artists trying to make a quick buck from the notoriety of this event. To make things worse, there are some people with good intentions and no expertise in meteorites who are mistakenly offering ordinary rocks. A number of fakes and misrepresented pieces have already turned up on eBay, as expected. Many have been pulled down when reported as fraudulent, but some remain on the site.

I am posting this warning not as a vendor myself, but as a collector and member of the general public who does not want to see eager astronomy-space enthusiasts fleeced of their hard-earned cash by some internet scammer.

My "warning" is this - if offered some of this meteorite to purchase, or if you see any being offered on the internet, BUYER BEWARE.

In time, there will surely be genuine pieces of this meteorite available to purchase on the collector market. But at the time of this writing, I am not aware of a single genuine specimen of this new meteorite fall on the market. And although I do not speak for every meteorite dealer in the world, I have talked to a dozen other veteran dealers and none have seen any material yet either.

[/warning] :)

For solid information about this event, without any hype or sales pitches, see the following link about the event. The page was put together by Dr. Nick Gessler of Duke University who is studying this event. It is being updated frequently with reliable links, photos, and details about this event as they emerge from the scientific community.

Chebarkul-Chelyabinsk impact event site - https://web.duke.edu...chelyabinsk.htm

There is also an active discussion of this event ongoing in the Space Rocks forum here on CN - http://www.cloudynig...etorites/Num...

Best regards and clear dark skies,

MikeG

#2 Bill Barlow

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

Thanks for the information, Mike. I hope that they can recover some of the fragments that made that large circular hole in the frozen lake. What a spectacular event to see..thank God for all of the camera's out there these days.

Bill

#3 Glassthrower

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:05 PM

Hi Bill,

I have my feelers out to acquire some fragments. I am being very selective with who I get it from. There are a lot of scammers out there trying to take advantage of this event. I just checked again today, and every offering on eBay looks fake or suspicious to me.

Unlike Morocco and many other countries well-known to meteorite hunters, Russia has a visa process for visitors. This process takes time, and currently there are American and European meteorite hunters trying to get into the country and the strewnfield. Once this happens, I will be able to buy some pieces from a reliable source. As a collector myself, I am very eager to get some, but I am not letting my enthusiasm override my sense of caution. :)

BTW, I just posted a new list of videos in the space rocks forum. These videos have some amazing footage of the event and the aftermath.

Best regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#4 Glassthrower

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

Collector update -

There are a few "genuine" Chebarkul meteorites on eBay right now that are being offered by a seller who is known to the meteorite community. However, I would still advise caution because this is a feeding-frenzy right now and the temptation is still too great for some shady people to resist. I am not implying that this particular seller is shady (he is not), but, he is in Finland and it is possible that his sources may have deceived him. Or, these fragments he is offering could be real. Regardless, the bidding looks like sharks responding to blood in the water - the final price is going to be truly astronomical on these pieces.

This buyer (me) is continuing to keep his powder dry and wait for the hoopla to die down. There are still a ton of fakes on eBay right now, and the genuine pieces are going to sell for sky-high prices. It's still a dubious market for this meteorite at this point, but there is light at the end of tunnel and I think the floodgates will be opening soon. Stay tuned. :)

#5 Bill Barlow

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:26 PM

Mike,

Will Russia allow these meteorites out of their country if found by collectors who are not Russian citizens given the significance of this event?

Bill

#6 Glassthrower

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:42 AM

Hi Bill,

Yes, these meteorites will be allowed out.....for now. Russia has no laws against meteorite exportation. However, this event garnered so much attention that this may change the legal landscape in that country at some point in the future. But as of this writing, it is legal to export meteorites from Russia. I know one veteran American meteorite hunter who is on his way to Russia, and he will be acquiring specimens for the marketplace.

The floodgates are about to open and genuine specimens are trickling onto the market now. There *appears* to be a few genuine specimens on eBay right now, but they are surrounded by dozens of fakes. Tread carefully there until the aforementioned floodgates open and more trust-worthy sellers start offering pieces. With a fall like this, provenance is everything - it's too easy to misrepresent another fresh common chondrite as a specimen of this new fall, and I see that happening right now. In fact, one of the shady sellers on eBay has an IMCA number, but I would touch that specimen with a 10-foot pole because I know (and many others in the meteorite world know) that this particular seller is very risky to buy from. I hope the IMCA takes action on this person soon.

Note - not all IMCA sellers can be trusted and not every non-IMCA dealer should be viewed with caution. In a case like this, where lots of money is on the line, a membership card in a web organization doesn't necessarily guarantee authenticity. Caveat Emptor.

But, back to the question - yes, this meteorite will enter the market legally. :)

Best regards,

MikeG

PS - scientists have calculated the orbit of this meteorite, and it originates from an Apollo asteroid - http://www.technolog...-orbit-of-ch...

#7 Glassthrower

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 12:27 PM

Just an update for the curious...

I have been watching the market develop for this new Russian meteorite. I had previously reported that eBay was full of fakes and I advised against purchasing any specimens from unknown sellers.

In the two weeks or so since I last posted here, the market has changed somewhat.

There are at least one known reputable seller and another reputable seller who are selling genuine specimens on eBay now. I am not affiliated with either seller in any way. I do know of the first seller and can state that he is reputable and trustworthy. The second seller I am not familiar with, but have heard reliable reports that his specimens are genuine. The first seller is based in Finland and the second seller is based in Latvia.

If I was to purchase any material right now, it would be from one of these sellers. There are many other sellers that are unknown and they are offering specimens that may or may not be genuine. So I would only have any confidence in the two sellers I just mentioned - the other sellers are a gamble.

Another factor to consider - it is not illegal to purchase these meteorites out of Russia or to export them from Russia. However, the Russian customs authorities are delaying mailed shipments out of the country right now, and there have been reports that some specimens have been seized, although there is no apparent legal basis for this. Having said that, I would be wary of purchasing from sellers who are located inside Russia - there is some risk that the mailed parcel may be delayed or stopped. The sellers in Finland and Latvia do not have this problem.

The cause for this is that the Russian Duma (their law-making body or Congress) is considering a change to the law, so some officials are being overly-zealous in anticipation of more restrictive laws that may be coming in the future. So keep this in mind if mail ordering specimens from a seller located in Russia.

The next consideration is price. Right now, the going price I am seeing on eBay is about $100/g for fixed price offerings and approx. $60-$100 per gram in auction format listings. This fall is expected to have a recovered weight measured in hundreds of kilograms, consisting of thousands of small stones and fragments. Once the spring thaw happens, that number could easily rise to over 1000 kilograms of material. That means there will be plenty to go around eventually, and the patient buyer will get a much better deal in the long run.

It is safe to carefully buy now, but depending on your budget, you will likely pay far too much, and a similar sample in a few weeks or months will be far cheaper on the wallet.

I'm keeping my powder dry at the moment and for the near future. :)

Best regards,

MikeG

#8 Glassthrower

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:00 PM

I now have micromount specimens of Chelyabinsk (the official name) meteorite. :)

See this link for ordering - http://www.galactic-...rch=chelyabinsk

Use coupon code "cloudynights" at checkout for 20% OFF.

Best regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#9 csa/montana

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

You're already out of the large micromounts? :(

#10 zjc26138

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:19 PM

Just bought some! :)

#11 csa/montana

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:11 PM

I thought I was on Mike's list for one; but guess not. :confused:

#12 zjc26138

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

I wanted the larger micromounts, but I settled on the smaller micromounts.

#13 Glassthrower

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:21 PM

Hi Carol,

I have one put aside for you. :)

The big ones sold out less than five minutes after I listed them. Crazy. I wish I had 100 of them.

Zach - just glue them all together into one mass. ;)

(just kidding, don't do that! LOL)

I am going to try and get some larger pieces after the spring thaw when the prices should come down. Right now, big pieces are fetching astronomical prices - and that doesn't leave any meat on the bone for me to make a profit.

Best regards,

MikeG

#14 csa/montana

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:24 PM

Thank you, Mike!!! :)

#15 JimP

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:36 AM

I have been collecting meteorites for decades, donated a collection of 72 meteorites to the South Caroilina State Museum and written articles for Meteorite and Astronomy magazine (on meteorites). I have NOT seen much in the way of fake Cherbarkul meteorites. I have just received the first of three meteorites and they are certainly authentic. Chebarkul Meteorites coming aout of Latvia, Finland and Germany from reputable dealers at a price of about $30-40 per gram can easily be obtained. Mike Farmer apparently has come back with a trove of dozens and dozens of these meterorites. Buyer beware is always appropreitae when buying meteorites but I would also say do not limit yourself to any one dealer, esp[ecially if they want more than about $50 per gram. My take is, that like the Holbrook, USA meteorite strike in the early 20th century where it "rained" pea sized meteorites, there will be LOTS of this maerial available, and while the prices could change there is plenty available right now. I only deal with somone with hundreds or thousands of feedbacks with a rating of 100%.
I have None for sale and I am associated with No meteorite dealers. I am just poroviding this information as a service to my fellow amateur astronomers. What you do or do not do with this information is your decision. I have no dog in this fight.

best,

Jim Phillips, M.D.

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#16 JimP

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 09:39 AM

Here is another view.

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#17 zjc26138

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 12:19 PM

Mike,
The Meteorites arrived today! Thanks!

#18 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 09:36 AM

I concur. Most of the fakes on eBay have been removed and/or some of the scammers quit trying. Sellers were trying to pass off Sikhote shrapnels, slags, and other materials that were obviously bogus at first glance - yet, people were bidding on them.

Now, over a month later, the number of offerings that appear to be authentic have jumped substantially. As Jim said, the sellers in Finland and Latvia are legit - those two sellers were also amongst the first to offer material on eBay. I bought a small specimen from the fellow in Finland and was pleased with it. I have another stone on the way also.

There should be plenty of this fall to go around, for science and collectors. :)

#19 Glassthrower

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:37 AM

A friend of mine who is a reliable source has just acquired a batch of fresh meteorites from this fall. I am making them available to my friends and customers. If you are interested, contact me via email at - curator@galactic-stone.com

#20 Glassthrower

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 04:16 PM

I have just acquired a new fresh batch of these meteorites. They are selling fast. I also have samples of window glass that were shattered by the shockwave!

See the newest specimens at the link here - http://www.galactic-...ock?pagesize=12

Best regards and clear dark skies,

MikeG






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