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Museum Grade and Grading

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#1 Kent10

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:25 PM

Are some meteorites actually graded. I have seen museum grade, AAA and A grade. Or are these just selling labels made by the owner.

Thanks.

#2 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:23 AM

Just selling labels made by the owner. There are no graded meteorites. Typically, if you hear "museum grade" on eBay, it's anything buy museum-grade. It's like the word "rare" and it gets thrown around rather loosely these days. :)

#3 Kent10

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:42 AM

Yea, thanks Mike, that is what I thought. You do see that museum grade thrown around a lot though.

#4 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 12:45 PM

Generally speaking, rarity and scientific value are the two biggest criteria that museums and institutions use when considering a meteorite acquisition. Aesthetics rarely comes into play, nor does "condition" of the specimen (in most cases).

Also, some meteorites are so common (like Campo del Cielo), that museums have no interest in them. I seriously doubt that any Campo or Nantan on the market would qualify as "museum quality".

It's a marketing and promotional term that most veteran dealers generally avoid.

The word "rare" is also quite arbitrary, but at least rarity can be measured by the amount of material available on the market.

For example, a given meteorite might have a massive TKW, which implies no rarity at all. However, if the vast majority of the material sits in institutions (and is unavailable to collectors), then it can be called "rare" without being misleading. The Antarctic meteorites are a great example. There are literally tons of them sitting in NASA vaults, but they are almost all unattainable. In this case, they are truly made of "unobtainium". :lol:

#5 lee14

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 04:58 PM

Very true. At least as far as ebay goes, some of this purely subjective hyperbole is a throwback to their listing philosophy. Back when ebay was new on the scene, they would make recommendations on ways to enable your listings to stand out, and one of their suggestions was to use words like 'super' or 'outstanding' in the titles. (This was in the days when ebay didn't provide the currently excellent photo services, you actually had to host your images on another (any) site and provide a link to them.) For example, there's a current dealer specializing in Campos (not lacroix) whose every listing seems to be of 'museum quality' or some other superlative. I don't have an issue with his material, just the hype.

Lee






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