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TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY - check it out now!

Jan. 28-30  |   Jan. 31 - Feb. 3  |  Feb. 4-5   |  Feb. 6-8  |  Final Thoughts

~ January 28-30, 2009 ~

Deal Lake & Asbury Park Beach, NJ Deal Lake, Asbury Park, NJ

Here is the view from our window as we were packing to get ready for the Tucson show. As you can see, the lake is well frozen. When the sun first came up, you could see steam coming up off the ocean in the distance.

Our cat, Fisher, is always a great help when we are packing!

Fisher Fisher

Inn Suites

After a smooth, uneventful flight we arrived in Tucson late Thursday afternoon. We wasted no time and went right to the Inn Suites to see who was here and if anyone was set up early. The courtyards were still pretty quiet, but there were many dealers hurriedly unpacking and setting up. While there were just a handful of dealers open and ready to do business we were happy to hear that Alfredo Petrov was one of them.

Alfredo Petrov Phosphophyllite - Bolivia

We always look forward to seeing Alfredo and we were excited to learn that he had just returned from a recent trip to Bolivia and had brought back few phophophyllites. He had a small group of phosphophyllites from the classic locality and we were impressed with the largest one he had. While we were excited to acquire some of these classic beauties, we were even more excited to learn that Alfredo had two phosphophyllites from a small, NEW find in the Colavi District! This locality was previously known for its vivianite specimens but NOT for phosphophyllite. It appears to be a tiny, obscure find and of the two specimens he had, we acquired the most impressive and unique one.

Phosphophyllite - Bolivia Phosphophyllite - Bolivia

Phosphophyllite - Bolivia Phosphophyllite - Bolivia

This unusual phosphophyllite is unlike any other we've ever seen. It is an odd grouping of almost botryoidal, curiously rounded crystals! It is undamaged and quite striking in person. This might be the only specimen we see from this locality. Specimen measures 4.75cm x 3.07cm x 1.96cm - $400. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

Gold - Mexico

On Friday morning we woke up and went right back to the Inn Suites. We went to visit friend and fellow dealer John Cornish. John has the claim on the Rat's Nest Claim in Idaho and always has an incredible selection of heulandites and other zeolites from this fantastic locality. In addition, he is always coming up with other exciting material - last year it was an unbelievable collection of Bunker Hill pyromorphites. This year, I was very excited to see that he had the great fortune of procuring a small selection of native gold specimens from a new find (at an old locale) in Mexico at the Mulatos Mine in Sonora. .

Gold - Mexico Gold - Mexico

Here is a characteristic specimen from the find, consisting of numerous small, complexly crystalline masses of gold in association with quartz points and scattered tiny pyrite crystals. Specimen measures 4.93cm x 1.83cm x 1.76cm - $100. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

After visiting a few other dealers and making some other exciting finds that you'll be seeing in the Tucson 2009 Gallery soon, we headed out to eat lunch with good friend and mentor Marshall Sussman. After spending some time catching up we had a marathon session of "mineral show-and-tell". While Marshall always has incredible things to show us, we were ASTONISHED when we saw Charlotte Sussman's newest acquisition. A HUMUNGOUS and PRISTINE, grape-juice purple amethyst scepter from Brandberg. There is no doubt whatsoever that I will ever see its equal. This picture hardly conveys just what a world-class specimen this is. It wouldn't have been an understatement to say the trip to Tucson was worth it just for that!

Amethyst - Brandberg, Namibia

In addition to Charlotte's amethyst, we were amazed to see this incredible piece of mineral history. As you might know, Tsumeb was once known as "Green Hill" - the earth was literally so copper-rich that it was green. Well, what you are looking at here is a nod to Tsumeb's "Green Hill" past. This is a plaque that was presented to a mine manager upon retirement in 1924. This artfully constructed representation of the "Green Hill" and mine entrance is comprised entirely of small mineral specimens from the Tsumeb Mine! The inscription reads, "Otavi Minen-und Eisenbahn Gesellschaft (O.M.E.G.) - Tsumeb 1924 (which, roughly translated means "Otavi Mines and Railway Society"). The specimens alone would represent several thousand dollars of thumbnails today! Truly an incredible relic indeed.

Stay tuned for another blog update and the first Tucson Gallery offerings in the next 24 hours!

~ January 31 - February 3, 2009 ~

Quality Inn

On Saturday morning we headed over to the Quality Inn, which, as in years past, was abundant with Chinese, Russian, and Indian dealers. There were a few U.S. and rare minerals dealers set up there as well, and Dave Bunk and Rocks of Ages were offering wholesale specimens at double keystone prices in the ballroom, which filled up with bargain hunters upon opening.

Jamesonite pseudomorph after Bournonite with Chalcopyrite - China Jamesonite pseudomorph after Bournonite with Chalcopyrite - China

While there are a seemingly endless supply of Chinese dealers to be found along the winding corridors of the Quality Inn, we are always sure to examine all their specimens. It can be an exhausting process, but we have been rewarded on several occasions over the years with rare and unusual finds. This year we found a total of three jamesonite pseudomorphs after bournonite mixed in among the literally thousands of bournonite from China here in Tucson. Specimen measures 3.2cm x 3.15cm x 2.36cm $225. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

Rhodochrosite - Kazakhstan Rhodochrosite - Kazakhstan

One of the Russian dealers we have dealt with in years past had brought along a few gorgeous Kazakhstan rhodochrosites for us, from the Djayrem Mine. These specimens had come out years ago, and he had been sitting on a small group of specimens. He had a few specimens last year, and I asked him to bring the remainder of his pieces for us this year. Specimen measures 8.68cm x 4.94cm x 4.7cm $225 ~SOLD~. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

John & Linda Stimson of Rocks of Ages

After a whirlwind morning at the Quality Inn, we stopped at the Inn Suites to see the dealers that just opened up on the first "official" day of the show. While we were there, we were happy to stop by and see John and Linda Stimson of Rocks of Ages. In addition to a great selection of worldwide minerals at fabulous prices, they also sell fine and antique mineral books and are "the" resource that we tell everyone to go to for old or rare books about minerals. John and Linda have a knack for finding great old mineral collections, and offering them for sale at unbelievable prices. We can always count on finding some treasures in their stock, as well as lively and warm conversation. If you have never met John and Linda or visited Rocks of Ages, we could not possibly give them a higher recommendation. They are truly wonderful folks. They also have a website you can visit here http://www.rxofages.com (and be sure to see pictures of one of the most exciting mineral books I have ever seen further down in the blog!)

Monday morning we decided to hit the strip along I-10, which includes a string of shows at virtually every hotel along the interstate. We saw signs stating that it was the "most diverse" mineral show in Tucson - and I would say that is a pretty accurate description. There is everything from belts, purses, and rugs to fine gemstones, fossils, and rare minerals. If you come to the show with family or friends who are disinterested in the mineral side of things - this is a great show to hit, as there is something for everyone. Here is a view of the many tents and tables at River Park Inn.

Amethyst - Brandberg, Namibia

Jasun & Quartz Mandy & Smoky Quartz

Here Jasun and I are posing next to some very large quartz crystals. When you are used to working with thumbnail to cabinet sized specimens most of the time, walking around among such giant crystals is really quite an experience! We couldn't help but fantasize what it would be like to find such large examples of other species... like phosphophyllite, liroconite, cumengeite, etc. etc....

Kyanite - Tanzania Kyanite - Tanzania

One thing that we had heard about, was a new find of orange kyanites from Tanzania - from the same locality that produced last year's spectacular orange spessartine crystals. There was a relatively small parcel of this material, and few people have even heard of it. We were excited go through the lot and find a few of the best crystals that we could. They are really quite fascinating. While the GIA has confirmed that they are indeed kyanite, we spoke to a few respected mineralogists out there who are of the opinion that there might be a more exciting conclusion to the story. One thing is certain, it is exciting to see a gem orange kyanite crystal! Specimen measures 4.28cm x .54cm x .5cm $125. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!


~ February 4-5, 2009 ~

displays at Electric Park displays at Electric Park displays at Electric Park

In the last couple of years we have not made the time to head down to the show in Electric Park, but we decided to check it out this year to see if there were any hidden treasures. Much like the shows along the strip of hotels on I-10, the show at Electric Park is quite diverse with plenty of jewelery and handicrafts, in addition to a variety of international mineral dealers. We did not have much luck in acquiring mineral specimens there, and surprisingly, we actually saw a fair number of higher prices on lower quality specimens than you would expect to find at any of the other shows. However, I do have to say that the area seemed to be much more welcoming and organized than the last time we had been to the Electric Park show a few years ago.

Jamesonite on Quartz Tourmaline on Fluorite Pyrite clusters

Tucson 2009 "Wall of Shame"

Speaking of silly things at high prices, here is a jamesonite on quartz that we saw for sale in one of the tents at Electric Park, I like how the jamesonite was just "laying" on the quartz - it was kind of reminiscent of a steel wool toupee (an obvious fake)! Also here on our "wall of shame', we have a tourmaline on fluorite. Funny, in all my years of mineral collecting, this dealer had the only three of this color, quality, and formation that I've ever seen!! Finally, we have some "perfect" pyrite clusters, with a mysterious substance holding the individual crystals together! Of all the amazing things you could be missing here in Tucson...

at least some dealers are willing to correct their mistakes!

We see so many funny, and sometimes very creative, "mineral creations" - also known as "fakes" for sale with some of the less scrupulous dealers here in Tucson that next year we plan on doing a special feature on those alone! If you are craving more mineral "fakes" be sure to check out www.fakeminerals.com for a humorous and timely reporting on fake minerals, brought to you by the fine people at www.the-vug.com!

Euclase - China Euclase - China Euclase - China

After we left Electric Park, we decided to go back and explore some of the "under the table" stock of some various dealers back at the main hotel shows. Since most dealers have more minerals than space to display them, there are often flats of minerals under their tables. If you ask nicely, many dealers are happy to let you dig through them. In 2007, there was a small, one time find of euclase from the Piaotang Mine, Xihuashan intrusion, Jiangxi, China. This locality produced very few specimens and they essentially disappeared the moment they hit the market - most people never even got to see them, or even hear about them. That being said, we were delighted to find a small group of these euclase specimens under one Chinese dealer's table! The crystals are pristine, undamaged, and measure up to 2.5cm - they are bright, gemmy, and glassy. Very interesting material that we will likely never see again. Specimen measures 3.84cm s 2.7cm x 1.75cm $275 Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

Mikhail Anosov of Russian Minerals posing with Cuprite

We can always count on Mikhail Anosovhas of Russian Minerals to have an excellent selection of minerals from Russia. Somehow, year after year, he always has something new and exciting. This year, he had a fantastic group of cuprite crystals from the new find at the Rubtsovskiy mine in Siberia. These cuprite crystals are very large and highly lustrous. Even though there were a relative few available these cuprites created a lot of buzz here at the show, and it is easy to see why! Here Mikhail is posing with one of his choice cuprites on native copper.

Cuprite - Rubtsovskiy Mine Cuprite - Rubtsovskiy Mine

Cuprite from the Rubtsovskiy mine, Altayskiy kray, Siberia, Russia. Specimen measures 4.18cm x 3.44cm x 3.24cm $650. Please e-mail us at mineralman999@yahoo.com to order and be sure to check out our TUCSON 2009 SALE GALLERY for more exciting specimens direct from the Tucson Show!!!

~ February 6-8, 2009 ~

sunrise - Tucson, AZ

Albeit a rather industrial view, here is a Tucson sunrise from our hotel room window - it was very colorful, and shocking how the sky completely changed in under 10 minutes! This is just one of the benefits of coming from the Eastern time zone and having jetlag. However, with all the excitement of the Tucson show, I think we'd be up at the crack of dawn everyday even if it weren't for jet-lag!

Westward Look Show

Friday morning we woke up excited to check out the show at Westward Look, as there are always jaw-dropping specimens, many of which rival specimens you'd see in museums. However, you can get up close and personal with the specimens and actually BUY them - something you certainly cannot do at most museums. The show was quite busy and in many cases you'd have to wait your turn in order to get a good look at a cabinet. There were so many people snapping pictures of the specimens that it almost seemed like a red carpet event for mineral specimens! I can honestly say that nearly every specimen was worthy of having its picture taken - there wasn't a single specimen that didn't have a serious "wow" factor. Below are just a few random pictures of specimens that caught our eye.

From left to right: an amazing cuprosklodowskite filled with long free-standing crystals to well over 1cm, a huge blue topaz and smoky quartz combo from Brazil, and a large and impressive deep red rhodochrosite from Sweet Home!

From left to right: a giant gem aquamarine crystal from Brazil, one of the largest (if not, the largest) native gold specimens from the Olinghouse Mine - this is a DECORATOR size specimen, and a huge and robust malachite stalactite from the Congo!

A superb matrix specimen of phosphophyllite and an amazing cluster of tourmaline crystals from Brazil! The tourmaline specimen was gigantic! To give you an idea of scale, the specimen on the stand to the left of the tourmaline is a cabinet size specimen!

After a long, grueling day of looking at some of the finest mineral specimens offered for sale in the world we decided to head back to our hotel in order to photograph specimens for upcoming galleries and auctions. Below are just a few of the specimens that we have up for auction this week on ebay. We are also working on photographing specimens for the next installment of specimens for the Tucson 2009 gallery as well!

Shattuckite & Quartz - Kaokveld, Namibia

Shattuckite with Quartz - Kaokoveld Plateau, Kunene Region, Namibia 3.54cm x 2.45cm x 1.37cm A gorgeous specimen of shattuckite entirely coated with shattuckite included quartz crystals. This specimen is currently up for auction! Click here now to go to our mineral auctions!

Grossular var. Hessonite - Jeffrey Mine, Asbestos, Québec, Canada 7.08cm x 4.6cm x 2.54cm Choice, pristine gem crystals on matrix up to 1.25cm! This specimen is currently up for auction! Click here now to go to our mineral auctions!

Hessonite - Jeffrey Mine, Canada

Cumengeite on Matrix - Amelia Mine, Mexico

Cumengeite on Paratacamite with Selenite and Boleite - Amelia Mine, Santa Rosalía, Boleó District, Baja California Sur, Mexico 7.8cm x 3.74cm x 2.89cm A rare example of untwinned cumengeite crystals up to 6.75mm on matrix. This specimen is currently up for auction! Click here now to go to our mineral auctions!

Copper Pseudomorph after Aragonite - Corocoro, Pacajes Province, La Paz Department, Bolivia 2.48cm x 2.3cm x 2.09cm An aesthetic and pristine example of this classic and sought-after pseudomorph accented cuprite and malachite. This specimen is currently up for auction! Click here now to go to our mineral auctions!

Copper pseudomorph after Aragonite - Bolivia

Pink Boracite - Bolivia

Pink Boracite - Alto Chapare District, Chapare Province, Cochabamba Department, Bolivia 3.53cm x 2.9cm x 1.95cm A rare example of pink boracite from Bolivia. This specimen was one of only two specimens brought back from Bolivia by Alfredo Petrov. According to Rocks & Minerals (Volume 83, Number 2 / March - April 2008 "The Mineralogy of Alto Chapare: Cochabamba Department, Bolivia") these specimens are quite rare indeed, with only 20 such pink boracite specimens have been found! This specimen is currently up for auction! Click here now to go to our mineral auctions!

We are currently working on our next blog update, another installment of specimens for the Tucson 2009 Sale Gallery, and another round of auctions - so be sure to stay tuned!!!

~ Final Thoughts ~

The evening before we left town we had a wonderful dinner with John & Linda from Rocks of Ages at our favorite Tucson restaurant "The Kingfisher." Over dinner we learned that they had come across a treasure trove of very old, very important mineral texts. Admittedly, we are somewhat naive on the subject of old and rare mineral-related books, but the more we heard the more interested we became. We also became convinced that we had to make it a point to check out these books for ourselves before leaving town - as it was likely a once in a lifetime opportunity! Well, we certainly weren't dissappointed. We got to see some of THE rarest mineral books in existence - all in extraordinary quality as well! One such book was this "Erz Stuffen und Berg Arten" ("Ore Specimens and Mineral Species of the Mines") by Casimir Christoph Schmiedel, written in 1753! It was filled with HAND PAINTED color plates of exceptional detail, some of which clearly had metallic flakes in their pigments! Below are a few quick pics I took of some of these amazing plates!

These illustrations were just as amazing as any specimen we saw here at the show. In person these illustrations almost jump off the page, which is amazing considering they are well over 200 years old! It really filled us with a sense of awe to think that these were actual specimens that were painted by skilled artisans centuries ago. Although I couldn't read the text, it was my understanding that many of the specimens were from Germany.

The specimen on the left is a malachite from the Oberharz Region and was the "actual size" of the five and a half inch specimen! The specimen on the right is a stunning dark blue fluorite with arsenopyrite from Saxony! One thing that I wish I could've captured in these digital pics is just how incredibly detailed these color plates were. On these "actual size" specimens they paid attention to the smallest details - right down to the near millimeter scale!
Now, this was just ONE such incredible book that John & Linda showed us. We saw several other texts of similar caliber - and it truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity. This "small library" they recently acquired is really world class and a very important collection indeed. If you are looking for any old or rare mineral books I would suggest getting in contact with them asap! You can reach John & Linda Simpson through their website, http://www.rxofages.com.

Our visit with John & Linda was a perfect example of just what is so great about the Tucson show. While it is undoubtedly the greatest "Mineral Show" on earth, it is about so much more than that. For nearly a month hobbyists, academics, collectors, dealers, curators, researchers, educators, people of all stripes, cultures, and backgrounds from around the world suddenly become a small community of friends. With such an immense body of collective knowledge and experience, it presents an opportunity to learn like few others. And with such a diverse group of people united in a common interest, a chance to make long-lasting friendships, expand your horizons, and add a greater depth to your enjoyment of mineralogy. If you have never been to the show, I guarantee that it will exceed your expectations in nearly every possible way.

On a more specific note, I have been asked by numerous people about any possible effects of the economy on the show. We asked nearly every dealer we talked to about their perspective. It seemed to be that those dealers who came to the show with low expectations were pleasantly surprised to find that things were not as bad as they had expected. There were a few dealers who had a great show but they were certainly in the minority. The majority of dealers that we spoke to reported that business was fair given the current conditions. Still, there were some dealers who had an absolutely miserable show, barely covering their costs or losing money altogether. To us, this distribution of success and failure did not seem all that different from other years. While some dealers have great shows, there are those who do not, and the majority fall somewhere in the middle. It all seems to boil down to who has good minerals at good prices - plain and simple, regardless of of economic conditions.

The one thing that was immediately apparent however, was the overall attendance. It seemed to be a little less crowded than in years past. While it certainly made for more enjoyable shopping, I am sure it was disheartening to some of the dealers. However, those dealers that had good or unique material, at good prices, saw that their rooms were as crowded and busy as ever - while those who did not were wondering where everybody was.

Overall, Mandy and I had a great time. Every Tucson Show is unique in its own way and this year was no exception. While we were particularly excited about the theme of this year's show, "Mineral Oddities," we couldn't stay for the main show this year because we had other collection acquisitions we needed to attend to back home on the East Coast. However, it gave us peace of mind to know that those good folks at http://www.the-vug.com captured most of it on camera - so we didn't miss out entirely.

Here is a view from the airport. We thought the view of palm trees with snow covered mountains in the background was pretty cool. Those may just be our bags on that truck in the foreground. Those same bags at the top of this year's Tucson Blog, that our cat Fisher was laying in, now contain a portion of our mineral acquisitions from this year's show. All told, we came back with a few hundred specimens and were quite happy with our finds. Some years there are stunning new finds and a wealth of new material, or some big collections being dispersed - and some years there are no dramatic headlines. However, if you keep your eyes open there are always new things to be found...

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