HOW MUCH IS A METEORITE WORTH?
A Guide to Buying, Selling and Collecting Meteorites
It seems hardly a day goes by at the Aerolite Meteorites offices without someone telephoning or emailing us to ask "How much is a meteorite worth?" Sometimes it is someone who thinks he or she might have found a meteorite; sometimes it is a person interested in starting a meteorite collection.

There is no easy answer, and one might just as well ask how much a piece of jewelry is worth, or what is the value of an original piece of art. The answer could be a few dollars, or a few thousand.

METEORITE VALUES
The value of a meteorite is typically determined by many different factors, including rarity of type, condition, size, and aesthetic appeal. In most cases, a meteorite that has been properly classified and named by a recognized academic institution has a higher monetary value than an unclassified specimen. This is partly due to the fact that once a new meteorite has been studied and accepted into the existing body of scientific literature, it has a pedigree and provenance, and any prospective buyer can read details about that meteorite in a recognized academic publication, such at The Meteoritical Bulletin. It is also important to make new finds available to the scientific community for study.

HOW MUCH DOES A METEORITE COST?
At the low end of the pricing scale are ordinary chondrites. All meteorites are rare, so the term "ordinary" can be a little misleading to the beginning collector. Ordinary chondrites, or OCs, are the most abundant type of meteorite, but they are still much rarer than gold. Chondrites contain chondrules, which pre-date the formation of the solar system we know today. Chondrites were once part of the crust of a large asteroid or planet, and are undifferentiated. In other words, their ancient chondrules have not been altered by heat or pressure. During the 1990s large numbers of ordinary chondrites (along with rarer types of meteorites) were found in the hot deserts of North Africa. Many of these stones were discovered by wandering nomads, so the exact find locations will never be known. Stones that were found in the African deserst and have not been studied by academia are described as unclassified Northwest African stones, or NWA XXX. Meteorites are typically sold by weight, and dealers use the metric systems of weights and measures. Nice examples of NWA stones can be purchased for about US$0.50 to $1.00 per gram. Complete stones that were not damaged on impact, or by subsequent weathering, or freshly fallen stones exhibiting a black fusion crust are typically more valuable.

Meteorites that were seen to fall to earth by a credible observer are described as witnessed falls, and they usually command a higher price on the collectors' market than finds. Witnessed falls, and rare and some collectors are particularly interested in owning a meteorite that fell on his or her birthday. Popular examples of witnessed falls include the Gao-Guenie stone meteorite, which fell in Burkina Faso, Africa in 1960 and the Millbillillie meteorite, a very rare type of achondrite known as a eucrite. Attractive Gao-Guenie specimens usually retail for about $2/gram, while high quality Millbillillies are worth about $25/gram. Eucrites are essentially volcanic rocks that originate from a large asteroid, and they do not contain chondrules.

COLLECTING IRON METEORITES
Iron meteorites were once part of the molten core of a large planet or asteroid, and often exhibit fantastic shapes created as they flew, melting through our atmosphere. One of the most popular irons among collectors is the Campo del Cielo iron meteorite from Argentina. Enthusiasts nickname them "Campos," and a nice hand specimen can easily be obtained for $100 or less. Larger, high quality specimens typically sell for $200 to $300 per kilogram. So, if a collector is willing to spend $1,000 he or she can obtain an impressive tabletop display specimen.

Another extremely popular space rock is the Sikhote-Alin iron meteorite, a witnessed fall that occurred in a remote part of Siberia in 1947. Sikhote-Alins are among the most aesthetically beautiful of all meteorites and display remarkable surface features such as regmaglypts (thumbprints), orientation, flow lines, and rollover lips. Many specimens look like small abstract sculptures, naturally crafted by the elements. Top quality Sikhote-Alins sell for about $3/gram, while shattered and torn pieces created by fragmentation in the atmosphere are known as shrapnel, and typically can be purchased for about $0.80 to $1/gram.

MOON AND MARS ROCKS
At the high end of the pricing scale are pieces of the planet Mars, and our own moon. Meteorites land on other astral bodies, just as they land on earth. Sometimes these impacts will throw fragments into space, and some of those pieces may eventually collide with our own planet, resulting in meteorites from the moon and Mars. These extremely rare specimens are of great value to both academia and collectors, and may sell for as much as $1,000/gram.

STARTING A METEORITE COLLECTION
Fairly often, a new enthusiast will ask us for advice about how to start a collection. Some beginners like to start their meteorite collection with one example from each of the three main groups of meteorites: stones, irons, and stony-irons. When someone asks me "What would make a good first meteorite," I often recommend an example of the Campo del Cielo iron, or the famous Canyon Diablo iron meteorite from Arizona. Both are affordable iron meteorites, and both are of historic significance. Campo is one of the oldest-known meteorites; it was first discovered by the Spanish in 1576. Canyon Diablo is associated with the famous Meteor Crater in northern Arizona — universally regarded as the best preserved impact crater on earth.

WHERE AND HOW TO BUY METEORITES
We strongly recommend buying from established, respected dealers. There are many fakes and frauds out there, and I know several collectors who have been duped into buying ordinary earth rocks by unscrupulous or uneducated sellers. Buying on eBay can be very risky. Every time I look on eBay I see meteorites that have been described or advertised incorrectly, and there are always several "meteorites" being offered for sale that are out and out fakes, or as we like to call them — meteorwrongs.

We are professional members in good standing of the International Meteorite Collectors' Association (IMCA) and we proudly display their logo on the front page of our website, and on our eBay auctions. All IMCA members are required to adhere to the very highest standards of honesty, fair trading, and integrity within the meteorite community. We stand behind the authenticity and quality of every single specimen we sell.

So, now that you have read about meteorite values and pricing, we invite you to visit our meteorites for sale catalogue. Every single specimen on the Aerolite Meteorites website has been personally examined and authenticated by meteorite hunter Geoffrey Notkin — the company owner, and a well known science author and authority on space rocks.

HOW TO FIND METEORITES
If you want to find your own meteorite we recommend the award-winning book Meteorite Hunting: How to Find Treasure from Space by Meteorite Men television host Geoffrey Notkin. In 16 chapters, Meteorite Hunting compares and explains different hunting strategies, examines strewnfields and craters, and discusses the best field equipment. It also clarifies the importance of research, advises prospective hunters how to go about gaining permission to hunt on private land, describes how meteorites are named and classified, and includes a fully illustrated visual guide to meteorite identification in the lab and in the field. Order online safely and easily 24/7 from our dedicated website. More >>>

HAVE YOU FOUND A METEORITE?
If you are reading this page because you think you may have found a meteorite, and would like to sell it, PLEASE read our Guide to Meteorite Identification and follow the instructions on that page BEFORE YOU CONTACT US.