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Meteorites Fetch $18,000 as Collector Funds New Hunt

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Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Shards of rock from outer space fetched 11,460 pounds ($18,000) at an auction as a British meteorite collector raised money for his next hunt.

The pieces included a 27.1 gram (0.96 ounce) nugget of the Russian meteor that landed in Chelyabinsk in February this year, which sold for 700 pounds, according to the results on auctioneer Lyon & Turnbull’s website. The sale in Edinburgh, the third by Robert Elliott since 2009, made less than forecast as some of the most highly estimated meteorites didn’t lure buyers.

Elliott, who began assembling space memorabilia as an 8-year-old boy, moved to Scotland from England in 1987 after being relocated to work on a space project for the U.S. and started hunting for meteorites a few years later, according to the sale prospectus. He became a full-time dealer and collector before focusing all his time on searching for the rocks.

“He approached me about six years ago and I thought the sales were a brilliant idea,” Gavin Strang, a director at Lyon & Turnbull, said before the auction. “I thought if he can turn me onto it then he can turn other people onto meteorites.”

The auction was forecast to reap between 50,000 pounds and 100,000 pounds, Strang said yesterday. A 2.9 kilogram (6.4 pound) piece of Hambleton meteorite was among the lots bidders passed up. It had a guide range of 7,000 to 10,000 pounds.

Among the 32 of 85 lots that did sell were rings with mounted pieces of meteorite and an astronaut’s mission patch, according to Lyon & Turnbull. The most expensive was a chunk of Seymchan pallasite from Russia found originally in 1967, which sold for a hammer price of 3,200 pounds compared with a guide range of 1,200 to 1,800 pounds, the results showed.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Rodney Jefferson in Edinburgh at r.jefferson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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