IMCA Insights – December 2006
Munich Mineral Show 2006
by Norbert Classen

As in the previous years, I had to get up early to get the train to Munich on November 3, 2006. And, like last year, it was cheaper to travel first class than second class – the German Railroad rates are one of the modern mysteries that are likely never to be solved. However, I don’t complain as I had a rather nice conversation in the first class with the chairman of an international shipping company, a gentleman from Hamburg who lived and worked in New York for more than 30 years. He even showed some interest in the meteorites I had brought along the way, and it was my pleasure to dispel some of the more common misconceptions, such as: meteorites are hot when they reach the ground – hot enough to ignite a garden shed as could be read in the German yellow press some days before.

Around noon I finally reached Munich, got into the subway, and checked in into my hotel. Now I was finally ready for the 43rd Mineralientage, one of the largest mineral shows in Europe, and one of the top events in the meteorite world. It’s a great place to acquire new samples for one’s collection, to meet old and new friends, and to discuss our favorite subject to one’s heart’s content. However, the show had been moved to the opposite halls this year, making it harder to find dealer’s stands, and I’m sure I missed the one or the other in this maze.

Mirko Graul, Norbert Classen, Hanno Strufe, Manfred Dannapfel,
and Olaf Gabel at “Chladni’s Heirs” (from left to right)
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

There were not that many new meteorites at this years Munich show, and especially the Moroccan tables were almost empty. The supply of new desert meteorites is actually getting less and less each year, a fact that isn’t only true for the NWA suite. There were also less Omani finds – just Dima Sadilenko and the Comet Shop Crew had a new lunar from Sayh al Uhaymir, and a few additional finds from the Dhofar 007 eucrite and the Dhofar 700 diogenite strewnfields. Among the Moroccan dealers, just Ali Hmani and his son Mohamed had their usual great assortment of Northwest African finds, and also Mohamed Sbai had a few neat stones, such as a new 95g prospective shergottite that wasn’t sold due to his totally exaggerated asking price – way too much for any unclassified stone.

If you were looking for more affordable and first-class NWAs, one of the best places was “Chladni’s Heirs”, the new stall of IMCA members Martin Altmann, Andreas Gren, and Stefan Ralew. It was a real first, and certainly one of the best displays of the show. They had a great assortment of historic falls, rare and unusual irons, as well as some quality desert finds, such as a new rumurutiite which seemed as fresh as Rumuruti itself. Besides that, they introduced two new lunaites, the granulitic breccia NWA 4483, and their brand-new mare basalt breccia NWA 4485 – something that made my heart beat faster!

“Chladni’s Heirs” – the new display of IMCA Members Martin Altmann,
Andreas Gren, and Stefan Ralew. A first, and a real treat!
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

As last year, Martin Altmann of “Chladni’s Heirs” also was responsible for the organization of the annual Meteorite Party at the Fliegerbräu, an old brewery and restaurant in the nearby village of Feldkirchen. In former times, the fairground and Feldkirchen had been the location of the renowned Riem Airport, connecting Munich to the rest of the world, and the Fliegerbräu had been a habitual haunt for pilots and aviators – a most appropriate setting for our party.

Together with fellow IMCA Director Peter Marmet, and IMCA member Marc Jost – both guests from Switzerland – I took a taxi from the hotel to Feldkirchen, and when we arrived the rented space at the Fliegerbräu was already more than crowded. Only 20 people had announced that they would come, and so Martin ordered places for about 40 people – but actually 60 people came to join the party. That was obviously too much for the staff at the Fliegerbräu, and thus the evening turned out a bit chaotic. It seems that some people even left without paying as we were confronted with a bill of more than 200 Euros for unpaid food, and drinks at the end of the party. Under the direction of “Chladni’s Heirs”, and with the help of Andrei Razvan, Svend Buhl, Manfred Dannapfel, Mirko and Tina Graul, Marc Jost, Peter Marmet, and myself we were able to cover the sum, but we all would be more than glad if the people who left without paying would not do that again, next year!

The Annual Meteorite Party at the Fliegerbräu in Feldkirchen:
Erich Haiderer, Jim Strope, and Dima Sadilenko (front)
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

After too much beer on Friday’s evening it took me a while to get back to the show on Saturday. I arrived at noon, and strolled through the three crowded halls, looking for new and spectacular meteorites, as well as for new and old friends. I visited Bruno’s and Carine’s stall with all their rare planetary meteorites, rare desert finds, and historic pedigree specimens. I ran into Mike Farmer and Jim Strope who showed off a fantastic new eucrite that first had been thought to be lunar, as well as pieces of Mike’s amazing new Patagonian silicated iron with its famous emerald-green diopsides. Then there was Dean Bessey with a wealth of new and surprisingly neat looking bargains from NWA, as well as Hans Koser, this time with Campo irons and a lot of new Muonionalusta irons, one of which weighed over 230 kilos and sold to a Swedish museum.

IMCA Member Hans Koser: the ever-smiling King of Campos,
and Prince of Muonionalusta Iron Meteorites
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

Probably due to export restrictions, the once plentiful Gibeon and Sikhote-Alin irons were rare at this years show, and only at Erich Haiderer’s table some larger specimens were left. However, there were quite a lot of neat pallasite specimens up for sale at different locations, and especially Fukang and Seymchan were common this year. Uwe Eger had some fantastic large slices of the latter one, highly polished and thinly cut – a real sight to behold! Peter Pittmann had some of the best Fukang pallasite slices, with the typical large olivines – marvellous. Not to forget Bud Eisler of Cosmic Cuttlery who brought nice translucent Imilac pallasite slices, as well as some fine silicated Miles iron meteorite samples – more than neat!

As always, one of the best and most frequented stalls was the Karl’s and Sergey Vasiliev’s table. They had one of the best selections of historic pedigree specimens, hard-to-get old falls and finds, as well as many outstanding museum-sized full slices of rare classifications, such as of their DaG 400 lunar meteorite, or their DaG 479 martian shergottite. You just got to love these samples!

Moritz & Achim Karl’s and Sergey Vassiliev’s stall with some
fantastic lunar and martian full slices, and other rare stuff
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

Of course, I ran into various meteorite people during the show, certainly too many to mention them all. So please forgive me if I forget to mention the one or the other. There were Andrzej S. Pilski, Marcin Cimala, and Slawomir Derecki from Poland, Morten “the Moss-Man” Bilet from Norway, Christian Anger, Harald Stehlik, Herbert Raab, and Stefan Brandes from Austria, Francesco Moser and his girlfriend Manuela from Italy, as well as Terry Boswell from the United States, just to name a few. I also missed a few familiar faces who had been to the Munich show, last year, such as Bob Haag, Norbert & Heike Kammel, Alain Carion, and – last but not least – our Mrs. President, Anne Black. Hope to see you again, next year!

Villalbeto de la Pena display at one of the major showcases –
a witnessed meteorite fall from Spain, January 4, 2004
Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe


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