The China Syndrome


Dozens of Sellers Involved!


Suspect Meteorite from China

In 2002 eBay bought into China’s online auction market. A good move for
eBay except this promising resource has brought its problems. Specifically, Chinese mineral dealers offer very nice mineral specimens yet these same dealers also offer terrestrial rocks as ‘meteorites’. By September 2005, dozens of Chinese dealers were listing ‘suspect meteorites’ on US eBay.

Are the auctions just honest mistakes? Not according to Ken Newton who has contacted several of the sellers. He reports, “The Chinese dealers act in a subtle but uniform manner. Careful to list only one or two ‘meteorites’ with each large group of auctions, they have good ‘feedback’ and appear honest. When contacted, they respond in a polite and gracious manner but that is as far as it goes. The common response to the question of authenticity is ‘Our experts tell us it is a meteorite’. However, I don’t remember seeing a genuine meteorite listed by these dealers, all their ‘meteorites’ appear to be suspect. One prolific seller, ‘sinodino520’, is easily recognized by his repetitive auction title ‘rare iron meteorite SIDEROLITE specimen‘. This seller also boasts “I am an honest mineral specimens dealer.” The ‘honesty declaration’ must be effective because ‘sinodino520’ has a 100% feedback rating. As with the other Chinese auctions, no genuine meteorites appear to be actually listed.”

A sinodino520 ‘meteorite’

Why so many fakes? Other than the obvious benefit to the seller, the answer to this is unclear. They either have very bad ‘experts’ or these auctions are continuing indications that China has been aggressively enforcing its meteorite ban the past few years. Either way the sellers are acting fraudulently. One China dealer recently offered suspect ‘NWAs’.


Suspect NWA listed by Chinese Seller

New Buyers Beware! Suspect sellers are not always identified by bad feedback and fuzzy photos. Suspect meteorites are not bargains. Purchase authentic meteorites from I.M.C.A. Members and/or established dealers.

Other Notable Meteorite Scams:

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