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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 4 February 2021

RELEASE: Christie's Presents Deep Impact: Lunar, Martian and Other Rare Meteorites

Online Bidding 9-23 February | 72 Lots Offered at No Reserve

SPECTACULAR ORIENTED STONE METEORITE
Estimate: $50,000 – 80,000 (No Reserve)

New York – Christie’s presents Deep Impact: Martian Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites, an online-only sale of rare meteorites open for bid between 9-23 February 2021. The weight of every known meteorite is less than the world’s annual output of gold, and this sale offers spectacular examples for every collector, available at estimates ranging from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The sale will offer 72 of the 75 lots at no reserve, with estimates starting at $250. Select highlights from the sale will be on view until 10 February at Christie’s New York by appointment only.

Included in Deep Impact are a meteorite that contains the oldest matter mankind can touch and another that contains the raw ingredients of our planets. There are a dozen offerings of the Moon and the planet Mars and another dozen from some of the most famous museums in the world — as well as meteorites containing gems from outer space.

A highlight from the sale is a highly aesthetic oriented stone meteorite (estimate: $50,000-80,000; offered at no reserve), weighing nearly 7.2kg (16lbs). Unlike 99% of all other meteorites, this meteorite did not tumble or invert as it plunged to Earth but maintained a stable orientation throughout its descent. The surface that faced Earth showcases elongated flight marks that radiate outwards in this compelling, extraterrestrial aerodynamic form.

James Hyslop, Head of Science and Natural History, Christie’s, commented: “Everyone has an image in mind of how a meteorite "should look" – an extraterrestrial body frictionally heated while punching through Earth's atmosphere. Rarely do the objects survive this fiery descent look like that shared ideal seen in this meteorite. It is a wonder to behold and an honor to have been entrusted with its sale.”

Also offered at no reserve is a large slice of a rock from Mars (estimate: $30,000-50,000) within which bubbles of impact glass contain Martian atmosphere; a large iron meteorite from Odessa, Texas — home of the single largest meteorite shower to have occurred in the U.S. (estimate: $40,000-60,000), and specimens from the Macovich Collection, the world’s foremost collection of aesthetic iron meteorites, several of which are offered for the first time at auction.

Said, Darryl Pitt, Curator, Macovich Collection: “If there was ever a time to be awed by the infiniteness of the night sky, we’re living in it, but if you want to inspire and see eyes widen — touch a meteorite.”

One meteorite with previous Macovich provenance was first seen at auction in 1996 when it set the world record price for an iron meteorite at the time ($68,500), and became part of an important private collection for 24 years. Aesthetic meteorites as large as this impressive 308 pound example are incredibly rare, and this animated abstract form — natural sculpture from outer space — may yet again set a record (estimate: $180,000 – 260,000). 

There is also the most unlikely of meteorites: one that never hit the Earth. The day after the Tirhert meteorite shower in Morocco a man took his young son to the site of the strewn field. While adults searched the ground , the young boy instead searched for some shade where he found the specimen now offered wedged between the branches of his shade tree as well as quite a bit of local celebrity (estimate: $15,000 – 25,000; offered at no reserve). 

A Swedish meteorite from the core of a shattered asteroid was fashioned into a sphere; with its robust natural crystalline structure seen in three dimensions this is an extraterrestrial crystal ball (estimate $14,000 – 18,000; offered at no reserve), and the future it sees is an eye-widening sale.

About Christie’s

Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting Private Sales for clients and online sales are offered year-round across all categories. Christie’s global presence is spread across a network of international salerooms and 61 representatives and offices. Christies.com provides detailed articles and videos on the objects offered for sale alongside the latest advances in digital viewing tools to make Christie’s accessible to all.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.