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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

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.