If You Find a Meteorite, You Are Not Going to Sell It for as Much Money As You Think, Based on Prices on the Internet
I am not a meteorite dealer, but I have noticed a few things things about meteorite prices.
1) Supply and Demand – Samples of small hard-to-get meteorites sell for higher prices than sample of large meteorites, even of the same meteorite type.
2) Type of meteorite – Rare meteorite types (martian, lunar, some other achondrites) have higher per-gram prices than, say, ordinary chondrites and most irons.
3) Timing – Fresh falls, even of a common type of meteorite, are worth more than finds of the same type of meteorite. For recent falls, the price drops with time, e.g., Chelyabinsk.
4) What Got Hit – For falls, if the meteorite has a “good story,” like it went through a roof or hit the mailbox, it is “worth more” than one found lying in the corn field.
5) Attractiveness – Some meteorites, e.g., Sikhote-Alin, are prettier than others, and they sell for higher prices.
6) Preparation – Some sellers go to considerable time and expense to provide nicely cut and polished slices and endcuts. A meteorite out of the ground needs a lot of work before it will obtain a high price. Most finders do not have the expertise to do the preparation or, worse, they do some horrible preparation, sometimes involving acid or a wire brush, that diminishes the value to collectors.
7) Classification – A meteorite that has been classified and has a name is worth more than one without, somewhat like “a dog with papers.” It costs money to do the analyses necessary to classify a meteorite, and most people qualified to classify meteorites will not even respond to requests from people who are not meteorite experts. They mainly respond only to experienced dealers who have established a reputation for recognizing meteorites from meteorwrongs and not wasting the classifier’s time.
8) Documentation and Provenance – Every year people send me photos of meteorites that were in the collection of a deceased relative. Many such meteorites are not accompanied by a card or bill-of-sale identifying the meteorite. These meteorites are not worth much to collectors.
If you actually find or have a real meteorite, sell it to a dealer. If they offer you $500 cash, haggle a bit and take the offer. They do all the work.