No, I am not going to buy your rock or help you sell it

Three things

1) I am happy to answer questions about meteorite identification, which I do for free. Strangely, many persons offer to sell me rocks. I do not buy rocks and I do not buy meteorites. I know how to find my own rocks; I have found many rocks. I am not going to buy your rock. I am a poor retired scientist. Why would I want to buy your rock? Most of the rocks that people offer to sell me do not look like meteorites.

2) I do not know the answers to the following questions:

  • “How much is my rock worth?”
  • “How do I sell my rock?”
  • “Do you know someone who will buy my rock?”
  • Where can I find meteorites?”

3) If you want to sell your rock, contact a meteorite dealer, not a poor retired scientist. There are many meteorite dealers on the internet. Most, however, will not respond to you because your rock does not look like a meteorite or it looks like an ordinary chondrite and ordinary chondrites, especially those from hot deserts, are not worth much money.

I am not a meteorite dealer, but I have noticed a few things about meteorite prices

  • Type of meteorite – Rare meteorite types (martian, lunar, some other achondrites) have higher per-gram prices than, say, ordinary chondrites and most irons.
  • 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.
  • Find location – Ordinary chondrites found in hot deserts are not worth as much as those found in North America or Europe.
  • 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.
  • What Got Hit – For falls, if the meteorite has a “good story,” like it went through a roof or hit a mailbox, then it is “worth more” than one found lying in a corn field or parking lot.  
  • Attractiveness – Some meteorites, e.g., Sikhote-Alin, are prettier than others, and they sell for higher prices.
  • 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.
  • Classification – A meteorite that has been classified and has an official name is worth more than one without a name – somewhat like “a dog with papers.” It costs money to do the analyses necessary to classify a meteorite. 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 real meteorites from meteorwrongs and not wasting the classifier’s time.
  • 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 will do all the work.