A short history of collecting, Part II: Meteorites & tektites

Last update: 30 March 2018

Meteorite collecting is relatively recent in the field of natural history collecting, with meteorites only recognized as extraterrestrial rocks by the turn of the 19th century. Tektites, which are a type of impactite, were still believed to have a lunar origin until the 1969 Apollo mission. A unique aspect of meteorite collecting is the crucial role of trading since a systematic collection would require a specimen of each named fall and find. Many examples are shown below with collection catalogues and correspondence between curators and/or private collectors. Most specimens displayed here are individually listed, with their weight and inventory number, in published collection catalogues. Stories of meteorite and tektite collecting in the field are also mentioned. Most of the main players in meteorite collecting from the 19th to the mid-20th century (private collectors, curators, institutions) are represented.

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Elbert King, NASA, library of meteorite collection catalogues, correspondence about Bingham collection, Allende meteorite photograph for trade

1. The Oscar E. Monnig meteorite collection: From the U.S. Great Plains to a CEO's vault to the Texas Christian University

Meteorite specimens: catalogued in 1996
Correspondence: dated 1948-1974
Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America

Oriented Tulia (a) stone of 1.3kg (with regmaglypts on the posterior face) formerly from the Oscar E. Monnig collection later on housed at the Texas Christian University.

[1] Tulia (a) oriented meteorite (1,272 grams w. cut window, Monnig no. 12AG, TCU-Huss no. M12.3); accompanied by 2 collection catalogues (Ehlmann, 1996, curator's annotated copy; Ehlmann, 2008, no. 63/100, signed);
Provenance: O.E. Monnig / TCU
References: Ehlmann (1996:67); Mignan & Reed (2012:fig.3a)
[2] Lalande meteorite slice (36.2 grams, Nininger no. 464.111, Buddhue label, TCU-Huss no. M242.2); accompanied by Buddhue (1941) (inscribed offprint);
Provenance: H.H. Nininger / J.D. Buddhue / O.E. Monnig / TCU
References: Ehlmann (1996:37)
[3] Letter from O.E. Monnig to a library (dated 25 Feb. 1948, typed 1-page letter, signed, Meteoritical Society letterhead), accompanied by an issue of CSRM (1946);
Provenance: Unk. library
[4] Correspondence between O.E. Monnig and E.A. King of NASA (dated 1963 to 1974, typed 1-page letters, Monnig letterhead, some envelopes, incl. King's reply file copies) - Provides a unique account of Monnig's collecting process and his life as a businessman.
Provenance: E.A. King estate

Oscar Edward Monnig (1902-1999), lawyer by training and CEO of his family’s wholesale and retail business in Fort Worth, Texas, amassed an important meteorite collection, which was donated at the turn of the 1980s to the Texas Christian University (TCU) and catalogued by G. Huss of the AML (so-called TCU-Huss nos.; Mignan & Reed, 2012). Although the majority of his collection was gathered directly from farms or ranches [1], Monnig also bought a number of meteorites from dealers, as well as the John Davis Buddhue (1910-1971) collection in 1974 [2], always keeping all labels (e.g., M57.13 Pultusk). Member of the Meteoritical Society [3], Monnig shared his life between his business and his meteorite adventures [4].

Aussig meteorwrong, Ploschkowitz, Winbeck estate, correspondence

2. J.M. Saul's search for tektites at the dawn of Space Age: First scientific expedition to the Ivoirite strewnfield & the search for unusual glasses

Glass specimens: documented in 1976
Documents (field notes, letter, ...): dated 1965-1969
Ivory Coast & other places

Unusual glasses, possibly natural or man-made (green East African Glass, "Pit Glass" from Sri Lanka) formerly from the John M. Saul collection.

[1] (i) Field notes by John Saul about the first Ivoirite search expedition in 1965 (handwritten, with maps); accompanied by other field documents, a geological map of Lake Bosumtwi (with some handwritten notes) and road map of Southern Ghana; (ii) Saul, J. M. (1969), Field Investigations at Lake Bosumtwi (Ghana) and in the Ivory Coast Tektite Strewnfield. National Geographic Soc. Res. Reports, 1964 Projects, pp. 201-212 (offprint, presentation copy to the TC, with transparent map proofs and other large maps);
Provenance: J. Saul estate (purchased directly by the TC, 2014)
[2] Unusual glasses of undetermined origin (chunk of bright green East African Glass, East African Glass cut stone and "Pit Glass" cut stone from Sri Lanka); accompanied by Konta J. and J.M. Saul (1976), Moldavites and a survey of other naturally occurring glasses. In: J. Gemm., vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 179-204 (signed by J.M. Saul);
Provenance: J. Saul estate (purchased directly by the TC, 2014)
References: Konta and Saul (1976:Table 3)

[3] Letter from George Baker to John M. Saul, regarding various types of glass, Saul's rejected funding proposal, and Baker's planned trip via Aden (aerogramme dated 24 January 1967).
Provenance: J. Saul estate (purchased directly by the TC, 2014)

Years before the Moon landing and with tektites believed to originate from there at the time, efforts were undertaken to find more of those glassy materials on Earth. John Saul was one of the main researchers in that domain. Under Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) funding, he was the first to scientifically study the Ivoirite strewnfield [1]. He also systematically looked for other atypical glasses, with an inventory of those given in Konta & Saul (1976), including East African Glass and "Pit Glass" [2]. Other unusual glasses discussed by Konta & Saul (1976) include Sakado Glass and Schonite, maybe based on the information received from George Baker (1908-1975), Australian tektite expert, in 1967 [3].

3. Norton County achondrite specimens in Lincoln LaPaz's personal collection & in his Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico

Meteorite specimens: first catalogued in 1965
Documents (newspapers, notes): dated 1948-1949
From Kansas to New Mexico, United States of America

Prof. LaPaz with the Norton County Furnas stone, pictured in the UNM student newspaper Lobo (1948); a source of great tension with H.H. Nininger (see Marvin, 1993).

[1] (i) Norton County meteorite (1.8 grams half stone); (ii) Short note by LaPaz, regarding a Norton County specimen and the rarity of crusted fragments (handwirrten, dated 4 July 1949); (iii) Cabinet photograph of LaPaz (photographic heavy stock paper, Holiday House, New York, in LaPaz and LaPaz, 1961); (iv) ; Newspaper clippings describing the Norton County meteorite fall and recovery (dated 1948; some handwritten notes by LaPaz);
Provenance: L. LaPaz estate
[2] (i) Series of 20 Norton County meteorite fragments (56.2 grams, a few with crust, consecutive inventory nos. N.2670-N.2689 w. blank UNM labels); (ii) Endcut (50.4 grams; no. N.23.130,1 w. label).
Provenance: UNM
References: (i) LaPaz (1965:48); Scott et al. (1990:45); (ii) Scott et al. (1990:41); Cressy (2016:141)

Lincoln LaPaz (1897-1985) was the director of the Institute of Meteoritics of the University of New Mexico (UNM), which he founded in 1944. Only four years later fell in Norton County, Kansas, the largest achondrite ever found. LaPaz was the principal investigator of this historic fall [1] and "everything" that was recovered was either donated to or sold to the UNM [2] (LaPaz, 1948 - a few specimens were also obtained via exchange [2b]). The main mass of one ton remains the centre piece of the meteorite display at the UNM. It is worthwhile to note that H.H. Nininger also claimed the rights to the stone. LaPaz outbid Nininger and the so-called Furnas stone driven to the UNM (left picture: "Home at last: Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, sparkplug of the UNM searching party, looks on with affection as the now-famous meteorite arrives safely on the UNM campus."). When Nininger asked UNM for specimens, LaPaz sent him a form for loan, which contained a clause that forbade dealers to apply. LaPaz felt that Meteoritics should be raised from the realm of dealers, hobbyists, and amateur collectors and established as an academic discipline (Marvin, 1993).

Eugene Cornelius meteorite collection, first Wellman (c) stone, label 1950, W.H. Carmichael, Adair

4. The Harvey H. Nininger meteorite collection: From the Meteor Crater to the American Meteorite Museum to the Arizona State University

Canyon Diablo specimen: first catalogued in 1950
Books: biography association copy; signed catalogue
Arizona, United States of America

The Nininger collection catalogue (Nininger and Nininger, 1950) signed by the Niningers, with catalogued 37-gram Canyon Diablo "odd-shaped" individual.

[1] Nininger, H.H. (1972), Find a falling star, Paul Eriksson, Inc., New York, 254 pp. (association copy inscribed in 1972 to H.G. Fales' wife; with 1976 postcard letter to H.G. Fales); accompanied by 3 American Meteorite Museum postcards;
Provenance: H.G Fales estate
[2] Canyon Diablo meteorite from the H.H. Nininger Collection, later held by the Arizona State University (37 grams, Nininger no. 34.648); accompanied by 2 collection catalogues: Nininger and Nininger (1950) (signed by both authors); Nininger (1933) (inscribed by the author);
Provenance: H.H. Nininger / Arizona State University (deaccessioned to R. Garcia, 2012)
References: Nininger & Nininger (1950:39); Karr et al. (1970:153); Lewis & Moore (1976:180); Lewis et al. (1985:44)

[3] Suite of Meteor Crater spheroids collected by H.H. Nininger in the mid-20th century, (i) 3 grams of calibrated size sold via the AML to the Bern Natural History Museum (3 grams in vial, w. AML label); (ii) numerous spheroids made into decorative space art in a so-called Nininger Star; (iii) spheroids glued on American Meteorite Museum leaflet.
Provenance: (i) AML / Bern NHM (deaccessioned to P. Marmet); (ii) G. Notkin (TBC)

Harvey H. Nininger (1887-1986) was the first person ever to make a living out of finding, collecting, trading, selling, studying, and exhibiting meteorites [1]. With his wife Addie, they established The Nininger Laboratory in 1930, renamed the American Meteorite Laboratory (AML) in 1937. In 1946, Nininger leased a building next to Meteor Crater to create the American Meteorite Museum (AMM), the first ever museum dedicated to meteorites. In 1953, the collection was transfered to Sedona. In 1958, 21% of the collection was sold to the British Museum, and in 1960, the Arizona State University (ASU) purchased the remaining of the Nininger Collection [2], which led to the end of the AMM. The AML's name and work was carried on by Nininger's daughter and her husband Glenn Huss. Among Nininger's contributions, his discovery of spheroids proved the vaporisation of the Canyon Diablo main mass at impact [3].

5. The H.O. Beyer Collection of Philippinites, from the discoverer & main investigator of the Philippinite strewn field

Tektite specimen: dated 1940; catalogued in 1962
Collection catalogue: inscribed in 1966
Manila, Philippines

H. Otley Beyer and his collection of tektites and archaeological artifacts, presented in issues of Philippines International magazine from 1962 and 1965.

[1] Bikolite found in Coco Grove, Bikol by D. van Eek, donated to H. O. Beyer in 1940 (141 grams, deeply-grooved spheroid);
Provenance: D. van Eek / H.O. Beyer / W.B. Beyer (entire coll. sold to D. Luong)
References: Beyer (1962:164)
[2] Beyer, H.O. (1962), Philippine Tektites, A Contribution to the Study of the Tektite Problem in General, in the light of both, Past and Recent Discoveries, Univ. Philippines Publ. In Nat. Hist., Quezon City and Manila, Volume 1, Parts I and II, 290 pp., 43 pls., inscribed "Manila | September 20, 1966 | To Don S. Muni | compliments of the Beyer Family - | William B. Beyer";
Provenance: H.O. Beyer (presented by his son William) / D.S. Muni
[3] Two issues of the Philippines International Magazine: (a) Sevilla, A. T. (1962), Presenting: H. Otley Beyer (vol. 6, no. 10, pp. 13-15); (b) Sevilla, A. T. (1965), H. Otley Beyer: Dean of Philippine Anthropology (vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 2-4, 39; penned "Copy for Mr. Henry Beyer II");
Provenance: H.O. Beyer estate (sold by his son William)

Born in America, Henry Otley Beyer (1883-1966) spent most of his adult life in the Philippines. While best known for his work on anthropology (considered the dean of Philippine anthropology), Beyer was also an avid investigator and collector of tektites [1]. His life-long work on Philippinites is compiled in a large two-part monograph entitled "Philippine Tektites", which includes most of his past papers [2]. Beyer was described as an assiduous scholar and encyclopedist as well as a hard beaten scientific field worker and collector. Before WWII, his collection was kept in several houses. Lootings and fires destroyed parts of the collection. As of 1965, the Beyer collection was housed at the Museum and Institute of Archeology & Ethnology, Manila. The National Library of Australia purchased in 1972 papers from the Beyer estate (incl. correspondence, photographs, maps, etc.). This is Beyer who first reported tektites found in the Philippines in 1926, at an archeological site in Rizal Province on Luzon Island [3].

de Mauroy meteorite collection, Catalogue de la Collection de Météorites de l'Observatoire du Vatican, Specola Astronomica Vaticana, Ausson (or Montréjeau) meteorite, meteorite trading, labels, antique glass vial

6. Meteorite curation & display at the American Museum of Natural History in the early 20th century: From the Foyer to the Hayden Planetarium

Meteorite specimens: first catalogued in 1935
Documents (photographs, autograph): dated 1923-1949
New York City, United States of Americia

The Willamette meteorite on display at the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History: a part slice from specimen AMNH 2234 and 1949 photograph.

[1] (i) Forest City meteorite (75.6 grams with polished window, nos. 67xxiii, 11, and 2424); (ii) Photograph of the main mass on display in the Foyer Collection (dated 1923, photographic paper, AMNH ©, pictured in Hovey, 1907);
Provenance: (i) G.F. Kunz / AMNH; (ii) AMNH
References: Reeds (1937:560); Mason (1964:14)

[2] (i) Willamette meteorite part slice (14.7 grams, AMNH label copy no. Part 18, 2234, ETHZ label copy no. IR-33a); (ii) Photograph of the Willamette meteorite on display at the Hayden Planetarium (dated 1949, photographic paper, AMNH ©), accompanied by a suite of Willamette postcards and a magic lantern; (iii) Admission card to the Hayden Planetarium opening (dated 1935, signed on the back by C. Hayden and R.E. Byrd);
Provenance: (i) AMNH / ETH Zurich; (ii) AMNH; (iii) unk. NYC coll.
[3] (ii) oriented Holbrook pea (8.1 grams, nos. 586, 1248); (ii) Suite of 15 peas (various nos.); (iii) 4 additional peas (nos. x-x with Bonhams auction card).
Provenance: (i,ii) AMNH; (iii) AMNH / Bonhams
References: (i) Reeds (1937:525); (ii) Reeds (1937:x); Cressy (2016:96); Reeds (1937:x); Bonhams (2007:)

Following the Bement collection purchase in 1900, which catapulted the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) into the forefront of meteorite collections, other major acquisitions were made. Curator Edmond Otis Hovey (1862-1924) described in 1907 the largest specimens then part of the collection and displayed in the Foyer (Hovey, 1907), including meteorites of the 1890 Forest City fall [1] and the great Willamette iron [2]. In 1912, c. 2,000 pieces of the Holbrook fall were acquired [3]. Chester A. Reeds (1882-1968) was hired the same year, initially to sort out the Bailey collection, then succeeding to Hovey as curator (Reeds, 1937). In 1935 the Hayden Planetarium opened [2b-c], and the entire collection was transferred there (Ebel, 2006).

Holbrook strewnfield reconstitution Foote, art

7. H.A. Ward's legacy: From the Ward's Natural Science Establishment to the Ward-Coonley collection to the Field Museum of Chicago

Meteorite specimens: first catalogued in 1895
Documents (correspondence): dated 1895-1920 Rochester, New York

Sketch of the Ward's Natural Science Establishment and its employees running outside to chase a meteorite, pictured in the rare 1892 Ward Collection catalogue.

[1] (i) Ward, H.A. (1892), 'The Ward Collection of Meteorites and Specimens for Sale' (incl. 1896 sales list booklet, annotated); (ii) Letter from Ward to Emil Cohen about meteorite trading (dated 1895, WNSE letterhead, in German; incl. 1895 Greifswalder collection catalogue by Cohen);
Provenance: Cohen estate (via book antiquarian, 2007 Hamburg Mineral Fair)
References: Ward (1895)

[2] Oriented Forest City stone (10 grams, Ward/Field no. 341, AML H283.6, UNM C101.3 with empty label)
Provenance: H.A. Ward / FNHM / AML / UNM
References: Farrington (1895:58); Farrington (1916:261); Scott et al. (1990:24); Mignan (2016:fig.5)

[3] Suite of five Pultusk meteorite stones (x grams; Ward-Coonley nos. 440, 519, FNHM no. me1585 with label copy);
Provenance: H.A. Ward / FNHM (largest sent to R.D Evans, 1950s)
References: Ward (1901:18); Ward (1904:60); Farrington (1916:290); Horback & Olsen (1965:282)

[4] (i) Pultusk stone (23 grams; Krantz, English and WNSE labels, $2.30 price tag, TCU-Huss no. M57.13); (ii) Correspondence between G.L. English and G.P. Merrill regarding meteorite trading (dated 1920); incl. Merrill (1916), 'Handbook and descriptive catalogue of the meteorite collections in the USNM' (inscribed).
Provenance: F. Krantz / G.L. English / WNSE / Monnig-TCU (likely sold by B. Reed on behalf of TCU, c. 1996)
References: Ehlmann (1996:xx)

Henry Augustus Ward (1834-1906), scientist and explorer, devoted his life to collecting. He founded Ward's Natural Science Establishment (WNSE) in 1862, which became a leading supplier to museums [1-2]. He amassed a large personal meteorite collection, later referred to as the Ward-Coonley collection, purchased by the Field museum in 1912 [3]. After his death, dealer George L. English (1864-1944) was hired as WNSE's mineral department manager [4].

Weston meteorite, C.U. Shepard, Yale, Amherst collection

8. The fate of the Alfianello meteorite: Documentation of its destruction & what remains of a fragment salvaged by Prof. Luigi Bombicci

Meteorite specimen: first catalogued in 1885
Correspondence, signed catalogue: dated 1883-1888
Lombardy region, Italy

Alfianello cut fragment deaccessioned from the Babeş-Bolyai university, Cluj-Napoca, and originally obtained from L. Bombicci of the University of Bologna (57 grams).

[1] Correspondence between D. Rabajoli and G. Gallia (several letters and drafts dated 1883, handwritten, in Italian) regarding the fall, destruction, and sale of the Alfianello meteorite;
Provenance: Gallia estate
[2] Alfianello cut fragment and slice (57.2 & 9 grams, fragment with early weight "142", id. I.69, UBB label and 2006 trade document); incl. Bombicci, L. (1888), Le collezioni di mineralogia nella R. Universita di Bologna, Anno 1888. Gamberini e Parmeggiani, Bologna, 78 pp. (inscribed and signed by L. Bombicci to G. Tacconi).
Provenance: L. Bombicci / UBB
References: Koch (1885:7); Bedelean et al. (1979:13)

On the afternoon of 16 February 1883, a meteorite fell near Alfianello. The priest of the village, D. Rabajoli, gave the earliest documented account of the fall [1]. We learn from the priest that "they heard a detonation, as a large mine, which lasted a second, then a noise as of wheeling wagons on rails, at the outbreak of fall the windows shook, there was a scare in the village..." He then described the stone as "one piece although cleft in two parts; the bottom was convex like a cauldron, had the shape of a truncated cone". The meteorite was dismembered at the hands of a man who "for unfair fate, came by with an iron pole, and together with other villagers, dug and pulled the stone breaking it, and was taken away in various parts by the curious and uninitiated" with a 13.5 kg fragment preserved by the Ferrari Family, other minor pieces being taken by others and sold as object of speculation. The priest also referred to a eyewitness who did "not venture to touch it so quickly for fear of an outbreak", and to the publication of false news on the Don Quixote of Bologna by Prof. Rizzatti (e.g the priest would have "perceived the divine palm print!"), and asks Gallia to publish a denial as required by law. Luigi Bombicci (1833-1903), renowned Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Bologna, also came to the site and took some samples (The Stevens Point Journal, 1883) [2].

Mocs meteorite stone deaccessioned from the Mineralogical Museum of the Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, accompanied by a modern UBB label, Coasta, near Mociu, Gyulatelke (former name of Coasta), UBB catalogue of Koch (1882), Bedelean et al. (1979), strewn field map

9. The meteorite collection of the Berlin University, Krasnojarsk specimens donated by celebrities & the work of curators G. Rose & C. Klein

Meteorite specimens: First catalogued in 1885
Collection catalogues: Earliest published in 1825
Berlin, Germany

Fragment of the Ochansk meteorite originally sold by dealer C.F. Pech of Berlin to curator C. Klein for the meteorite collection of the Humboldt University.

[1] Chladni, E. F. F. (1825), E. F. F. Chladni's Beschreibung seiner Sammlung vom Himmel herabgefallener Massen..., Heft 2, Archiv fur die gesammte Naturlehre, pp. 200-240 (bookplate "Sammlung Günther Schmid Goethe");
Provenance: G.S. Goethe
[2] Krasnojarsk meteorite fragment (5.2 grams, HUB label w. no. 3 and sketch, UBB no. II.18 w. label, porcelain plate and 2012 trade document);
Provenance: HUB / UBB
References: Koch (1885:7); Bedelean et al. (1979:9); Mignan (2016:fig.3)

[3] (i) Ochansk meteorite fragment (53 grams, C.F. Pech label w. ref. to J.F.C. Klein, HUB no. Ochansk 1442 w. 2 labels); (ii) Orange book series: Klein (1889; 1903; 1904a; 1904b; 1906).
Provenance: C.F. Pech / C. Klein, HUB / H. Obodda
References: Klein (1889:; 1903:; 1904:; 1906:)

The Berlin Museum für Naturkunde was inaugurated in 1889, as a part of the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Berlin, known since 1949 as the Humboldt-University of Berlin (HUB). The history of the meteorite collection however began in the late 18th century with the oldest still preserved specimen being a Krasnojarsk fragment presented to the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III by the Russian tsar Alexander I. Later, the father of Meteoritics E.F.F. Chladni (1756-1827) willed his collection [1] to HUB. Schulze (1996) lists the donators of Krasnojarsk specimens, including the tsar, Chladni, and Klaproth. The present specimen traded in 1882 [2] may originate from one of those famous sources. Inspired by Chladni, Gustav Rose (1798-1873) developed a systematic classification of meteorites, basically still in use today (e.g., Rose, 1864 - see Tschermak archive). Johann Friedrich Carl Klein (1842-1907), who felt a deep commitment to the heritage of Chladni and Rose, enlarged the collection by purchasing and exchanging [2-3], bringing back the Berlin collection to third in rank after Vienna and London.

Hensoldt Braunfels meteorwrong fake historic meteorite, microscope slide, Watson & Son, De Souza Guimaraens

Coming soon: The Supuhee meteorite hammer, ex. British Museum

Hessle meteorite, labels from  Museum of the University, Copenhagen, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Baron Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, curator and Arctic explorer

10. The Imperial Royal Mineralogical Court Cabinet of Vienna: From Wilhelm von Haidinger to Gustav Tschermak

Meteorwrong specimen: Documented in 1863
Documents (notes, draft letter, ...): Earliest dated 1863
Vienna, Austria

Haidinger's 19th century research sample of the Rokitzan meteorwrong. This specimen is accompanied by an original manuscript with cutting instructions.

[1] (i) Rokitzan meteorwrong part slice (weight TBD, w. W. von Haidinger cutting instruction note & sketch, signed and dated 1863); (ii) Buchner, O. (1863), Die Meteoriten in Sammlungen, ihre Geschichte, mineralogische und chemische Beschaffenheit. Leipzig: Verlag W.Engelmann, 202 pp.; (iii) Omnibus of 15 meteorite monographs by Haidinger (1859-1869, ex. libris American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers)
Provenance (specimen): K. Wiesenfeld / F.A. Nickerl / H.J. Zeidler, Strahov Monastery / W. von Haidinger
References: Haidinger (1864:pl.1)

[2] (i) G. Tschermak document archive (draft letter to Prof. Daubrée, list of meteorites with museum/dealer names); (ii) NHMW catalogues by Tschermak (1869; 1872), annotated; (iii) Rose, G. (1864), Beschreibung und Eintheilung der Meteoriten auf Grund der Sammlung im mineralogischen Museum zu Berlin. Abh. Kgl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, pp. 23-161 (in which the Tschermak documents were found);
Provenance: H. Winbeck estate

The meteorite collection of the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHMW), which began in the mid 18th century, is the oldest in the world. Owing to the efforts of the successive curators, the meteorite collection also became in the course of the 19th century the largest. In the period 1851-1876, the collection was part of the Imperial Royal Mineralogical Court Cabinet, directed by Moritz Hörnes (1815-1868). Under his tenure, the collection grew quickly, in part due to the activities of Wilhelm von Haidinger (1795-1871) [1]. The role both played is best described in the earliest global meteorite collection catalogue (Buchner, 1863), dedicated to "The researchers of great merit, Herrn Wilhelm Haidinger and Herrn Moritz Hörnes, the restless catalysers of the meteorite collection of the K.K. Mineral Cabinet in Vienna". After the death of Hörnes in 1868, Gustav Tschermak (1836-1927) became the new custodian (Brandstätter, 2006). He continued the museum trading activities and also improved on G. Rose's meteorite classification [2].

Great Meteor 1783 Robinson mezzotint