Outer Space Treasures Can Bring You Big Bucks (Part 2)

 (A piece of extraterrestrial "gold" burns it way through our atmosphere.)

As treasure hunters and gold miners we often get tunnel vision when it comes to recovering "goodies," including placer gold. However, as you read in the previous post of this series, there's an extraterrestrial form of "gold" that, in actuality, contains no gold whatsoever.

Yes, I'm talking about meteorites again. I've already tuned you in to "stonies," the rarest form of meteorite and coincidentally, the most likely to bring you big bucks.


The next of the three main types of meteorites found on earth is the iron meteorite...sometimes called the nickel-iron. The reason for the latter is that most "irons" contain small amounts of nickel (as well as other minor constituents). However, "irons" typically contain less than 5% nickel.

Metal Detectors
Gold Pans
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Mining Equipment
"Irons" are the most common meteorite out there and they have their origins in the cores of long-vanished planets or asteroids that once resided in the big asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. Irons are very heavy and dense, and will easily stick to a magnet. They often have a sort of molten surface look to them from their high-heat passage through our atmosphere and often display a black, blackish gray, or reddish-orange color with the last being the result of "rusting" or iron oxidation.

(Very nice "iron" specimen showing "rusty" iron oxidation.)

Of the three main types of meteorites (iron, stone, or stony iron) the irons are, of course, the most easily found with a metal detector. I myself have found two small "irons" with a detector and my son (who'll soon be earning his Bachelors degree in geology) has a very nice slabbed section of a large "iron" in his collection.

Value of "Irons"

I mentioned in the first post of this series that true "stonies" can be worth as much as $1,000 per gram. So how much is an iron meteorite worth?

There are a number of variables that form the answer to that question. In general, the value of any meteorite is determined by its rarity, provenance (specimen documentation or "paper trail"), condition, and its overall beauty or aesthetic appeal.

(Small "iron" recovered in England.)

Generally speaking, common "irons" will bring you anywhere from fifty cents (U.S.) a gram on up to $3.00 or $4.00 per gram from most buyers. However, if your "iron" is part of a witnessed fall (where a meteorite is actually filmed or otherwise documented impacting the earth) its value will increase accordingly.

Well talk more about this value aspect and the third type of meteorite in my next post. In conjunction with that I'll tell you the story of a very lucky 18-year old American girl who hit the "big one" by just missing being hit by a big one.

Good hunting till then.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Outer Space Treasures Can Bring You Big Bucks (Part 1)"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com