Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Geology2] Re: Colossal crystals, gigantic geodes: Selling ‘mind-boggling

The value of collectible rocks and minerals,has been going up faster than the inflation rate of our currency for a long time and doesn't show any signs of leveling off.  A palm-sized skull of a Permian reptile I picked up on a paleo class field trip in Oklahoma 40 years ago, sold on Ebay recently for $400 even though it was a very poor display specimen.  Hundreds of skeletons in that area had been collected by museums starting back in the 1940s, to the point that it is now very difficult to find any bones at all (outside of museum storage bins). The same is true for the old dinosaur bone hunting localities in the western US, most of which have been well culled.  The Chinese are making a big push to build up their scientific institutions, and I found that my little skull had gone to  an institute in China that topped out on the bidding.  The fact is, erosion is a slow process, and new items are exposed at a slow rate.  It took a while, but once we humans started to pick them up they began to get rarer and more pricey.  Not that there aren't any good hunting grounds left but many are too remote for must of us. 

Dinosaur eggs are an interesting case.  It was big news back in the late 90's when a dinosaur nesting area with lots of eggs was found in Montana, but they were fragile, belonged only to the provenance of academia, and the idea of owning a dino egg was way out of my income bracket. But then,not much later, an even bigger field was found in China and suddenly dinosaur eggs were a hot item on Ebay. and they were selling dirt cheap.  For $120 I bought an item so rare that only a few people in the world owned one.  I had no hesitation that it was worth the money; the only thing I hesitated on was whether I should buy two.  Or three.  Or more.  I was sure that they were undervalued and the price would go up.  Around that time China had some restrictions on exporting various natural items, including fossils, but I was provided a certificate by the importer saying it was all legal.  When I looked up dinosaur eggs for sale on Ebay the other day I found there are still a few for sale now but cost about $600 for one comparable to mine.  Geeze, I wish I'd bought a dozen.  I suspect that the Chinese realized they could get a lot more money from their fossils and they have limited exports to raise the price.  They should be able to keep that going for quite a while, since the source area is estimated to contain millions of the eggs and could be a long term source of income for the country. 



Posted by: Clay Chesney <fossrme@yahoo.com>


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