On the auction block: "arguably the most aesthetic iron meteorite known to exist"

Here is Heritage Auctions' description for the Gibeon Mask -- "an incomparable iron meteorite"

Closing out the Gibeon section is arguably the most aesthetic iron meteorite known to exist. In 1992, indigenous tribesmen in Namibia's Kalahari recovered this matchless specimen with the aid of a metal detector. It is extremely rare for meteorites to have naturally formed holes, and rarer still when the holes are positioned in the matrix in such a way as to yield a magnificent aesthetic specimen-let alone the highly zoomorphic example seen here. Defined by the two adjacent hollows that perforate its mass and separated by perfectly sculpted ridges, there is an exquisite asymmetric balance between this meteorite's two sides: the outward flanging of one side is offset by the larger hollow and more prominent opposing crest.

In addition to the mechanisms involved in the shaping of aesthetic iron meteorites described in the previous lot, there is one other critical detail that was of particular significance to the current example: the moment of extraction from beneath the Earth's surface. If removed several hundred years earlier, this specimen would not have been the perfectly singular zoomorphic evocation before us. If removed several hundred years later, the holes would be far too large and outsized. Adorned with a sumptuous natural patina from its stay in the Kalahari and accompanied by a custom armature and Lucite dome, this is an incomparable meteorite from the finest collection of aesthetic iron meteorites in the world. 195 x 212 x 177mm (7.66 x 8.33 x 7 inches) and 9.37 kilograms (20.66 pounds)

Provenance: The Macovich Collection, New York City. Estimate: $140,000 - $160,000.

Gibeon Mask: an incomparable iron meteorite


  1. An artisanal photographer is required to capture that level of aestheticism. In a lesser craftsman’s hands it would be merely beautiful.

  2. Slightly off-topic: does it bother anyone else when people say “aesthetic” when they mean “pretty”? Drives me up a wall. Like saying “utilize” when you mean “use”—technically correct, but trying too hard to sound smart.

  3. The hyperbole used to describe this chunk of iron is incomparably sumptuous and matchless in magnificence! Not to mention crumulent and feculent.

  4. They’re here.  No more questions.

    Or Felix Baumgartner’s suit team have some answering to do.

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