Currier's legendary mineral collection earns millions

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 The sale’s top lot was this topaz from Brazil, which drew $200,000. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The sale’s top lot was this topaz from Brazil, which drew $200,000. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

DALLAS – Collectors were so eager to get their hands on specimens from one of the most legendary mineral collections of the past 50 years, they made the pre-sale estimate of around $600,000 skyrocket to more than $3 million.

Swarms of collectors went after 322 specimens from the estate of Rock H. Currier, driving results from the recent sale at Heritage Auctions to $3.4 million.

 Rock H. Currier holding the topaz that took the top lot.

Rock H. Currier holding the topaz that took the top lot.

The sale, held in a packed auction room after a heavily attended preview, boasted a 100-percent sell-through rate by value and by lots sold, which is virtually unheard of in the category, Heritage said. The auction celebrated the lifelong passion of Currier, who spent a lifetime traveling the world collecting minerals for his business and for his extraordinary personal collection.

 This quartz var. amethyst specimen was another top draw and sold for $187,500.

This quartz var. amethyst specimen was another top draw and sold for $187,500.

“The auction was a stellar success, and Heritage Nature & Science was pleased to honor the memory of the legendary, larger-than-life figure who meant so much to the mineral collecting community,” said Heritage Auctions Nature & Science Director Craig Kissick. “The support and enthusiasm of collectors and dealers alike confirmed Currier’s significance and the impact he had on the hobby.

 This leadhillite, cerussite and wulfenite specimen from Arizona sold for $62,500.

This leadhillite, cerussite and wulfenite specimen from Arizona sold for $62,500.

“The exceptional prices realized for all specimens across the board, coupled with the 100-percent sell-through rate, put this auction in a league of its own,” he said.

The sale’s top lot was a topaz from the Xanda Mine, Virgem da Lapa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, which inspired 21 bidders before claiming top-lot honors at $200,000, more than tripling its high pre-auction estimate. The massive seven-pound specimen is a transcendent museum-quality piece that has universal appeal because of its exceptional size, form and color.

 Microcline (amazonite), Quartz (smoky quartz) from the Jack Rabbit Mine, Crystal Creek, Crystal Peak, Lake George, Teller County, Colorado, sold for $30,000..

Microcline (amazonite), Quartz (smoky quartz) from the Jack Rabbit Mine, Crystal Creek, Crystal Peak, Lake George, Teller County, Colorado, sold for $30,000..

More than a dozen bidders vied for a quartz var. amethyst specimen, with epitaxial amethyst and goethite on calcite “skunk,” from the Andre Jachetti Mine in Artigas, Uruguay, before it closed at $187,500. The one-time cover piece of Rocks & Minerals magazine includes a 35-centimeter curved plate of dark amethyst crystals and a 12-centimeter pale yellow brown scalenohedral calcite crystal with black Goethite stripes.

Another prize that crushed its pre-auction estimate was a dioptase and wulfenite from the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine, St. Anthony Deposit in Arizona, which inspired 14 bidders before it realized $100,000, against a pre-auction estimate of $2,500-$3,500.

A native silver and calcite from the Kongsberg Ag Mining District, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway, nearly tripled its high pre-auction estimate when it brought $81,250. The four-inch cluster features intertwined Silver wires growing on Calcite. Once a part of the Bryn Mawr Collection, this specimen is one of the Kongsberg Silvers that are considered one of the top five minerals in terms of collector recognition and desirability.

Multiple bidders drove the final result for a leadhillite from the Mammoth-St. Anthony Mine, St. Anthony Deposit, Tiger, Mammoth District, Pinal County, Arizona, to $75,000, nearly 10 times the high pre-auction estimate. This exceptionally rare specimen was one of the best ever found at Tiger, according to Currier.

A Stephanite & Polybasite from the Chispas Mine, Arizpe, Mun. de Arizpe, Sonora, Mexico, drew $75,000, against a pre-auction estimate of $12,000-$18,000. Acquired by Currier in a trade with Yale University, the sample includes a cluster of black Stephanite crystals with smaller wheels of Polybasite in association, creating a specimen that left Currier “blown away” when he saw it, said Heritage.

 An azurite specimen found in Arizona sold for $60,000.

An azurite specimen found in Arizona sold for $60,000.

 This native silver from Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula sold for $57,500.

This native silver from Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula sold for $57,500.