Thursday 11 March 2010

Mineral Theft Connected to Collecting by Mineral Collectors

Mott Community College Flint, Michigan has a geology museum. At the beginning of this month it was robbed of 50 mineral specimens worth $12,000 on the market. This included
...a small chunk of gold worth $2,000, a small Colombian emerald and a rare Phosphophyllite gem more than 2 centimeters long worth $1,000. Isaias Casanova of the Arizona-based IC Minerals said the stolen phosphophyllite is a telltale sign that the thief is a minerals lover.“Those are very rare and very expensive,” Casanova said. “The thing about minerals is they are worth a lot of money to me but to the average guy down the street, it’s just a bunch of rocks. This was someone who knew their rocks.” [...] The thief was choosy, targeting specific display cases and particular items, many of which were in excellent condition. According to mineral forum, which posted news of the theft, the thief may also be a smoky quartz collector because he or she tried to break into a sealed quartz case and only took smoky quartz crystals.
This is telling, when archaeological sites are selectively denuded of saleable collectable items, antiquity collectors claim that collectors and the current mode of collecting are not to blame. At least mineral collectors can be more honest with themselves and everybody else. So this gold lump was stolen by the collectability-conscious thief to be melted down as bullion, or as a collectable item of gold in its natural condition?

Beata Mostafavi, Mott Community College geology museum robbed of $12,000 in minerals, Flint Journal March 11, 2010.
Heads-up from Museum security network

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