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Building a Great Mineral Collection?
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Peter Lemkin

Joined: 18 Nov 2016
Posts: 271
Location: Prague

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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2020 09:09    Post subject: Re: Building a Great Mineral Collection?  

I know of another even stranger phenomenon. Where I live they often [not always or on all specimens] put just a number - with no currency mark - and that is Euro [when sold in the Euro Zone], Czech crowns [when sold there]...etc.....when the difference between the two is very large [a factor of 24]. I can't explain it and they obviously don't do that with all of their minerals. Some even let them stand for other currencies as they travel around Europe and Russia, USA, et al.

I always hunt for the underpriced mineral or the special mineral the seller isn't aware is special....they are NOT easy to find, but find them I do from time to time.

Some dealers tell me that a particular mineral or set of similar minerals they have will sell BETTER if they raise the price - showing that many buyers are fooled, thinking that price=value=quality, when they are often only ink on paper and nothing more.

I think specializing in a region, mineral or type of minerals [such as pseudomorphs etc.] is a good way to build up both a good to great collection and learn a lot in the process - both about the minerals and where and how to obtain them with good quality and reasonable prices.

At this time, if you want the best of the best xx, like you see in the best mineral magizines, you will pay a very high price. It is out of my league, so I don't even try....I just look and admire what nature can do [often with some help from professional preparation].

Some of my favorite mineral specimens are those I collected myself...they are not always the best, but they mean the most to me and are often the last I ever think of trading or selling. Nothing beats a lovely xx found after a days [or weeks] hard work!
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David Dinsmore

Joined: 01 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2020 11:21    Post subject: Re: Building a Great Mineral Collection?  

A few comments:
1) The Tucson show experience is amazing. No where else will you see such a variety and quantity of minerals in such a range of prices and quality.
2) I have been buying minerals in Tucson for my collection for almost 25 years. I find it is one of the best places to acquire new finds (like the Milpillas azurites or Rubtsovsky cuprites & coppers) both in terms of selection and price. It is also a great place to find bargains but you have to look through a lot of over priced specimens and you can’t be afraid to haggle.
3) Tucson, is also the place where you will see the highest prices asked - particularly for better quality specimens. It is the first show of the year and many dealers use it to test the market. The vast majority of specimens do not sell at these prices and will be seen at future shows at a significant discount..
4) For collectors on a budget (which is most of us) - it takes a lot of time and effort to “learn the market” in terms of price and quality. This is essential for building the highest quality collection in your price range.
5) I find many collectors are not able to discern or assign a value to differences in quality. They will often comment that they have a similar specimen to one I have purchased at a higher price. It is only when I point out that the crystal size on their specimen is smaller, the color is not as good, or that their piece lacks luster that they start to understand the difference.
6) I find all minerals are beautiful so I think it is possible for most anyone to put together a nice display - even if they spend a small amount on specimens.
7) Field collecting, trading, and selling unwanted specimens are great ways to help you build a better collection.
8) Unless you are very lucky (either through field collecting or stumbling across an undervalued collection) - you will never build a high level or world class collection without spending a lot of money. The supply of truly great specimens is minuscule while demand from the collector community is huge . Given that a significant number of our fellow collectors have very deep pockets - the best will always be expensive.
9) You should enjoy your specimens no matter what price range you are in. If not then you are probably in the wrong hobby.
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Bob Morgan

Joined: 18 Jan 2018
Posts: 59
Location: Savannah, Georgia

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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2020 23:01    Post subject: Re: Building a Great Mineral Collection?  

I find this thread and the theme of 'World Class Minerals' a curios matter, having long since directed my interest in minerals to other than esthetics and perfection. Indeed, the large, perfect specimens are rarely very interesting. Vicinal faces generally have grown out of existence by the time the mineral grew that large. Surface features are often reasons to discount their value. Crystal faces are much easier to see if they aren't on water clear crystals.
Thus, I feel no loss from the price inflation of high end specimens and have no idea of the criteria that make them so desirable. (I'm a little aesthetically challenged.) That this inflation has trickled down to the things that interest me and other low graders is of some concern. But, shopping around, a necessity for the desirer of odd ball stuff, pays off quite well. At Tucson there are so many opportunities to find really interesting objects at the commercial shows ahead of the main show - from Kino Park to I-10 shows, from the Hotel Tucson to dealers' warehouses. The week and a half before the main show is the main event that I found no parallel to at my one time at Munich. If it comes out of the earth anywhere in the world it shows up there to be searched through. (But this year I decided to study the contact surfaces of broken Japan Law twins, and most dealers left theirs at home.)
Although it doesn't merit much attention for this year's theme, even at the main show there are some very interesting displays there not dedicated to the biggest and most aesthetic.
Finally, there is no place like such a gathering to get people together and share common interests. High end collectors are not snobs and like to display what they love. Newbies get attention and are received warmly. Scientists meet up face to face with interested amateurs, and both learn something new.
Every year is world class at Tucson in so many ways.
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Joined: 29 Mar 2012
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Location: Brno, Czech Republic

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PostPosted: Feb 21, 2020 15:43    Post subject: Re: Building a Great Mineral Collection?  

I buy specimens, about 30 % of my collection is purchased. I always look for underpriced specimens and I simply do not buy the iconic stuff. The most expensive mineral I bought is 6 cm fourling of hyalophane from Busovača for €110 - I can imagine premium dealer asking $3k for the same piece.

I mostly go out digging and collecting myself. Traveling is cheap and there is plenty of productive places. You do not have to collect the most iconic specimens from the most famous places. Yet, you can build outstanding collection, even world class.
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