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This crazy mineral market!
  
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Sante Celiberti




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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2021 16:22    Post subject: This crazy mineral market!  

Hello.

At the Turin fair, which I was lucky enough to visit last October, I found a Spanish classic piece on the table of an Austrian seller.
Although I have several of these crystals, some on matrix, I wanted to take it to document the "weirdness" of the mineral market.
I wonder what could induce a seller to offer such a beautiful piece at such a ridiculous price.
Everyone knows this Spanish classic both for its beauty and for the ancient history that gave it its name: "Jacinto de Compostela".
Ok, it's just a small prismatic crystal of quartz (almost always floater) with a beautiful brick red color (sign of Christ passion), which pilgrims of past centuries collected (or bought) along the "way" to Compostela to deposit it on the tomb of Santiago (St. James the Greater) as a sign of devotion and perhaps to testify the completion of the pilgrimage.
The fact that these crystals were and are quite common in various Spanish regions, but especially in the province of Valencia, doesn't justify -in my opinion- such a shockingly low price.
Yes, we are used to seeing boxes full of common mineral crystals at insignificant prices on the table of some exhibitors. And I could understand if I had found this crystal among dozens or hundreds of similar ones on a table at a Spanish fair.
But a single Spanish crystal, on the table of an Austrian, in an Italian fair, at the price of 1 euro, leaves me at least confused.
What do you think?

Warm greetings and a healthy and peaceful 2021.
Sante



IMG_20201226_181101.jpg
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Chella, Comarca Canal de Navarrés, València / Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain
 Dimensions: 27 x 16 mm
 Description:
 Viewed:  1398 Time(s)

IMG_20201226_181101.jpg



IMG_20201226_181209.jpg
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Chella, Comarca Canal de Navarrés, València / Valencia, Valencian Community, Spain
 Dimensions: 27 x 16 mm
 Description:
 Viewed:  1394 Time(s)

IMG_20201226_181209.jpg


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Bob Carnein




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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2021 17:17    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Thank goodness the mineral market doesn't always make sense!
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2021 18:05    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

The collectible markets, whether they be for stamps, coins, minerals etc etc, have always been fickle, even more so today as prices have risen.

The collector art market is a good example. For several years various type of artworks bring exorbitant prices, only to become out of favor and passed over at auction.....even at bargain prices..... several years later.

The nice example that you show has significant value to you and others who collect it. You or another collector might pay a lot more to own it.
But I, on the other hand, don't collect those examples and would pass it by without a second thought.....even at 1 Euro.

Nice find as you collect it and really got the bargain!

By the way, our daughter lives in Novi Liguri (east of Genoa) and in today's pictures they had their biggest snow storm in more than 10 years. Our new grandson got to go play in the snow and go sledding for the first time ever! Happy New Year! Bob
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2021 19:14    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Not to disparage your crystal which is really quite nice, but by way of explaining some of the seeming discrepancies in mineral pricing:

1) As famous mineralogist and museum curator Dr Fred Pough used to point out, the mineral market in the USA got distorted in the 1950s when the mineral club federations invented competitive displays. Before that, a dinged crystal was worth a little less than a perfect crystal, but after that collectors with a competitive streak all chase the few most perfect specimens, of which there are never enough, so the prices for those skyrocketed to astronomical heights while the demand and prices for not-quite-so-good material plummeted. A crystal which grew close up to other crystals and so shows contacts like the pictured red quartz is still nice to have but doesn't reach the standard needed for the competitive market. It took several decades before this mania for perfection spread from America to Europe and Asia, but it seems to be "infecting" those markets too now, for better or worse.

2) Size matters, sometimes in strange ways. In the USA the "thumbnail" size category ("TN", maximum 25mm) is very popular, and the TN collectors want close to that maximum size, but never exceeding it because that disqualifies it from competition. So the strange effect this has on the market is that a 27mm crystal (like this red quartz) is worth much less than a 24mm crystal of the same quality! A 27mm crystal is too small for the collectors of "cabinet" or "hand" specimens, and too big for the TN collectors, so it falls into a category with only a very skinny market.

3) Sometimes you can get great deals by studying the prejudices of individual dealers. I like rare dull metallic minerals, and tiny rare species, so I often get great deals on those sorts of things from dealers who specialize in gem crystals and have no interest in grey silver minerals, for example. Similarly a dealer who is known to love Tsumeb minerals may have great deals on old minerals from Japan just because he doesn't appreciate them as much. I like 15-25mm TNs myself and I prefer to buy them in Europe or Japan where I know they are under-appreciated and therefore cheaper in price.
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Peter Megaw
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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2021 20:13    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Ah...but Alfredo there is an out here!!

In competition a TN must be 25mm as displayed...not maximum dimension but if it'll fit in a 25mm cube. So if you displayed this tilted a bit it would pass muster even in the picky world of competition!!

I think you could easily double the price on that basis.

I love these things...they remind me of Pecos Diamonds for which you'd be lucky to get 10 cents apiece !

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James Catmur
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PostPosted: Jan 03, 2021 15:29    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

When I used to sell at shows I did have lots of specimens priced for kids, so the price was set to encourage them to get involved. I still remember the show where all the money raised went to charity, and we raised $500 with everything priced at 75c or less!
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Sante Celiberti




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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2021 13:58    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Hello.
Thanks everyone for the kind replies.

Bob (Harman),
Yesterday I sent you a PM, but I guess you didn't get it. I'll try again.
(We are lucky to be able to "enjoy the joy" of our grandchildren...).

Alfredo,
I agree with your analysis, especially with the instructive 3rd point.
In fact, the Austrian seller I bought the quartz from had only alpine minerals on the table, except for this little "intruder".

James,
Fortunately the tradition of donating minerals to children is still alive in many Italian fairs.

Warm greetings from Tuscany.
Sante
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Peter Megaw
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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2021 14:04    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

When I sold at shows I always had pieces mixed in here and there with price tags labeled "Free to Under 12" . Kept the kids busy looking for them...and their parents usually bought something!
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Bergur_E_Sigurdarson




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PostPosted: Jan 04, 2021 18:41    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

I like to browse the "bargain bin" material at most shows I've managed to attend.
Often not to find exceptional pieces, but minors that remind me of things I like and would some day like to find and obtain a better piece.
(not many, most on my roadtrip in the US in 2017 and 18)
My trip took me through SW states and many of the NE ones. As I picked my destinations I would try and find out if any public collecting or fee sites were close to my route.
At the end of my roadtrip I had way too much material for me to transport, so a week of selecting keepers, and throwers.. and there was also a lot of material I thought was too good to ever throw out and still with limited luggage I could not keep.
So I packed about 7 flats and took them with me to the last little show and donated it to the kids section of the local club (with info of where it cane from of course) :-)
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Tobi




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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2021 05:06    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Sante Celiberti wrote:
Yes, we are used to seeing boxes full of common mineral crystals at insignificant prices on the table of some exhibitors. And I could understand if I had found this crystal among dozens or hundreds of similar ones on a table at a Spanish fair.
But a single Spanish crystal, on the table of an Austrian, in an Italian fair, at the price of 1 euro, leaves me at least confused.
What do you think?
Such "finds" are always something to remember, especially in times like this when mineral prices are increasing. So I think you should enjoy that little beauty :-)
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Peter Lemkin




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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2021 13:41    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

There are two great joys that occassionally happen at mineral shows.....finding a specimen that is rare and you've been looking for for years....and something you just know is way underpriced......supreme joy is when they coincide. I remember once as I was heading out of Tuscon for my car to drive home, a French dealer I had never heard of had a small table in the hall just by the exit doors. I stopped [why not] and saw a Y-tantalite twin of about 1Kg in perfect condition and color. He was packing up and all price labels were gone. I asked how much [sure I couldn't afford it]. He mentioned a few hundred $ and I purchased quick before someone else did. Later I realized I got a mineral I had long wanted for about 1/20th the market price then [long ago]....worth much more now. Location it was from also added to the find. Those moments stay with one a lifetime. Either he didn't know its value or he really needed money to get back to France......
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James Catmur
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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2021 14:53    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

It is always nice to get a bargain.

I still feel annoyed about the collector who negotiated a price with my 6 year old son (who really had no concept of the value of minerals, or money for that matter) and insisted I honour the bargain he had negotiated.

I am fine when it was my mistake
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2021 16:26    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

James, in the USA anyone under 18 years old cannot make a legally binding contract, so there was no contract you needed to honor. Should have just told the obnoxious dealer to take his bargain and stuff it...
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Peter Megaw
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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2021 16:39    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

Good point Alfredo, but whether it's legally binding or not, trying to take advantage of a child like that is as lame as a Debbie Boone Tribute Band
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PostPosted: Jan 06, 2021 10:28    Post subject: Re: This crazy mineral market!  

I could have done that and upset my son who was doing his best to help me run the stall. So I honoured my son and hope the collector suffers for his actions

alfredo wrote:
James, in the USA anyone under 18 years old cannot make a legally binding contract, so there was no contract you needed to honor. Should have just told the obnoxious dealer to take his bargain and stuff it...
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