Lot #3718
NWA 12691 Lunar Meteorite

NWA 12691—superlative specimen of the Moon

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Estimate: $17500+
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NWA 12691—superlative specimen of the Moon

Lunar Feldspathic Breccia
North West Africa

While meteorites are rare — the weight of every meteorite known is less than the world’s annual output of gold — Moon rocks are far rarer still representing about 0.5% of all meteorites. There are less than 750 kilograms of lunar meteorites documented and all would fit in about three SUVs. In addition, a good deal of this material is untouchable as it’s housed in governmental museums and research institutions. The lunar samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions are also not available to the public.

Lunar meteorites arrive on Earth as a result of having been ejected off the lunar surface by asteroid impacts. Scientists are readily able to identify Moon rocks by analyzing a rock's texture, mineralogy, chemistry and isotopes. Moon rocks also contain gases from the solar wind, and those gases have different isotope ratios than terrestrial rocks. This chunk of the Moon is a lunar breccia, which means it contains lot of different fragments of different lunar materials 'cemented' together as a result of the pressure and heat generated from asteroid impacts on the lunar surface. The prominent which clasts seen is anorthite, which is very rare on Earth but not on the Moon. The scientist who did the analysis, Dr. Anthony Irving, has an international reputation for classifying Martian and lunar meteorites. One might expect some of the Moon rocks that Apollo missions returned to Earth to look like lunar meteorites — and that is precisely the case with this specimen. Offered once in a blue moon, this is a highly aesthetic piece of the Moon is a splendid display specimen from all perspectives.

83 x 65 x 34 mm (3.25 x 2.5 x 1.3 in.) and 151.8 g (0.33 lbs)

A copy of the scientific analysis and classification of NWA 12691 accompanies this sample.

Provenance: The Stifler Collection of Meteorites.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space
  • Dates: #619 - Ended October 21, 2021