What's Your Meteorite Worth?
assume that your rusty rock is a genuine meteorite...you've found the elusive
extraterrestrial needle! You're
probably curious about its value, and you may
even browse the
internet in pursuit of a ball-park
Newspapers and magazine are filled with
extraordinary claims about meteorite
values, sometimes even reporting that
meteorites are “worth more than their weight in gold"!
This sensationalism makes for catchy
headlines, but in reality meteorites are
bought and sold at modest prices that are
hardly newsworthy. After all, more
then 44,500 different meteorites have
been discovered and many of these
samples are readily available to
researchers and collectors.
In recent years,
meteorite hunters have discovered great meteorite concentrations in the African and American
deserts. These discoveries have dramatically increased the supply of meteorites to scientists and
collectors, and the new supply has driven the prices of common meteorites
Does your meteorite have
value? Certainly! Meteorites
are challenging to find, and researchers
and collectors pay good prices for new
The cash value of a meteorite depends on three main
factors: type, condition, and size. The typical meteorite find
(a typical weathered
stone) will bring around $100 - $200 per pound. Fresh meteorite falls and
rare varieties are much more valuable and will fetch many times that amount. For a given type of meteorite, large pieces are obviously more valuable than
small ones but
large samples have a lower value per pound due to supply and demand
dynamics. Your lucky meteorite
find may not launch you into early
retirement, but a 100 pound space rock
of the common variety can
bring a welcomed $10,000...not bad for
picking up a rusty boulder.
cut meteorites into slices for redistribution. They necessarily
sell their products at higher retail prices in order to profit after cutting
losses and other preparation expenses (cutting meteorites results in significant
mass loss as material is turned to dust).
Finally, it is important
to remember that the real value of any meteorite is scientific in nature. One
scientist aptly referred to meteorites as the “poor mans space probe”.
Interplanetary rock collecting missions are expensive and risky by nature, but
meteorites conveniently come to us free of charge!