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Lot Description:
The curved face of this sphere reveals a number of inclusions, the result of the ongoing bombardment to which the Moon’s surface was exposed prior to the collision responsible for launching this rock to Earth. This brecciated lunar sphere is composed of different fragments of rocks and minerals, including signature white anorthite fused by a melt of lunar regolith and other crushed rock. Modern fashioning.
31mm (1.25 in.) diameter
47.2g

Pieces of the Moon are among the rarest substances on Earth. Now offered is a complete sphere fashioned from a Moon rock that was ejected from the lunar surface following an asteroid impact. Moon rocks are identified by specific textural, mineralogical, chemical and isotopic signatures. Many of the common minerals found on Earth’s surface are rare or absent on the Moon and some lunar minerals are unknown on Earth. In addition, Moon rocks contain gases captured from the solar wind with isotopic ratios very different from the same gases found on Earth. In the last two years a massive lunar strewn field straddling the Mauritanian, West Saharan and Algerian borders was discovered. Nearly 300 kg of lunar meteorites were recovered — nearly doubling the mass of all lunar meteorites known. An extraordinary bounty, this created the opportunity to fashion a limited number of NWA 12691 lunar spheres. All lunar meteorites can be contained in just five large footlockers, and a significant fraction of this mass is controlled by governmental institutions. Not one milligram of Apollo material is available for private ownership. Very few lunar spheres will exist – it may be decades before another lunar meteorite is discovered with a sufficiently high total known weight to provide the possibility of additional spheres, if at all. Conservatorship of lunar samples is a prerequisite before fashioning spheres as rocks far greater in size than the resulting sphere are initially required. The trimming, grinding and polishing regimens result in great material loss, and it’s only due to the relative luxury of there being so much of NWA 12691 that the possibility of spheres exists. Now offered is a smaller version of lot 20; an exceedingly limited and captivating presentation of the Moon.

Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalogue.


Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
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Lot Essay

The official classification of the material from which this sphere was hewn was performed by Dr. Anthony Irving, the world’s foremost classifier of lunar and Martian meteorites.

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