Details
Like most iron meteorites, Gibeon meteorites formed 4.5 billion years ago within the molten core of an asteroid whose shattered remains are now part of the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. Unlike most iron meteorites, this Gibeon is among the most aesthetic iron meteorites known. While lot 25 epitomizes the best traits of an exemplary Gibeon meteorite, now offered is the furthest thing from such an idealization in what is fundamentally a unique, exotic form.

The mass from which this meteorite originated was on an Earth-crossing orbit whose journey in space lasted millions of years. Gibeon meteorites finally landed on Earth thousands of years ago when the wandering iron mass from which this meteorite originated slammed into the atmosphere before exploding and raining down in what is now the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. In previous generations, indigenous tribesmen recovered small meteorite fragments at or near the surface and fashioned them into spear points and other tools. This specimen was recovered with the aid of a metal detector. Its final shape is the product of its composition, the soil chemistry where it landed, its orientation in the ground, the amount of groundwater to which it was exposed — and the amount of time this meteorite was exposed to the earthly elements. This specimen is a reminder that timing is everything. Had this meteorite lay undiscovered for another thousand years, it might not be the single extraordinary form now seen but instead would be two prosaic meteorites.

Draped in a variegated gun metal-hued patina with ochre accents, depending upon this meteorite’s orientation, either the letter “C” or “U” are imparted. A surface texture of gentle ridges delimits the perimeter of the mass. Originating from the asteroid belt, this meteorite was hewn by monumental forces encountered in space, frictional heating as it plunged through Earth’s atmosphere, and most prominently, the effects of Earth’s elements during its millennia-long residency at the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Hewn from what is akin to extraterrestrial steel, meteorites almost never look like this extraordinary 4.5-billion-year-old abstract example which is among the more exotic sculptural meteorites known. Accompanied by a custom armature as well as a plinth.

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

404 x 295 x 176mm (16 x 11.5 x 6.75 in.) and 61.05 kg (134.5 lbs)
Provenance
Macovich Collection of Meteorites, New York
Phillips, New York, 8 June 1996, lot 202.
An Important East Coast Collection 1996-2019
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