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“Planet Mars: The Collector’s Cube” was the first interplanetary collectible. This limited edition, now hard to find, was created by Darryl Pitt and launched on QVC in 1997 and later sold at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Sealed in a glass vial afloat within a Lucite cube are particles of the Zagami Martian meteorite. The “Mars Cube” came accompanied with a numbered and signed certificate of authenticity and a comprehensive twenty-page “Mars Owner’s Manual.” The package was designed as a means to inspire children and adults — and be able to provide a planetary sample that would not break while being passed around.

On October 3, 1962, a farmer in Zagami, Nigeria was nearly struck by a 40-pound meteorite as it plummeted towards Earth. Pointing to a planetary origin, the specimen had an unusually young crystallization age and contained water-bearing minerals. And then in 1995 was the smoking gun: The New York Times reported that minute volumes of gas trapped in tiny bubbles within the Zagami matrix was found to match the composition of the Martian atmosphere (as determined by NASA’s Viking lander in 1976). Zagami is one of only five witnessed falls of Martian meteorites, which arrived on Earth as a result of a large asteroid slamming into Mars and ejecting material from the Martian surface into an Earth-crossing orbit.

A sterile vial contains 1/10 carat of pharmaceutically milled particles of the Zagami Martian meteorite suspended in a Lucite cube. The sample from which these Zagami particles are derived was studied by NASA.

This lot is accompanied by the Mars Owners Manual and the certificate of authenticity with which it was packaged.

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.


Lucite Cube: 65 cubic mm (2.5 cubic inches); Zagami specimen: 1/10 carat

Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
Provenance
Zagami - Robert Haag Collection of Meteorites, Tucson, Arizona
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