By Antoinette Rahn
More than 300 specimens from the extensive collection of the late Rock H. Currier will come to auction Aug. 26, in a sale presented by Heritage Auctions.
This Fine Mineral Signature Auction is nearly an A-to-Z selection of mineral specimens and in a way, an ode to the many excursions and experiences this legendary rockhound collected before his death in 2015. His collection exceeds more than 25,000 specimens, or as Currier was known to call them, "his children."
Meticulous Specimen Notes
In true Heritage Auctions' fashion, the catalog descriptions for each specimen in this sale are comprehensive and fascinating. As a bonus, thanks to Currier, the descriptions also include his notes. These notes not only provide identifying details but also colorful accounts surrounding the conservatorship of each specimen, often told in Currier’s well-known style of humor.
With so much brilliance and beauty at hand with this upcoming sale, I thought I'd share a few details about seven of the lots that caught my attention for a variety of reasons. However, this is just the tip of an extraordinary representation of what a lifelong appreciation for minerals can inspire. To experience it more fully be sure to check out the online auction catalog at Heritage Auctions.
Quartz var. Amethyst with Epitaxial Amethyst & Goethite on Calcite
This uniquely curved plate of richly colored amethyst crystals serves up a delightful display of crystals, including a scalenohedral calcite crystal emerging from the center. Discovered in the Andre Jachetti Mine, Artigas, Uruguay, Currier made this comment in his notes, “One of the best two know from Artigas as of 2003. The other good one is also in my collection. Sort of like "My second car is also a Porshe [sic]"
Measures: 13.8 x 6.7 x 6.7 inches
This specimen, boasting a cluster of brilliant green dioptase crystals, is garnering much attention leading up to the auction. According to Currier, he purchased the specimen in 1974 while he was in Tsumeb, Namibia, which is where it was mined.
Measures: 1.4 x 1.5 x .08 inches
Native Michigan Silver
To be completely honest, I find the clusters of silver and copper from Michigan to be enchanting. I can easily get lost in thought about the formation of a specimen like this, and what it would mean to discover one. In his notes about this piece, Currier explained that he “traded this specimen from the George Vaux collection at Bryn Mawr College.”
The team at Heritage Auctions seemed to react as I did when reading Currier’s statement of ‘trading’ for this piece. From the Heritage Auction catalog description, “God only knows what Rock traded to Bryn Mawr in order to get this, but there was either: a lot of it, a hell of a specimen of it, or both.”
Measures: 4.7 x 3.5 x 1.2 inches
Microcline var. Amazonite & Quartz var. Smoky
There is so much happening in this stunning specimen, and yet, it presents like a symphony of nature. All in sync. In addition to its striking appearance, this specimen has some serious "street cred," if there is such a thing in minerals, given that it comes from the Jack Rabbit Mine, Lake George, Colorado. A native of the Jack Rabbit Mine. Nice. To add to that, Currier’s note about this specimen is a must-read. Click on the photo or the name of the specimen to connect to the catalog description at the Heritage Auctions site.
Measures: 3.1 x 4.3 x 2.2 inches
Although I can’t speak to this personally, in reading a variety of statements by those who knew Currier well, I have to believe that if Currier said something was anywhere close to unique, it was.
In his notes about this curved shell of rhodochrosite, found in Kuruman, Northern Cape, South Africa, Currier states it is, “Nearly a unique specimen.” Well, coming from a rockhound who seemingly sought out the uncommon, that’s saying a lot.
Measures: 1.4 x 1.4 x. 05 inches
Quartz With “Red Phantoms” & Epidote
The story behind Currier’s acquisition of this intriguing specimen of pyramidal quartz points, as he describes in his notes, is an interesting glimpse into the mind of this rockhound. As the team at Heritage Auctions’ describes it, it’s another ‘sleeper.’ Check out the lot description to enjoy the full story about this sizable specimen.
Measures: 9.8 x 6.2 x 2.1 inches
People like the late Rock Currier, who passionately work to preserve the story of a specimen, both its geological history and that of its conservatorship, are invaluable contributors to the celebration of rockhounding and the study of geology.
In his notes, Currier says this about the specimen of caledonite, “There are only few specimens that can rival this one. I have seen less than six as good. “ He goes on to detail how he purchased the specimen from Jack Streeter in 1971, including this bit of history, “Jack was a traveling salesman and part of his territory allowed him to visit the mine at Tiger periodically and he had enough money to buy some of the good specimens from the miners."
Measures: 2.4 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches
As I said, this sneak peek is just a portion of the 300+ lots featured in the Aug. 26 Rock H. Currier Collection of Fine Minerals Signature Auction, presented by Heritage Auctions. I recommend spending some time perusing the online auction catalog for this sale. I’m confident you’ll find a specimen or two that catches your eye and prompts you to click the 'Track Item' button, just as I have.
In addition, proceeds of the Aug. 26 auction will go to the Rock H. Currier Living Trust, and additional portions of the collection may be sold through subsequent auctions, online, and at the Tucson Gem Show, according to www.rockcurrier.com.
For more information, visit www.ha.com.