For the first time in southern Africa, 20 meteorites will be auctioned off in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The meteorites were found in different parts of the world, some as long ago as 1837 and others in 2017.
The annual Geminid meteor shower in northern Italy. Stephan Welz is on Tuesday holding the first meteorite auction in southern Africa. Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP
The rocks are expected to fetch between R20,000 and R500,000.
Chris de Klerk, an art specialist at Stephan Welz & Co Auctioneers, says the value of a meteorite depends on where it was found, its weight and how many pieces are out there.
The auction house says there aren’t many meteorite collectors in South Africa, but the local market is growing.
All of the specimens being auctioned come from outside South Africa.
Local laws severely restrict their sale.
“The National Heritage Act says any meteorite fallen on the South African soil or waters is the property of the state. We are not allowed to sell it without the permit of the heritage agency,” says De Klerk
The auction will also include sought-after diamonds from South Africa and neighbouring countries.
Of course, they don’t come cheap, with some expected to fetch as much as R600,000.