Grand Canyon - March, 2005 - photo by John Veevaert
John Veevaert    PO BOX 2182   Weaverville, California  96093  USA  (888) 689-8402



Return to the 2008 Tucson Show Homepage 

Show Reports
Report 1   Report 2   Report 3   Report 4  Report 5  Report 6

Displays - 1   Displays - 2    Displays - 3

 
Tucson Show Report 6
 
 
A view of the east entry of the Tucson Convention Center on the last day of the show.
 
A view from the lobby of the Convention Center floor.
 
This 2008 edition of the main show at Tucson was, for me, the most memorable mineral event of my lifetime.  It is just hard to fully appreciate what was presented here and just how truly rare an event it was.  The security for this show was on full alert with a large police presence to thwart would be thieves.  There were several incidents during the show including the theft of minerals from Marcus Origlieri's Mineral Zone Shop.  Please refer to the photos of the, spessartine, linarite and caledonite specimens which were part of the heist in the  Tucson Report 3 . There were also a few thefts reported here by several dealers but with all the security cameras installed it is only a matter of time before a review of the tapes finds the hoods with the sticky fingers.
 
A couple of Tucson's finest looking over the show.
 
Mineral shows are as much about people as they are about minerals.  We all look forward to reconnecting with friends while at shows like this.  Below are some candid shots of people at the show.
 
Recall that on opening day of the I made mention of the line waiting to get at the Minette Collection.
This is a virtual who's who of the mineral world. Shortly after this photo Peter Magaw broke the line up.
 
A 5-6 cm specimen of brilliantly lustrous vezselyite from the Black Pine mine in Montana from the Minette Collection.  Dan Weinrich told me an interesting
story about this pieceand the 5 or 6 others that were found several seconds after the fuse had been lit.  Dan said that Jim Minette and his mining partner had
about 1.5 minutes to gather up this specimen and the others before the blast would send the rest into explosive oblivion.  This is one of the finest known
specimens of this rare phosphate with large, bright and lustrous crystals.
 
 
 
Everyone, including some very sophisticated collectors and dealers were captivated by the displays. 
 On the left are Neil Prenn and Cal Graeber.Herb Obodda looks into the Red Beryl case.
 
 
On the left is collector/dealer George Witters from Colorado.  That is British collector Ralph Sutcliffe (right) and me toasting to a great show.
 
 
It was great to see Reno, Nevada dealer Harvey Gordon back at the helm.  Texas collector
Gail Spann thought she could get away with taking my mug shot while I was getting hers.
 
 
Several people worked hard to prepare show cases to display specimens from their collections.  These were not part of the American Treasures displays but were centered around fine minerals and also educational displays.
 
Mineral Trust, also known as Barry Yampol, had a stunning display of minerals centered around
the show theme. Check out the gold on the right from the Mocking Bird mine in California.
 
 
A killer blue cap from Pala and striking array of spinel law twins of copper from Ray, Arizona .
 
 
Phoenix collector Jim Robison put together a fine show case of smithsonite from Tsumeb.  His intent was to display the
different colors of smithsonite found there colored by micro inclusions of various elements replacing the zinc in the molecule.
 
 
 
 
 
The Natural History museum in London brought a display in keeping with the theme of this year's show.  Specimens from the 1938 Ed Over find at the Red Cloud Mine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jeff "Stretch" Young and his wife Lynn put together several cases on pseudomorphs and won the Masters Award for best Education Case.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rockwall, Texas collectors Jim and Gail Spann won the Desautels Award this year with their impressive case of fine mineral specimens.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Virginia collector Brooks Britt put together an attractive case of Montana Moss Agates.  I usually glaze
over this type of material but Brook's display was attractive and informative about how these agates form. 
I don't want to hear it Rosenthal....  :^)
 
 
 
 
 
Mineral pricing dominated a lot of the discussions around Tucson.  It seems that there is no limit to the levels the top end specimens can find.  The seemingly exuberant pricing is exceeded only by the exuberant buying at those levels though I heard from several dealers that they feel as though the ceiling has been reached.  It has to be somewhat confusing to the new average collector who comes to a show like this and sees a specimen of mineral "A" available for $10,000 and then, while wandering the Convention Center or hotels around town, they see a similar specimen of equal quality for $1000 or less.   There will always be those relative lucky few who can unload a wheel barrow of money on a rock and do it again and again. Most of us (me included) have to live with a budget. Here are some tips to help you build your collection with quality specimens and also save for the kids college fund:  find a focus for your collection, take your time when buying minerals, educate yourself about minerals, what they are, how they form, localities and associations, ask dealers questions about what makes this specimen worth the price being asked, shop around, and lastly, ask for any possible discounts.  If a dealer has a rock that has been packed and unpacked for more than two shows you will usually find them willing to work with you if you have an interest. After all, you can't make something edible out of a tourmaline or galena specimen.  Overall, business was down for a lot of dealers at all levels of the pricing spectrum from the previous year.  Many, but by no means all, of the hotel show vendors reported poor sales volumes overall. This could be a confirmation about pricing levels reaching that ceiling or it could be that the economic woes of the United States is starting to find its way into the mineral market.  Chats with several dealers who travel to Pakistan and other points of origin for minerals report that prices at the source have reached levels that exceed retail levels here in the USA. It will take a little while for the insanity to calm but in the short term minerals moving around in circles in places like Pakistan, China and Brazil, which "increase in value" with each move will have an inflationary affect on specimens.  It won't take too long for the local markets there to realize that the minerals are not leaving and market forces will prevail much as the housing market here in the US is experiencing. There is still a number of dealers touting minerals as investments.  This always makes me a little worried because at some point many of the "investors" will want to cash in and some will invariably be a bit horrified at how their "investment" has done...
 
The Tucson experience continues to be the year's pinnacle experience for the mineral world.  It is a marathon though. With venues all over town, chronic construction on Interstate 10, and more stop and go driving than I experience the rest of the year in Trinity County (we have no stop lights in the entire county where I live in California) I am conflicted a bit with pangs of sadness at the end but also waves of relief knowing that I don't have to drive another 75 miles just to get around this sprawling city.
 
The show this year will be remembered by everyone who saw the displays.  Gene Meieran got the ball rolling all the way back in 2005 with a canvass of about 100 dealers and collectors asked to select their top 50 mineral locations.  The book that compliments the American Treasures Mineral Displays was the result of a lot of blood, sweat, and tears with Gloria Staebler and the Smithsonian's Paul Pohwat who gave freely of their spare time to make this all happen.  It must have been a lot like trying to herd cats with all the strong personalities in this hobby.
 
Well, this is my take on the 2008 Tucson Show.  I have one large last update to prepare which will be posted in the next 2-3 days of specimens found here.  I will send a note out for that.  As ever it is an intoxicating experience to be immersed in mineralogy for three weeks and be around people who are as hopelessly addicted as I am when it comes to our shared passion.  I will be back again next year with another installment covering the 2009 Tucson Show. Until then ...
 
Cheers from Tucson,
 
 
 
 

Past Shows & Reports
PLEASE NOTE: The minerals that were offered on these pages are all sold
1999
Munich Show
2000
Sainte Marie Show
Munich Show
2001
Sainte Marie Show
Munich Show
2002
Tucson Show
Sainte Marie Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2003
Tucson Show
Sainte Marie Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2004
Tucson Show
West Coast Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2005
Tucson Show
West Coast Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2006
Tucson Show
Bologna Show
Sainte Marie Show
East Coast Show
Munich Show
2007
Tucson Show
Dallas Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2008
Tucson Show
West Coast Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show
2009
Tucson Show
West Coast Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show

2010
Tucson Show
San Francisco Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show

Munich Show

2011
Tucson Show
San Francisco Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show
Munich Show

2012
Tucson Show
West Coast Show
East Coast Show
Denver Show 
Munich Show

2013
Tucson Show
Sainte Marie Show
Crystal Days (Poland)
Munich Show  

 

 
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