The vast majority of professional dealers around the world
are honest, hard-working and trustworthy: but...


The number of meteorite sellers using online auctions makes it really important that a little research and common sense are used before committing to a purchase. Here are a few words of advice you may or may not wish to heed!

1) Where possible, speak to the seller over the phone: ask
about his background, the provenance of his
material and what sort of CoA (certificate of authenticity) he provides.

2) What else does he sell? If his inventory includes lots of miscellaneous 'nick-nacks', he's probably not an expert in meteoritics: he may have bought a lump of haematite as a meteorite in good faith and be unaware that he is misrepresenting the item.

3) Check the seller's name on 'Google': if he's a full time long-established dealer with a decent
reputation, you'll quickly find him out there. If he's a published author, lecturer or broadcaster, he
probably has a reputation to protect!

4) Is the dealer a member of the IMCA (International Meteorite Collectors Association) You can check
their list of registered members on their website The vast majority (but not all!) of the world's top
dealers are members.

5) Is the asking price realistic? At the moment there is an English vendor selling all kinds of rubbish on
ebay: his items pretend to be among the rarest and most expensive types: lunars, martians and any
number of supposed British finds! His prices are ridiculous for such scarce meteorites: £20 for a 500g lunar, for example!

6) Genuine meteorites - even common chondrites - are rare and in great demand. On top of the initial
purchase price, an established dealer has shipping, import duty, website and promotion, storage and
office space and a host of other on-costs to cover before he starts making a living!



Knowing all this, even I get 'conned' occasionally! It doesn't happen often and is usually the result of responding to an offer from a new, unknown seller. I'm far too old to go on hunting trips to North Africa, so for new stock I tend to rely on a network of established and trusted local collectors: at the moment this includes people from Morocco, Western Sahara, Libya and Kenya among others. I recently bought a good amount of the Sericho pallasite from a Kenyan guy and was extremely happy with the price and quality of his material and his after-sales communications. I was probably influenced by this to make a purchase from another Kenyan: Mohamed Muktar. He had e-mailed me offering an example of the Bur Abor iron at a reasonable price, claiming he needed money for his sick wife. I eventually agreed after lots of backward and forward e-mails and paid the amount he asked. Since then, I've heard nothing and received no replies to my e-mails! Some you win, some you lose!