The Nininger Connection
Imagine, if you will,
that you are a little boy, about 12 years old, and that this is the mid-1950s. Your father
likes to take the whole family on long vacations driving through the American West every
summer and this year he has decided to go to
This is the story a very nice gentleman from
The gentleman is now getting ready to retire; he brought the whole box to me, and asked me to find a good home for all his precious rocks.
What is in the box?
Canyon Diablo; 1010.9 grams individual with polished and etched window, and numbered 34.3050. There is another small cloth label glued to it, it reads: along CD w. of crater. I suppose it means that he found this particular along the Canyon Diablo proper, west of the crater. Did he really find over 3000 Canyon Diablos?
Brenham: 154.6 grams part-slice polished on both sides, somewhat triangular. There is a number on the edge, but this one is really hard to read, part of it is missing. It looks like 10 (1 or 2 missing digits) 09.
Canyon Diablo: small individual, 53.11 grams, highly polished on one side and filed flat on the other, it could be a piece prepared to fit in a bolo-tie mounting, after all this is the West and bolo-tie are still common here
Ring: this is the ring he was given as a child. Large mans ring in sterling silver, holding a small highly polished Canyon Diablo. I am sorry I dont know the size but it is too large for any one of my fingers.
I believe this ring was made by Nininger himself. In "Find a Falling Star", page 170, he writes: "During 1946 we developed ways to mount some of the small meteorites in the form of costume jewelry, sectioning and etching suitable specimens and polishing others along contour lines."
Tektites: there is a whole baggie of tektites of all sizes, 570 grams, most of them are chipped, they were probably kept together too long. 2 of them are particularly interesting.
One is a large oval hamburger patty about 9.3cm long, 186.74 grams, with just one small chip along the edge.
The other is thick and round, 5cm across, 85.8 grams, and one side is just one large impact crater with central uplift.
Out of the Sky: by H. H. Nininger, copyright 1952. This book is yellowed and has been read, but it is in very good shape, only the dust-jacket is torn and rather tired looking. Very interesting book with a lot of pictures of meteorites, some very rare (Cullison, Ollague, Pantar).
I would like to emphasize that right now all those specimens are exactly the way they were the day Harvey Nininger sold them over 50 years ago. Yes, they were looked at and handled, but they were never re-cut or re-polished, and they are in great shape, a few scratches, but no rust.
It is just like getting a bunch of meteorites directly from Nininger, through something like a time-wrap.
One last question, of course: the price.
I will ask seriously interested collectors to make an offer, and will discuss the offers with the owner. Please remember that this is not just a bunch of rocks, or even a bunch of meteorites, this is a slice of history.