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Springfield show 2010.

[August 13-15]

The weather was beautiful when we left our home in Macungie, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. It was Springfield Show week, and this year I decided to leave a day earlier so I would be well-rested for the customary Thursday pre-show preview of dealers' stocks. This year my wife and daughter (along with our Chihuahua, Butterbean) were going to Springfield, and our car was loaded with luggage. Last year it was just me and the puppy, so we had traveled light; this year I had to make room for multiple changes of clothing and enough shoes to open a shoe store. Overall, though, it was a fun trip with lots of laughs, and featuring a pleasant surprise. Surprise? Yes. after arriving in Springfield my wife and daughter discovered (while they were having lunch at the Marriott) that the "Dream Team"--the winners of the basketball gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics--was in town to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird. Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullen, et al. were in attendance, along with two members of the 1960 gold medal team, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. The Springfield City Hall was adorned with a huge red carpet and the town was loaded with tourists from around the country. How this event affected attendance at the mineral and gem show is anyone's guess, but I imagine that some basketball fans might have drifted into the show during their spare time.

This year at the show I discovered some exciting new things, and was also able to examine several recycled collections. At the booth of Donald K. Olson and Associates (he can be emailed at donaldkolson@netscape.net) I saw more specimens from the Ernie Schlichter collection such as were offered at last year's show and at other shows around the country recently. Most of the specimens were from the northeastern United States, including classics from such localities as Bristol, Connecticut; Acushnet, Massachusetts; and Maine. One-of-a-kind specimens, mostly miniatures mounted in large Perky boxes, from the Saums collection were also available from Don.

Mike Walter of Geologic Desires (his website is www.geologicdesires.com) offered some exciting new specimens from finds made over the past several years at the Roncari (Tilcon) quarry, East Granby, Connecticut. It seems a local collector has been working a seam at the quarry and has dug out beautiful specimens of calcite, quartz and prehnite. Most specimens are quartz-calcite combinations in miniature to large-cabinet sizes, with small-cabinet sizes being the norm. On some specimens, quartz epimorphs after anhydrite form attractive finger-shaped aggregates 3 to 6 cm long (one stalactiform specimen is almost 20 cm long). On some of these specimens, quartz crystals to 2.5 cm show inclusions of hematite; on others the quartz crystals have hematite coatings and inclusions on selected faces, making for very attractive, reddish orange crystals. Mike's single specimen of prehnite from the Roncari quarry is an extracted pocket about 20 cm in diameter sporting lime-green fingers and aggregates of prehnite with associated quartz and calcite: a very nice specimen.

Mike also had a large selection of phlogopite twins which were found in the Grenville Marbles of West Pierrepont, Saint Lawrence County, New York. The twins (in thumbnail to cabinet sizes) are translucent and reddish brown and reach 7 cm in size. The background information was written up by Dr. Steven Chamberlain; his report can be found, along with some photos, at www.geologicdesires.com/private%20viewing.htm.

Transplanted Tucson resident Isaias Casanova of IC Minerals (icminerals@earthlink.net) was handling the large and choice Marty Zinn thumbnail collection. All specimens I saw were mounted in traditional Perky boxes and are mostly high-quality pieces from classic East Coast and European localities. I saw thumbnails from Franklin, New Jersey and from Maine, Germany, Switzerland and other desirable places; hematite roses from the Alps and pyromorphite from Germany and Pennsylvania come to mind especially. You will have to rummage through Isaias's inventory to find that special specimen you have been seeking, as most of the specimens are one-of-a-kind.

Tony Nikischer of Excalibur Mineral Corporation (tony@excaliburmineral.com) co-authored the official description of a new mineral: eurekadumpite from the Centennial Eureka Mine, Juab County, Utah, and had specimens for sale. This new species occurs as microscopic, turquoise-blue spherules and rosettes sparsely scattered on matrix; the balls and rosettes are comprised of densely stacked, radiating platy crystals with pearly luster. The formula for eurekadumpite (IMA approval number is #2009-072) is [(Cu,Zn).sub.16] [([TeO.sub.3]).sub.2][([AsO.sub.4]).sub.3]Cl[(OH).sub.18]-7[H.sub.2]O, and the mineral is monoclinic. It was being offered by Nikischer for the first time and was a very popular item with collectors.

Tony was also offering picropharmacolite with realgar from the White Caps mine, Manhattan, Nye County, Nevada. Specimens in this exceptional lot consist of picropharmacolite in tiny, white, spiky spheres of acicular crystals to several millimeters, well scattered on matrix, typically over a pale orange-red druse of realgar and occasionally with transparent and colorless gypsum, yellow sulfur and/or white globular pharmacolite. The specimens have been SEM/EDS verified and come in matrix sizes from 3 to 10 cm in diameter. For the lover of minerals from below sea level, Tony had colemanite crystals from the Boraxo pit, Death Valley, Inyo County, California in short-prismatic, spear-shaped crystals in radiating and upstanding groups. The crystals are transparent to translucent and have a subtle, pleasant, grayish white color. The specimens range in size from thumbnails to cabinet pieces 10 cm wide.

R. Scott Wershky of Miner's Lunchbox (see his website at www.minerslunchbox.com) showed me a flat of specimens from the Skoipion mine, Rosh Pinah, Namibia, including miniature to small-cabinet specimens of tarbuttite in pale green crystal aggregates to about 2 cm in length. Also in the flat were specimens of hemimorphite crystals on pale green, opaque fluorapatite, the latter pseudomorphically replacing tarbuttite, an unusual combination. Finally, the flat contained several specimens of pale blue smithsonite closely resembling specimens from the Kelly mine, Magdalena, New Mexico. Scott also had a half dozen or so gold nuggets which were found about three months ago in the vicinity of the American River east of Sacramento, California. The rounded, worn nuggets (which weigh up to 4 ounces) were found by several prospectors using metal detectors. And, as usual, Scott had many fine gold specimens from localities around California, Nevada and elsewhere in the American West.

Intrepid traveler Alfredo Petrov (alfredo@mindat.org), who seems to have visited every time zone on earth, had some interesting phosphophyllite psuedomorphs after marine fossils. The fossils are Cretaceous marine pelecypods, perhaps clams, but genus and species not identified, now replaced by microcrystalline phosphophyllite. In one, the shell is replaced by phosphophyllite and the interior by metavivianite (the analysis, according to Alfredo, was done by Dr. Anthony Kampf at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). Several other specimens are just shell-shaped cavities partially filled by acicular phosphophyllite crystals to 2.5 cm long. These specimens are from the Machacamarca mining district, near Potosi, Bolivia.

Wayne and Dona Leicht of Kristalle (www.kristalle.com) have also recently been traveling, judging by the spectacular photos posted on their website on a link called "Rambling with Dona." Photos and articles about their recent trip to Asia and Australia make the wanderer in all of us want to make reservations for the next flight out of town. Generally speaking, the Leichts were offering exceptional Tsumeb specimens from the Grosch and Moller collections and cerussite from the Eileen Kokinos collection, both of these collections dating back to the 1960s.

Dudley Blauwet of Mountain Minerals International (mtnmin@q.com) had his usual inventory of gem minerals and faceted stones from Pakistan and Viet Nam. Exceptional red spinel crystals in white marble matrix from Luc Yen, Yenbai Provence, Viet Nam average about 2 cm in diameter and have sharp, highly lustrous faces. Specimens were available from thumbnail to small-cabinet sizes.

In a recent "what's new" posting on the Mineralogical Record website (www.mineralogicalrecord.com), Tom Moore mentioned mineral specimens from the El Mochito mine near San Pedro Sula, Santa Barbara Department, Honduras. At the booth of Walter Kellogg's M & W Minerals (www.mwminerals.com) I had the chance to examine some of these specimens in person. The most spectacular piece is a combination specimen of sphalerite, quartz, andradite and hedenbergite over 25 cm in diameter. The major sphalerite crystals are over 5 cm: this is a spectacular museum piece. According to Walter, the specimen was recovered from the 2210 level of the El Mochito mine on May 8, 2001.

High-end mineral dealers Rob Lavinsky of The Arkenstone (rob@irocks.com); Bryan Lees and Steve Behling of Collectors Edge Minerals, Inc. (steve@collectorsedge.com); Dylan Stolowitz of Green Mountain Minerals (greenmountaingems@yahoo.com); Leonard Himes of Minerals America (minamer@aol.com); Bill Larson of Pala International (bill@palagems.com); and Dan and Diana Weinrich of Weinrich Minerals (danweinrich@charter.net) had their customary selections of museum-quality specimens but also had side tables loaded with discounted items, some up to 50 percent off the ticketed price. There were bargains galore, but you had to take the time to examine each of these dealers' stocks.

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A pleasant surprise in the retail dealer category was Dave Bunk (www.davebunkminerals.com). Dave has been the man behind the scenes who sets up the special exhibits every year at the Springfield show; this year, in addition, Dave had a booth in which he offered one-of-a-kind display specimens, many from classic localities.

In the "old collections" category, Ted Johnson of Yankee Mineral and Gem Company was offering a few hundred specimens from England and Scotland. These included leadhillite from Leadhills, Scotland in miniature sizes with crystals to 1 cm, and other one-of-a-kind classics such as liroconite from Cornwall. Ted can be reached at yankeeminerals@comcast.net.

In the wholesale area, Luis Menezes Minerals (lmenezesminerals @uol.com.br) was offering quartz pseudomorphs after anhydrite with calcite in small-cabinet to large-cabinet sizes from Saltinho, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. At first glance the 3-mm-thick, pale pink fans seem quite delicate, but on closer examination it becomes apparent that the quartz gives structure and strength to the pseudomorphs, so that the specimens show little or no damage. The fans reach 3 to 5 cm long and are about 2.5 cm wide. In the mica group, Luis had beautiful, dark bown to almost black muscovite roses on albite from the Xanda mine, Virgem da Lapa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Individual roses reach 5 cm in width and sit attractively, with good color contrast, on white albite. Finally, Luis had matrix specimens in miniature to small-cabinet sizes showing brown, gemmy eosphorite crystals to 1 cm on microcline. An added bonus were olive-green hemispherical clusters (to 4 mm) of greifensteinite microcrystals scattered on matrix. Luis assured me that the greifenstienite has been verified through analysis.

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During our conversation Luis showed me a copy of a book he is marketing (published in 2010) entitled Minerals & Precious Stones of Brazil, authored by Carlos Cornejo and Andrea Bartorelli. This thick book (700 plus pages) is filled with information that covers the entire mining history of Brazil from pre-European times to the present. There are hundreds of photos, drawings, maps and descriptions of the common and not so common minerals found in Brazil, along with biographies of the scientists who put Brazil on the mineralogical map. I found the $120.00 price tag to be a bit steep, so my wife and daughter (thankfully) bought me a copy for my birthday. See the review of this fine book in the September-October 2010 issue.

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In case you think that the show is just about selling specimens of minerals and gems, I must inform you that The Mineralogical Record, Rocks & Minerals and Lithographic, LLC each occupied booths at the show. Not only could you get past issues of these magazines, you could also purchase books on every mineralogical topic imaginable.

Lehigh Minerals of Bountiful, Utah (www.lehighminerals.com) had some new specimens of arborescent copper from the 6950 level, Bingham Canyon Mine, Oquirrh Mountain, Salt Lake Country, Utah. The specimens are mostly thumbnails and miniatures and feature aggregates of copper crystals sitting on quartzite matrix. The copper crystals are reminiscent in shape of the leaves of cedar or arborvitae trees and are quite attractive. These specimens were saved from the crusher about a year ago and are considered to be the best native copper specimens found at the mine in the last 30 years.

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Kevin Downey of Well-Arranged Molecules (www.wellarrangedmolecules.com) had his usual selection of choice minerals from China but also had a hundred or so specimens from the late John Marshall's collection, with good representation of classic European localities. Two highlights were botryoidal malachite from Schwaz, Tyrol, Austria, generously coating a 5 X 7-cm matrix, and metatorbernite crystals to 1 cm on a 4 X 5-cm matrix from the antique locality of Slavkov (German name: Schlaggenwald), Bohemia, Czech Republic. Kevin has many choice, affordable specimens, so I suggest you browse his website.Of course, no Springfield show would be complete without mention of the year's guest exhibitor. In 2010 it was Bill Larson, of Pala International, Fallbrook, California. To the seasoned collector, Bill needs no introduction, but I must say he is a world-renowned expert in the mineral and gem field and that he has travelled the globe to find the best minerals and gems available. As is the custom at the show, about 50 cases were filled with gems, minerals and mining memorabilia from the Larson collection. As an East Coast native I was drawn to the case which contained a 5-cm golden beryl (heliodor) from the extinct Slocum Quarry, East Hampton, Middlesex County, Connecticut: a 4 X 8-cm transparent green and pink elbaite from Newry, Maine; and a 4-cm grossular on diopside with grossular crystals to 1.2 cm sitting atop an opaque diopside crystal from Eden Mills, Vermont (this grossular specimen has been photographed many times and is probably the best small specimen ever found at the quarry). Other cases contained fabulous gem crystals of topaz, beryl, spinel and zircon from Burma; amazing polished slabs of azurite-malachite from Morenci, Arizona with alternating concentric circles of blue and green; topaz and spessartine from the Little Three Mine in Ramona, California; and, of course, gem-quality elbaite from the Himalaya Mine, Mesa Grande, California and blue-cap elbaite from Bill's 1972 find at the Tourmaline Queen Mine, Pala District, San Diego County, California. The piece de resistance, in my opinion, was the famous crystallized "Christmas tree" gold from Spanish Dry Diggings. El Dorado County, California which was sold at the Dohrmann Action in 1886. According to the display card in the case, this triangular specimen was acquired from Ed McDole and weighs 2.75 ounces: I estimate that it measures about 5 cm. Other cases contained top-quality specimens from Elba, Italy; Chessy, France; Bisbee, Arizona; the copper country of Michigan; Mexico and Russia. One 7-cm colorless fluorite crystal from Dalnegorsk, Russia is so transparent that you can see the matrix right through the center of the crystal. Another case contained top-quality amethyst from eastern United States localities, including crystals from Hopkinton. Rhode Island and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Needless to say, I visited the display of the Larson collection whenever I was anywhere near it during this productive and beautiful long weekend. Thanks, Mr. Larson, for taking the time and making the effort to bring your fabulous collection for us to see. Next year the guest exhibiter, according to the show program, will be Mr. Scott Rudolph.

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On the way home, we continued my food theme from last year, stopping at Nardellis in Naugatuck, Connecticut, an Italian salumeria (deli), established in 1922, which was recently featured on the Travel Channel's episode of the "Greatest Places to Pig Out." In New England this store's specialty sandwich is called a grinder; in other parts of the United States it might be called a torpedo, submarine, hoagie. bomber, hero, po'boy, wedge, or zeppelin. The sandwich is quite delicious, not only because of the fresh bread and cold cuts but because of the unique chopped vegetable topping marinated in an Italian vinaigrette. Warning! You have to eat it carefully lest everything slide into your plate from inside of the roll. Honestly, this lunch stop was a welcome end to a great weekend, during which I met old friends, saw fantastic minerals, saw some legendary basketball players enter the Basketball Hall of Fame and spent time with my family. Local newspaper reports state that the induction ceremony might be held permanently at the same time each year, which gives you another reason to visit Springfield, Massachusetts in August 2011!
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Author:Polityka, Joe
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2010
Words:2822
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