Meteorite Identification on


New Collectors and New Sellers Only

Meteorite collecting is a great hobby! As you may have discovered, eBay is an amazing place to buy meteorites. More meteorites are safely bought and sold here than anywhere else in the world! The meteorite hobby is growing exponentially with new collectors craving information and specimens. With meteorite prices at a low, meteorites are still expensive. Are suspect meteorites a 'deal'? What group of sellers should you avoid? What two policies should you be familiar? What is I.M.C.A.? The following information is only for new buyers and sellers of meteorites.

Types Of eBay Meteorite Auctions

There are three Types of meteorite auctions on Ebay:
  1. Classified meteorites (examined and recorded falls or finds) such as Campo del Cielo, Canyon Diablo, etc.
  2. NWA (North West Africa) meteorites which are either orphans (non-classified) or undergoing classification. (generally sold by dealers)
  3. Unverified suspect meteorites originating from anywhere but North West Africa. (sold by persons unfamiliar with meteorites)

99.9% of TYPE 3 are NOT Meteorites!!!??

Type 3 auction specimens or suspect meteorites may have mysterious or convincing descriptions. 'A university professor said it was a meteorite' or 'grandpa found it among the rubble of the old barn it destroyed' or 'the seller or relative was an eyewitnesses to it falling from the sky' or 'it was purchased from the estate sale of a science teacher' and lately, 'After seeing the tv show "Meteorite Men", I searched and found my own magnetic meteorites', etc. ( All nice stories but no verified proof offered.) The third type are generally NEVER meteorites but almost ALWAYS meteor-wrongs.

Over the past eight years, I have watched auctions of this category daily and I have contacted hundreds of 'suspect meteorite' sellers. I know of only three actual meteorites from this category being offered during those eight years. This however, is NOT surprising NOR does it reflect upon the HONESTY of the majority of suspect meteorite SELLERS.

How Can This Be?

Carleton B. Moore the director of Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Studies gets on average 700 specimens (suspect meteorites) sent in for free test each year. Most are iron ore. "We're lucky if it's one (real meteorite) out of 1,000 (wrongs)" he said.
So you see it IS NOT SURPRISING that real meteorites do NOT show up on Type 3 auctions. People are simply inexperienced in recognizing meteorites. (only 1 in 1,000 are the real thing)

The First Step For Sellers - Consider Two eBay Policies

Should I have my suspect meteorite tested or just sell it? If you sell it without having it authenticated, you may violate eBay policies. For example, if you use the term "meteorite" in the Title you must be selling an actual meteorite. eBay's Titles guideline for the 'Search and Browse Manipulation Policy' states, "Keep listing titles and subtitles clear and 100% accurate. Being honest about what you're selling helps buyers find exactly what they're looking for. Avoid giving false details just to attract people to your listing. Remember that inaccurate or misleading titles aren't allowed on eBay."

Can I list my item as a 'meteorite' along with a disclaimer (denial) that the item may not be a meteorite? eBay's Authenticity Disclaimers Policy states, "Sellers may not disclaim knowledge of, or responsibility for, the authenticity or legality of the items offered in their listings. Sellers should take steps to ensure that their items are authentic before listing them on eBay. If a seller cannot verify the authenticity of an item, the seller is not permitted to list it. The following statement[s] violate eBay's Authenticity Disclaimer Policy: 'I cannot guarantee the authenticity of this item, so please bid accordingly.' " So have your suspect item properly tested before listing it.

How long does it take to professionally verify an item? It could take months depending on the backlog of the institution you send it. However, if you pay for return shipping, one lab does it in weeks. New England Meteoritical Services will professionally verify and return three items for the return shipping and handling cost of only $25. Very reasonable!

Treat your bidders the way you would wish to be treated. Verify your suspect meteorite before putting it on eBay. Collectors from all over the world constantly examine Ebay's meteorite auctions. Genuine auctions attract serious bidders, unverified suspect meteorite auctions only attract novice collectors looking for a 'deal.' Do not be labeled as a fraudulent seller by the meteorite community because you failed to obtain verification. In fact, selling suspect meteorites may forever banned a seller from future entrance into honest organizations such as I.M.C.A.

If, at this point, you are still determined to sell your unverified suspect meteorite allow me to approach this from an entirely different angle by kindly asking you to read THIS LINK.

First Step For Buyers - Use Common Sense, Confirm Authenticity

eBay suggests, "Use common sense. If something seems too good to be true, it often is. Make sure that you are comfortable with the transaction before you bid. Confirm authenticity of the item." If persons knowledgeable enough to send off samples for testing are right only 1 in 1000 times, how right are persons who are less responsible and are selling their specimen 'as-is' on Ebay? Bidding on Type 3 Auctions is the SAME as throwing away your money. You may win the auction but you did NOT win a meteorite. Avoid suspect meteorite auctions even with great stories.

Avoid this Group of Sellers

Very important, do not purchase 'meteorites' from Chinese mineral dealers. They have flooded eBay with wrongs. Avoid any seller that fails to have his found suspect meteorite verified by a meteorite expert. Every day dozens of unsuspecting bidders fall prey and mistakenly purchase magnetite or iron ore as meteorites.

If you are unsure about bidding on a meteorite, don't hestitate to ask me, any I.M.C.A. member (see below) or an established dealer for their opinion. If you are unsure about a seller, 'Google' his eBay ID. It may be revealing.


Savy buyers know that eBay is one of the safest places to buy and sell meteorites. Knowledgeable sellers make it even safer. How? The technical aspects that make meteorite collecting so fascinating are also a weakness. Since petrographic and mineralogical analysis are not easily available to all, meteoritical claims may not be verified by a buyer until much time has passed following the transaction, if at all. Unscrupulous persons may attempt to capitalize on this weakness with forgeries, fakes, and switched meteorites. Recognizing that eBay is unequipped to insure authenticity, meteorite dealers and collectors rallied to form the International Meteorite Collectors Association or I.M.C.A. With over 200 members from 20 different countries, the organization is especially committed to 'authenticity'. Members abide by a Code of Ethics and 'monitor' each others auctions and sales. Look for the logo that assures authenticity:

Authenticity GUARANTEED * Click the image
Authenticity GUARANTEED * Click the image