What more can you say?! This is a HEFTY, THICK, VERY IMPRESSIVE solid specimen of crystallized silver, a true piece of American history. The specimen is not so lumpy as most large Michigan silvers are, and it is actually quite elegant and arborescent in form. It is complete all around and equally presentable from either side. This is one of the better crystallized silvers, for robustness and overall aesthetics, that I have seen for sale recently for anything under six figures, and i think it will stand on its own merits as a major piece in any collection. I do NOT understand why these great Michigan silvers, which are more rare and more often crystallized than Kongsberg wires, find themselves underpriced in relation to Kongsberg and even Freiberg pieces?! It does not make sense to me when a good Michigan silver with aesthetics is so much more RARE than a Kongsberg - I mean, they are good, don't get me wrong, but there are simply MORE of them out there. Maybe people do not realize how few major Michigan silvers of this stature survived and made it to the market? Anyways, thats my opinion, that they are underpriced compared to other worldwide silvers, and I'll stick to it. Comes with custom lucite base already made.
ex. Karl Warning
This full/large miniature is absolutely as elegant as you can possibly imagine from the pics. We have all seen many Himmelsfurst silvers for sale over the years, but I think few match this one in its dramatic flair (and for a moderately affordable price!). The thick ropes taper intricately into wires at their tips, all set firmly into solid matrix of thicker, ropey silver and ore. For the size I would say it is one of the best Himmelsfursts I have seen for sale because of the obvious aesthetic appeal, great patina, and elegance. It is actually very sturdy , and robust, except for the tiniest curlicues at the ends of the wires which are malleable. It has long been in the collection of Karl Warning here in Dalla.
ex. Laura Thompson
ex. Stevia Thompson
A VERY robust , curling rope of silver from teh classic old European locale. This one is , for a thumbnail, unusual in that you get the robust thickness but also some aesthetics in the curve and overall form. Its hard to get thumbnail examples that really stand out, of this material, rather than just being small pieces of silver.
ex. Laura Thompson
ex. Stevia Thompson
Your basic, classic, sharp Mexican silver composed entirely of intergrown spinel-twinned silver crystals!
ex. Laura Thompson
ex. Stevia Thompson
A very attractive, robust, fan-shaped spray of sharp silver crystals!
ex. Carl Bosch
The piece is stunningly beautiful, with a rich, natural, bright silver patina and robust crystal form. Such 3-dimensional and robust crystals are EXTREMELY uncommon from any locale, including Kongsberg as rich and ancient as it was. The crystal atop measures just over 2 cm in height, and looks "twisted in the middle." It is spinel-twinned, very clearly and dramatically. AND, IT SITS on a tiny knob of calcite matrix so it is not just a loose single crystal, but has context. As a bonus accent, it has a little wire silver to the lower-right side, just to show off. Literally, everything is here to make this a WORLD CLASS thumbnail specimen. It has rare habit, desirable historic locality, beauty, robust crystal form and size, and is a FULL thumbnail. It is complete all around and pristine. Add to that the pedigree, and it gets better. This was owned by the industrialist Carl Bosch by circa 1900 (see his bio at : http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=205) . According to the Mineralogical Record biography: "In 1908 Fritz Haber told BASF of his ammonia synthesis process, and Bosch was assigned the task of developing it on an industrial scale. By the end of 1913 he had completed the the monumental job, the largest single undertaking in the history of chemical engineering. Bosch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931 for his work on high-pressure synthesis." His original handwritten label survives and is included, noting dates on both the front and the reverse (as well as some other comments I cannot make out, in shorthand). He died in 1940, but his son loaned the collection to Yale for some years, and in the end sold to the Smithsonian, in 1966. Note that this specimen was number 1265 for Bosch , an early number dating his acquisition to the 1890s (he owned over 25,000 specimens by the end). The date on the front of the label refers to , I think, the prior history of the piece or its first sale to market in 1878. On the back of the label are notes including the date of 1877, possibly its year of discovery. Also in code, is the price he paid for it. By the 1990s , the specimen had been exchanged out of the Smithsonian (label included) and was in the collection of Dr. Gene Meieran, a collector of many suites including fine silvers. I exchanged/bought it from him in about 1999-2000, and sold it immediately into a European collection. However, that person recently decided that it was his ONLY thumbnail, and he did not collect thumbnails, so out it came to me in a later exchange. This specimen is one of the finest thumbnails I have ever handled (twice now), and one of my favorite silvers of any size, period, for a number of reasons as given above. I stand on that statement!
ex. George Holloway
An elegant, tapering, curvaceous wire silver from the classic old mines of the Saxony silver district! This is a superb example in its size and price range, with a complexity not just to the curving top, but a sinuous twisting complexity to the main rope itself that is unusual. IN PERSON, this is much more 3-dimensional and curves in volume, not just in 2 dimensions; and stands out from a large crowd. Formerly in the George Holloway collection, traded to me in the 1990s, and now back with me today. For the size range and price range, this has Style!
ex. Charles Leavitt
This is a highly important specimen for what it is, not just for the massive amount of crystallized silver present but also for the locale. Silver Islet is a famous old location mined circa early 1900s. It is now closed and gone forever. It was one of those funny stories in mining that you hear about and cannot believe - they actually mined this silver from an islet in the Great Lakes, while pumping water out from behind barricades. Verifiable Silver Islet specimens are few and far between. This is typical of the style and matrix association, and comes from the private silver species collection of a dealer known to specialize in such pieces, and verified by Rod Tyson (an expert on such). However, one seldom sees anything beyond small pieces from here. This monster, at 455 grams and complete all around as a display quality specimen, is truly significant. Comes with custom lucite display base. Ex. Charles Leavitt Collection (well known for a large and diverse silver suite).
ex. University of Arizona
This is an elongated solid silver nugget, massing 290 grams (9.35 troy ounces), and complete all around 360 degrees. It is actually very sculptural, and not so ugly as you might expect! While gold readily forms nuggets, as does platinum and other metals, for some reasons of chemistry this rarely happens with pure silver. A nugget of this size is in fact extremely uncommon! And, to make it more rare yet, it is from the old Cobalt silver deposits of Canada. A fine and odd addition to any silver or Canada suite. ex UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA MUSEUM COLLECTION.
From a 2008 find at the famous Imiter Mine, this is a stashed specimen picked from the original lots that came out at the time. We call this one the "haircut" for obvious reasons. This specimen features a thick nest of silver wires shooting up from the acanthite matrix, with small curlicues at the base of the silver. Extremely rich, this is DENSE material, almost as much as I have seen in one spot, for silver from this mine. It is very impressive in person and the contrast of extremely bright silver vs the black matrix is striking
From a 2008 find at the famous Imiter Mine, this is a stashed specimen picked from the original lots that came out at the time. It is a wiry, elegant, balanced specimen with ewlongated wires - they seem frail but in fact are quite robust and do not wave in the wind.
Complexly turning, elegant wires with great lustre and twisty form, robust and yet bendable at the same time, look like they are shooting off this crystallized acanthite matrix. The complexity of the silver wires is actually more apparent in person - these are not "rounded" at all, and in fact the wires have long shallow grooves running from bottom to top. Superbly balanced, this is good from either side and is one of the finest miniatures for aesthetics, that I have seen in this material. From a 2008 find at the famous Imiter Mine, this is a stashed specimen picked from the original lots that came out at the time.
This specimen features a thick nest of silver wires shooting up from the acanthite matrix, with small curlicues at the base of the silver. Extremely rich, this is a dramatic piece thick with the silver all over its display face atop. It is very impressive in person and the contrast of extremely bright silver vs the black matrix is striking. In fact, this is one of the largest silver specimens we have yet seen from the Imiter finds, which came out a few years ago. It was priced when I saw it at over 20,000 euros, but I obtained it in exchange and amortised down to make it affordable. For a Kongsberg, Peruvian, or now even Chinese silver, you would pay a lot more for a piece that has a lot less significance for the finds.
A classic "feather silver" for this former East german silver mining locality, where many were found during the communist era and hoarded. Today, these stashes come to market in bits and spurts, though good specimens are not common. This is an unusually rich piece with very SOLID feathers. It is overall very elegant, yet robust. The feathers smother the hefty, native arsenic matrix.Joe Budd Photos
I LOVE this piece. i call it the "wings" for its dramatic and 3-dimensional presentation. It has robust fans shooting up from a massive copper matrix. The silver crystals are 2 to 3 cm in length and are very 3-dimensional. They are the finest style with subtle patina and sharp patterning. The piece is HEAVY overall, 300 grams. In my opinion it is worth far more than many pricier Michigan silvers i have seen which are bigger but less fine. This piece is 3-D and leaps out at you, whereas so many silvers of quality are just "flat" when held in the hand. I LOVE an old silver patina. Like most purists, i have a hard time personally with the super bright, cleaned patinas when they are cleaned in acid. This has a subtle, graded patina and is quite natural and unscathed by acids. from the noted collection of Arizona collector Charles Leavitt. Joe Budd Photos
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