Anhydrite (Circa 1900)
Simplon Railway Tunnel, Valais, Switzerland
Thumbnail, 2.6 x 2.0 x 1.9 cm
Ex. Ernest Schlichter
This very old specimen has great historic appeal in addition to its obvious aesthetics, combining to make it one of those "Holy Grail" items for a serious collector, and a serious competition-level piece in every regard. These date from the famous Tunnel dig in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is deeply colored, more so than most of the old anhydrites I have seen, and is remarkably aesthetic in that it is perched on a small amount of feldspar matrix that shows off the terminations on both ends. As well, a small sidecar anhydrite, very gemmy, pokes out the bottom right, and a small bit of rock matrix is also attached in back! The major crystal is displayed as if on a natural pedestal. So, overall this is a matrix specimen of perfect display proportions, which makes it just a world-beater thumbnail specimen PERIOD - not just for this species, or location (which it also is). These are THE CLASSICS for the species, but so few were found and preserved, and they are mostly in museums. This sharp, large thumbnail is a rarified and highly difficult to obtain specimen. I bought this and some other pieces in this update from the collection of Ernie Schlicter back around 2007, before the whole collection was sold, and held it till now. This is a large thumbnail/toenail sized specimen, that displays fully in a TN box. For more on the location see "How the Swiss Built the Greatest Tunnel in the World, 1905": http://www.fordham.edu/HALSALL/mod/1905simplon.html.