Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals Benefit Auction #2 Recap

Apr 20, 2023
Logo for the Rice Museum

The Arkenstone and MineralAuctions.com were honored to assist the Rice Museum of Rocks & Minerals (Portland, Oregon) in a second deaccession benefit auction, following our successful partnership hosting the 2022 Rice Museum Benefit Auction. The online auction concluded on April 8, 2023 and featured sixty lots of mineral specimens, gemstones, rare lapidary material, and objet d’art formerly in the Rice Family Collection. These purpose of the auctions was to aid in the deaccession of long-held duplications from the collection of founders Richard and Helen Rice. The core collection was built in the late 1900’s and most of these items have never been seen outside of the museum, with a large portion never having been on display.

Several years ago, the Curator, in coordination with museum Founder Sharleen Harvey, embarked on a project to categorize the collection and identify redundant items from the Rice Family catalog (which was gifted as a whole when the Museum was formed in 1997). After the first phase of the project (specimen identification), it was shelved due to staffing levels and time availability.

For much of 2020 and 2021, the Museum operated at a diminished capacity or shuttered entirely. Museum staff used this downtime to focus on deferred projects, including property maintenance, refreshing galleries and exhibits, developing new marketing and educational materials, and collections management, which included a focus on responsible deaccessioning (the act of removing something from a collection).

As with most museums, only about 25% (or less) of our collection is on display at any one time. The specimens that were selected in coordination with the donor[s] were chosen because other similar, often more significant and more unique, are represented. Visitors will see no difference when touring our galleries, and the process has opened up valuable storage space for continued acquisitions. 

A message from the Rice Museum of Rocks & Minerals regarding the Rice Family specimens up for Auction

Some of the most outstanding items featured in this Benefit Auction included:

1. A solid, significant chunk of absolute gem Chrysocolla weighing nearly 1 pound, which closed at $26,500 from nearly 80 bids.

Chrysocolla (polished) from Inspiration Mine, Globe-Miami Mining Dist., Gila Co., Arizona, USA.

2. A huge free form polished Rutilated quartz, weighing 28 pounds, was also a heavily desired item which raised just over $14,000.

Astonishing 28 pound Quartz with Rutile inclusions from Minas Gerais, Brazil!

3. A 15.4 cm tall beautifully crystalized Rose Quartz which finished at $9,000, originally donated to the museum from Richard and Helen Rice (after whom the museum is named.)

Rose Quartz on Quartz from Sapucaia mine, Sapucaia do Norte, Galiléia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

4. A 5 cm tall, gemmy Elbaite with Albite and Lepidolite specimen that went for over $7,000.

Elbaite with Albite and Lepidolite from Afghanistan which was part of the Rice Museum's second deaccession auction held by The Arkenstone and MinerlAuctions.com in 2023.
Elbaite with Albite and Lepidolite from Paprok, Kamdesh Dist., Nuristan, Afghanistan.

5. A significant US Fluorite which brought in $7,000 to help the museum.

Fluorite with Quartz from William Wise Mine, Westmoreland, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire, USA.

Proceeds from the auction will go directly to support the care and upkeep of Rice Museum’s collections and educational programming.

If you’d like to browse the entirety of the items in this auction, please visit our Rice Benefit Auction Gallery on mineralauctions.com.

For more information from the Rice Museum on this Benefit Auction, please visit their official statement here.