Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Munich Show 2013: special Gold exhibit

2013 is a big year for Mineral Shows. After the 50th anniversary of the Sainte-Marie aux Mines show last June, Munich celebrated is 50th anniversary this October. The show was held between Thursday, October 24th and Sunday the 27th. And the theme was, appropriately: GOLD. Imagine putting together a special exhibit on gold, the security and organization that it requires! Yes, crazy! But Christoph Keilmann and his team did it, even if that meant many sleepless nights for them. Museums and private collectors brought their best specimens to the show, and yes, we were one of the museums who were very thrilled to be there.


Bringing gold across the ocean is "slightly" scary. We arranged for appropriate transportation, but still, we worried and fretted until we received our precious package. And we were not the only ones. Look at all those people, anxiously waiting around for their gold delivery!

And yes, it was sunny. And warm. We had a great weather all show long!

On a mission: gold retrieval.

All the gold arrived on time, with no problem whatsoever. Now, it was time to put all the gold in the special show cases inside the exhibit created for that purpose. Anxiety from curators and collectors: whose gold will look the best?! 

 Here, the curator of the Munich Mineral museum doesn't want me to get a peak at his gold.
 Meanwhile, Mario Pauwels is already pretty happy with his specimens.

Johan Kjellman, Curator at the Museum of Evolution, University of Uppsala, Sweden displays some truly remarkable historic specimens (more info below)!

 Stephanie Snyder from Stonetrust is mounting her gold crystals on pedestals. 

 Rob Sielecki from Ausrox is very much focused on his job.

 Gian Carlo Parodi and Cristiano Ferraris from the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris, France, brought a lot of AMAZING gold for the show. Here, Gian Carlo is holding a large gold nugget.

 Alan Hart, amazed by the gold from his very own museum (Natural History Museum, London), while Mike Rumsey is setting up the show case.

Are you sure it's good there? Maybe a bit more to the left? Is there enough glue?  Yes, everybody is picky, we all went to look the best!

Raquel Alonso Perez from the Harvard museum is putting the precious Ram's horn on display. Don't shake Raquel!

The set up is actually the fun part. The "not so fun" part is making sure that everything is in place, and that the labels are well made. Here, Renate Schumacher from the Mineralogy Museum of the University of Bonn and Alyssa Morgan from our own NHM are double checking specimens and labels.

Labels and posters being done. Yes, we will be ready on time!

And of course, nothing would look as good if the exhibit team was not there. Here, the ladies are getting our mounts ready. Thanks again for the hard work to make the exhibit look gorgeous!

What about our own exhibit? Well, here it is!
Locking the Mojave Gold nugget, largest known gold nugget from California. 

Behind the scene of our gold exhibit, part 1

Behind the scene of our gold exhibit, part 2. You can see the back of Brazilian gold in the center.

Et voilà! Our gold exhibit is ready! Thanks Patrice Lebrun for sharing this pic with us!

After set-up pictures. It looks like everybody is happy about their display.

From left to right: Will & Bill Larson, Alan Hart and Raquel Alonso-Perez.


Alright, now a selection of our favorites!

 Gold from Chihuahua, Mexico. Harvard Museum.
Gold from Mockingbird Mine, California. On loan at the Harvard Museum.

Deidesheimer Brothers Claim, Forest Hill, Placer County, California. Harvard Museum.

Gold from Breckenridge District, Summit County, Colorado. Harvard Museum.

and another lovely specimen from California.  Harvard.

A fun Australian specimen: one can see the gold that grew in the fracture of the host rock.

LaTrobe Nugget, from Mt Mclvor, Victoria, Australia. From the Natural History Museum in London.

 Another picture of the LaTrobe nugget, while still in its Tupperware!

The famous Ram's Horn from Groundhog Mine, Eagle County, Colorado. From the Harvard Museum.

Will Larson in front of the Ram's Horn.

Huge specimen from the Eagle Nest mine, Placer County, California. From the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris, France.

THE Dragon. Another famous piece! Spectacular, I have to say. It comes from the Colorado Quartz Mine, Mariposa County, California. From the Houston Museum of Natural History.

Another fun one: crystallized gold fro Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. From the National Museums, Scotland.

The Christmas Tree! It comes from Grit Mine, El Dorado County, California. From Pala International Collection.

An interesting gold leaf ending with a triangle! From Eureka Mine, Groveland, Tuolumne County, California.

The "Corsage" from the Red Ledge Mine, Washington, Nevada County, California, USA. From Wayne and Dona Leicht collection.  It has a tree root growing through it!

 These are amazing. In 1777 King Gustav III of Sweden visited Empress Catherine the Great of Russia.  She liked him very much and sent him a gift of a suite of gold specimens from Voitsky, Russia's first gold mine. They are housed in Uppsala University and have never left Sweden until now!

Interesting association. Gold with rhodochrosite from Colorado. Mineral Classics' specimen.
How about this, quartz on gold from La Gardette, Isère, France (Gilles Emringer collection).

From the NHM collection: novelty watch chain made out of gold nuggets. Yes, it is heavy!

Our very own tree, from Colorado Quartz Mine, Mariposa County, California. It will be back on our display soon!

Some gold medals from the Olympian skier Madgalena Neuer.

It goes without comment!  - Actually Alyssa can comment, she helped translate the label into english.  It's a giant coin called "Big Phil" because there is a type of commemorative gold coin called a "philharmonic"  This coin was bought by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate their anniversary.

And some of Elvis Presley's gold collectibles on loan from the Graceland Museum. (Elvis lived in Munich during the Korean War):
Elvis and Bryan!


Some overview pics:
Hall A5: Fossil world

Are those tusks pointed the right way?  It looks like a saber tooth mammoth.

T-Rex head.

Hall A6: Mineral World.

 During the set up of Hall A6. Still, it was Wednesday morning, and most dealers were installed.
The food court in Hall A6.

 In Gem World

 The Gold exhibit in Gem World

With various religious artifacts.

Walking around the show, you see sometimes some interesting things, such as these fountains.

A booth in Fossil World.

Another great thing about this show, is all the activities that are designed for kids. Digging for fossils, panning in the sand, and looking for minerals. I've seen a lot of happy kids (and happy parents as well!).


 Yes, that was one of my favorite fun rocks! And so what?! Seen in Marcus Budil's booth!

 And yes, that was my other favorite fun rock of the show! Aren't I allowed to like fossils?! This is Helix Ramondi (a snail) in lussatite (a kind of opal) from Dallet, Puy-de-Dôme, France. From Eldonia collection.
 Fossil Helix, and contemporary snails.

A new locality of wurtzite: recent found in Merelani Hills, Arusha, Tanzania. Seen at Crystal Classics booth.

And a new locality for alabandite, also from Tanzania, and also seen at Crystal Classics booth.

Some cool fossil crabs! Happy Halloween! Seen at Eldonia's booth.

After the diamonds slices, here are some color gems in slices! Here, some spinels from Tanzania. Seen at Claudia Hamann Edelstein booth.

And above, some tsavorite. Seen at Claudia Hamann Edelstein booth.

Zoom in on the tsavorite.

I've seen some cool jewelry by Marie-Caroline Lagache from Tiber (Paris). Here is a Brazilian rutilated quartz ring.

And a Brazilian amethyst with Kenyan tsavorite ring, from Tiber as well.

Jepara was displaying the "biggest cut pallasitic peridot". It's 2.51 ct.

And some fun jewelry made out of pebbles from the Isar river in Munich.

And because it's fun!


The SMMP meeting. Just a bunch of curators! Very well-attended this year and four North American museums made the trip!
 Peter Davidson introducing the man that doesn't need introduction: Johannes Keilmann, former Chairman of the Munich Show

Johannes & his son Christoph Keilmann, speaking to the museum curators.

Wait, what? It's the Munich show, not the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show! Still the French team was there, with wine and other goodies!

 Another OktoberFest: a special edition for the Munich Show! Here, Christoph Keilmann speaking a few words of introduction, on Friday night.

Pints of beer. Alan got his stolen by Raquel...

Overview of the tent.

 During the day, the ladies were posing for pictures.

And being filmed! Bryan Swoboda and Peter Lyckberg were filming "What's hot in Munich 2013".

At the end of the day, wine & cheese are needed. A great night in town followed, but pictures will not be shared!


Forget the mineral show, Munich is a wonderful city to visit, so much to see and do!  This is the Rathaus (city hall) with glockenspiel at Marienplatz.

The Munich Residenz Museum.  Beginning in the 1300s, this was the home of the Wittlesbach family, the rulers of Bavaria.  Items in the treasury date back to the 900s.  Here is just one of the opulent rooms of the former palace.

Hey there Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, future queen of Prussia.  I think we have your ring!

This is difficult to see but one of the strangest things in the palace is the Reliquary Room. The Wittelsbachs had quite a collection of body parts of saints.  This one in the photo was at one time the single most valueable object they owned.  It is (allegedly) an infant killed in Bethlehem by the order of King Herod.

Last year we had snow, this year warm and sunny weather and beautiful fall colors.  This is the Englischer Gardens, a large park in the middle of the city with the Isar river running through it.

Surfs up on the Isar.

Enjoying a Bavarian meal and some large steins of beer and the Biergarten.  Carol Lucking from Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Caroline Im, our work-study student from USC.  


A short week in Munich, but a good one. Our exhibit was really successful, as well as the rest of the Special Gold Exhibit. We saw some interesting rocks, and even bought one. And it's always good to catch up with other museum curators and collection managers, and with people we see regularly at shows, of course! Next show for us: Tucson, in February 2014.
In the meantime, a few pictures of us wrapping up our gold!

Wrapping up the Dragon. Not an easy task!

Raquel carefully moving the Ram's Horn after being photographed

 Our gold is in there, ready to be shipped back to LA! Guarded by Alyssa and Carol.

The museums are all packed! Waiting for Brinks. See you all next year!

There is nothing left in our showcase, the Mojave and the other gold crystals and nuggets are all wrapped up. Thanks Christoph for this amazing experience!


  1. Wonderful report! I felt like I was there!

  2. Incredible! you are the best Elo! Thanks

  3. The religious artifacts and Imperial vases are outstanding.

  4. Simply Awesome report....Thanks for the pictures and sharing your experince.