Meteorite Lands at Rummage Sale

March 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Finds, News | 1 Comment

meteor_crater_arizonaHaving bought what he thought was just a hunk of melted-looking metal at a Milwaukee rummage sale, a Wisconsin man has learned that it is not only an extremely valuable meteorite but an extremely valuable stolen meteorite. Tom Lynch paid $10 at the sale for the vaguely basket-shaped fifty-pound hunk, which he believed was copper or bronze. A 62-year-old car enthusiast with little interest in metallurgy, Lynch planned to sell it for salvage — until he happened to see a TV documentary about meteorites on the Travel Channel and realized that what he actually had was an approximately-4.6 million-year-old relic from outer space.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Lynch rushed his find to Chicago’s Field Museum, where scientists told him that the hunk was indeed a meteorite. Putting it up for sale, he had received an offer for $10,000 and was hoping that the price might rise by magnitudes of ten — until he was contacted by a minerals expert who recognized the relic as having been swiped in 1968 from the visitor center accompanying Meteor Crater, a tourist attraction (and big hole) near Flagstaff, Arizona. Now Lynch is preparing to drive the meteorite to Arizona and deliver it personally.

Originally, it was found by a rancher three miles from the Arizona crater and permanently lent to the visitor center, which opened in 1942. “On Aug. 12, 1968, someone walked away with the meteorite,” the Journal-Sentinel tells us. “At the time, the value was placed at $5,000, and the Coconino County sheriff issued a nationwide bulletin for its return.” About five years ago, the center’s director got a call from a man claiming to be a lawyer representing a family that was in possession of the meteorite. The family was requesting a reward in exchange for its return. The center’s director told the alleged lawyer that thieves don’t deserve rewards. The “lawyer” never called back.

Tom Lynch is being given a $1,000 reward, and a tribute to this good-hearted rummage saler will be posted alongside the meteorite when it goes back on display.

Attention Shoppers

March 12, 2009 at 11:29 am | Posted in Deals, News | Leave a comment

zebra_burchell_grevyToday’s hottest bargain is … Kenyan tourist visas. They’ve been marked down to half-price — and kids can visit for free! According to the Telegraph:

“From April 1 until the end of next year tourist visas will be reduced by 50 per cent, while children under 16 will be exempt from all visa fees – a decision which will save a British family of four (with children under 16 years old) £90 per trip. A single entry visa currently costs £30 and multiple entry visa £60. The move is an attempt to boost tourism to the country following a huge decline in visitors from both the UK and the United States following the violence that erupted following the ill-fated elections in December 2007 and the ongoing financial downturn. Revenue from tourism, which is the country’s main foreign exchange earner, last year fell by 54 per cent compared with 2007, a year which saw a record two million tourists visit Kenya.”

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