Denver Show report part 1

10 September 2008

We arrived a bit earlier to Denver this year, which was good as the jetlag seemed to take longer to recover from for everyone. We also seemed to have bought the wet weather from England to Denver which was very disappointing and the shorts and tshirts were initially put back in the suitcase in favour of jeans and jumpers. Thankfully it has warmed up today and the sun is shining.

It always amazes me how quickly these shows set up. On Friday at the Holiday Inn there was empty carparks and and a few empty marquees going up, and 'normal' people checking out of the hotel. By Monday the place is full of mineral people, doors opening to rooms filled with cases of minerals, and crowds of people setting up and buying minerals in the car park.

Holiday Inn room
Our room at the Holiday pre-set up, minerals already being sorted and labelled.

Ian and Wayne post set up
Wayne and Ian looking happy with the set up room.

This year we have two rooms at the Holiday day. Our normal room (room 109) is wholesale, set up with flats and flats of specimens at 50% off. Our new room (room 133) is our higher end minerals, and is looking beautiful this year.

Wholesale rocks
Wholesale room

This fellow was captured outside our neighbours room - a bear skeleton

Bear skeleton

Ian has already been out on the hunt for minerals, and there are a few new finds at the show.

The first is an exciting find of the rare Borate mineral Nifontovite at the Charcas Mine, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Arizonan dealer Marcus J. Origlieri was carrying around several flats of these that he had acquired through contacts to the mine. We were lucky enough to be one of the first ones in, and cherry picked several crystals  - check these out in our first update of new minerals from the Denver show by clicking here.

A stunningly glassy Nifontivite crystal beautifully hand modelled by Dave Spiller.


This is the second find in 60 years of crystals of Nifontovite at this location. The mineral is normally found as microcrystals. These crystals are up to 2cm long, glassy and water clear with vitreous lustre, and have a sharp elongate crystal form making them a superb find for the species. They seem to range from a pointed terminations to flatter bevelled terminations, and the crystal bodies are equant to bladed.

There are the familiar faces of several of the English fossil dealers. Trevor George was full of tales of his successful collection trip to Green River in Wyoming before he arrived in Denver. Along the valley there are many quarries in which people are collecting fossil fish, splitting layers of the sedimentary rocks open to reveal the fossils within.

Green River Valley, Wyoming
Green River Valley in Wyoming.

Trevor collecting
Trevor collecting.

Fossil fish
One of the fossil fish finds.

Trevor in his room at the Holiday inn
Trevor in his room at the Holiday Inn

Chris Moore and Terry Stambaugh had this amazing Ichthyosaur (Stenopterigius Acutirosterus). The age is Upper Lias, Lower Jurassic and it was found in Whitby, England.


The skull and flipper were preserved in a concretion or nodule, and for this reason it has remained three dimensional, rather than being crushed flat like most Ichthyosaur fossils, which are normally seen exposed on a flat plate of rock. The specimen was discovered 1.5-2 years ago, and has taken Chris and his son Alex hundreds of hours to prepare. And the result is amazing. Unsuprisingly this piece has already sold.

English fossil dealer Simon Cohen had an interesting display  in his room, including these clusters of Ammonites. These were collected 20 years again in a potato field in Germany, and have never seen the light of day until now.

Fossil Ammonites from Germany
Fossil Ammonites from Germany

There was also this incredibly rare photograph of Simon wearing a wig - not to be missed!!

Simon in wig

The Sunnywood Collection were one of the first mineral dealers open this year, and their room is always beautifully displayed with each mineral on its own custom made stand.

Sunnywood collection
The Sunnywood Collection room.

Always a winner, the bright pink Rhodochrosites from Sweet Home Mine, Colorado.

Rhodochrosite, Sweet Home Mine
Rhodochrosite Sweet Home Mine, Colorado.

A new acquisition for Sunnywood, a very nicely twinned Cerussite crystal from Tsumeb.

Australian dealer Rob Sieleki of Ausrox, and girlfriend June had recently discovered the joys of bargain shoe shopping in the USA. Ian went in to see what new specimens Rob had on display but instead found their new shoe collection.....

June's Shoes

The specimens did eventually appear in their room, including this beautiful pair of Malachite slices from Katanga in the Congo.

Malachite slices
Malachite slices from Katanga, DR Congo

Today's excitement at the Holiday Inn was the debut of a portion of the Minette Collection Smithsonite suite in Dave Bunk Minerals room. Punters queued from 8am outside his room for the 10am opening. The Smithsonites were pretty impressive.

Minette Smithsonites
The Smithsonite suite from the Minette Collection

Kelly Smithsonites
Several stunning and rather large Kelly Mine, New Mexico Smithsonites, some of these were on display in the American Mineral Treasure exhibit at Tucson this year.


and some more Smithsonites...

Dave has to somehow find more space in his cabinets as tomorrow morning he will debut the Arizona portion of the Harold Michel collection, plus other Arizona minerals.

Tune in again over the next couple of days for another update on the show, and some brand new specimens!

Author: Robin
Categories: News & Information

News Categories

News Archive