PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

Written By Aubrey Whymark, 2017
Whilst many tektites can be found in public museums, there are some outstanding specimens in private collections. Since I've had this site, a number of people have emailed me with their stunning tektite photos. I want to share these with the wider tektite community so that you can enjoy them as much as I have.

In this section all photos have been provided by the collector, with full permission to publish their images. The images remain copyright of the owner who sent them to me.

If you have a tektite collection why not email me some photos and a brief description of the tektites, your collecting habits, etc. If owners wish me to edit/remove information/photos I will do so as soon as possible - on the day if possible, but if I'm working this may take up to a month (as I cannot edit the website on a very slow satellite connection!). Similarly if anyone has any issues with the content then please contact me.

A note on private collecting: In most countries the ownership of tektites (which are terrestrial rock) is wholly lawful. Sometimes permits are required for mining or transportation though. You should check with local museum authorities. In the ideal world it would be great if the finest tektites were all on public display. If something is considered valuable, however, it is hard to remove the value through law. In my view, restricting trade in things like fossils and meteorites simply removes the resource the scientists are trying to protect. If a meteorite falls in Australia then typically nobody bothers trying to recover it. In America then private collectors will recover it and the scientists will get some for free in exchange for analysis and if they want to buy more of the stone they can (at a fraction of the recovery cost). Making collecting illegal tends to push the problem underground - for instance illegally transporting the specimen to a country or state where it is legitimised. I believe it's impossible to remove value and therefore if the state wishes to own a specimen it should have the right to buy at full market value, a bit like treasure trove. Without this then fine specimens will be lost to science as they will either not be found, not be collected or be illegally transported and sold. I think that private collectors should police themselves. For instance, I will always make my specimens available to academics and in some instances donate specimens for study. For me, sharing is part of the enjoyment. I personally have a number of fine museum specimens and it's my hope to donate these to a museum before my death (hopefully have  a few years left!). Then comes the moral decision of where they belong. For instance do my finest Philippinites belong in the Philippines - well, yes; But what if they were to be stored in a building that is not earthquake resistant or where security is poor and they will be stolen and sold to private collectors. Should they then be donated to another country to preserve them for future Filipino's?

A note on security: Sadly I have learnt the hard way, that any fine collection should be accompanied by high security. My collection is now stored with metal bars on the windows and doors, biometric entry system, alarmed doors and windows, 2 cameras inside the room and 16 cameras outside (6 covering the immediate room perimeter. Specimens are photographed and as such cannot be sold on the open market if stolen - effectively rendering a stolen specimen as near valueless.


If you have a collection you wish to share then my email address is [email protected]


I hope you enjoy this section and that it will inspire you to share your tektite images!

Private Collecting

We are merely custodians to these ancient specimens. We have a duty to ensure they are passed on to an individual or institution that respects and values them. I also believe in accessibility for academics.