Unificada Mine, Cerro de Potosí, Potosí City, Potosí, Bolivia
Ex. Dr. Vasco Trancoso
Miniature, 4.1 x 2.2 x 0.9 cm
Start Time: 09/07/2023 7:00:00 pm (CDT)
End Time: 09/16/2023 6:33:00 pm (CDT)
Auction Closed
Winning Bid: $10,361

Item Description

Phosphophyllite is quite literally called by most collectors - not just by us - the Holy Grail of collecting minerals because it is beautiful, unique in its strange color, and very very rare in large crystals above thumbnail size (2 cm or less, generally). This is a full miniature, with the startling color that is immediately mesmerizing to any collector and stands out from all other colors of all species. It is hard to convey from a photo, but it is a unique seafoam green-blue hue. In this size and quality of color, such specimens date to the 1940s-1950s, and have been held in collections, temples in Bolivia (one of which was raided for the crystals long ago), and by old miners' families ever since. There are almost no miniature Phospho's available for collectors to own, although thumbnails from the old find, and a few subsequent discoveries, are available from time to time. Peter Bancroft was the intrepid explorer who brought so much out of South America and other places and literally helped source the wealth of the so-called Golden Age of Minerals in the 1950s-1970s and he lived in San Diego. I knew him late in life in his 80's, circa 2000 while I was in school in San Diego. He had somehow obtained a group of crystals from an old source in Brazil - mostly thumbnails but also a few miniatures such as this. At the time, I sold it to a Dr. Vasco Trancoso in Lisbon - a great customer of our "Virtual Show " franchise, a live from Tucson presentation in partnership with John Veevaert. It has had no other owners. It is a rare survivor from another era. As such, it is not perfect - few of these were, in fact. Most major phospho's on the market, and almost all you have seen illustrated, have significant repair and restoration. We have, instead, chosen to leave this one natural, without any restoration work to the edges. It has a few rough edges, to be sure - they all did - but these are not seen from the front in any case, so why restore them? Also, it has a pristine and fine display face showing gemminess, color, and the unique chevron-like surface patterning on a broad frontal face, that is mesmerizing in person. It is complete on the top termination, as well. You can make the edges perfect and smooth with restoration but we felt given the size, and the already high level of presentation in what is known to be an old antique specimen from the days before minerals were carefully collected and preserved, we prefer the fully natural authenticity here. This specimen comes already with a custom lucite display base to display vertically to maximum impact. Valued $20,000-plus. You will see a miniature sized phosphophyllite on the future market, if we had to guess... perhaps once a decade or two if lucky. From Peter Bancroft in San Diego circa 2000, to me, to Vasco Trancoso's fine collection in Lisbon, and now to a new home!

Did You Know We Offer Custom Bases?

Learn More

Bidding History

Bid Amount Bid Time
$10,361 09/16/2023 6:29:38 pm (CDT)
$10,111 09/16/2023 6:29:38 pm (CDT)
$7,600 09/16/2023 6:06:27 pm (CDT)
$7,500 09/16/2023 6:06:27 pm (CDT)
$6,310 09/16/2023 5:49:32 pm (CDT)
$6,210 09/16/2023 5:49:32 pm (CDT)
$5,100 09/16/2023 5:20:15 pm (CDT)
$5,000 09/16/2023 5:20:15 pm (CDT)
$4,550 09/16/2023 12:17:06 pm (CDT)
$4,500 09/16/2023 12:17:06 pm (CDT)
$4,160 09/16/2023 12:03:19 pm (CDT)
$4,110 09/16/2023 12:03:19 pm (CDT)
$3,550 09/11/2023 12:40:12 am (CDT)
$3,500 09/11/2023 12:40:11 am (CDT)
$2,551 09/10/2023 4:32:28 pm (CDT)
$2,501 09/10/2023 4:32:27 pm (CDT)
$2,300 09/10/2023 4:30:53 pm (CDT)
$2,250 09/10/2023 4:30:53 pm (CDT)
$2,150 09/08/2023 2:00:33 pm (CDT)
$2,100 * 09/08/2023 1:12:16 pm (CDT)
$2,100 * 09/08/2023 1:12:16 pm (CDT)
$2,050 09/08/2023 10:36:51 am (CDT)
$2,000 09/08/2023 10:36:51 am (CDT)
$1,050 09/08/2023 10:09:40 am (CDT)
$1,000 09/08/2023 10:09:39 am (CDT)
$875 09/08/2023 12:06:41 am (CDT)
$850 09/08/2023 12:06:40 am (CDT)
$775 09/07/2023 11:19:04 pm (CDT)
$750 09/07/2023 11:19:04 pm (CDT)
$525 09/07/2023 11:18:24 pm (CDT)
$500 09/07/2023 11:18:24 pm (CDT)
$100 09/07/2023 9:28:24 pm (CDT)
* Proxy Bid Battle: In the event of two customers inputting matching proxy bids, the leading bid goes to the earliest of the two proxy bids. Tie winners are shown in bold.