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ONE OF SIX LARGEST CASES OF UNIFORM SIZE. (Ward-Coonley Collection of Meteorites.)


W A R D - C O O N L E Y

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The Ward-Coonley collection of meteorites has now so nearly reached its expected limit that the time seems favorable for some notice of its origin and growth, together with a statement of its present contents.

The writer of this notice, Mr. Henry A. Ward, had in the course of travel and business activity been largely interested in several branches of nature, among which were meteorites. He made two large collections of these objects, one of which-about 170 falls-formed the basis of the present meteorite collection of the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago. The other—some 200 falls went to enrich the fine Clarence S. Bement cabinet of these objects. The present collection, which has outstripped them all, was commenced in 1894 with a basis of a few score of choice falls which had been retained from previous transactions. For six subsequent years, during which Mr. Ward collected actively by purchase and exchange at home and in extensive travel abroad, the collection was so increased that in 1900 its first catalogue was issued, with enumerations and a short description of each of its falls. A second list followed in the ensuing year. We now (May, 1904) follow with this third catalogue. The growth which is thus successively registered is shown in the following table:

Catalogue of 1900 424 falls. Weight 1399 Kilogrammes.
Catalogue of 1901 511 falls. Weight 1786 Kilogrammes.
Catalogue of 1904 603 falls. Weight 2495 Kilogrammes.

The increase of growth of the collection in four years of 179 falls, or 45 falls per year, for a collection already numbering 424 falls, is, we believe, unprecedented in the history of meteorite collections.

It may be not improper to notice the especial opportunities which enabled the accomplishing of this undertaking. How has so great a collection been made? From the first a large outlay of money has been necessary. “If one would bring back the wealth of the Indies, one must take the wealth of the Indies with him," is very true in meteorite gathering, as in any other collecting of highly expensive objects. At least one-third of all known meteorites are rated when sold in small pieces—which these rarest always are—at from one to five or even more times their weight in gold. And very few meteorites except in quite large pieces are rated so low as their weight in silver. Thus much money expenditure has been essential. But the managers of those half-dozen meteorite collections in the world which have passed the 400 mark are aware that direct money purchase generally quite fails as a means to secure the rarities. These must be sought by exchange of equally rare or attractive kinds. The museum curator must then take portions (usually small) from his rare kinds to give in exchange for portions (usually alike small) of the rarity which he seeks. This matter of exchange becomes thus the base and vis viva of nearly all acquisitions of subsequent already known kinds. The way in which the maker of the Ward-Coonley collection has applied this force is simple in statement, yet not altogether easy in execution. He has sought in a combination of money with extensive travel to continually obtain each year some new kinds which no other collection possessed. These he sought in all the continents, wherever there was sure

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