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November-December 2013

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The Heritage Auction of the Hoppel Collection, 2 June 2013

THE CATALOG IS HERE! Look at that luscious linarite on the cover (fig. 1)! We had just gotten our copy of the “book” delivered to us that would serve as the auction catalogue for the initial offering of the Hoppel fine mineral collection on Sunday, 2 June 2013, by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas (Heritage Auctions 2013). As we flipped through the 226-page catalogue with its thick, high-gloss paper and saw the superb full-color photography done by Mark Mauthner (figs. 2a, b), we quickly realized that it was a major improvement over past such catalogues we had seen. Heritage was obviously investing some serious time, energy, and capital into this venture. It definitely got our attention. The detailed descriptions of each specimen, locality discussions, historical perspectives, and provenance (including past collections and latest dealer source) were all presented in a conversational manner. This format was easy to read and tended to draw the reader in deeper while learning more about each unique specimen being offered (figs. 3 and 4). Jim Walker and Mary Fong/Walker, who were instrumental in organizing and managing Heritage's new Fine Minerals Division within the Nature and Science Department, were the scriptwriters throughout. Their long tenure in the fine mineral market (as dealers, collectors, appraisers, miners, and consultants) was reflected in the quality of their commentary. (See Robert Cook's book review elsewhere in this issue for another perspective.)

Jim Spann and his wife, Gail, are collectors of fine minerals from worldwide localities, who have immersed themselves in the hobby during the past eight years. Jim has a strong interest in the geochemistry, geography, history, provenance, color, and form of minerals that ranges from the classics to new discoveries.

Gail Copus Spann is an avid mineral collector and enthusiastic painter of fine minerals. She serves on the advisory board of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science where she also volunteers as a docent in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. She cohosts the women's mineral forum on Mindat.org and is an associate photographer for the Mineralogical Record. She is best known for her show reports and photos of the people who attend.

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