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January-February 2015

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The Magnificent Munich Show

THE MUNICH SHOW (Mineralientage München = “Munich Mineral Days”) is the largest, grandest, most extravagant, best attended mineral show in Europe and, very likely, the world—that is, if you consider just the formal show itself. Unlike its closest rival, the February show in Tucson, Arizona, there are no satellite shows associated with it, so it begins and ends in just a few days. The Munich Show opens to the public on a Friday and closes the evening of the following Sunday, just three days, whereas “Tucson” goes on for weeks. For this reason one can derive an attendance figure for the Munich Show, 39,500 in 2013, but it is impossible to even guess at the attendance for the entire weeks-long festival in Tucson. Apart from this distinction, while “Tucson” is scattered all over the city in countless venues of varying degrees of formality, the Munich Show is confined to a cluster of four adjacent huge buildings within a convention center on the outskirts of Munich, conveniently accessed from downtown Munich via a wonderful underground train.

John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

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