Why Are Wealthy Chinese Paying Astronomical Prices for Meteorites?

Photo Credit: Bistrosavage via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Bistrosavage via Compfight cc

Not all rich people in China are into fast cars or fancy apartments. Some have a taste for more unearthly treasures like space rocks!

Take jade dealer Tong Xianping, 50, who has an extensive spotlit collection of meteorites in his Urumqi showroom.

He bought a piece of Seymchan for 1 million yuan (about $163,600), which is thought to be billions of years old, and got part of a Gibeon for a similar price.

“It was worth it. They are news from space,” he told AFP. “… Company founders and bosses like big meteorites.”

Tong keeps some of his bounty in a safe, such as a set of carbonaceous chondrites he found himself. “These are very complete fragments, and hard to find,” he added.

Cars are manufactured, but there can only be one of each meteorite.

Part of a Seymchan meteorite. (Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia Commons)

Part of a Seymchan meteorite. (Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia Commons)

A slice of Gibeon meteorite. (Kevin Walsh/Wikimedia Commons)

A slice of Gibeon meteorite. (Kevin Walsh/Wikimedia Commons)

Carbonaceous chondrites. (NASA)

Carbonaceous chondrites. (NASA)

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