I once found an ancient flint arrowhead just sitting on a chalk path on the South Downs. I’ve no idea what its value would be, or how rare they are, although I expect quite a few have survived down the centuries.
I thought of it when I read the news of a meteorite coming up for sale on Valentine’s Day – the meteorite in question, which crash-landed in Siberia in 1947, is heart-shaped. It came from a huge mass of iron that broke free of the asteroid belt 320 million years ago and, luckily, disintegrated as it entered Earth’s atmosphere, nevertheless wreaking considerable damage even in its dispersed state. The heart-shaped fragment – more desirable than the rest – has a high estimate of $500,000.
That’s somewhat less than the $1m expected for three tiny moon rocks collected by a Soviet space mission in 1970 – reputedly the only documented lunar rocks in private hands.
How much, then, for what has been revealed as Earth’s oldest rock, discovered among the samples brought back from the Moon by Apollo 14? Its composition identified it as having been formed beneath the Earth’s surface, ending up on the Moon after a collision with an asteroid four billion years ago.