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Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show, 1974

Last Updated: 15th Nov 2017

By Larry Maltby



Introduction



The Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show, Light Guard Armory, Eight Mine Road, October, 1974.


The Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show throughout the 60’s and 70’s was a well-attended international show. It was supported by most of the major dealers and museums in the United States. This photo was taken from a metal spiral staircase in the corner of the building. The entrance was to the right and the layout of the dealer booths and display cases funneled visitors through the large room.

As a young man just starting a family, I attended the Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show every day that it was open from the mid 50’s through the 70’s. As I write this now, I can still remember the excitement of walking among the cases each year and rubbing elbows with people of like interest.


The David Wilber Collection



David Wilber is a phenomena. I use the word “is” because, at age 80, he is still going. Over a period of many years, he has put together outstanding collections of fine minerals and with untiring enthusiasm displayed them at shows all over the country. Here are some historical notes that provide insight into the remarkable display he brought to Detroit in 1974.

Peter Bancroft, known for his world class collection, “sold part of his collection (55 specimens) to Dave Wilber in 1970 for what was at that time the highest sum ever paid for a modern mineral collection.” (Ref. Mineralogical Record, Bancroft biography)

David Wilber “won the coveted McDole Trophy at the 1974 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.” (Ref. Mineralogical Record, Wilber biography)

This is likely the collection that won the McDole Trophy at the 1974 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.


The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974
The David Wilber Collection, 1974


The smoky quartz and microcline on the left is an exceptional specimen. It shows two free standing crystals, one of each species, which can be observed as individuals. Usually, the smoky quartz crystals are distributed on clusters of Microcline crystals. The specimen is about 10.0 cm tall.

The mimetite at the center front is 6.0 cm long and was shown on page 62 of the Tsumeb issue of the Mineralogical Record, Vol. 8, No. 3.

The large amethyst pillar is clearly from Artigas, Artigas Department, Uruguay.


The rhodochrosite at the center rear is from the Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Alma District, Park Co. Colorado (12.0 X 14.0 cm). It was chosen as the world’s finest rhodochrosite in Peter Bancroft’s book “The World’s Finest Minerals and Crystals”, 1973.


The stibnite at the center rear is from Kisbanya, Rumania (12.7 X 20.3 cm) and was mined in 1947. It was chosen as the world’s finest stibnite in Peter Bancroft’s book “The World’s Finest Minerals and Crystals”, 1973.

Today the label for the green cuprite crystals would read, Seeis, Windhoek District, Khomas Region, Namibia.


The length of the imperial topaz is estimated at 7.6 cm .

The beryl (variety emerald) was featured on the cover of the Mineralogical Record, Volume Six, Number Three in 1975. The length is 11.5 cm.


The phoshophyllite crystal is 4.0 cm long. The Proustite crystal is 4.8 cm long.








The Seahorse nugget was eventually acquired from David Wilber by Perkins Sams and may have been part of his collection that was sold to the Huston Museum of Natural History in 1985. The nugget is 17.0 cm tall.



Minerals









The Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show, 1974


The Mineral Heritage Postage Stamp Collection



“From the Smithsonian Institution collections, these four specimens were selected as models for the Mineral Heritage postage stamps by the artist and designer, Leonard Buckley.”

This display was introduced at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in February of 1974. The Stamps were issued on June 13, 1974 at Lincoln, Nebraska and commemorated there by the Lincoln Gem and Mineral Club with the issuance of a “first day cover”. The Smithsonian then brought the display to the Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show in October of 1974.


Mineral Heritage Postal Stamps


Mineral Heritage Postal Stamps
Mineral Heritage Postal Stamps


Mineral Heritage Postal Stamps


Other Displays



This is the booth of the Rock Exchange Club located in Garden City, Michigan. Tom Gabala in the light green shirt was a retired machinist that built his own sphere making machine. He was well known in the area for his extensive sphere collection using various materials.


These specimens were collected by Rock Exchange Club members during a field trip through Bancroft and up into Quebec during August of 1974.

Below are five photos of specimens collected on that trip.








Bill Scott designed and built this unique case to display ultra violet lighting on specimens. The person in the background in the brown jacket is David Lowery, curator of the Wayne State University collection.


Beryl, faceted gems and gem stone rough, displayed by The Art House, Cleveland, Ohio.


Aqua Marine, faceted gems and gem stone rough, displayed by The Art House, Cleveland, Ohio.
Golden Beryl, faceted gems and gem stone rough, displayed by The Art House, Cleveland, Ohio.


Carved malachite butterfly.










This article is linked to the following show/event: 30th Annual Greater Detroit Gem and Mineral Show, Detroit (October 11-13, 1974)




Article has been viewed at least 1579 times.

Comments

Larry,

Wonderful view of this show from over 40 years ago. The Wilbur collection is fabulous. I love it! Thanks for posting these photos.

Norman King
18th Oct 2017 12:08am
Thanks Norm,

This winter I hope to work on restoring my old photos of the Armstrong and Barlow collections.



Larry Maltby
18th Oct 2017 12:33pm
Do you know the dates that the show was held on 1974? I've been trying to get it added to the show directory. I have details for 1973 but not yet 1974!

https://www.mindat.org/sh/1722/

Then we can link your article to it.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph
10th Nov 2017 10:19pm
Jolyon,

I did not personally record the dates; however, by 1974 the pattern of the show timing was the second weekend of October. I looked up the 1974 calendar on the internet and the dates were Friday 11, thru Sunday 13.


Larry Maltby
13th Nov 2017 1:53pm

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