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Fakes & FraudsSignificant misidentified specimen on e-bay - Pennsylvania stolzite

21st Oct 2019 21:37 UTCJeff Weissman Expert

Normally, I am not the e-bay police, but I don't want to see anyone get burned on a potentially high-valued specimen of stolzite (value will probably get over 4 figures), supposedly from the Wheatley Mine (Wheatley Mines), Pennsylvania. An image of the specimen in question was posted by Rock Currier back in 2010, seen here and rotated 180° from the image on e-bay. This habit and appearance are typical of BH, no way is this specimen, now for sale on e-bay, from Pennsylvania. I've asked the seller for more details.

As an addendum, stolzite has not be confirmed from Pennsylvania AFAK.

21st Oct 2019 23:02 UTCMark Heintzelman Expert

I had contacted the seller, to let them know that not only was his story and time line less than accurate, but to the best of my knowledge, no confirmed stolzite was ever officially confirmed from the district (no smithsonite either). All three specimens Montogomery had x-ray tested came up wulfenite.  This was the same day as it's listing, but no changes were made.  

I have a sample of these myself, the crystals in general being a bit more grey and acutely bi-pyamidal, as similarly noted in the literature.  This revelation make a lot more sense, thanks for posting this Jeff.  Hopefully this will be properly resolved by the seller.

21st Oct 2019 23:27 UTCScott Rider

Interesting find there Jeff. I know the seller in question (I looked it up on eBay so I know who is selling it) and sure enough, the exact same specimen is for sale.  He's super reliable on locations so I am rather surprised to see this oversight.  He's not in the business in making fakes or selling falsehoods so this is surely just a mistake.  Perhaps he had a label (which many of the stuff he sells does), of which created the confusion.  Because I trust Rock's information over almost anyone else I'm sure the location above is correct...  Sure is a sweet specimen nonetheless!!! 

22nd Oct 2019 00:10 UTCJasun D. McAvoy Expert

OUCH!  Geez!  Lol  - Frauds and Fakes?!  I think I should get a little more credit than that.  I have already removed the listing and just WAIT until you see the label that this thing had with it.  

I hadn't gotten back to the original persons question yet because I was checking into the person's questions with a Pennsylvania mineral expert and waiting for his expert reply before cancelling an auction and spouting my mouth off on a subject on which other people know more.  I am always grateful to receive info from fellow collectors and customers and that is one of the things I love about the ebay market place.   I should note that, until this very moment, no one had seen Rock's picture yet or even knew it existed.  All I have to say is THANK YOU Rock Currier - because it makes getting my $$$ back on this specimen a LOT easier too!!!

ANYONE that knows me knows that my reputation speaks for itself.  Usually if anything is at all questionable I just don't sell it, period.  I will be adding more info shortly

22nd Oct 2019 00:29 UTCJasun D. McAvoy Expert

After seeing Rock Currier's old picture, there is no doubt that there had to be a significant mix-up (being kind) OR straight up fraud in order for this "info" to wind up with the specimen, no?  
This  makes me VERY upset to say the least!!!  

22nd Oct 2019 15:48 UTCScott Rider

That label sure would make me believe that the locality was correct.  I am not familiar with PA minerals so I wouldn't have known better...  

Anyway, if you are referring to my comment, I was giving you plenty of credit!  Albeit I think I've only won 1 of your auctions a long time ago (I don't buy any more, only trade or prospect nowadays)!! But I have used some of your listings in ebay to further my knowledge of specimens and localities that are lesser known and through that I've come to learn you are usually dead right about the pieces.  And I do appreciate what is being sold and you tend to have the more rare specimens that I am keen to learn about.  Sorry I don't buy from you, but I've basically banned myself from buying anymore specimens (my collection is very bloated and is in need of a more focused approach and need to sell part or the bulk of it LOL)...

By the way, the twinned rutile from PA is quite striking!!!  As is the cool cup o' dioptase!! Both are pretty nice pieces and you are always very good at taking detailed images of each specimen!!

22nd Oct 2019 17:13 UTCJasun D. McAvoy Expert

Thank you Scott, and everyone else for your kind words!  I have always been fond of the saying "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about it" - it's as true in life as it is in business ;)

22nd Oct 2019 20:12 UTCFrancis X Dzubeck


Since I was a bidder on the specimen I thought I would comment. If you were a Wheatley Mines collector, there are a few "holy grail" minerals like Native Silver and Stolzite that are a goal. Please reference Ronald A Sloto's excellent book titled "The Mines and Minerals of Chester County, Pennsylvania Page 152 referencing a description of Stolzite and Smithsonite occuring in Schuylkill Township. The description was the basis for the creation of the label. Unfortunately, with respect to Smithsonite and Stolzite not being in the District, Sloto indicates that both appear in the District with well documented references using XRD, chemical tests and scanning electron microscope energy dispersion spectrometry. The author of the label used these descriptions of the two minerals to justify that the specimen was authentic and from the Wheatley Mine. Of course the specimen put up for auction by you is the same as the one photographed by Rock, therefore without ever seeing that photo, you and I would have had no knowledge of this mislabeling. Whomever sold you the specimen either used creative labeling for profit or just a plain mistake. You are one of the most knowlegeable and reputable sellers I have ever known but we all want to take labels as 
being vaid. Human nature!


22nd Oct 2019 00:39 UTCJasun D. McAvoy Expert

I'd also just like to state - for the record - I am another collector and LOVER of minerals - just like everyone else here - if there is any a question or issue with ANY specimen I sell in the future or have ever sold in the past - I can ALWAYS be reached at my email 
I am a man of science and integrity and take my reputation VERY seriously.  I will always do whatever I can, as quickly as I can, to fix any issue that may arise.  I am VERY grateful to those fellow enthusiasts and academics who take the time to share their expertise and wisdom.  We DO need "police" because that is the only way to keep things accurate and legitimate.  However,  rather than "police" I like to think of it as "friends" helping each other out.  

Of course this specimen has been removed from listing!

22nd Oct 2019 15:52 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

Jasun has, as always, acted impeccably over this. 

Just goes to show the importance of the historical photographic record of these specimens. Without Rock having taken time in 1973 to photograph the piece this confusion would never have come to light. And well done Jeff for spotting it!

22nd Oct 2019 16:40 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

Kudos to all involved in this matter....

22nd Oct 2019 17:21 UTCJeff Weissman Expert

Jasun - I hope that you didn't get too damaged by this from whomever the specimen was obtained from. The label is a classic, why is there a pheasant on it? On the bright side, you have a very nice Broken Hill stolzite with a Rock Currier and Art Montgomery pedigree! By the way, I am very happy with the few items purchased from you over the years.

23rd Oct 2019 08:14 UTCKeith Compton Manager

Yes, great responses from all concerned.

Labels often get mixed up and you certainly can't expect any dealer to be 100% sure of the material that they sell. But well done Jason.

And yes, it certainly looks like a Broken Hill Stolzite to me.
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