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Latest Messages and Replies

34mRe: Collected with your dirty hands - Volume IIJohn Montgomery +1 replied in Field Collecting.1hRe: Crystallinity of Silver WiresDoug Daniels +2 replied in General.2hRe: Thunderegg!Matthew Droppleman replied in Techniques for Collectors.2hDirty minerals with no localityMatthew Droppleman posted in Identity Help.3hRe: Is it calcite or baryte?Paul Brandes +3 replied in Photos.6hRe: The weirdest rock Ive ever collected... Scott Rider replied in Identity Help.7hRe: Green crystals associated with calcite and adamiteTama Higuchi +2 replied in Identity Help.7hRe: Nevada’s Rich Mining History.Jon Aurich +3 replied in General.

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Aug 2007Kongsberg Silver MinesLloyd Llewellyn posted in Improving 2013change pieces of my collection into a silver of kongsbergJOAN ABELLA CREUS posted in General.Mar 2012Not from Kongsberg but KjørholtPeter Andresen posted in Improving 2013Kongsberg Mineralsymposium 2013Knut Edvard Larsen posted in Mineral Shows.Nov 2009KONGSBERG, NORWAY, PICTURE DISRECPENCY .Greg Dainty posted in Improving 2009Kongsberg mineral symposium 2009Roy Kristiansen posted in Mineral Shows.

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Recent Images in Discussions

Lost and Stolen SpecimensStolen Kongsberg silver

21st May 2007 14:54 BSTChris Stanley Expert

An image of this missing Kongsberg silver has been on the Society of Mineralogy Museum Professionals for some years now. Anyone know more about it?

Two distinct silver wires are imbedded in the calcite and the specimen is of high quality having no major tarnish.

As part of an audit, this specimen has been found to be missing from the Main Mineral Collection of the Natural History Museum, London. The audit trail and image archive indicate that this specimen went missing during the early 1990's and was replaced by a lesser specimen.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of this specimen should contact:

Mr. Alan D. Hart

Collections Leader and Curator

Mineralogy Department

The Natural History Museum

Cromwell Road

London SW7 5BD

14th Jul 2009 10:16 BSTChris Stanley Expert

Quite astonishing really that this specimen seems to have disappeared without trace.

Can anyone out there help?


Chris S

4th Feb 2010 15:09 GMTChris Stanley Expert

It's always possible that this might show up at the Tucson Show.

Someone out there knows where this specimen is!!!

Can anyone out there help?


Chris S

28th Jul 2011 10:17 BSTChris Stanley Expert

This is my annual message requesting information on the whereabouts of this specimen which remains missing from the Natural History Museum collection. It is believed to be in North America.

Chris S

28th Jul 2011 16:30 BSTCaleb Simkoff

I see it here clearly in this picture here! I was wondering about this....

mystery solved?

31st Jul 2011 21:38 BSTNeal Luppescu

It sure looks like it could be the same piece. Wow.

1st Aug 2011 00:54 BSTJohn Veevaert Expert

Just saw that a reference was made to a photo on my website of this specimen (Thank you Margaret!). Just so everyone is clear, it is a photo taken of a case presented by Bill Larson last year at the East Coast Mineral Show in Springfield. He is your guide to how it got to where it is now...

5th Aug 2011 02:18 BSTChester S. Lemanski, Jr. Manager

If that is the specimen, and not an accurate reproduction of it, then the person who now possesses it, whomever they might be, is in violation of the law if they now know it is a stolen specimen. In the USA possession of stolen property is a crime. Significant dollar value (about $1,000 - varies by state) equates to a felony. Transporting stolen property across state lines (or importing stolen property into the country) is a federal felony. Transferring stolen property or selling stolen property are themselves criminal acts. Someone in possession of stolen property with a significant value can only return the property to its rightful owner without committing a (another) crime.

5th Aug 2011 10:29 BSTChris Stanley Expert

Thanks to all posters here.

We will do all we can for however long it takes to get our specimen back.

Here is what has been achieved in British courts when an exotic bird feather thief was caught

But actually we aren't after retribution, just restitution.


Chris S

27th Oct 2011 23:53 BSTGreg Dainty

Chris, has there been any progress on this? .....Greg

29th Oct 2011 05:48 BSTAnonymous User

That is a dead ringer. Looks to be exactly the same specimen. Same cricks, same bumps, same arms, same angles, etc.

1st Nov 2011 10:23 GMTKeith Compton Manager


Has anyone contacted Bill Larson as to who now has the specimen, or at least held it at that the time of that show?

Was it Bill's or did someone lend it to him for the display. If so, one would think he should know and that Bill should have contacted Mr. Alan D. Hart at the The Natural History Museum.

Perhaps Bill can enlighten us.


3rd Nov 2011 23:58 GMTGail Spann Manager

I have just sent a note off to Bill, let's give him the benefit of the doubt as perhaps he hasn't read this thread. I would suggest no one jump to any conclusions.

4th Nov 2011 03:02 GMTGail Spann Manager

Bill called me back, it seems that everything is Kosher. He didn't even know about this thread. Anyhow, I am satisfied with Bill's story.It's a non issue as far as I am concerned.

4th Nov 2011 03:16 GMTStuart Mills Manager

And the story is?

5th Nov 2011 00:13 GMTMax Merlo

Another photo of the same display is here :

That specimen really looks the same one, maybe better cleaned.

In attachment a comparison, just resized and rotated the biggest photo.

5th Nov 2011 00:37 GMTJolyon Ralph Founder

It clearly is the same specimen.

I know the people involved in this very well. The situation is very complex, but still quite murky and far from what I'd describe as 'kosher'.

Please do not jump to conclusions about this either. I believe that progress is being made towards the return of the specimen to the museum, but that will not be helped by idle gossip in the mineral collecting world.

Clearly if Bill knew this specimen had been stolen from the NHM he would not have exhibited it publicly at the Springfield show.

5th Nov 2011 01:04 GMTGail Spann Manager

I should have said Kosher with me. Anyhow, yes...there is lots of dialogue going on and Bill even had this piece in the IKONS addition to the MinRec. 6 months before this thread started. I agree, why post if you know it is stolen? You can see it is in the case showing Bill's minerals.

Bill is the 5th owner since this went "missing".

5th Nov 2011 02:11 GMTMax Merlo

Any conclusion and no gossip for me, just highlight the usefulness of this section of the forum.

It 'nice to know that sometimes a sample that was believed lost forever is found again somewhere!

So more people read these pages, more difficult is for stolen specimens to have a market.

A good job, i think

5th Nov 2011 10:08 GMTStuart Mills Manager

Well in the end it does not matter who sold the specimen to whom or who knew what when, the fact is that this is a stolen specimen from a national museum and should be returned. I would hate to have a piece like that stolen from our collection and we should all be making sure that not only this specimen but all others that are taken from public institutions are returned.

16th Dec 2014 12:20 GMTChris Stanley Expert

It would be a great mistake for whoever has our Kongsberg silver in their possession to think that because this subject is off the front page, the matter has been forgotten.


Chris S

16th Dec 2014 14:04 GMTBob Harman

Stuart Mills posted on Nov 5, 2011 about the missing museum silver specimen and Chris Stanley in the very next posting now on December 16, 2014 implies that the specimen is still "missing" or at least has not been returned to the museum. What has happened in these past 3+ years?

BTW, I will be in Tucson this February and be on the lookout for the specimens stolen from Desmond Sacco's collection. Just prior to my trip out there, I will again look closely at the pictures posted of his specimens. I suggest other Mindaters do the same. CHEERS…..BOB

16th Dec 2014 14:13 GMTReiner Mielke Expert

It looked very clear cut to me why has it not been returned?

16th Dec 2014 17:18 GMTRob Woodside Manager

I understand it is being kept in Mexico, out of the way of international treaties that would force its return. Chris is right. The Natural History Museum has been around for over a couple of centuries and will last a lot longer than the perpetrators of this theft. Return it now!!!

16th Dec 2014 19:39 GMTRob Cook

How did it get to Mexico and who has it? Last I can gather from this thread - we know who had it. Does he still have it only in Mexico and if not how did it change hands given what everyone knew three years ago? In this case the reluctance to be explicit leaves lots of room for drawing conclusions.

16th Dec 2014 19:55 GMTRob Woodside Manager

I'm sorry but this is a serious matter and I apologize for spreading idle gossip. I cannot prove it is in Mexico and I have no idea of its whereabouts.

However, I find it outrageous that the museum hasn't got it back.

16th Dec 2014 20:18 GMTReiner Mielke Expert

I suspect no one wanted to take the financial loss so A got his money back from B and B got it back from C etc. So now it is likely back in the hands of the thief. Someone needs to own up and name some names. Maybe the insurance companies need to start selling stolen goods insurance to cover any lose resulting from buying a stolen mineral when it is returned to the rightful owners? With the price of minerals that they are I can see this becoming a real problem. Maybe Interpol needs to start getting involved like they are with works of art? After all aren't minerals a work of natures art?

16th Dec 2014 20:45 GMTBob Harman

So the last 2 posts by Rob and Rob (sounds like a singing duet!) are precisely what I was interested in. If the silver specimen's location and ownership was known from several pix and displays about 3 years ago, exactly what has transpired between November 2011 and now?

But, there is a larger lesson to be learned from this sad sequence of events. From the lowest study specimens to the highest of hi end specimens, ALL museum specimens, specimens in university geology hall cabinets, other public collections and private collections should be cataloged and photographed by modern hi def cameras. They should be checked and rechecked at regular intervals.

This seems especially important for the smaller museums. In 1999 I can remember visiting the American Fluorite Museum in Rosicalre, Illinois. The place had some really nice local specimens, but was rather casually and (maybe) lackadaisically run. Two glass fronted cabinet doors were slightly ajar with no one around! And I am willing to bet that not one of their better fluorite specimens was even photographed. You just cannot do things that way anymore.

I think some might be surprised to learn that until just a few years ago the specimens in many smaller regional museums and other public displays of valuable stuff were not photographed. If an example were to be stolen, it might not be good enough to just say to the police authorities that it was stolen and not have indisputable proof of exactly what was missing. CHEERS…….BOB

16th Dec 2014 23:29 GMTChester S. Lemanski, Jr. Manager

Please see my post early on in this thread. That is all true and still the case. There is more than ample evidence of who possessed it at a point in time (including photographs). To reiterate, doing anything with it other than returning it to its rightful owner, is a felony under U.S. federal law.

The most logical and undoubtedly the most efficient way of resolving the matter is for the UK government (or its instrumentality) to make a complaint/request of the U.S. FBI to have their stolen art & antiquities unit open a case and investigate it. The clues are certainly there.

Some of you might recall about 3 or 4 years ago, the Argentinian government made a request of the U.S. government to assist it in investigating the illegal export of fossils from that country into the US for sale at Tucson. The U.S. customs officials jointly raided the Argentinian business(es) involved at Tucson, seized the illegal materials, and returned them to the Argentinian government.

All this needs is a formal request by the UK authorities. I have great faith in the ability of that unit within the FBI. It was a felony to import it into the U.S. It was a felony by anyone/everyone who possessed it while it was/is in the U.S. It was a felony every time (if any) that it was transferred from one felon to another, and it was felony if it was exported from the U.S. as well as a felony every time it was taken across a state boundary. It is truly a UK state treasure that should be returned to its rightful place.

5th May 2016 14:45 BSTKeith Compton Manager


Any news on this one

Have there been any sightings since!!


5th May 2016 17:07 BSTNorman King Expert

As for the posting by Jason Barrett (2) dated October 29, 2011 at 05:48AM, it includes three attachments, all beginning with “http://www.varockhounder.” The first two attachments have .jpg” file extensions, and lead to an “Error 404” message. The third attachment has the extension “.peg.” Click on that one and you will get a virus–not a very good one, like the incompetent “.peg” file extension. I suggest that it be deleted from his post, or maybe all three at this time (since none of them have any content), to be sure no one who does not have good anti-virus protection gets that virus by clicking on it.

5th May 2016 18:03 BSTUwe Kolitsch Manager

Thanks, Norman. Done.

1st Dec 2016 18:31 GMTPeter Van Hout

Wow, what a story! Any progress in the case of this stolen silver?

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