The Norbert Classen Collection of Planetary Meteorites started off as a rather modest part of my personal rock and mineral collection in the early 1990s. Back then, as a starving student, I hadn’t the money to afford much more than a small slice of an etched Gibeon iron, and a tiny Pultusk pea. In the years to follow, as I got more and more successful as an author and as a freelance writer, I spent most of my hard-earned bucks into the acquisition of new meteorites for my growing collection, such as a variety of irons, chondrites, some eucrites, a beautiful slice of Esquel, and a 1 gram block of Zagami, my first martian meteorite. I was hooked on my new hobby, and I spent a lot of my time studying the available literature.
However, until the late 90s my collecting activity lacked focus – I had no real goal. Of course, I wanted to get the different types of meteorites as complete as possible, to add at least one sample of each meteorite parent body to my collection, but that didn’t feel as satisfactory as I had thought. On the one hand, all collecting is a mental endeavour, a quest for knowledge, like gathering pieces of a puzzle, and putting them together to obtain a broader view, a new perspective. On the other hand, all collecting is doubtlessly based on more archaic instincts, on commands anchored in our genes – a fact that holds true for at least most male members of our species. Collecting seems to be closely related to hunting, and gathering trophies as a proof of our achievements and abilities. Naturally, the beautiful, rare, and hard to get trophies are more coveted than, let’s say, the worn skin of an old rabbit.
The same holds true for meteorites, and thus I focused more and more on some of the crown jewels of meteorites, the rare achondrites, and especially on the samples of planetary origin – lunar and martian rocks. Collecting planetary meteorites became sort of an obsession, a real challenge to my mind, and a most satisfactory activity in terms of hunting for trophies. These rocks are exceedingly rare and hard to get, and they qualify as an excellent prey since there are some real risks involved in hunting them down, at least in financial terms.
It became my primary goal to add at least one representative sample of each and every lunar and martian meteorite, be it paired or not, to my reference collection, and this site is kind of an online documentation of my private collection, and sort of an online diary of my planetary pursuit. It's also a way to share my collection, and the knowledge gained from it with fellow meteorite afficinados, collectors, scientists, and all other interested parties. It's my personal belief that a collection - be it institutional or private - can only be of actual value if it can be openly accessed, and that's why I created this website.