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Tucson (Tucson Ring) (Pima County, Arizona, USA) UNGR (iron) Found 1850

Due to its ring-like shape, the Tucson Ring meteorite is unique and probably the best known and most instantly recognisable of all the large irons. No-one knows exactly where it was discovered, but in 1776 it was put to good use as a blacksmith's anvil for the Spanish military who were charged with defending the Tucson frontier from Apaches. The Ring was up-ended and half buried in the ground - the natural flat edge then provided a perfect beating surface for the blacksmith to repair weapons and fashion horse shoes.

It later served the Mexican military until 1853, whereupon the Ring was abandoned in-situ and forgotten. In 1857, Lieutenant Bernard John Dowling Irwin of the US Army arrived in Arizona to join the infantry at Fort Buchanan. Irwin was a naturalist & collector for the Smithsonian Institution, and in 1860 Irwin re-discovered the Ring exactly where it had been left, lying half buried in the street. Irwin recognised it as a meteorite and arranged to have it shipped to the Smithsonian by Tucson freighter Augustin Ainsa. The Ring left Tucson in 1861 bound for San Francisco. However, the story does not end there!

In fact, this is only a condensed version of the Tucson Ring Meteorite's history taken from O. Richard Norton's "Rocks From Space" second edition, and I would recommend reading the chapter dedicated to the Tucson Ring and also it's "sister" the Carleton Meteorite beginning on page 259.

This is one of the most historic of all meteorites and a unique iron with silicate inclusions, containing brezinaite. When (if!) available to private collectors, Tucson has previously commanded high prices of between $400 to $600 per gram on the open market.

Images:

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