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Petrified wood, Australian gold nugget, gemstones and meteorites highlight Heritage Auctions sale
Gibeon Meteorite. Iron, fine octahedrite - IVA. Great Nama Land, Namibia - (25° 30'S, 18° 0'E). Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000.

DALLAS, TX.- Samples of rare Petrified Wood will be among the most coveted lots at Heritage Auctions' Nature & Science Auction April 29-30 in Dallas.

The Petrified Wood comes from the collection of Lewis Goodman, a successful financier who turned a 1980s visit to a Colorado gift shop into a lifetime spent collecting petrified wood and agates.

"The Lewis Goodman collection features some exceptional samples of Petrified Wood, some of the finest we have ever seen," Heritage Auctions Nature & Science Director Craig Kissick said. "This allows us to offer shrewd science collectors a rare opportunity to acquire pieces from what has become an exceptional collection."

The top Petrified Wood lots include, but are not limited to:

· Petrified Conifer Slab, Araucarioxylon, Triassic, Chinle Formation, Navajo County, Ariz. (est. $8,000-12,000)

· Petrified Oak Slab, Quercus, Miocene, Juntura Formation, Stinkingwater Mountain, Jarney County, Ore. (est. $7,000-10,000)

· Petrified Hardwood Slab, Oligocene, Sweet Home, Linn County, Ore., (est. $6,000-8,000)

· Petrified Conifer Slab, Araucarioxylon, Jurassic, Shishugon Formation, Junggar Bassin, Kitai County, Xinjiang Province, China (est. $2,000-3,000)

In addition to the Petrified Wood, the auction includes several extraordinary lots – many of which will be available on the auction's second day – that will draw the attention of collectors of all kinds.

Evoking images of widespread dreams of striking it rich, an Australian Gold Nugget (est. $25,000-35,000) is expected to catch the eye of numerous collectors. Dubbed the "Big One," this nugget is nearly four inches long and weighs in at 554 grams. Australian gold is known for its appealing shapes and high quality of gold, and this example, with two display-quality sides, certainly falls into that category.

A 61-by-27-inch Fossil Palm Flower (est. $20,000-30,000) is an incredible specimen featuring an elongated Palm Flower known as an "Infloresence," which exhibits exceptional form and detail. Discovered in the infamous Green River Formation of Wyoming, which is renowned for its production of botanical fossils. The climate was similar to that currently found in Florida; the paleoenviroment of the lake continued for about two million years, culminating with the quality preservation of numerous fossil plants, including this one.

A Muonionalusta Meteorite Pen (est. $15,000-25,000) is a one-of-a-kind collectible. Fashioned from the world-renowned Swedish Meteorite, this fully functional fountain pen is a result of painstaking design and creation. The barrel – which is engraved with the word "METEORITE" – and cap of the pen have been cut and etched to reveal the exclusive latticework pattern that is diagnostic to individual Iron Meteorites. The cap features a round green Moldavite gemstone with a round cut and brilliant facets. The pocket clip of the pen also has been accented with a smaller, pear-shaped Moldavite gemstone.

An extraordinary Backgammon Set with Board and Pieces (est. $15,000-25,000) includes a game board with a lid and base inlaid with Tiger Iron panels surrounded by golden yellow Tiger's Eye, which exhibits vibrant chatoyancy (color change). Inside, the set includes game board pieces made from stones found all over the world. The center is made from Mexican jasper, the points are made from black Nephrite, and the checkers rest in dark Beechwood holders surrounded by black Diabase. The set also includes two wooden, velvet-lined presentation boxes for the board, checkers and dice.

Specimens from the Gibeon Meteorite were found in the village in Namibia that shares its name. One, with its rich, dark metallic steely brown finish (est. $10,000-15,000), weighs close to 20 pounds, while another, with a Widmanstätten pattern in its gun metal grey finish with its "thumbprinted" surface (est. $5,000-7,000), weighs about 9 pounds. Largely iron and fine octahedrite, the Gibeon Meteorite is believed to have fallen in prehistoric times. These large examples boast all of the attributes sought by meteorite collectors, including huge "scalloped" scoops on the surface.

A rare piece of American history with a unique backstory can be found in this Graphite Brick CP-1 (est. $10,000-15,000). This brick, from the Chicago Pile – known as "CP-1" – includes a piece of one of the graphite rods used at the world's first artificial nuclear reactor in which the first nuclear reaction was performed Dec. 2, 1942, which was a precursor to the Manhattan Project – the development of the first atomic bomb. Nuclear Americana artifacts like this one were presented as gifts in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the inaugural self-sustaining nuclear reaction that took place at – or more precisely, under – Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. This piece of graphite, which is almost three inches long, is encased in a clear acrylic block, displays a label indicating origin and likely would test for low levels of radioactivity.

A piece of Manhattan Project Glass (est. $10,000-15,000) displays the classic "electric lemon yellow" hue and includes an array of conchoidal fractures, which give it a sculptural and artistic look. Weighing 16.5 pounds, the glass from the Manhattan Project Hanford Site in southeastern Washington has a lead content of 70 percent, making it unusually heavy but also making it exceptionally valuable because of its resistance to radiation, which was its main purpose. The material was designed to insulate facilities and personnel working with plutonium, and other radioactive elements, in conjunction with the Manhattan Project, and unquestionably is a remnant of American scientific history associated with a time and event that changed the course of the world.

A Group of 17 Books of Hough's American Woods (est. $10,000-15,000) details the work of Romeyn Beck Hough, an American physician and botanist who documented "all of the American woods, or at least the most important," publishing 13 volumes of The American Woods between 1888 and 1913. To do so, he developed a specialized cutter, which was able to slice wood to the thickness of 1/1,200 of an inch so that he could present the paper-thin cross-sectional slices on individual plates, allowing him to document more than 1,000 North American trees in a single work. One of the most coveted sets of the 20th century and one of the most significant contributions to the science of forestry, these books won several awards from the literary community. Because it contains some species of trees that now are endangered or extinct, the set will remain one of the most comprehensive records on the subject.

A Large, Decorative Pyrite Specimen from the Huanzala mine in the Huallanca District, Dos de Mayo Province, Huánuco Province, Peru (est. ($10,000-15,000) is covered with numerous geometric crystals of various sizes, the majority of which exhibit fine form with many striations across the otherwise naturally smooth faces. This specimen, which weighs about 120 pounds, has been on display in a private family collection and now is being showcased for the public for the first time.

A Large Tanzanite Gemstone (est. $8,000-12,000) displays the quintessential pleochroism associated with this variety. Weighing 13.78 carats, this example of what recently has been considered the December birth stone displays the coveted violet-blue coloring with flashes of red, and features and elongated cushion cut with brilliant faceting.

One unique lot is a Muonioanlusta Meteorite Three-Dimensional Cube (est. $6,000-8,000) emanates from the Muonionalusta Meteorite that was found in 1906 in the Muonio River in Northern Sweden (north of the Arctic Circle) by children who were kicking rocks. Among the oldest Meteorites on Earth, Muonionalusta examples have an estimated age of roughly a million years. The smooth, nondescript shapes found on many specimens are the result of extended tumbling by glaciers; the extraordinary internal crystalline formations are revealed through slicing and etching.

A Fossil Stingray (est. $3,000-5,000) from the Green River Formation in Wyoming hails from a series of three connected freshwater lakes about 50 million years ago. This specimen of the relatively rare "fat tail" style stingray features the round, flat disk radiating from the head and pectoral fins, and has a long, narrow tail with four exceptionally sharp stingers.

Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:

· A Boulder Opal Box from Queensland, Australia: est. $3,000-5,000

· A Fossil Fish (est. $2,000-3,000) from the Green River Formation in Wyoming: est. $2,000-3,000

· A Dimetrodon "Spine" from Archer County, Texas: est. $2,000-3,000

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