Gerhard Wagner’s world-class collection of tourmaline — 432 lots in all with some valued at more than $500,000 — will be up for bid at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on June 7.
Wagner, who is known as the “King of Tourmalines,” has been carefully cultivating his museum-quality treasures for decades.
“This is like a king opening the crown jewels to bids from his subjects,” said Jim Walker, Director of Fine Minerals auctions at Heritage. “Collectors are chomping at the bit to obtain just a single piece of his extraordinary collection.”
Some of the top lots of the auction include the following:
“Blue on Blue” — tourmaline on tourmaline with quartz from the Porcupine Pocket of the Pederneira Mine, Brazil, shown above (Estimate: $500,000 – $700,000).
Recovered in 2001, this specimen features two major crystal types: thin and long, or stout and wide. The longest thin crystal is an enormously elongated thin blue prism 9.25 x 0.31 inches in size, and there are several shorter ones of similar proportions. The stout tourmalines are approximately 3.93 inches across, and 4.8 inches long. The overall measurements are 5.5 x 9.1 x 6.3 inches.
“Blastoff” — tourmaline on cleavelandite from the Grandon Pocket of the Pederneira Mine, Brazil (Estimate: $450,000 -$650,000).
Rising from a pure white base of bladed cleavelandite is a stunning group of multi-colored tourmaline crystals of elongated form. The specimen is composed of roughly six crystals, but the aggregate is strongly dominated by a group displaying a radiating habit with three terminated crystals taking flight from the matrix, hence the name “Blastoff.” The overall measurements are 5.6 x 5.4 x 6.6 inches.
“Flower of Pederneira” — tourmaline on quartz with lepidolite and cleavelandite from the Proud Pocket of the Pederneira Mine, Brazil (Estimate: $300,000 – $500,000).
This specimen is unique in a number of ways. First, it features a “flower,” which is actually a cluster of four crystals attached at the termination of an already superb prism measuring 6.18 inches in length. Of the “flower” cluster, three of the four are double-terminated. A second unusual characteristic is a “bent” crystal measuring 5.31 inches long.
Heritage is promoting the June 7 auction as an opportunity for non-collectors to learn about the beauty and value of the specimens as not just as minerals, but as magnificent pieces of fine art.
“This collection illustrates the fact that the beauty of high-quality mineral specimens make them objects comparable to the most refined forms of art,” wrote Milan-based Mineralogy Museum curator Dr. Federico Pezzotta in the coffee table book, The World of Tourmaline. The publication features 379 vivid images of Wagner’s breathtaking discoveries.
According to Heritage Auctions, Wagner’s passion for collecting fine minerals dates back to his childhood, well before he could ever consider buying any of the specimens that have made him famous.
The fascination that began as a child picking up fossils on the shores of Lake Constance, on the Rhine River in Germany, became a process of education, collecting and patience that have led to him being one of the most respected and well-liked names in the business, noted the auction house.
Images: Heritage Auctions.