The Denver Fossil and Mineral show

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The Denver Show

By Diana Fattori

The wonderful Denver Gem & Mineral show introduces the autumn show season in Usa. Held in the Merchandise Mart this show vaunts beautiful displays, top dealers, good speakers, and several satellite shows. Every location has a specialty (gems, minerals, fossils, etc…) so if you, like us, are more interested in fossils, you can easy skip the bijoux area and don’t waste your time looking for your favorite item around.

The show, held the second week in September, is a “must” to see with most collectors. Many people prefer the Denver event over Tucson Show held in February because the Denver shows are not as spread out over the city, hotel and restaurant prices are not expensive, and it is possible to see the entire event in a few days. Due of the actual change dollar/euro, for European buyers the show was very bargain. Below are several photos Nando snapped of some wonderful items at the show. It is one way to enjoy some fabulous fossils and minerals and even take home with you without spending a fortune!


A showroom entirely devoted to the Eocene Green River formation from Wyoming


Fossils from Weeks and Wheeler shale, middle Cambrian, Utah. The Gogia spiralis specimen on the right shows an unusual assemblage, the small Elrathia kingii trilobites (left) on the plate are a more common find.


A “must” for every micromania lover: The new Volkhovites find from Russia. They are tektite-like-glasses of kimberlite-carbonatite-composition. They are very tiny and the space they occupy is just one square centimeter, the photos in the book shows their magnified shape.


 Some precious opals from Idaho show off a brilliant display of fire in a variety of colors. The bigger piece is petrified wood replaced by opal. Opal is a Sanskrit word originally spelled upala, and is translated as “precious stone”. It can be found in areas where some volcanic activity took place in the past.


Mr. Bones is a special guest of the Merchandise Mart. His human name is Tim Seeber, he is a professional paleo puppeteer. Every year he delights the public, especially children, “wearing” new dinosaur dresses. The photo shows some of them. Be careful to approach him very close… he could bite!!!


 American woman is a Colorado Yulee marble sculpture by Francisco. He is 51 years old native Coloradian self taught artist. He takes inspiration from the works of Michelangelo and Bernini. At the show Francisco autographed and gone away photos and marble chips from the original 21 tons block from which this sculpture was created.


This exhibitor sells fluorescent minerals. He put his minerals in the dark room, so buyers know exactly how the minerals look like under ultraviolet lights.


Bob “The Dinosaurs Heresy” Bakker, one of the more famous character of the international paleontology panorama. He is with Matthew Mossbrucker (in red shirt) from the Morrison Museum of Natural History, the man who recently discovered the first baby Stegosaur trackway in Colorado.


Fossil and Mineral Clubs’ volunteers from Colorado help people to identify fossils and natural features, they also teach children how to panning for gold in a reconstructed flume.


Rumors says that in the old days folks from eastern Kansas parked their cars on shells bigger than the car itself. I don’t know if this is true or not, sure the Cretaceous shell Inoceramus (Volviceramus) grandis (Coniacian, Smokey Hill Chalk formation, Kansas) is big enough to be compared to a big tire.


Are dinosaurs boring? Probably the gentleman in the photo is yawning just because he is very tired. He was offering a “piece” of his wonderful fossil collection for sale. The whole T-Rex upper maxilla with all the teeth in place. I didn’t ask for the price…


Sometime shit happens… this time it is fossilized in a big, solid rock. The photo shows a table full of colorful dinosaur’s coprolite. The good new is that it doesn’t smell!


The Denver show offers inexpensive food: two jumbo hot dogs or two cheeseburgers are just 5.00$. There is no beer for sale, just water, coffee or soda.


The photos show two of the excellent displays at the Denver show: Pterosaur tracks on the Sundance beach from Wyoming and Triassic Coelophysis from the Gost Ranch in New Mexico (this place is especially famous because was the home of Georgia O Keefe, one of the best American woman artist). There were more guest museums including the Smithsonian Institution, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, The Lizzadro Museum near Chigago and the Rice Northwest Museum. Some of the best private collections in the country were on display, and it is important to notice the displays by local folks featuring self collected material that sometimes rivals what you see in museums.


Several showcases are devoted to mining and minerals in Colorado. The photo shows amazing  rhodochrosite specimen from the Alma mine, Park co. Colorado


The woman in the middle is Lynne M. Clos editor in chief of Fossil News, a magazine for avocational paleontologist. The magazine was a pioneer in the online distribution. Lynne started this new way to reach the bigger public in 1998. She was a former engineer for a big company, but she felt miserable. So she quit her job and went back to the University to pursue a bachelor degree in paleontology. She travels all around US, including Alaska, helping The Denver Museum of Natural History in its research.  The man on the left is George Winters from the A.A.P.S., the Association of Applied Paleontological  Science. The Association was organized in 1978 to promote cooperation between amateur collectors, academic paleontologists and commercial dealers.

 The man smiling on the right is Bob Finney from the Fossil Lake Fish Company, specialized in Eocene Green River formation fishes. You can notice there are actually no fossils on display. At the Denver show Green River fossils fishes are usually sold out before the show begins.


This dealer is specialized in fossil crinoids from the Edwardsville formation, Montgomery co., Indiana (Mississippian, Osagean). He offers for sale more than one hundred species of fossil crinoids, every specimen was found, preparated and identified by him.


The Russian cave bear seems to attend  a very serious duty. It is actually protecting its owner shoes  from thieves…


Shark teeth are always a collector’s favorite. This dealer is specialized in fossil shark teeth from South Carolina, Florida and New Caledonia. Is any of you whistling "Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne...?"


In the future, maybe some paleontologist will find our fossilized remains!!!


Diana Fattori © 2001-2008

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