This group of arborescent (branching), cylindrical copper crystals is a very fine example of specimens found throughout the oxidised zone of the Broken Hill orebody.
Proprietary Mine, Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
9.5 x 8 x 1 cm
This specimen was originally part of the collection belonging to Major Philip Charley, a member of the original ‘syndicate of seven’ who pegged the first claim at Broken Hill in 1883. In 1936, his collection was to be auctioned at his mansion, ‘Belmont Park’, at Grose Vale near Richmond, west of Sydney. Both the Australian Museum and the Geological and Mining Museum were interested in acquiring the collection so both turned up for the auction. There had always been cordial rivalry between the two institutions. Charles Anderson and Oliver Chalmers represented the Australian Museum, and Horace F Whitworth spoke for the Mining Museum. The mineral collection was purchased and the two institutions agreed to share the cost.
The collection had some very good specimens, the best of which was a superb azurite, but there were also some outstanding crystallised coppers. Whitworth and Chalmers each wanted the azurite and it was decided on the toss of a coin which museum would have the first pick in dividing up the collection. Whitworth won and the azurite specimen went to The Geological and Mining Museum, but the Australian Museum acquired 26 superb Broken Hill specimens including outstanding pyromorphite, smithsonite and crystallised copper. Some of the earliest Broken Hill specimens Charley acquired could have been collected as early as the 1890s.
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