Ensisheim — TheMeteorite Which Discovered Earth in 1492
Lot 1
Ensisheim — The Meteorite Which Discovered Earth in 1492
Sold for US$ 5,676 inc. premium
Auction Details
Ensisheim — The Meteorite Which Discovered Earth in 1492
Lot Details
Ensisheim — The Meteorite Which Discovered Earth in 1492
Amphoterite, LL6
Alsace, France
“In the year of Our Lord 1492, the Wednesday before the feast day of Saint-Martin, the seventh day of November, a strange miracle occurred. On that day, between the eleventh and the twelfth hour of noon, came a great thunder clap, then a long noise that was heard far around, then a stone fell from the air on the village of Ensisheim…”

Thus begins a 16th Century document describing another newsworthy event of 1492 (see woodcut above). The record continues, “It was surely a sign from God, such as had never been seen before, or read or written about.”

Indeed, the extraterrestrial origin of meteorites did not gain wide acceptance until 300 years following the Ensisheim phenomenon, and as a result, the Ensisheim event created a fair amount of commotion. Austria’s Emperor Maximillian is said to have interpreted the fireball as a divine sign to declare war on France—a decision that turned out to be quite provident: he gained three provinces and retrieved his daughter who had taken up with the French King. The stone itself was brought into the walled city and tethered to a chain in a dungeon in an effort to prevent it from departing the same way it had arrived.

Ensisheim is the oldest preserved meteorite in Europe as well as the single largest stone meteorite to have fallen there. The partial slice offered here features Ensisheim’s characteristic fine blue-gray brecciated matrix and has a provenance of The Natural History Museum (formerly the British Museum of Natural History).
36 x 34 x 2mm and 11.06 grams