Snapshots from the Tucson 2002 Gem and Mineral Show
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Ammonoidea 2002 II
Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show at the Ramada Inn - Feb 3 to Feb 16 - 1601 North Oracle - 520.623.6666

Just outside Palaeoart in Room 145 at the Ramada Inn were several tables covered with boxes of assorted ammonites. I learned these had come from a private collection which had been purchased and was being liquidated at this year's Show by Palaeoart, a German wholesale supplier of ammonites and other fossils. I didn't explicitly ask but my guess is the ammonite appreciator who assembled this collection probably died, because it is difficult to imagine a collector letting go of this lot while still breathing... The former collector appears to have been a German with a particular fondness for Jurassic ammonites from European localities.

Of course I had to spend some time here and check out just about every one of these ammonite specimens with an interest towards acquiring some of them for my own collection as well as doing a little show and tell for my show report. Some of these seemed relatively expensive considering their less than primo condition, no doubt due to their being rarer and harder to come by than some of the finer but more modestly priced specimens. Here's eight of the more aesthetic and affordable specimens from the lot that attracted me and to which I had to give some consideration as potential buys.

Depicted above is a Parkinsonia sp. ammonite. "wurthenbergia" may be a correct reading of the species name on this label but I haven't located any references to it yet. The genus Parkinsonia is considered to be scientifically important because it seems to represent a hybrid between two distinct groups of ammonoids. This specimen was about 2.5" across and priced at $35.

Shown above is a Kepplerites gowerianus. This ammonite specimen was about 1.75" across and it was priced at $25.

Pictured above is a Parkinsonia schloenbachi. Most ammonite specimens seem to have one side that's better than the other, but this one was just as fine on one as the other. This specimen showed great detail all the way down to the ammonitella. It was about 2" across and priced at $29.

Above is a Dactylioceras commune ammonite specimen which was also had pretty faces on both sides. This pyritized Dactylioceras also preserved fine detail down to the ammonitella. I suppose it could be considered a pseudomorph of sorts, pyrite ps Dactylioceras... This specimen was about 3" across and it wanted $65.

Shown above is a Pavlovia pallasioides ammonite specimen which was about 2" across. This specimen was still attached to country rock and it was priced at $90.

Depicted above is a Macrocephalites macrocephalus ammonite specimen which was about 2" across and priced at $20.

Shown above is a Pleydellia leura ammonite specimen which was about 2.5 inches across and priced at $45.

Above is a Pleuroceras spinatus ammonite specimen which was about 1.75" across and priced at $25. Note the suture marks in the phragmocone. I thought the deeply fluted whorls of Pleuroceras quite attractive and now have my eye out for one of these that's a little bit larger...

Palaeoart also showed boxes of ammonites on other several tables in the courtyard just outside their room at the Ramada Inn. These were offered on a wholesale, by the box basis and I noted prices on these boxes ranging from $250 to $350. Above right is a close-up showing off the ammonites in one of the boxes with a floppy disk helping to provide some scale. None of these boxes were labeled - I suppose the idea being that by the time you are buying ammonites by the box you know what they are. This box was priced at $250 and I noted some pretty nice specimens in it. I didn't ask to make sure but these looked pretty familiar (already having one in my own ammonite collection helps...) and appeared to me to be a Perisphinctes (Alligaticeras) sp., which are widely distributed Jurassic ammonites characterized by round, gently overlapping whorls and distinct, bifurcated ribs overlapping the venter.

Palaeoart, Ramada Inn Room 145 - Deichstrasse 19, D-20450 Hamburg, Germany - Phone: (040) 36 25 04 Fax: (040) 37 46 59

While I was pawing through and photographing ammonites at Paleoart, a conversation developed between myself and another ammonite appreciator who was also interested in specimens from the collection that was being liquidated. He related seeing some pretty irridescent Russian ammonites at Mikhall Anosov's room next door at the Executive Inn a little earlier in the day.

He couldn't recall the genus but from his description they sounded like they might be Cosmoceras sp. ammonites. I acquired a nice Cosmoceras specimen for my ammonite collection last year, so I couldn't help being curious and stopped at the Executive on my way home to see them. A quarter on the table helps provide scale for the group picture at right.

These turned out to be Quenstedticeras sp., which are different ammonites from the Russian specimen already in my collection. These Quenstedticeras are Upper Jurassic ammonites from the Volga River, Saratov area in Russia. These specimens exhibited a very attractive red iridescence and were nicely prepared with stands fashioned from the country rock. The single specimens on the three pieces depicted above left were about an 1.5" across and wanted only $20 each. The doubles shown above right also carried specimens averaging about 1.5" across and they were priced at $45 each. As these Quenstedticeras were so pretty and nicely prepared (and priced within my means), there just was no way I could resist. One of the singles went home with me as a companion piece to display along side my Cosmoceras...

Quenstedticeras sp. ammonite, Upper Jurassic, Volga River, Saratov area, Russia. Bob Keller Collection...

Mikhall Anosov, Executive Inn Room 123 - Phone: 7-095-135-72-00 Fax: 7-095-137-31-60

Saturday, February 2nd - In room 149 at the Ramada Inn, Black Hawk Fossils was showing these five Spinosaurus dinosaur teeth, which were priced at only $8 each! Spinosaurs were a group of Cretaceous theropod dinosaurs with tall vertebral spines and crocodile-like, conical teeth. Spinosaurus was bipedal with arms smaller than its legs but which were still larger than most other theropods. Spinosaurus is the largest known Spinosaur, attaining lengths of 40-50 feet and may have weighed up to 8 tons.

It had a large head with sharp, straight, non-serrated teeth in powerful, crocodile-like jaws and was a top predator inhabiting tropics near sea level about 95 million years ago. It is called "spiny lizard" because it had a series of large neural spines up to 6 feet long coming out of its back vertebrae, probably forming a sail-like fin that may have been used for thermoregulation or mating displays. Fossils indicate Spinosaurus had a relatively flexible upper spine (these vertebrae had modified ball-and-socket-joints) so it could arch its back somewhat, perhaps being able to spread the sail, like opening the ribs of a fan. These teeth were recovered in Morocco. The three to the right of the penny went home with me.

Black Hawk Fossils Ramada Inn Room 149 - WWW: - 6004 Eastside Drive, Black Hawk, SD 57718 - Phone: Ed (605) 787-5554 or Dan (605) 578-2648

Peter Pittman of Fossillien in Room 116 at the Ramada showed shelves filled with these wonderful clusters of Russian Quenstedticeras sp. ammonites. These are the same Jurassic ammonites from the Volga River, Saratov area in Russia as the single specimen I recently acquired from my own collection. I noticed the country rock holding these clusters together was dark and sandy and appeared altogether different from the rock on my specimen. So these clusters must occur in a different horizon. These specimens also exhibited a wonderful iridescent sheen that was very attention grabbing and pleasing to others as well as my eye, as these specimens were receiving a lot of attention from other browsers and buyers while I was photographing them and several other ammonites at Fossillien. I noted clusters priced from $100 to $300, with many in the $135 to $165 or so range.

The cluster depicted above left was one of the largest at about 6 inches overall and also one of the most expensive at $300. The largest ammonite on it was about 3 inches across. The aesthetic specimen shown above right was about 4 inches overall with a largest ammonite of about 2 inches across and it wanted $165.

I thought the cluster shown above left also high in eye candy factor. It was about 5 inches overall with a largest ammonite of about 2 inches across and this one also wanted $165. There were also numerous single specimens available which had been completely cleaned of country rock. The singles shown above right ranged from about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and price from about $8 to $15 depending on size and condition. I felt pretty good about my new $20 Quenstedticeras when compared to the best of these singles, and of course I much prefer the country rock stand incorporated in my piece. However, I am of course now pining after one of these beautiful Quenstedticeras clusters...

Fossillien showed a number of other ammonite specimens to drool over. Depicted above left is a specimen identified by Peter as an Eparietes sp. from the middle Jurassic, Scunthorpe, England. This specimen was about 9 inches in diameter and prepared on a chunk of country rock that was about 15 inches overall. I thought the high contrast suture detail on the phragmocone pretty on this $1500 specimen. Shown above right is a handsome Lytoceras sp. ammonite which was about 7 inches in diameter and prepared on a nice country rock stand. This Lytoceras lived during the Bajocian Stage, which began about 177 million years ago during the Middle Jurassic. Ammonites of the Lytoceras genus lived from the Early Jurassic until the Late Cretaceous, giving them the distinction of surviving for the longest time span of any known ammonite genera. This specimen is from Fresney le Puceux, Normandie, France. At $250 this Lytoceras looked to me to be a real bargain.

Depicted at right is a nautilus specimen that had very nice aesthetics to my eye. Peter did not know the genus and species for this nautilus but related that it was also from the Bajocian Stage of the Middle Jurassic and Fresney le Puceux, Normandie, France. It was about 8 inches in diameter and nicely prepared on a country rock stand. At only $200 it took a lot of will power to resist this nautilus. If it had been an ammonite this specimen would have gone home with me...

Shown at left and above is a Heteroceras sp. ammonite from the Albian Stage, which began about 112 million years ago during the Middle Cretaceous. This specimen was about 14 inches in overall length and was collected near Provence, France. The rather curious and bizarre shape of this ammonite is not atypical of a number of Cretaceous ammonite genera. I can't help but wonder at what evolutionary mechanisms were at play to cause ammonites to develop such remarkable and strangely shaped shells during Cretaceous radiations. These are no doubt more delicate and difficult to find intact and prepare than the more compact and familiar shaped ammonites, and specimens like this in good condition tend to be rather pricey. This one wanted $2200.

Peter Pittman, Fossillien Ramada Inn Room 116 - Lange Morgen 24, 73079 Süssen, Germany - Phone: +49-7162-42247 Fax: +49-7162-44492

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