Arizona Meteorite Sells for Record Price at Online Auction

This meteorite, discovered in Arizona, sold for $237,500 at a recent online auction. | Courtesy of Christie's

A piece of the rock that created one of Arizona's best-known natural features sold for nearly a quarter-million dollars at a recent online auction.

The 70-pound meteorite fetched $237,500 in the February 14 auction, hosted by Christie's. It's the highest price ever for a meteorite in an online Christie's auction, representatives of the auction house told Space.com.

The meteorite is a small fragment of the roughly 300,000-ton, 150-foot-wide rock that created Barringer Meteorite Crater, better known as Meteor Crater, near Flagstaff and Winslow some 50,000 years ago. Although most of it was vaporized on impact, about 20 percent was scattered around the area, and large fragments are on display at Meteor Crater's visitors center and at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Part of what drove up the price for this meteorite is its mineral composition, a meteorite expert told Space.com. Like just 2 percent of meteorites found on Earth, it's made of iron.

Several other meteorites, including a strangely textured one from Russia and another that originated on Mars, were sold at the Christie's auction.

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