If you like conversation pieces that express your Zionism as well as interest in space and geology, consider this: The Bonham’s Natural History Auction, to be held here April 11, will feature a quarter-pound chunk of a meteorite in the shape of Israel.
It may not qualify as objet d’art, or take on the religious aura of the recently auctioned grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin Mary’s image, but the rock has some historic significance, says its owner, Darryl Pitt.
"It was cut from the most famous meteorite in the world, the Willamette meteorite, which is on display in the American Museum of Natural History," said Pitt, 50, a musician manager and meteorite collector who lives in Manhattan. He also has extraterrestrial chunks shaped like a baseball home plate and a terrier.
Pitt owned the "Israel" meteorite for a decade before noticing recently the resemblance upon returning from a trip to the Jewish state to visit a daughter living in Holon.
"I always had it oriented horizontally," Pitt said. "Only, when I photographed it [for the auction] and we rotated the photo did I say to the art director, ‘That’s Israel.’" Pitt doesn’t presume any religious or political message.
"It’s just one of those unusual coincidences," he said.
The shape does not conform to modern maps: It has no gap where the Gaza Strip would be, although part of the West Bank appears to be missing.
Comprised mostly of iron and measuring 7.50 by 4.25 inches, the Israel rock is expected to sell for between $8,000 and $10,000, says Pitt.
No word on whether the Palestinians will claim prior ownership.