Provenance: William S. Vaux (1811-1882); The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (ANSP)

Above: A photo-excerpt from Gordon's 1933 ANSP "Meteorites in the Collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia". Note the matching collection numbers.

Historical Notes: For the first time, we are pleased to present the circumstances of the fall of the Agen meteorite in the English language. The editor would like to acknowledge the hard work of friend and fellow collector Dr. Arnaud Mignan for his partial translation of this old French text, which was originally published in 1814 in the Bibliotheque Britannique (see references):

© 2011 Translated by Dr. Arnaud Mignan (The Tricottet Collection)

Letter from Mr de St. Amans to Prof. Pictet, on a new aerolite fall


I am certain that you will learn with interest that a new aerolite fall just occurred over several towns of this district. I didn't have the time to recover much
information on this phenomenon, but here are its main characteristics:

The 5th of this month, a few minutes before noon, under a clear sky and a wind coming from North, a terrible detonation was heard and several stones fell on the towns of Monclair, Granges, Castelmoron and others. Following the account of the mayors of these towns, some of the stones plunged into the ground down to 4 to 5 feet deep. I said a terrible detonation since being in St. Amans, 20 to 25 kilometers from the towns I just cited, the doors and windows of my house shook twice, as if a canon fired or if thunder stroke at proximity. Surprised by such a phenomenon, which could not be caused by a storm, I went outside persuaded that an aerolite fell nearby.


Collected stones were hot at the instant of their fall. A few are the size of a head. Until now, I only saw a small fragment of these aerolites. It didn't display any characteristic that could distinguish it from all others I had the chance to examine. Only it appeared more friable than those. It is vain to tell you that people were very alarmed by this phenomenon. Our countrymen imagined the worst: some the fall of a comet, some others the consequences of an important political event, the most educated announced the end of the world.


Gordon, S.G. (1934), Meteorites in the Collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia, 35 (for 1933), pp 223-231

Saint-Amans, H.F.B. de (1814), Details sur une chute d'aerolithes aux environs d'Agen. Bibliothque Britannique, 57, pp 194-198 

Website: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia,

Collection No. B258.2 - A 0.218 gram fragment.

Provenance: Adrien-Charles, Marquis de Mauroy (1848 - 1927); [...]; by transfer to Rolf W. Buehler (Swiss Meteorite Lab); by transfer to The Peter Marmet Collection.

Specimen Notes: The small hand-written label is penned by the hand of Adrien-Charles, Marquis de Mauroy (1848 – 1927). In 1898, the Marquis purchased four fragments of the Agen meteorite from the heir of M. Prignieres, who witnessed the fall and had collected the meteorite on his land at Brethon nearly 84 years earlier. Since the Marquis had no other known sources for the Agen meteorite, we can assume that one of the four Prignieres fragments is the parent to the specimen shown above in the Bandli Collection.

Biographical Notes: During the 19 th century, the Marquis managed to assemble one of the most important private meteorite collections in Europe. With hopes of founding a natural history museum at the Vatican, the Marquis bequeathed his collection to the Vatican in several stages. Today, it remains the core of the Vatican’s meteorite collection (Vaticana Specola) and one of the most significant and historical meteorite collections in the world.

The editor would like to thank Brother Guy Consolmagno, Curator at the Vatican Observatory, for help in confirming the source of this specimen.


Consolmagno, G. (2001), Vatican Observatory Collection catalogue. Specola Vaticana, Vatican City State.


Lot-et-Garonnes, France
Fell September 5, 1814 -- H5 Chondrite
Catalog No. B258.1 -- 9.08 gram fragment