Winnebago County, Iowa, USA
Fell May 2, 1890
L6 Chondrite

CATALOG No. B274.2 through B274.6

PROVENANCE: George F. Kunz, New York, NY; The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL (1894); The Michael Farmer Collection of Meteorites, Tucson, AZ (Jan-2013).

REMARKS: A series of five blueberry-sized individuals totalling 19.88 grams, which have been custodied by two important 19th century collections.

These pristine specimens were originally acquired by the great American mineralogist and gemologist George F. Kunz (1856-1932), who was regarded as one of the most famous gem and mineral experts of his time, and perhaps of any since (McCall et al 2006, p. 274). Kunz was also one of the chief researchers of the Forest City fall, acquiring many stones, performing chemical analysis, and subsequently publishing several reports on the event in 1890. In 1893, Kunz assembled a collection of gems, minerals, and meteorites for the World Columbian Exposition. This collection was purchased by the Field Columbian Museum upon its founding in 1894.

These Kunz Forest City specimens were amongst the very first meteorites accessioned into the Field Museum's meteorite collection, and were assigned the catalog number "340" (Fig. 1). According to Skiff's 1894 Guide to the Field Columbian Museum, all 609 Kunz Forest City specimens (known under their 19th c. synonym "Winnebago County") were exhibited in Hall 62, Case 3A (Fig. 2).

They witnessed the turn of two centuries, preserved in one of America's great museums, before they were deaccessioned and traded to a consortium of meteorite collectors and dealers in January 2013. From here, they will be preserved in the Bandli collection, where they will patiently await their next custodian.

Copyright 2013 - M. Bandli - Photos may not be used without written permission


McCall, G.J.H., Bowden, A.J. & Howarth, R.J. (eds) (2006). The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections: Fireballs, Falls, and Finds. Geological Society, London, Special Publication, 256, pp. 267-289.

Farrington, O.C. (1895). Handbook and Catalogue of the Meteorite Collection. Chicago.

Skiff, F.J.V. (1894). Guide to the Field Columbian Museum. Chicago.

Fig. 1: Excerpts from Farrington (1895) showing our specimen's lot (340) of 609 complete individuals in the very first meteorite catalog from the former Field Columbian Museum. Noted at the end of the entry is a "(K.)", confirming Kunz as the source for this particular group of stones. 

Fig. 2: Excerpts from Skiff (1894) with reference to the Kunz Forest City group, and their location within the museum's exhibition hall.