Hi everyone,

Last weekend the IMCA Board received an official complaint in regards to an IMCA member who sold three meteorite samples to two different IMCA members that were not what they were purported to be. This complaint included classification test results on these reported pieces that were confirmed by the Board with the highly reputable meteorite scientist who completed the testing.

The first sample tested was a small 4.06g stone sold as Ash Creek that came back as an equilibrated H-Chondrite and definitely not Ash Creek.

The second sample was a ~1.6g fragment sold as "Zunhua". This specimen also returned results of an equilibrated H-Chondrite which do not match the current studies on the actual Zunhua meteorite. While the following cannot be considered conclusive, the classifying scientist of the fragment mentioned that "the olivine and orthopyroxene compositions for the alleged "Zunhua" stone (as well as its physical appearance) are consistent with available information about stones from the Tamdakht (Morocco) fall".

The third sample was an iron slice sold as "Deport" that was clearly too coarse to be that.

To basically sum up, these three meteorites were sold as meteorites they were actually not. After receiving the complaint, we did some further investigation and approached the seller. We were not satisfied with his answer at all. On requesting a more substantial answer and provenance of the sold samples, the member resigned before we even had a chance to remove them. (The process for removal is in the ByLaws.)

However at the same time, this member assured me that they would make things right with the buyers and provide the documentation we requested. I have also been helping another non-member who made us aware of his problems this week with the same seller. I know his refund request was accepted by PayPal.

I think it is important that all collectors know who this person is that sold the misrepresented meteorites as they are a reasonably active seller on eBay. If you have purchased any of the above meteorites from this seller the potential is there for you to be affected too. The seller in question is:

John (Bryan) Scarborough - #6135
eBay User ID: quietstorm2476

I find it extremely disappointing as a Board member but even more so as a fellow member, that on trying to further communicate with this person a couple of days ago, I found their yahoo email account had been deleted. - "I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out. This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account."

The Board will of course still continue to attempt further communication with this individual and assist those affected buyers in any way we are able.

On a further note, it's important for us all to remember that it is our responsibility as collectors and "temporary custodians" of these extraterrestrial treasures to ensure proper curation and provenance history. This is ALL part of authenticity and whether mistakes are deliberate or happen by accident... well both have the exact same end result of misrepresented meteorites. There are people out there who watch very carefully and as one IMCA member put it very well this week, the meteorite community is very small and at some point all cheats are eventually caught.

While this has been a disappointing episode, I am not disillusioned. This is one member. There are nearly 400 now from around the world who do believe in the ideals of the IMCA. To put it in perspective, there are thousands and thousands of transactions performed with IMCA members every year that all go without a problem. This is a learning experience for us all and I'm sure in the long-term we can only grow from it.

Remember that IMCA Board members are always available for any questions or concerns you may have so please always feel free to approach us.


Jeff Kuyken
Meteorites Australia
Vice President - I.M.C.A. Inc.

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