Today was our last show outing for the 2017 Season, Oxford Show is the last mineral show on the UK circuit for 2017.
To this end it was rather nice to be greeted with a Christmas tree in the foyer, certainly set the scene for a fun morning at the show.
The Oxford Shows are now held 4 times a year and are popular with collectors/dealers from all over the UK. A new management team of Colleen Thomson, Sara Giller and Ross Whittaker aka. UK Mineral and Fossil Events Company has taken over the organisation after Paul Lowe sadly passed away last year.
George and I met up at the Show and were there bright and early as we had a bumper load of flats to pick up from Gary Atkinson. Not really part of the show but as were all there, saved some mileage!
Our first stop was the Tea Bar and no sooner had we sat down when we saw Nick Carruth. Nick has retired from dealing a few years ago and we hadn't seen since we dropped in on him in January 2016.
Early Doors and Nick Carruth
Nick has certainly not given up collecting and we had an interesting conversation about how much there is still to be discovered in Devon and Cornwall where he lives.
A bit early in the morning but there was a really interesting point I picked up from Nick. I suggested that it is great someone is rediscovering these old localities, and making them known again.
Nick's take was very interesting, in so much that all these places are recorded and exist in literature/maps/surveys and not "lost". The prospect of putting them into more accessible media, puts them at risk of destruction or being removed from accessibilty by landowners or Health and Safety.
I agree but on the other hand if these places dont get investigated learning and knowledge is stifled.
This paradox was illustrated a little later on with a conversation with Nick Eastwood, we were discussing minerals from Singing River Mine in Somerset.
Nick was showing me some smithsonite, sphalerite and galena on specimens collected many years ago, but also in his box was a specimen of crednerite from nearby Whatley Quarry.
It then became apparent that there was suite of "Merehead-like" minerals all from Whatley, in Nick's box.
These had all been collected by Nick from a small area crossing the quarry, but away from the main working face, subsequently backfilled and lost.
Nick was going to write a paper on this, but never did. He gave me a verbal list, and we could see some of the minerals in evidence. He also has (maybe had) blue ?diaboleite on mendipite from the same location.
As far as I know this is the only information on this, however Mike Brooke corroborated that manganese pods with rhodochrosite etc had appeared in both Whatley and Banwell, and we already knew about Durnford Quarry.
I think it would be fair to say that the perception is that minerals like mendipite are localised to a few places.
Anyway I was happy to come away with a crednerite self collected by Nick Eastwood from Whatley Quarry.
Nick Eastwood with lighting old and new!
Having completed the transfer of our flats to the car and return deliveries of e-Rocks purchases we set about looking round the show.
There did appear to be a Christmas buzz to the show, Mike Brooke (maybe unintentionally) was sporting a Christmas jumper, Waveney Minerals had little bowls of sweets and cakes and mince pies were being passed around elsewhere.
Christmas Jumper and Bowls of Sweets
Some of the stands had some Christmas colour, I particularly like the banded reds and whites of a number of Dulcote agate slices on the stand of Richard Belson and Martin Stolworthy.
As ever there were minerals and mineral conversations to be had in all quarters. Mineral wise, for the size of show the choice and diversity is pretty immense.
On the subject of old collections Neil Hubbard had a number of pieces, though not all Cornish from the AK Borland collection.
Borland was medical doctor who lived in Guildford Surrey, he had an extensive collection of Cornish minerals and was a well known figure in UK collecting. He died in 1999, his collection then passed to his son, and then a large portion was sold by London dealers Gregory Bottley and Lloyd.
One of my early excursions as TVM in 2002 was to purchase several Borland pieces from Brian Lloyd's stock. This included 3 liroconite specimens and a Derbyshire phosgenite - Happy Days!
Ross Whittaker and Enrico Rinaldi were set up together, and Ross was running an offer on his Greenlaws fluorite specimens. There were certainly some good pieces and Ross proudly told me the best, most expensive piece was on its way to a new home!
Ross, Enrico and some Greenlaws fluorite
Finally I stopped for a chat with the Nicholsons at Waveney Minerals. Paul is an avid collector and his resale specimens are excellently presented and priced. Apart from dabbling on eBay they have not done anything online to date.
Quite a short show report this time, but all told we were only at the show for 3 hours.
Finally George and I would like to put out a mention for show co-organiser Colleen Thomson, who through illness who was unable to be there today. Let's hope you are feeling better soon.
Exeter Hall, Oxford - farewell until March 2018!