I found the warning signs above a bit ironic...


#2 Pigeons!!!

I usually consider these fat little flying dinosaurs to be mildly entertaining at the least, and very tasty at the best. But, the Ramada at Denver left me with a completely different opinion regarding its pigeons; these are nasty, aggressive, overly reproductive, dirty little beasts that must be exterminated. They have overtaken the facility; their feathers fall like snow and their poop falls like rain! Those of us left from earlier days simply laughed at the whole situation, took a few photos and notes for posterity, and moved our tables and chairs under the remaining trees, away from the pool-chasm, and protected from anything falling from the dirty birds...


Elmwood Mine, Smith County, Tennessee, USA

 Calcite is 15cm tip-to-tip

                            #DE-001          $10,000


Wudong Mine, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China

 9.1 X 6.1 X 4.6cm

                                     #DE-005          $5,500

7 Specimens added October 4, 2016

For the second year, Apex shared a case with Ken Coleman (left; Tiny Miner Minerals and Exploration). Ken specializes in ore specimens, and will become a featured dealer on the Apex website shortly. The upper-three shelves of the case are Apex; see the close-up below. The final case in the room belonged to the operators of the now defunct Rowley Mine in Arizona. These were the last few of their pieces (bottom right).


Merelani, Arusha, Tanzania

3.7 X 2.8 X 1.1cm

                               #DE-004          $6,500

Wikipedia image

photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection

Scott (left) brought in a strong array again this fall, but anchored the room with his own killer displays. He's been digging the Virgin Valley opal fields of Northern Nevada for years, and his finds make one of the most unique displays at any show:


Pasto Bueno, Ancash Department, Peru

6.2 X 4.4 X 3.6cm

                                    #DE-007          $4,500

#1 No Pool!!!

Not only was the pool empty (right), but the ground crew was forced to improvise a quick solution, comprising 1) stretching rope across the chasm in a grid-like fashion, 2) pulling an old pool-cover across the rope matrix, and 3) "securing" the entire contraption by drilling holes into the stamped-concrete surrounding the pool at whatever point the tie-downs for the pool-cover reached. The entire debacle ended with a false sense of security for anyone walking near the "pool," as I definitely would have fallen through the false cover if I had been pushed-over, and would have ended up conking my skull on the concrete bottom after a 15-foot fall, adding the depth at the deep end to my 6+foot frame. Imagine if you, your significant other, or your child had accidentally fallen through this unmarked danger...

Far-left photo shows the a line of pigeon droppings and scattered feathers on closing day; staff had cleaned this just the day before. Left-center is a view of the terrace below my room, with pigeon droppings covering my air-conditioning unit. Above is a photo of the same ledge , emphasizing the unmitigated colonization of this place. 


Paprok, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan

 7.4 X 3.3 X 4.1cm

                               #DE-003          $4,500


Lemon-Tree Pocket, Coronel Murta, Minas Gerais, Brazil

 3.6 X 2.8 X 1.3cm

                                #DE-002          SOLD

photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection

Denver Report and New Elite​ Specimens


Apex has begun rotating world-class specimens with professional cleaners as necessary (we do most of our own work) and then to The Sunnywood Collection for customized lucite bases for final presentation and protection against earthquake damage. The following seven specimens are from our first rotation with Sunnywood, which we picked up at Fall Denver; they are currently working on 17 more bases for us, with another 20-or-so planned by Tucson. Note: the descriptions are very limited for now, and will be expanded when we add these and additional specimens to the Elite Specimens Gallery in November...

Scott's other showcase (right) featured metallic minerals and native species from myriad global localities, including the Murray (NV, USA) stibnite and golds from Australia shown below. 

Fall Denver 2016 Show Report (scroll-down for specimens, photos, and details):

Happily back home and reflecting on this year's Fall Denver Show, I'm left with a few notable memories and observations, which I'll keep short to get to some photos and details:

1. The show continues to evolve, for better and worse, but the physical separation between venues will continue to stress collectors who have limited time and/or ability to cover the growing distances between the various hotels and convention centers that host different parts of the show.

2. Internet sales began impacting shows in the late 1990s, but by the mid-2000s, the shows regained the crown, as most "old-school" collectors and dealers pushed the idea that a specimen should to be seen in person before purchase. At the time I agreed, but there is a major shift occurring now; 1) high-fidelity photographs and real-time communication available through various devices, 2) websites using better photography and more accurate descriptions, and 3) more limited budgets available to many retired/retiring "old-schoolers" (no offense intended, as hope to be one myself eventually!), as well as the physical and financial drain to simply attend the various venues are all leading floods of collectors away from shows and back online.

3. For those collectors/dealers who have the ability to clean and prepare your own specimens, this was one of the best shows in memory for picking up great material. The Ramada and Coliseum venues, in particular, were loaded with fantastic things at reasonable prices. Note: the Ramada show moves to the Crown Plaza next year (more on this below).

Now, onto a few details, beginning with our Showroom, a necessary stop for any serious collector...

photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection


Annabel Lee Mine, Harris Creek District, Hardin County, Illinois

 9.6 X 5.5 X 4.3cm

                                      #DE-006          $2,500

Paul William Bell (left) is the world's foremost expert on collector diamond crystals, bar none, and generally holds one or two shelves in Scott's main showcase. No exception this year, and also no exception that for several year's running, curators for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. made additional acquisitions from Paul for the federal collection. Below are a few shots of my favorite pieces from his display.

Scott also assembled a very "pink" shelf of rhodochrosite etc. specimens from around the world (right). I thought the shelf provided excellent "pop" for the case, and helped to ignite his display of golden Meikle barites on the bottom shelf (on the bottom for weight, not importance!).

Final thoughts: good-bye to the Ramada Plaza! Note: I saved this until the end so anyone can skip the negative...

While many were nostalgic regarding the closure of the once mighty venue at the Ramada Plaza (formerly several different names), it was a "good-riddance" for me. I've only been setting up here since 2005, and really never saw what others reminisce about; it's always been a shabby holdover from an older generation, held together by adhesive tape and superglue, waiting for proper management. Alas, the management never materialized, and the hotel has gone from simply "crappy" to actually dangerous! I arrived a day earlier than normal, and was able to witness and document the following:

photograph courtesy of The Sunnywood Collection

photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection

I could add a #3, 4, and 5 to the list, but it seems redundant, so instead, I want to leave-off with a few thanks and positive memories of this place: many thanks to Scott Kleine and John Cornish, in particular, and a special thanks to Donovan for remaining respectful and in command at the same time, while also dealing with an international crowd with widely divergent expectations. Thanks also to Marty Zinn and his crew, etc. (especially Rose, Regina, and Laura) for always putting on a great show, regardless of hotel management, weather, terrorist attacks, or any other challenge the universe has thrown at them thus far!

photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection

Ramada Room 124

It was a bittersweet ending for our final show in Room 124 at the Ramada Plaza, where Scott Kleine (Great Basin Minerals) had spent nearly two decades working with too many famous mineral dealers to name in order to earn his long-held spot on the first floor. Over the years, Scott has assembled a co-op of dealers/collectors underneath his umbrella. We all work together at Denver and Tucson, as well, so visit us there at the Hotel Tucson City Center (formerly the Inn Suites). In the meantime, If you have any questions about any specimens you see in these photos, please feel free to email marcus@apxfm.com.


photograph courtesy of The Sunywood Collection