I am always happy to be able to combine two of my
hobbies -- in this case,
meteorite collecting and stamp collecting.
So far I have located only the following stamps
commemorating meteorites or meteorite impacts.
If you know of any others, please
let me know.
You may click on the thumbnail images of each stamp to see a larger image. I have also provided the Scott catalog number for each stamp if I know it.
On January 1, 1998 the Comoro Islands issued a sheet set of nine stamps depicting meteorites and impact-generated materials including a Martian meteorite; an Antarctic meteorite; a C2 carbonaceous chondrite; an achondrite; three types of iron meteorites; three tektites; and an olivine rich chondrite.
The current Scott 2000 catalog does not list this set of stamps.
On January 1, 1996 the French Southern and Antarctic Territories issued a stamp commemorating the micrometeorites of Cape Prud'homme, Antarctica. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 221. You may also view the first day cover.
Many meteorites have been discovered in Antarctica because they stand out so easily on the ice and snow. Dust-sized micrometeorites have been collected at Cape Prud'homme located opposite the Station Dumont d'Urville. The accumulated ice is melted and filtered, leaving the tiny meteorite fragments visible.
In 1994 Gabon issued three miniature sheets of twelve displaying prehistoric fauna. The sheet shown here includes the following animals: Sordes, Diplodocus, Eudimorphodon, Dimetrodon, Anuroenathus, Deinonychus, Pachycephalosaurus, Tricerotops, Hadrosaurus, Meganeura, Longisquama, Oviraptor, and Monoclonius. The background depicts the giant comet or meteorite which struck at the end of the Cretaceous. The Scott catalog number for this sheet is 800.
On January 20, 1978 Greenland issued a stamp to commemorate the Cape York meteorites. The stamp depicts tools crafted by Eskimos from the meteoritic iron against a background of the Widmanstatten pattern exhibited by the Cape York meteorites when etched by acid and polished. You can also view the first day cover. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 107. See Bradley E. Schaefer's article Meteors that changed the world for more information about the Cape York meteorites.
In 1999 Indonesia issued a tektite stamp as part of a series on minerals. Tektites are a type of impact glass formed during large impact events. The force of the meteorite impact melts sandstone into glass and lifts it outside the Earth's atmosphere. As the glass drops rain back to Earth, their passage through the atmosphere shapes them into a variety of forms such as spheres, cylinders, dumbbells, and buttons. These glassy drops eventually cool and solidify into tektites. A few scientists still believe that at least some tektites were formed in lunar volcanic eruptions and ejected to Earth by the force of the eruptions.
This tektite stamp is Scott catalog number 1766. Other stamps in the series (Scott numbers 1764-1767) depict chrysopal (1764), petrified wood (1765), and amethyst (1767). The stamps for tektite, amethyst, and chrysopal also appear together on a souvenir sheet which is Scott catalog number 1767a.
In 1998 Madagascar issued two souvenir sheets displaying meteorites.
The first sheet displays three meteorites against a background showing two dinosaurs and the giant terrestrial meteorite impact at the end of the Cretaceous. The three meteorites shown are Imilac, a pallasite from Chile; Alvord, an iron meteorite (type IVA) from Lyon County, Iowa, USA; and an Antarctic lunar meteorite. The Scott catalog number for this sheet is 1350.
The second sheet displays within the main stamp area the 1.9 kilogram Martian meteorite ALH84001 found in 1984 on the Allan Hills ice field in Antarctica. Some scientists suggest this meteorite contains possible traces of biological activity. The background of the souvenir sheet portrays a giant impact which may represent one of those on Mars which blasted material from its surface into space. Some of this material eventually fell to Earth as meteorites, like ALH84001. See NASA's web page on Meteorites From Mars for more information. The Martian meteorite is surrounded by two lunar meteorites and three terrestrial rocks. The Scott catalog number for this sheet is 1351.
On October 14, 1986 Mauritania issued several stamps commemorating the return of Comet P/Halley, better known as Halley's Comet. One of these stamps, Scott catalog number 620, portrays the British astronomer Sir William Huggins (1824-1910) and the launch of the Giotto spacecraft atop the Ariane rocket. Huggins helped to develop the combined use of the telescope, spectroscope, and photography. He died in 1910, the year of the previous passage of Halley's Comet through the inner solar system. The European Space Agency launched Giotto to intercept Halley's Comet. On March 13, 1986 Giotto passed within 596 km of Halley's nucleus and returned the first close-up photos of a comet nucleus. Later in 1992 the spacecraft passed within 200 km of Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup.
The Scott catalog does not list the imperforate minisheet version of Scott 620. The minisheet frames the Huggins stamp with an artist's depiction of the giant impact at the end of the Cretaceous. That impact may have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
In 1988 South West Africa (now Namibia) issued a set of four stamps commemorating famous landmarks in that country as painted by Johan von Niekerk. Among these was the Hoba Meteorite, the heaviest known meteorite at around 60 tons. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 601. The Hoba meteorite still lies where it originally fell. You can also view the first day cover. See the Grootfontein travel page for more about the Hoba meteorite.
On November 20, 1957 the Soviet Union issued a stamp to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite shower. The stamp reproduces a painting of the Sikhote-Alin event by P. J. Medvedev showing the lengthy trail. Medvedev witnessed the Sikhote-Alin shower first-hand. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 1995. The Sikhote-Alin impactor exploded in the atmosphere at a height of about 5.5 kilometers. Fragments landed in an ellipical area between one and two kilometers in size. Over 8,000 iron meteorites with a total weight of over 28 tons have so far been collected from the impact zone. See Roy Gallant's article about the Sikhote-Alin meteorite shower for more information about the Sikhote-Alin fall.
On August 12, 1958 the Soviet Union issued a stamp to commemorate both the 50th anniversary of the Tunguska impact event in June, 1908 and the seventy-fifth anniversary of Leonard A. Kulik's birth. Kulik led several scientific expeditions to Tunguska, including the first one in 1927. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 2088. The exact composition of the Tunguska object is still debated. Some believe it was a stony body, while other believe it was a cometary fragment. In either case, the object exploded in the atmosphere with a force equivalent to between ten and twenty megatons of TNT. The resulting blast wave leveled hundreds of square kilometers of forest. See Roy Gallant's article about Tunguska for more information about the Tunguska impact.
In 1998 the Ukraine issued a stamp depicting the Perseid meteor shower as seen from space. The Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 12 each year. Comet 1862 III is the parent object of the Perseid debris stream. The Scott catalog number for this stamp is 330. This isn't a meteorite stamp, but it illustrates the fall of meteoric material which may become a meteorite if it survives being crushed and burned during its passage through the Earth's atmosphere. Most cometary material, being so friable, doesn't usually survive atmospheric transit, and burns up with a bright flash high in the atmosphere as shown in the stamp image.
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Last modified by pib on January 10, 2000.