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The Munich Micromounters and their Lithothek

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The starting point: „What will be the fate of my collection once I will no longer be able to collect? There are specimens of unique beauty and extreme rarity in the collection, pieces that cannot be replaced since some localities are closed or have been obliterated. All this might be thrown away because not many people realise the value and importance hidden in these little unimpressive boxes”.

Ästhetik
Ästhetik

Wulfenit von der Rowley-Mine in Arizona

Michiel Desittere
Extreme Seltenheit
Extreme Seltenheit

Kapundait von der Typlokalität

Hannes Osterhammer
Erloschene Fundstelle
Erloschene Fundstelle

Strengit von Hagendorf Süd

Peter Köhlen

Many micromounters are worried by these considerations and other factors. “My collection is an important part of my life and of my personality. If my collection dissapears, I too, will cease to exist without trace”.

We, the Micromounters of the Münchener Mineralienfreunde, are no exception. Many times the future of our collections was subject of our discussions and conversations. Children and grand children are not always appreciative of their parents’ or grandparents’ passion. They are not particularly interested in the micromount collections. Museums and universities, too, are not normally interested, except for collections of absolute top quality. So, what can we do to avoid the high quality collection being hidden away in a dusty or humid storage room or scattered and dumped at low cost?

In our group we found an answer to this question and we called it “Lithothek”. We are positive about the fact that many of our collecting friends all over the world do reflect on similar problems. We want to impart our experiences. We want to stimulate ideas and we want to be helpful in avoiding mistakes.

Lithothek, this means a collection of micromounts that does not belong to an individual person but to a group of collectors, establishing and maintaining it together. Of course, initially this group of collectors consisted exclusively of members of the micromounters group of the Münchener Mineralienfreunde.

Whenever we brought forward ideas we encountered a lot of scepticism. To a certain extent this scepticism was justified, since there were many questions and objections that we could not answer when we started our project, but during the years that followed many of the problems dissipated as they were solved.

So, we went for the pragmatic approach and just started to launch our project. Three very important circumstances were extremely relevant:

· Before we started, we had received a generous donation of systematic minerals. They could be the basis of our future collection. · An apartment was available in which we could work and keep the collection. · Some group members were prepared to come together on a regular basis in establishing and maintaining our common collection.

The solution of organisational questions dominated the first year of our work. Collections of micromounts tend to grow rapidly. If the specimens within the collection are not documented thouroughly, there will be no proper records. From the very beginning we eliminated the idea of documenting our collection in paper - based files.

Consequently, we had to look for a computer - based system to document our collection. It should be future-proof as well as powerful. We examined some software products in the market and finally took a decision in favour of a German Database System called M.Dat-Coll .

Users of this Database have a rapid access to all information connected with the individual specimens and with the collection as a whole. Information may be sorted and selected along any wanted aspect. Users will be informed about respective articles in journals related to localities or minerals. Photographs of minerals and localities may be documented. A very important aspect of the documentation is the place of storage for every specimen within the collection, so that a direct access is guaranteed.

We have used this Database for more than fourteen years and we are still pleased with its performance. New versions with additional minerals, localities and articles in journals are added on a yearly basis. We are in permanent contact with the developer, and if possible our ideas of improvement are included. The most important aspect of all is that we never had a crash.

Micromounts, too, need space, there is no problem with the individual specimen. However, the number of specimens may grow rapidly, therefore we decided from the very beginning that only specimens in boxes would be incorporated in the collection, the standard size being 28 x 28 x 22 mm. Since we never destroy a good specimen just to make it fit in a small box, these pieces we mount in larger boxes. But these are exceptions, often, with sadness, we do not add a good specimen in the collection, because it is too large.

The year 2000 was dedicated completely to define the organisational basis of our future common collection, then, in 2001, we finally started to include the first specimens.

Joint Work in the Home of Specimens : Since 2001 between six and ten members of our group will meet regularly at least once a week and for the whole day in our “home of specimens”. There we work hard and we take much pleasure in upgrading our collection. And there we work with the Lithothek in order to better the level of knowledge in the field of mineralogy.

Im "Stufenheim"
Im "Stufenheim"

Wir arbeiten an der Lithothek

M. Seitz

Many specimens are donated to us. First we have to check whether the mineral that originated from this locality does already exist within the collection. If new we incorporate and register it on the database. If not we check whether it should be admitted in addition to, or used to replace another specimen of minor quality , or used for swap or sale.

Common experiences and joint activities are very important to define a group. Our efforts helped to bring the Lithothek forward and to promote the feeling of fellowship in our group .

In the first phase of our work the focal point was to take into the collection the specimens of the initial donation and those, presented to us by numerous group members.

We were especially pleased with the fact that group members from the very beginning contributed actively to incorporate representative parts of their own collections into the Lithothek, some members have since left but their contributions survive and bear remembrance to our friends.

Collectors who did not belong to our group knew our project. Some of them were so positive about it that they decided to contribute to our Lithothek with specimens out of their own collections.

Klaus-Dieter Bausch,
Klaus-Dieter Bausch,

Sammler,Freund und Spender

M.Seitz

Some figures may illustrate the current volume of the Lithothek (January 2015)

· The collection comprises more than 40.000 specimens · About 3.700 different official IMA minerals are represented · The specimens are from more about 6.700 localities worldwide · Nearly 300 donators contributed to the actual stock of specimens

Switching to the page of the Münchener Micromounter will give you all donators be it within our group or externals, provided their specimens have yet been photographed.

Second phase: More than 40.000 pieces of 6.700 localities, these figures give the impression of “bits and pieces of whatever and wherever”. A collection of top quality should, however, cover specific topics as completely as possible and in a high standard of quality. We shall never achieve this target, if we limit our efforts to enter specimens that have been donated by chance.

In order to obtain a high level of quality in the Lithothek, we started to target specific topics, especially specific regions or localities. Experts assist to verify the correct identification of our specimens and their level of quality. In cooperation with these experts we discover and –if possible- fill gaps. In our “home of specimens” we bring together the experts, our collection and all members of our group who are interested in the topic to be discussed.

There are regions and localities where it is difficult to find experts that we can invite to visit us. In such situations we offer sponsorships to interested friendship collectors. However, they can accomplish such a sponsorship only if they are informed about the stock in the Lithothek. This precondition can be assured by means of Internet and Electronic Data Processing.

Initially we did not intend to establish a systematic collection. However, there are about 3.700 different minerals so it was obvious to pursue this target, too. Many minerals are still missing within the Lithothek. This deficiency tends to grow constantly since the IMA publishes new minerals on a regular basis, normally these new minerals are very rare. The probability that they will be donated is extremely small. Hence, if we want to be serious in building a systematic collection, we have to acquire them by means of swap or purchase.

Third Phase: Important sources of information for our work are appropriate Internet-Portal, for example MinDat.Org or the German based “Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas”. However, we do not only extract information out of these portals. We contribute actively to improve their contents, especially the “Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas”. This means support for the portals, and at the same time it is very useful for the Lithothek: The more we unveil our project to a broader public, the more we shall achieve its targets.

When we contribute to the „Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas“, we enter information about the mineralogy and geology of specific localities as well as our experiences when we visited them. Moreover, it is important to publish photos of the locality as well as photos of minerals that have been collected there.

We have started to photograph the specimens in our collection. Fortunately there are some members in our group who engage themselves as enthusiastic photographers. It is an enormous challenge to photograph a stock of specimens that is so large and constantly growing. Thus, we are happy to have in addition to our group members some external friends who help us to accomplish this task.

Actually more than 8.000 specimens have been photographed and 7.000 of them documented in the “Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas”. So, much work is done, but much more work has still to be done. Of course we are interested to show photos of aesthetically nice specimens, but, it is equally important for us to enter photos of other, may be less aesthetic, minerals, so we can help other collectors to identify their own specimens.

Each photo, documented in the “Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas” is shown together with our Lithothek, with the mineral, with the locality and with the donator of the specimen.

The donors, too, are presented in the “Mineralienatlas-Fossilienatlas”. We show them (if they agree) with a photo and their collecting profile. One of our most important initial targets is to keep alive the remembrance of collectors and their collections. Thus, the circle is complete.

The foundation of the association: When we started our project, one of the basic targets was to ensure the future of our individual collections. However, what is about the future of the common collection, the Lithothek?

The more the collection grows, the more it became inevitable to find a legal form of organisation: Legal acts of any kind had to be concluded. Thus, responsible persons had to be found who could act on behalf of the Lithothek. Some examples are: A tenancy agreement had to be signed for our apartment, we needed Computer-Hardware and Software, office equipment and supplies, we wanted to spend money for the purchase of systematic minerals.

We decided to solve the problem by the foundation of a supporting association. This was done in 2008. Practically all members of our group joined this association as founding members. It is evident that we all are and will remain members of the “Münchener Mineralienfreunde”. The cooperation between the two clubs is defined: The ”Münchener Mineralienfreunde” nominates a curator who collaborates in the Lithothek and reports regularly to the Board of the Club.

As a result, no individual person is responsible for the Lithothek, but the elected bodies will decide on all issues. The foundation of this club proved to be a very good decision: We moved in a new apartment which will be available for the Club on a very low-cost basis as long as the Club exists and works actively on or with the collection. Legal acts of any kind are performed on behalf of the association, authorities and responsiblities being clearly defined in the club’s statutes.

And the next phases? When we started our project, we could not answer a lot of questions posed. Later those questions became important, and we found suitable solutions. We hope that this will not change in the forthcoming years. We hope that the Lithothek will remain the most important project of our group.

Hereafter you'll find photographs of specimens in our collection. All phtographs are linked to the mineral, to the location and to the donator. The numbers behind the photographs indicate the number of the piece in our collection. If you want to know which mineral of which location is represented in our collection (and of course: what is still missing), you may download this information in an Excel-Format Bestandsliste (3MB - Situation of May 2017).

Using our Bilderrolle you may scroll easily through our collection.

Bilder (8909 Bilder gesamt)

tafeliger blauer Langit mit Delafossit
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511426694): 8
tafeliger blauer Langit mit Delafossit (SNr: A038582)

von der Mine Le Coreux, Ardennen, Luxemburg, Belgien, BB = 2,4 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-23
Mehr   MF 
schwarz-metallischer oktaedrischer Spinell
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511369214): 25
schwarz-metallischer oktaedrischer Spinell (SNr: A038579)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, B = 1,6 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
Würfeliger messingfarbener Pyrit mit Magnetit
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511369093): 20
Würfeliger messingfarbener Pyrit mit Magnetit (SNr: A038578)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 1,5 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
Farbloser, prismatischer Phillipsit-K mit Garronit-Ca
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368931): 30
Farbloser, prismatischer Phillipsit-K mit Garronit-Ca (SNr: A038577)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 3,8 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
Paulingit mit Calcit, rhombendodekaedrisch und farblos
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368810): 22
Paulingit mit Calcit, rhombendodekaedrisch und farblos (SNr: A038576)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 1,5 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
nadelig-büscheliger farbloser Natrolith auf Phillipsit
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368697): 17
nadelig-büscheliger farbloser Natrolith auf Phillipsit (SNr: A038575)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 3,0 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
Natrolith auf Phillipsit, stängelig und farblos
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368586): 12
Natrolith auf Phillipsit, stängelig und farblos (SNr: A038574)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 3,1 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
wirrnadeliger farbloser Mesolith
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368463): 10
wirrnadeliger farbloser Mesolith (SNr: A038573)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 14,0 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 
feinnadeliger farbloser Mesolith mit Phillipsit und Calcit
Aufrufe (Bild: 1511368326): 14
feinnadeliger farbloser Mesolith mit Phillipsit und Calcit (SNr: A038572)

vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, vom Steinbruch Höwenegg bei Immendingen, Baden-Württemberg, BB = 14,0 mm

Sammlung: Lithothek der Münchener Micromounter
Copyright: Hannes Osterhammer
Beitrag: Münchener Micromounter 2017-11-22
Mehr   MF 

Einordnung