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Franconia Meteorite Finds, Who Owns Them?


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Don't forget JB,

They are trying dang hard to make it 50 years :sneer: that means we are frikin' antiquities (handsome ones) in the flesh! Ya gotta just love this hobby.

:wub: Bill

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Astrobleme,

In your reply to JOHNB your said,

I've tried to help people working in the field understand why their specimens don't resemble meteorites but most folks are jealous of my accomplishments or in denial for their failures.

I will respond to this statement in defense of those you have willingly tried to insulted.

You have yet to try to help anyone here on this forum. As far as I see it you have only came to this forum to stir up arguments by expounding you self inferred expertise on all subjects. None of which has impressed to many here, if any at all.

You also inferred that folks here are jealous of your accomplishments. So far all you have accomplished is to stir up S#*T. I haven't seen an original thought post yet.

As far as our forum members being in denial of their failures, well I guess they all can't be a brilliant as you feel you are.

If you came here looking for respect on your self imposed expertise by attempting to belittle others, you have failed miserably.

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Hi Roger and Bill

Geeze Roger calm down :ROFL: !!! Heck we just hunt train parts :D !! Just wait till I tell the curator at the Flandrau there exibiting train parts :whaaaa: !! Billy my pms are almost empty but I've added spam filters for porn and weirdos :nono: !! Geeze maybe thats why it won't except your pms :shrug: !!! Hey if you can't make your forum work :hmmmmm: ?? Just what do you expect me to do with it :( ?? Happy Huntin John B.

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Hey JB,

I usually like to be insulted to my face. You know, sorta like the way you do. :hahaha: All I can say is that if someone presents himself as an expert, then he should make intellegent statements. Professing expertise about the Franconia meteorites, and never having seen or been there is not a wise thing to do. ;)

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I don't want to see you get banned ASTROBLEME. I enjoy your contributions. I think you're being too sure of your train theory though.

You said many people are jealous of your accomplishments (I assume you are referring to accomplishments relating to meteorites). I was curious which accomplishments people were jealous of.

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Astrobleme,

Although I agree the information that is being discussed about the legallities of ownership of meteorite finds is great for learning. I would have to agree with most others on this forum that the method of delivery leaves alot to be desired. This same information could have been presented with out the argessive/ attacking style of delivery for discussion. :twocents: :hmmmmm:

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  • 6 years later...

The new laws have changed the ownership to 'finders keepers' for anything up to 10 lbs per year. If you want to keep more than 10 lbs, sell some or keep a very big one and get absolute legal title to it then apply for a permit. You should probably not say you already have found it but you might need the permit if you go over 10 lbs because it is your favorite hobby. If anyone has obtained one of these first permits can you tell us the procedure?

I have taken both gold and meteorites to a BLM office since the passage of the new laws and they have told me to keep both. The meteorite was found north of the railroad tracks in Franconia and the BLM personnel were told this. There was some internal discussion about the hunting method since the Wilderness Area is under a land management plan but they have since said that in the Franconia area that hunting meteorites is allowed and that metal detectors are allowed to be used to find meteorites.

Gold Basin wilderness is still off limits for hunting and the BLM does not regulate that land.

Now, what would the status of ownership be for a meteorite found BEFORE the new law? That title would probably be in limbo but with the new law changes it would not seem likely that the BLM would enforce ownership rights upon those who possess meteorites found on BLM land.

If you were to consider this similar to 'title insurance' on a house (even tho a meteorite would be later classified as personal property) then there would probably be an exception to the policy of title on every BLM found meteorite before the new law. It would probably not be a problem to transfer the meteorite because there is no longer an incentive to take possession by the government.

This new law should allow someone to give a 'birth certificate' to any BLM found meteorite. Meteorites found on private property must have a 'bill of sale' in order to perfect the title or the meteorite will just enter into commerce without such absolute title or GPS location implied or needed by the buyer.

Would someone pay more for a meteorite if they have the GPS location of the find? I think so and those people who buy 'new falls' will attest to this. They get permission to hunt from the land owners and a bill of sale for any finds. This is important if one can't demonstrate that their find came from a common or public area.

Someone here may have knowledge and experience which directly contradicts by conclusions. Please feel free to tell us how the new law changes the discussions from 2006 or my conclusions.

Mitchel

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Mitchel, it is not a "new law", it is an advisory memo, a BLM policy. There is no law here. Only meteorites found on BLM managed lands after September 10, 2012 and removed from those lands with the intent to be sold commercially are covered by the policy. Note that the memo has an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2013, so who knows what happens then.

Twink, I think as long as the BLM didn't make the cake it's ok. :)

Edited by Mikestang
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haha Ok ... but do you think it is a finders keepers situation there now which transfers official title to what is found?

And ... we don't know where the cake fragments came from ... BLM or not BLM ... :)

I also don't have a problem with either cake because I didn't get one in my pieces.

Mitchel

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Hi all!

Other meteorites have a history with the Smithsonian as well. So back to Franconia....

Back when meteorites from Franconia were interesting to science, many many (more than most have ever seen) were turned into the Smithsonian. If fact, they received so many, they did not want anymore and asked that the hunters stop sending them in.

Anymore, meteorites have become a means to feed the pockets of a very few (can you find a media event where the value is not discussed?) and it's had it's effects on policy as we have all seen with the recent BLM guideline clarifications.

I think the new BLM guidelines are very unclear in regards to ownership. I do not believe they have given up any current ownership laws. They did make it clear that for at least under the science permit, curated meteorites will remain the ownership of the BLM.

It will be interesting in future falls how the BLM will enforce their new guidelines. Seems to me anyone could make a phone call and file a complaint that commercial hunters or scientist are in the field collecting meteorites without permits and they would have to respond, shutting them down.

Finally, when it comes down to it, none of us own anything. We possess material things while we are on earth a very short time. Free your minds of the need to own something and you will feel much better. It truely is a human flaw.

Jim

Edited by Desertsunburn
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The new laws have changed the ownership to 'finders keepers' for anything up to 10 lbs per year. If you want to keep more than 10 lbs, sell some or keep a very big one and get absolute legal title to it then apply for a permit. You should probably not say you already have found it but you might need the permit if you go over 10 lbs because it is your favorite hobby. If anyone has obtained one of these first permits can you tell us the procedure?

Mitchel,

I have to comment on this. This really does need to be made REALLY CLEAR. There are NO NEW LAWS.

It is absolutely false to think the new BLM guidelines are LAWS. They are not. They are guidelines (from some person/s interpertation) for BLM offices in accordance with 43 CFR 8365.1-5 which as been around a long time.

So please stop calling these guidelines laws!!!

I had posted info when this first started on the procedure to obtain a permit. Cant remember if I did that on Nuggetshooter or Desertsunburn. I will look in the files section of Desertsunburn and see if they are posted there. If not, I will find them and post them. Basically it's the matter of obtainining a 2920-1 Land Use Application and Permit and filling it out. The fee structure was also posted and when I did this I was told in AZ by a BLM representative the processing time was roughly 165 days or there abouts...cant remember the exact number...but I did not just pull this BS out of a hat.

Regards,

Jim

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What if a person finds a Gold Basin or Franconia in a piece of chocolate cake?

Twink

Hi Twink,

I was in my legal right giving you those meteorites for the cake. We did not barter (note: trading is bartering) or trade or exchange anything but pure enjoyment of sharing. You want some more for next year?

Jim

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Hi Twink,

I was in my legal right giving you those meteorites for the cake. We did not barter (note: trading is bartering) or trade or exchange anything but pure enjoyment of sharing. You want some more for next year?

Jim

Jim, the BLM defines "barter" using the IRS's definition - simply trading with someone is not bartering. Here is an excerpt from an email I received from Lucy Kuizon (BLM National Paleontologist) prior to her retirement last year:

"First, for the sake of clarification, the BLM uses the definition of “barter” as formally described by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There are several types of barter, some of which requires the filing of forms to report certain types of exchanges that are considered by the IRS to be reportable income by both parties in the exchange. Usually these parties are small businesses or sole proprietors. Here is an IRS link for reference: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Four-Facts-About-Bartering

So, “non-commercial trading of meteorites” where (1) it is a one-on-one trade or exchange, and (2) there is no IRS reporting requirement for tax purposes, this is appropriately part of casual or hobby collecting. This is considered personal non-commercial use."

Edited by Mikestang
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Michael,

I am talking about commercial hunters and in particular unequal trades where a profit is derived. Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Usually there is no exchange of cash. However, the fair market value of the goods and services exchanged must be reported as income by both parties. If your intent is to find a meteorite and trade it for something else on a regular basis, that's bartering.

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Commercial hunters, gotcha, that makes sense. Certainly nothing commercial about making a cake and giving it away! The quote I posted was in response to me asking if trading a meteorite I found with another friend for a different meteorite would still be ok, so I was glad to hear that it was. So just don't trade with a business or institution and you're ok. :)

Edited by Mikestang
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Thanks Jim. I was just going by what I was told but I realize now that there would have been many updates to anything told to me in November. The other night I was doing a search and I started reading this old thread and I thought now with the new guidelines the issues could be revisited.

I just want to interpret the new guidelines as a finders keepers event. If I find it then I can keep it and I get title. I just have to jump through different hoops if I find more than 10 lbs which I think will be quite unlikely but there is a chance of a single meteorite being greater than 10 lbs. What should one do if they find a big one?

Mitchel

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Hi Jim and all,

As you probably guessed I was just inserting a little humor when I mentioned finding meteorites in a cake. And yes- can always use more Franconias for the cake(s) next year. If we get enough Holbrook donations could do one cake half Franconia/half Holbrook along with the usual Gold Basin cake. I still have some Gold Basins to use.

Twink

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Mitchel,

Here is the law that the BLM is basing their guidelines on. It could be argued some of it does not apply to meteorites....but that is for the lawyers to hash out. I highlighted some key wording...

8365.1-5


Property and resources.


(a) On all public
lands, unless otherwise authorized, no person shall;


(1) Willfully deface, disturb, remove or destroy any personal property, or structures, or any scientific, cultural, archaeological or historic resource,
natural object or area;


(2) Willfully deface, remove or destroy plants or their parts, soil, rocks or minerals, or
cave resources, except as permitted under paragraph (b) or © of this paragraph; or


(3) Use on the public lands explosive, motorized or mechanical devices, except metal
detectors, to aid in the collection of specimens permitted under paragraph (b) or © of this paragraph.


(b) Except on developed
recreation sites and areas, or where otherwise prohibited and posted,
it is permissible to collect from the public lands reasonable amounts
of the following for noncommercial purposes:


(1) Commonly
available renewable resources such as flowers, berries, nuts, seeds,
cones and leaves;


(2) Nonrenewable
resources such as rock and mineral specimens, common invertebrate and
common plant fossils, and semiprecious gemstones;


(3) Petrified wood as
provided under subpart ;


(4) Mineral materials
as provided under subpart ; and


(5) Forest products
for use in campfires on the public lands. Other collection of forest
products shall be in accordance with the provisions of Group 5500 of
this title.


© The collection of
renewable or nonrenewable resources from the public lands for sale or
barter to commercial dealers may be done only after obtaining a
contract or permit from an authorized officer in accordance with part
3600 or 5400 of this chapter.


[48 FR 36384, Aug. 10, 1983; 67 FR
68778, Nov. 13, 2002; 75 FR 27455, May 17, 2010]

Edited by Desertsunburn
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Jim,

Ok, thank you. I was trying to determine ownership as it relates to the real estate laws. Real estate can be sold with or without mineral rights as you know. Generally real estate which depends on the state laws is considered things 'attached to the land' but something like a rock or a meteorite becomes personal property if removed from the land. Title to those items is obtained when the property was bought from the government or another individual.

What you have shown me here are the limited rights and guidelines one has in connection with BLM lands for use of that land as well as use of personal property on that land which has separate conditions for things considered artifacts and meteorites. It can be even more limited depending upon the land use plan in effect where the meteorite was found.

I guess it is really not possible to determine what would happen if someone now found a huge meteorite. Even tho the guidelines have changed from the time of the Old Woman find that would certainly be a case the government would use to argue their rights to keep it away from the finders.

I'm not a lawyer so I will just go back to hunting for the things and if I find a big one THEN I will discuss this topic again. The fun is in the finding.

Mitchel

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Jim,

Ok, thank you. I was trying to determine ownership as it relates to the real estate laws. Real estate can be sold with or without mineral rights as you know. Generally real estate which depends on the state laws is considered things 'attached to the land' but something like a rock or a meteorite becomes personal property if removed from the land. Title to those items is obtained when the property was bought from the government or another individual.

What you have shown me here are the limited rights and guidelines one has in connection with BLM lands for use of that land as well as use of personal property on that land which has separate conditions for things considered artifacts and meteorites. It can be even more limited depending upon the land use plan in effect where the meteorite was found.

I guess it is really not possible to determine what would happen if someone now found a huge meteorite. Even tho the guidelines have changed from the time of the Old Woman find that would certainly be a case the government would use to argue their rights to keep it away from the finders.

I'm not a lawyer so I will just go back to hunting for the things and if I find a big one THEN I will discuss this topic again. The fun is in the finding.

Mitchel

What I posted is only a part of the entire law that affects us. Google the CFR and read part 6! This certainly affects everyone, not just meteorite hunters.

------Soap Box on------

Just keep in mind the odds of finding a meteorite are so far out there, it's moot. Finding a 10 pound meteorite is even futher out there. I would not loose any sleep over this. Until they start going after the commercial hunters, which they are clearly not doing, Hobbyist have nothing to worry about. In fact, at places like Franconia, they can not enforce the boundries of the wilderness area..with motorcycles, trucks, atvs driving off-road all over the wilderness. Meteorite hunters are less than 1% of their worries.

I might note the AFTER the airing of the Meteorite Men at Franconia, the central road was gate was wired shut and a horse gate was installed.

If you want to worry about meteorite hunting, you might consider worrying about all the attention a very small minority of dealers are giving the media! Getting in front of a camera for that "I am a meteorite God" feeling is hurting all of the hunters out there. In fact, some seek out ways to get on TV! Best way to do this is simply stop supporting these dealers and the hype. Buy from dealers that do not buy into this BS...and there are more of them out there than the media types!

Scientists benefit from this as they get their funding via political means and I understand all that....but the hunters do not benefit from it.

And cover your holes! How hard is that???? On my last hunt, I spent more time covering up other people's holes than I did my own. Come on people!

-----Soap Box off-----

Jim

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