A lucky German homeowner who found an 8lb meteorite in his back garden is set to sell it for an out-of-this-world EUR 200,000.
Astonished Mahmut Sahin could barely believe it when the 4.5 billion-year-old space rock crashed into his yard in the town of Elmshorn, Schleswig-Holstein State, Germany, last month (25th April).
It was only when his science-mad daughter remembered that meteors are magnetic that he realised that a fortune had dropped into his lap.
Mahmut, 47, explained: “At first we thought that the hole in the garden was caused by a gas leak or a chemical reaction and called the fire brigade.
“They could quickly give the all-clear. We didn’t think of a meteorite.
“It was my daughter who came up with the idea of doing a test with magnets.
“She had heard that a meteorite is magnetic hours after impact, normal rocks are not.”
Mahmut told local media how his daughter brought out two magnets from her pinboard and tried them on the rock.
He said: “They actually stuck to the stone!”
Experts say the rock had travelled millions of miles through space from as far away as Jupiter.
Mahmut says his wife and daughter were drinking coffee when they heard a terrific bang in their back garden.
But as they rushed outside the pair were stunned to find a huge rock half buried in the ground.
Now Mahmut is screening offers for the ultra-rare rock from all over the world.
He said: “We received international offers by phone and in person. We received several offers from Germany, but also from the USA, for example.
“Winning the lottery would probably have been the more likely way to get money.
“The highest is currently around EUR 200,000 [GBP 174,045]. We’ll just wait and see.
“Of course, it would also be important to us that the meteorite could be seen by others, at least temporarily. Maybe in a museum.”
Carsten Jonas, 57, from the Meteors Working Group – which investigates space phenomena – estimates that the meteorite is around 4.5 billion years old.
He also revealed that it may once have weighed more than 100 kilogrammes (220 lbs) in space.
He said: “This is the largest meteorite that ever struck in Schleswig-Holstein.
“In 1962, one hit a roof in Kiel, weighing about a kilogramme.
“In 2019 we had an impact, but it only weighed 28 grams.
“The Elmshorn meteorite comes from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It has travelled several million kilometres.
“The special thing about this meteorite is that it was observed to fall. And that too in an inhabited area.”
Specialists from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) were called in to evaluate the space rock through 3D scans to better understand its movement and origin.
Mahmut revealed that the meteorite is currently kept safe in a special deposit box, and added: “We fell in love with the stone.
“That’s why we want to make it accessible to other people.”