Two pistols carved out of a meteorite found in Sweden in 1906 are expected to command a price as high as $1.5 million at an auction next month.
Gunsmith Lou Biondo of Business End Customs was commissioned to fashion the working firearms out of the meteorite, which is believed to be up to 4.5-billion-years-old.
This is the first time an item of this kind has been sold or auctioned, and it’s anticipated the pair will go for between $1-$1.5 million.
The event organized by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions will take place on July 20. which marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The reserve amount on the listing is set at $900,000. If the pistols don’t sell as a pair they’ll be offered individually immediately following the closing of the set auction.
The reserve amount on the individual firearms if $450,000, with individual estimates for sale ranging between $500,000 and $700,000.
The Model 1911 type pistols are made from the Muonionalusta Meteorite, which likely fell to the ground through the Earth’s atmosphere about 1 million years ago.
‘The world famous Iron features an amazing Widmanstätten pattern when etched that makes the pistols so visually striking,’ Heritage Auction said on the lot listing page.
‘This offering is literally a true “one-of-a-kind” and represents an incredible combination of meteorite and firearms.’
Both are right-handed guns. One is a GI Model with a standard slide grip safety, and the other is a Custom Model featuring a beaver-tail grip safety.
The job was a new and exciting challenge for gunsmith Biondo, he told Fox News.
‘The client was referred to me by somebody else – I have never worked with this material before, so it was something that intrigued me,’ he said.
‘I was supplied with the raw material that looked like a rock – it was something very, very cool.’
Biondo likened cutting through the space rock to working with multiple tricky mediums, all at the same time, requiring a special touch.
‘It was definitely one of those jobs where you had to go by feel and sound,’ Biondo said.
‘If you mix carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel and throw in some diamonds, that’s what it felt like.’
Biondo said there are ‘diamond-like inclusions,’ in the meteorite material the guns were made from, which created some difficulty during the process. ‘I actually broke a couple of cutters,’ he said.
The working firearms modeled after the Colt 1911 Pistol, which was originally designed by John Browning, have each test fired 35 rounds.
‘I had to make sure that these guys actually work, as a safety aspect,’ Biondo said. ‘I test-fired both pistols and they were fun to shoot, but knowing the price tag, I stopped!’
The Heritage Auction listing included a disclaimer about the frequency with which the weapons are intended to be fired.
‘It is not recommended that these incomparable pistols be an everyday sidearm or be used regularly as the metallic content was not designed for such a use, but these are working guns that fire .45 caliber bullets,’ it read.
The design on which these weapons were based was used as the standard issue sidearm of the United States Military from 1911 until 1968.
‘The world’s most respected handgun is considered by many to be the finest service pistol of all time,’ the listing read.
‘This is a gun for the ages, and this set made of meteorite is ageless.’
Prospective buyers can expect to see the guns presented in Blaze Display Cases for security and safety.
‘The guns are both in very good – to excellent – condition, showing just a few scattered scuffs with a light handling wear,’ the listing read.
‘The actions are crisp and bores are mirror-bright. The carrying cases accompanying both handguns evidence normal storage wear.’