In the early-1930s he started his own meteoritical collection. After he failed with his requests to be allowed to study meteorites at the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History, he increased his collecting effort.
He questioned witnesses of meteoroid detonations or bolides and organized and financed searching expeditions. He paid 1 dollar per pound, a price that museums could not match at the time of the Great Depression.
Gradually, his collection grew to be one of the largest private collections in the world: it contained about 3,000 specimens from 400 different meteorites. Probably the most valuable were two carbonaceous chondrites, found at Crescent, Oklahoma, in 1936 and at Bells, Texas, in 1961.
Monnig later decided to donate the collection to Texas Christian University: he made a series of transfers, between 1976 and 1986. Nowadays, the collection contains over 1,000 different meteorites. In 2003, four years after he died, the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery was opened, exhibiting about 10 per cent of the meteorites to the public.
Famous quotes containing the word collection:
“Well never know the worth of water till the well go dry.”
—18th-century Scottish proverb, collected in James Kelly, Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs, no. 351 (1721)