THE LEWIS GOODMAN PETRIFIED WOOD COLLECTION ONE OF BEST EVER AMASSED
By Craig C. Kissick
Some 200 million years ago, during the Triassic Period, ancient pine trees died, fell over and were buried in a mineral-rich sediment protecting the giant logs from destructive forces that typically would have destroyed them.
Through the process of “capillary attraction” and other rare and unusual events, the porous organic wood absorbed elements, resulting in a cell-by-cell replacement with silica (quartz). The presence of metal salts and other compounds allowed for incredible colors to be formed as part of the fossilization process. This unique petrified wood can be cut and polished into incredible specimens. As only a small fraction of all petrified wood is suitable for cutting and polishing, higher-quality, colorful specimens of this beautiful fossil material are few and far between.
Lewis Goodman spent much of his life putting together a major collection of amazing breadth and depth. Many of the finest pieces in the Lewis Goodman Petrified Wood Collection are being offered at Heritage’s nature and science auction scheduled for April 29, 2017. It includes a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors showcased among the numerous examples of amazing quality, rarity and sheer charm.
In the late 1980s, while visiting his daughter at a college in Colorado, Goodman walked into a gift shop and purchased his first piece of petrified wood – his lifetime love of natural history was born.
He became a “serial obsessive,” Committing his time and resources fully to his new budding hobby. Goodman would read and research about localities then embark on a quest in search of the finds and the people discovering them. Over time, he became a fixture in the fossil world and became a major player in petrified wood circles.
Dealers and collectors would hold back the best specimens for him, as he was known for paying premium prices for the best examples available. Success in the financial industry and being self-employed afforded Goodman the ability to fund his passion at the highest level.
Goodman was prominent at the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show, which is the largest in the world, where most of the significant members of the petrified wood community gather annually to make deals. The hallmark of his collection was the pursuit of quality and rarity. His ability to select and secure the very top specimens available resulted in one of the best collections ever privately assembled.
Making plans and meeting people was the real draw for Goodman, whose world revolved around the passion for his hobby as evidenced by prolific notes and emails which recorded his communications. This legendary man left a legacy in this wonderful collection now being shared with the global audience.
CRAIG C. KISSICK is director of the Nature & Science department at Heritage Auctions.