MINERAL OF THE MONTH: June 2007: Lake Superior Michipicoten Agate

The mineral of the month is a Lake Superior Michipicoten agate. When a newspaper article was published in 1958 featuring the museum founder, Axel Niemi, and his 5.5-pound agate, Axel received a letter from Mrs. J. Oldenkomp. She had seen the article and asked Axel if he was interested in buying an agate that she inherited from her grandfather. Apparently, he had found the agate on Michipicoten Island, located in the northeast part of Lake Superior. As was common practice back then, he had the agate cut and polished. The lapidariest received half the agate in payment, and the Oldenkomp family kept the other half. Before cutting, the agate weighed over 8 pounds!

Axel and Mrs. Oldenkomp haggled over the price of the agate for 7 years before Axel finally purchased the specimen in 1965. The letters documenting this purchase are posted in the museum. Unfortunately, Axel cut out the price in the letter so we’ll never know how much he paid for this beauty.

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