Jump to content

Indonesian megalodon teeth warning!


Recommended Posts

Since this forum is often visited by new collectors. Note: intention for this post is not to hurt resellers, but caveat emptor: 

 

The market is currently flooded with megalodon teeth from West Java! Although the first specimens started to pop on the market already about 2 years ago or earlier, anyone nowadays still telling you megs from West Java are rare, is joking. It has become clear! There are millions of meg teeth in Indo-Australian archipelago, and the simple fact that they have been generally overlooked by collectors and resellers in the past decades and years, doesn't make Java teeth any rarer. Deposits in west and central Java, where megalodon teeth are found, range from middle miocene to early pliocene and it seems megs are found in at least 3 or 4 different layers/formations, in different preservations and colors. We often see descriptions praising the glossy enamel and fantastic colors and many resellers are probably stocking up. But careful:

 

As always, use paypal!

 

Colors change and the vibrant tones fade away when these teeth are exposed to UV and dry out in our climate (Indonesia has a very high % of humidity).  

 

Location is not rare and Indonesian megs will be probably just as common in your future collections as SC or FL megs, or perhaps even more due to the droping prices, even in 5" size and over. Even the price of all megs in general might drop, unless supply changes and that usually doesn't happen "over night" (nor because the deposits with millions of teeth would stop producing)...

 

When it comes to the pricing of megs, quality and all tiny details matters - it's the high end collectors and resellers who are pushing up the prices and low supply vs. demand. That said, there's a flood of new teeth comming into the market and as much as resellers are trying to praise the overall nice enamel condition and rarity - the teeth are nice, but 95% of the teeth from Indonesia comming into the market now, have root pitting and eroded roots, covered by matrix - difficult to notice in some photos, you might not tell the matrix covering the holes from the root, especially if you are buying your first tooth and expect the root is just a little "dirty" or covered. It's usually not just sediment over the root, but depends on the area and layers where teeth were found. Often the acid dissolved/eroded roots are also carved from matrix (sandstone naturally filling the broken or eroded parts) and broken/eroded areas sometimes restored, covered up with matrix, to resell for a higher price. Keep in mind, these teeth typically change at least 2 or 3 "hands" before they get to you and the price might not reflect the condition.

 

Even if you think you are looking at the real root or a natural fossil tooth, double check - if you can't see the root texture, often what you think is root, might be just sandstone matrix covering the eroded real root below or no root at all. Or just sandstone matrix shaped like root. Unfortunatelly, not many resellers, not even in USA, will point out the root issues, but will try to present the "flaws" as nice as possible - often the tooth is cleaned, eroded root smoothed with a fine grit sandpaper and buffing, and all you need is a "story" how rare, how nice, how risky is to buy directly, some nice photos and a sucker who pays, if you add a 0 to your purchase price (for the new reselling price)...

 

The real roots are very solid, uniform, smooth, with texture, detailed, not soft, grained or crumbly polished matrix/sand!

 

Enamel and bourlette preservation of these megs is among the best, worldwide, but all good preserved Indo teeth have smooth enamel like glass and a very nice preserved full or almost full bourlette. That's not a bonus, but a "feature" of more as 70% megs found in Indonesia. However, probably more as 70% of teeth in the market now, have root damage and erosion covered up, even some at high 3-10x reselling prices. On the opposite, a full bourlette on USA river/ocean found teeth is a rare sight. Land-found teeth from Indonesia seem to be well mineralized and gum is solid, often better preserved to what we are used to see in the market, but I wouldn't call that a rare find, since all indo megs are land finds and have nicer preserved gum lines and serrations as river worn megs. Praising fantastic gum line, smooth enamel and sharp serrations on land found teeth, is like praising devonian Moroccan trilobites' eye lenses. All have them, unless they are damaged in preparation or weathered. :)

 

Indonesian megs are mined in different layers with picks and shovel and sometimes damaged (and therefore sometimes restored, if hit with tools). Preservation and colors are different, depending on different layers and sediments. Always ask for good photos in natural light and if there are any improvements. Many Indonesian sellers are just as honest as resellers in USA, some however, will try to convince you with poor resolution photos or a very high first asking price (if it's expensive, then it must be worth it, right?). Although many sellers are honest, non will pass the opportunity to make a good profit even on teeth with erosion, broken root lobes, restoration or other damage. Most Indonesian sellers don't have any experience in pricing or selling megs, in example they might price similar size megs the same, even if one has a broken root and the other one a restored tip, but they are learning the difference preservation, colors, size etc. make. So the first (often way too high) asking price usually doesn't reflect the condition or size, but it's not the last price... All damaged and restored teeth drop in price by more than half, if you point out the improvements and damage, and although "meg-crazy" collectors and resellers buy the best preserved teeth before you notice, there's also haggling involved.

 

It's not the point of this post to give pricing tips, but keep in mind, that when each new tooth is found, the miners send photos to different reseller, so often different resellers are trying to sell the same tooth, and often they buy from each other or create different avatars to reach more clients - each reseller might be asking a different price for the same tooth, usually 2-5x what they pay the miners. Check if the reseller has the tooth you are buying in hands or buy from resellers in USA or EU, but keep in mind that the price of all imported teeth goes up again, a lot more as you might expect. In Indonesia a nice 5" tooth often sells for less as 150... And if you were among the few who were buying them for american prices in the "beginning" (or from resellers in USA), as investment (as some often do), expect the values to drop once even more of these teeth flood the market.

 

If you're a reseller - be honest and don't destroy the reputation of all Indonesian sellers or BS about rarity for your own gain, to drive up your price; miners and sellers in Indonesia invest all the work to find the teeth and bring them to the market, not resellers in USA or EU, who just take new photos and buy 3 more teeth with profits... We all understand the risks involved, and that this is a job for professional resellers, but there's many ways how to scam or create a bubble. Perhaps as a result of this mining activity new scientific discoveries will be made in Java aswell.

 

Some resellers in Indonesia also use putty and paint to improve small imperfections and sell the teeth for a better price, trying to pass them as natural. And they are quite good at it, you may not notice it on photographs or even in hand, without closer inspection and checking... And they'll keep doing it, as long as there's the next meg-crazy guy around the corner.

 

 Everything is up for your consideration, just carefull with restorations and resellers telling you how expensive or nice their megs are, keep in mind that the price of all Indonesian megs, even the good ones, is very low compared to usa market prices (that's another "bubble" story). Although all megs "gain" in value by changing hands: the risks, lack of trust and preservation issues are keeping the value down (at the source, most Indonesian sellers don't hoard hundreds of teeth and overprice them, untill they can find a sucker willing to pay crazy money, they try to sell fast and make a living). Keep in mind also, that most of the indonesian meg teeth offered for resale on various websites were not purchased more as 1 or 2 months ago, these are not old collections "impossible to get anymore", like high-valued 6" Peruvian or Chile teeth, slowly released into the market. If you're willing to invest high sums of money for a speculation, you're better off investing in stocks! When buying from resellers therefore keep in mind that these indo teeth are ATM not rare as advertised, just next month they might start to dig in a different formation with different preservation, but just as (or more) common as megs from USA.

 

Unless you fall in love with a specific tooth, you can guarantee to find another one, cheaper one, in similar quality, size and preservation, despite the hype and efforts of some resellers. 

 

Buyer beware, restored and overpriced indo megs are the next bubble in the fossil collecting world and a good chance to scam or rip you off.

 

  • I found this Informative 24
Link to post
Share on other sites

This gives me some serious hope for Tropical west Pacific marine mammals being discovered: It is my sincere hope that some are collected and that a good stratigraphic framework is established soon. This is great news! I've been seeing more and more of these teeth over the past few months. The nearest marine mammal bearing localities of late Miocene/Pliocene age are mostly on the south coast of Australia, which are still high-ish latitude (e.g. equivalent to southern California). Very, very few fossil sites worldwide have produced geologically recent marine mammals from the tropics/subtropics; exceptions are Florida, Venezuela, Panama, Baja California Sur, one locality in the Yucatan, a few scattered Caribbean localities.... and virtually nothing from western Africa, or the entire Indian Ocean.

 

 

  • I found this Informative 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
Kurufossils

I got mine ages ago before the recent explosion, while its awesome to see alot more coming out now with some cool variations and colors. I find the whole bubble and tactics associated with it quite amusing. Maybe I'll grab another when theres a million more out there and prices are rock bottom.

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Ryann10006 said:

Maybe I'll grab another when theres a million more out there and prices are rock bottom.

LOL! Maybe when the bubble pops and the market is flooded I’ll finally be able to afford a Whole Real 5” or bigger tooth!

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Boesse said:

This gives me some serious hope for Tropical west Pacific marine mammals being discovered: It is my sincere hope that some are collected and that a good stratigraphic framework is established soon. This is great news! I've been seeing more and more of these teeth over the past few months. The nearest marine mammal bearing localities of late Miocene/Pliocene age are mostly on the south coast of Australia, which are still high-ish latitude (e.g. equivalent to southern California). Very, very few fossil sites worldwide have produced geologically recent marine mammals from the tropics/subtropics; exceptions are Florida, Venezuela, Panama, Baja California Sur, one locality in the Yucatan, a few scattered Caribbean localities.... and virtually nothing from western Africa, or the entire Indian Ocean.

 

 

 

Check the papers online, in the area where they mine now, late miocene whale skeleton find was reported a few years ago. The stratigraphy of these deposits should be interesting to see, yes. As far as I know, the stratigraphic framework was done in a few Java regions already (based on molluscs and micro fossils), the problem is without new study and location infos, we can only guess about the formations...

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's avoid comments focused on pricing.  Market values are not a topic for discussion on TFF.  Thanks.

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I see a TON of these Indonesian-sourced megs on Instagram. A lot of the same sellers also offer minerals native to the area, but their offerings are always sprinkled with a handful (or many) of big megalodons. I haven't looked on that auction site in a long time, but I bet it's overrun with them also. I've never been tempted to buy one though. It's more fun to find them and then do the meg-dance on the riverbank afterwards.

 

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

It's more fun to find them and then do the meg-dance on the riverbank afterwards.

 

Indeed, everyone should move to Florida! Or Java.  :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
BellamyBlake

Thank you for the information, though the other thing I took away from this thread is that I want a collection of exotic Megalodon teeth!  

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, BellamyBlake said:

Thank you for the information, though the other thing I took away from this thread is that I want a collection of exotic Megalodon teeth!  

 

Should be easy. Some might not like it, but Indonesia is an immense archipelago, with plenty potential interesting sites and there's plenty teeth for all to go round and support local industry. That gives hope that perhaps as a result new scientific discoveries will be made in Indonesia. 

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
BellamyBlake
15 hours ago, aeon.rocks said:

 

Should be easy, you get 3 or 4 exotic commercial grade megs for the price of one commercial grade USA tooth. Some might not like it, but Indonesia is an immense archipelago, with plenty potential interesting sites and there's plenty teeth for all to go round and support local industry. That gives hope that perhaps as a result new scientific discoveries will be made in Indonesia. 

I had no idea! I looked around on some auction sites for exotic ones, but there's not much available - potentially because fewer are willing to ship to Canada. I saw one extremely broken Indonesian Megalodon 3" and it wasn't even recognizable as one; the price was not in line with the quality.

Link to post
Share on other sites

PS: since I mentioned acid soil erosion, in fact the story behind these roots might be more interesting:

 

A few specimens with marine shell imprints present on the roots below the "root level on eroded roots", indicates that these teeth might have "eroded" prior fossilization process and have been lying on the seafloor for some time after sharks lost them, long enough that the cartilage would start dissipating before the teeth were covered by sediment together with shells that left the imprints. Perhaps this speculation proves correct and roots are poor preserved thanks to taphonomical process, not due to acid erosion or erosion between uplifts and resedimentation. Figured, it might be interesting to add, since in that case "erosion" is a "feature". ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Fossildude19

Again, please keep the discussion centered on the fossils and availability, rather than pricing. 

Thanks. 

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Careful with scammers, I hear they will go so far to even create shipping labels and never ship out.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...