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Mineral Specimens - page 21
The Folch Collection

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Carles Curto Text: Carles Curto (former Geology Museum, Barcelona curator) & Jordi Fabre
Assistance from John S. White (former Smithsonian curator) John S. White


The Folch Collection

The Folch Collection was known during the period 1960-1980 as one of the best private collections in the world. It was famous worldwide for its size (more than 15,000 specimens), the quality of the specimens, the large number of classic specimens which are now almost impossible to obtain, and the style of the collection, which is surprisingly 'modern'. Sr. Folch (Joaquín Folch Girona) collected during a period when the style of most collectors in Europe consisted of gathering large specimens of rare minerals, and in which esthetics and perfection were not that important. That said he actually tended to collect smaller specimens that were esthetic and, when possible, damage free. On the death of Sr. Folch, in 1984, the collection passed to his son Alberto, and when he in turn died it went to his grandson Joaquín Folch who wisely decided to keep the collection exactly as his grandfather had it (including the display cases). So the collection was kept together and its enormous historical value has not been lost.

While I was a teenager I had the luck to have been warmly invited by Sr. Folch to visit the collection. I made numerous visits, and with him beside me I obtained an enormous amount of mineralogical information which went far beyond what I would have learned anywhere else. Given this experience I have always had a strong connection with the collection.

During my ongoing contacts with the Folch family a moment arrived when they expressed their desire to update the collection so as to make it more current - since 1984 nothing new had been added so there was a significant gap in the minerals found since then. After lots of friendly and unhurried discussions the Folch family asked me to help them with this updating process. To do this we had the good fortune that the collection included many attractive duplicates. These duplicates do not add much to the Folch collection, as there are other examples of all of them, but given their unusual localities and/or high quality they still represent good commercial specimens.

So, for the first time, some of the duplicate specimens from the Folch Collection are emerging into the sunlight. Each one of them has hand written notes made by Sr. Folch himself as well as, in many cases, his personal label and number (in the case that they were part of the major collection). The duplicates will be sold during the shows that we normally attend, and also through our web site and store in Barcelona (you need to arrange a visit beforehand, which we will try to find a way of accommodating visitors)

This project will take us a long time, as the specimens available are numerous and neither the family nor I wish to make the choices too quickly. The idea is to work slowly and select the pieces in a very systematic and careful manner. We think that given the special characteristics of the specimens that will be available and their historical value this will be a great chance for many collectors to obtain pieces that would otherwise have remained pure dreams.

We hope that little by little we can satisfy all those that wish to acquire a duplicate from the Folch collection and we can assure them that this task will give us far more pleasure than simple economic benefits. Sr. Folch was my spiritual father in mineralogical terms so handling his minerals and helping to improve his collection with new purchases is a fantastic sensation for me because the profits gained from the sale of these duplicates are used to acquire more contemporary specimens, thus satisfying the family's desire to update the collection.

I cannot thank the Folch family enough for their good faith and for their wish to improve the collection. They are helped by the undeniable support and enthusiasm of Francisco Riquelme, the current conservator of the collection, and between them they have taken a step that many people have wished them to take and that will give great joy to collectors worldwide, as well as increasing interest in and knowledge of the Folch collection in Spain and the rest of the world.


1926: Mineralogical Society, Jubilee Celebration.
Sr. Folch is the third from the right in the first row on foot




Sr. Folch holding an Apatite from Panasqueira





Typical handwritten labels from the Folch Collection


Typical record from the Folch Collection


Link to sold specimens from the Folch Collection 

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