Mineral Specimens from the Frank Valenzuela Collection
"Frank Valenzuela is known to many people only as a "miner" who brings new finds and old collections he turns up down to the Tucson show for sale. He has been there since the beginning, in fact, about 50 years ago. He is indeed a miner and consultant for mining in the area. However, he is also (more importantly for us!) a very sophisticated Arizona collector who has, over 50 years of self-education and persistence, built a large collection specializing in aesthetic minerals of the copper districts of Arizona. Many of them are self-collected or obtained by exchange since about 1950. He grew up in San Manuel, a small mining town in the mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. His family was involved in the local industry: mining. He learned the trade from relatives including his inlaws and his uncle, a famous driller at the Mammoth-St Anthony mine named Max Chavez (you can still buy a mining postcard at the historic museums showing Max drilling in the mine, from the 1930s). Frank collected minerals himself, and got sophisticated taste by his late teenage years, understanding the pursuit of the aesthetic specimen at a time when most miners simply collected ore samples. By the time he was 20, he was a shaft superviser at the Inspiration Mine. He made his first big trade with fellow shaft supervisor Tex Burlison while working there around 1960, trading old antique mine bottles for a favored specimen. He later worked prominently at the Ray Mine (where he collected the famous copper twins in 1975), and other famous mines throughout southern Arizona. He has a large collection, and is alive and well. This is a small cull from the collection and I hope to present more in the future. Interestingly , as a side note, Frank keeps himself busy and plays actively in music bands in the area, continuing the Mexican-fusion tradition of music he loved when he played with his cousin long ago, Ricardo Valenzuela Reyes (i.e. Ritchie Valens)."