Texas mineral collector Lloyd Tate was born in Princeton, Indiana on April 23, 1940, and grew up in a number of small towns widely scattered across the map of Indiana—lastly in Ellettsville, near Bloomington. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music and European History from Indiana University, and did doctoral research at the Public Records Office in London (which provided him the opportunity for copious access to the mineral holdings of the British Museum of Natural History).
In his professional career Lloyd served as a college administrator at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant and as a history professor at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. More recently he was an education association executive in Austin, Texas. He retired in 1997 and moved with his wife, Kathy, and Jack Russell terrier, Tricky, to KELT's Croft, their home on 13 acres of gently rolling hills near Seguin, Texas.
As a young boy Lloyd liked to pick up pretty pebbles and funny-shaped rocks. He became acquainted with and fascinated by crystals in an introductory college geology course in 1958, where he learned the difference between a rock and a mineral. He then started buying a few small mineral specimens, for a quarter here or a half dollar there. Then, in 1963, he made the leap to serious collecting with the purchase of a very nice amazonite crystal from Colorado for the seemingly gigantic price of $5. He was hooked from that point on, aided and abetted by the Tucson Show (beginning in 1976) and other seductive—he might even say addictive—mineral shows, as well as the advent of The Mineralogical Record in 1970, to which he is a charter lifetime subscriber. His first important (i.e., four-figure) acquisition came in 1976 and was a fine dioptase on calcite from Tsumeb. He considers his best specimen to be a sharp, strongly trichroic tanzanite gem crystal.
Lloyd stopped acquiring specimens in 2005, but still maintains a strong interest in and love of minerals. His collection contains about 3,000 specimens, mainly miniatures and small cabinets from localities worldwide, with Tsumeb and Panasqueira vying for first-place honors among his favorites. He is fond of well-formed single crystals, but doesn't discriminate against nicely trimmed matrix pieces. His collection was built on the principle of visual appeal, gravitating towards color, lustrousness, gemminess, and clean crystal form, with emphasis on quality and esthetics rather than rarity per se. His personal collecting philosophy has always been to enjoy a large and diverse assemblage of consistently high-quality, upper-end minerals, rather than restricting his collection to a relatively tiny number of “trophy specimens.” If he really likes a species, he tends to have several flats of it.
With the help of New York mineral dealers Miriam and Julius Zweibel, Lloyd specialized in cerussite in the 1970s and early 1980s. Later on he developed an affinity for gem crystals, especially beryl, topaz, and tourmaline. His collection is also especially strong in fluorite, apatite, and the endless varieties and configurations of quartz. All together, these seven species account for fairly close to half of his total holdings. Additionally, his walk-in mineral vault features more than 1,500 display-quality specimens representing scores of the most attractive species in the mineral kingdom.
Lloyd has traveled to 54 countries and 48 states to date, and boasts a world-class collection of some 50,000 post cards from more than 100 countries. Trained as an historian, he often can be found exploring castles, cathedrals, museums, archaeological sites, and the streets and squares of old towns. He is also fond of driving or tramping around the countryside admiring the scenery, and enjoys indulging his interests in classical music, art, and architecture. He can be reached at LT@GVEC.net.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Lloyd Tate with a monkey pilfering his pen somewhere on the Amazon River|
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