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Josef  Vajdák
(1930-    )

Rare-mineral dealer Josef Vajdák was born March 31, 1930, in Helena, Montana, the son of _________ and _________, a Czech-born co-founder of the Bata Shoe Company in Zlin, Czechoslovakia. In 1932 the family returned to Zlin where Josef attended primary and secondary school and studied at the Bata Academy for Foreign Trade (1945-1949). He then studied at the Maritime Academy for Navigation and Trade in Sopoty, Poland, receiving his Captain's License in 1952, and worked in the maritime shipping industry for several years. In 1960 he joined the Čechofracht shipping company in Istanbul, Turkey, and from there emigrated with his family to America in 1962. In New York he established his own shipping firm, the American Sea Tramping Company.

Josef had been interested in chemistry since his early school years, especially as it applied to two fields: mineralogy and explosives. His interest in minerals led him to enroll at the University of Montana School of Mines in Butte, where he was awarded his PhD in 1974. Returning to New York, he founded the Zlin Anchor Company, another shipping firm serving major American mining and chemical companies. The company ceased operations in the early 1980s, as a result of declining exports.

Following up commercially on his long-standing interest in mineralogy, Josef founded the Pequa Rare Minerals Company in Massapequa, New York, supplying specimens of many European classics and rare species to researchers and collectors. He was particularly interested in the uranium minerals of the Pribram and Jáchymov districts in Czechoslovakia, and over four decades he assembled a remarkable collection of such minerals (sold via Rob Lavinsky in 2010). He also collected worldwide classics and rare species, both display-quality and reference-quality. In 2002 he was honored for his contributions by the naming of vajdakite, a new molybdenum arsenate species from Jáchymov which he had first recognized and brought to the attention of researchers. Josef has written occasionally about rare species for Mineral News and is also a co-author of the formal descriptions of three new species: magnesiofoitite (1999), lemanskiite (2006) and burgessite (2009).

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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