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Gary Hansen
(born 1940-    )

Gary Ralph Hansen was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on April 29, 1940, the son of Amanda Rose, a third-grade schoolteacher for more than 50 years, and Ralph Hansen, a newspaper editor and agricultural consulate for the U.S. Government who died when Gary was two years old.

Gary grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, and attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he received his BSc (1962), MSc (1964) and PhD (1967) degrees in Organic Chemistry. He was subsequently a Petroleum Research Fund Fellow at the University of Iowa, and Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry in the Graduate College at the University of Idaho in 1967-1969; it was while living in Moscow, Idaho that he first started a small mineral business on the side which he named "Hansen's Hut" (1967). From 1969 to 1971 he worked as a Research Chemist for the Monsanto Company in St. Louis, Missouri, moving his Hanson's Hut business there as well.

Gary officially started his Hansen Minerals business in 1971, and had his first sales room in the Desert Inn during the Tucson Show that same year—all while serving as an Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry at St. Louis University. His particular field was Medical Organic Chemistry, and he was Director of the Graduate Program—a very demanding profession with long hours. He is also the proud father of four sons: Benjamin, Matthew, Michael and Jon.

Gary started collecting agates, jaspers and small geodes in 1950, when he was 10 years old. During his tenure in the Black Hills he did a lot of mineral collecting in the summers; he worked as a baker at Mt. Rushmore so his days were free. During two summers he worked for the South Dakota Bureau of Mines. His first mentor in mineral collecting was Willard ("Bill") Roberts at the School of Mines, a great field collector, and also George Bland, a miner in Custer, South Dakota, who taught him drilling and blasting. Gary and George co-owned a rose quartz mine, the Kitty No. 1, which was adjacent to the Bull Moose Property where they mined for rare phosphate minerals. (Gary still owns the Kitty No.1.)

In Idaho Gary's mentor and mining partner was Art Cooper of Kellogg, Idaho. Gary and Art leased and mined the Sherman mine for pyromorphite. Gary built a comprehensive collection of pyromorphite during the next 25 years, which he ultimately sold through Wayne Thompson.

Field collecting became a passion for Gary, and he was active throughout several states during his early years. Before he started in the mineral business he met David Jensen of Wards Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, who encouraged Gary to field-collect or mine for minerals for Wards. Over the years Gary shipped tons of minerals, geodes, crystals , fluorite and galena for cleaving to Wards. Some of the places he collected are as follows:

In South Dakota (1960-64): The sand calcite locality at Rattlesnake Butte, in the Badlands Badlands (now a National Monument); the Etta mine, Keystone (beryl and scheelite); the Kitty No. 1 mine near Custer (rose quartz); the Double Rainbow mine (pyrite and pyrrhotite); the Bull Moose mine (strengite, phosphates); Wasta (golden barite and calcite; Gary and Bill Roberts and leased the property in the 1980s and did extensive collecting there).

Iowa (1964-67): Iowa City area (world-class millerite and calcite); Waterloo area (blue and yellow fluorite, calcite and barite); the St. Francisville area (superb large quartz geodes containing pink calcite, barite and sphalerite); the Bender quarry (orange quartz on agate quartzite nodules); the Lost Creek coal mine at Oskaloosa (iridescent purple, bronze and orange stilpnomelane and limonite on calcite). At the Lost Creek mine a drag line operator named John Matrician was a genius at mudcapping auto-size nodules; Gary learned great techniques from him which he later applied at the Green Monster mine on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

Idaho (1967-69): the Sherman mine, which Gary leased (pyromorphite) (they mucked and timbered 500 feet of tunnel); the Bunker Hill mine (silver on cerussite); and a locality near St. Maries (garnets in fine dodecahedral crystals as well as common opal).

While living in Missouri (1969-present): Picher, Oklahoma and Baxter Springs, Kansas (calcite, sphalerite, galena); Canada (fluorapatite); Green Monster mine, Alaska (leased for epidote); Potosi, Missouri (barite and galena); he also acquired world-class calcite galena and siegenite collected by miners and mine geologist and purchase through a contract with the Sweetwater mine. He has also been field collecting for peridot crystals with curators from the National Museum in Norway and his son Matthew... not to mention many other day-trips and return collecting trips to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Gary was the first American mineral dealer to sell at the Zurich and Torino Shows around 1975.

In Gary's personal collection today he has numerous fine, unique quartz specimens, pyromorphite, calcite and galena (Sweetwater), garnets, old Tsumeb smithsonite and native copper specimens.

In 1972 Gary briefly changed the name of his mineral business from Hansen's Hut to Hansen & Sons, then to Hansen Minerals (in 1974), and finally to Hansen Minerals LP (in 1991). Looking back over the years, he is most proud of the long-term relationships he forged with museums, especially the Smithsonian, Harvard, Carnegie, the National Museum of Canada, Los Angeles County, the National Museum of Norway, the Sorbonne in Paris; the Devonian Foundation in Calgary; and a great many private collectors suh as Marion and Hadley Stuart, Pauline and Julian Armstrong, Miguel Romero, Desmond Sacco, Barry Yampol … too many to list.

For many years, in the 1970s and 1980s, Gary also served as auctioneer for the Mineralogical Record at the Saturday evening festivities culminating the annual Tucson Show. Gary kept the audience entertained while raising thousands of dollars for the Mineralogical Record.

Since the 1980s Gary has specialized in precious stones and estate jewelry. He is working full time; his company in St. Louis (314-569-0842) is known for very fine sapphires (Burma, Ceylon, Kashmir) and related jewelry. He prefers colored gems over white diamonds. All the while he has also been keeping a hand (thanks to his friend Wayne Thompson) in the mineral business. Gary's son Michael has worked in the business for 21 years, and his son Jon has his own website specializing in signed jewelry. Matthew, an MD in internal medicine in Salt Lake City, is today an active mineral collector who loves minerals from India.)

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen Gary Hansen at the 1986 Tucson Show Auction to benefit the Mineralogical Record
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 30 x 77 mm (1967)
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 35 x 90 mm (1967-1970)
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 44 x 60 mm (1967-1970)
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 44 x 71 mm (dated 1973)
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 45 x 77 mm (1971- )
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 50 x 88 mm (1971- )
The Mineralogical Record - Gary Hansen 50 x 88 mm; a label designed for a 2001 sale by Gary R. Hansen (G.R.H.) and Wayne A. Thompson (W.A.T.) to Marion and Hadley Stuart in Bellevue, Idaho
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