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Art Tatum
(1928-    )

Art Tatum was born on March 24, 1928. He operated the Rock of the Month Club at least as early as 1964. As of 1969 he was living at 3903 Alameda in El Paso. His 1969 ad in Lapidary Journal stated that some customers had been members for over seven years (i.e. since 1962). By the 1980s he was claiming that over 20,000 people were or had been members.

Artrox was a mineral dealership founded by Art Tatum, headquartered at his residence at 3901 Pershing Drive in El Paso, Texas, and opened in 1973 or perhaps earlier. His 1976 ad in Lapidary Journal stated "25 years serving local and foreign buyers," suggesting that he had started in the mineral business in 1951. He specialized in "Mexican minerals and cutting materials." At Tatum's home he had a large and magnificent fireplace constructed of hundreds of mineral specimens.

In 1981 Artrox was reorganized as a specimen mining and marketing partnership formed primarily for the purpose of exploiting the specimen potential of the Ojuela mine, Mapimi, Durango, Mexico. The partners were Art Tatum, John Whitmire (and his wife Rosa), Edward Swoboda, Perkins Sams, Mike New, and Delma Perry. It merged with a company called Compania las Delfines, S.A. de C.V., which had been formed in Mexico for the same purpose by Ruben Rodriguez, Miguel Romero, John Whitmire, and Mike New, with Mike as operating manager. They made their big strike, the famous pocket of purple adamite, in October 1981, and marketed it at the 1982 Tucson Show, along with some general mineral stock from other localities. The partnership disbanded later in 1982, and Whitmire and New continued mining the San Judas chimney, producing additional specimens of purple adamite but none as spectacular as those from the initial find.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Art Tatum The mineral-covered fireplace in Art Tatum's home, 1973 (John Vasichko photo).

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