Petrified Wood is some of the most beautiful of all varieties of fossils, and only a small percentage can be cut and polished into spectacular pieces of various sizes, shapes, colors and patterns. Collectors prize specimens for many different reasons including the quality of the material, the localities from where specimens originated and the rarity of given examples of the fossilized wood.

While petrified wood is not exactly rare, the places you can legally collect it from are hard to come by. Typically, it can only be collected in small quantities on limited tracts of government land or on private land with permission from the owner. These restrictions have made collecting an even rarer hobby and the pieces available today that much more valuable.

Trees are porous, much like bones, and the organic structure of once-living wood will, in certain instances, fossilize through a process called “permineralization,” whereby the wood is replaced with minerals on a cell by cell basis resulting in a rock that retains characteristics of the original botanical material. This phenomenon occurs when dead wood gets buried (which is typically necessary for fossilization to occur) under volcanic ash or sediment where it gets deprived of oxygen and, therefore, does not become subject to decomposition. When water containing minerals flows through the material, the wood absorbs those elements through a process known as “capillary attraction” allowing fossilization to occur. The result is stone, typically of a silicate mineral variety like Quartz, which, in rare cases, will reveal beautiful hues and complex patterns when cut and polished. The durable and even functional material can be made into an assortment of impressive pieces including rounds, logs, and slabs as well as tabletops and even bookends. Aesthetics are always a consideration for collectors who typically enjoy displaying pieces in their homes and/or offices.

The Lewis Goodman Collection of Petrified Wood is a great example of both the study of Petrified Wood and the serious hobby of its collecting and curation. Lewis Goodman became consumed with passion for the fossilized material and spent the better part of several decades amassing an incredible collection of the best and most unique examples available. The legendary figure in the Petrified Wood community, as incomprehensible as it might seem, had virtually all of his specimens, including several really large slabs, on display in his penthouse apartment, the majority of which were on the wall, seeming to defy gravity!

The Lewis Goodman Collection of Petrified Wood is being offered at auction on Saturday, April 29 in Dallas, Texas. This is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to own a piece from Lewis Goodman’s passionate endeavor for collecting Petrified Wood. Below are just a few highlights of the magnificent pieces in the sale.

Petrified Oak Slab
Petrified Oak Slab
Estimate: $4,000 – $6,000

Petrified Conifer Log
Petrified Conifer Log
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

Petrified Juniper Slab
Petrified Juniper Slab
Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000.

Written by: By Craig C. Kissick, Director of Nature & Science


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