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The Donald R. Cooke Mineral Collection

The Donald R. Cooke Mineral Collection
A Mineral Collection Acquired by Dakota Matrix Minerals
May 24, 1934-May 25, 1998

Don Cooke

Dakota Matrix Minerals acquired the Cooke mineral collection in Rochester, New York in August of 2009. Having not known Mr. Cooke, we gratefully relied on fellow collectors Vandall T. King and Dr. Steven Chamberlain for a little background.

Donald R. Cooke of Spencerport, New York passed away in 1998, after losing his battle with colon cancer. He was a lifelong mineral collector and focused his efforts on systematic mineralogy and micromounting.  Like many of us, Don was a passionate field collector and had his favorite localities including Mt. St-Hilaire, Franklin, and eastern U.S. States such as New York. In compliment to his locality interests, he accumulated a large and important library of locality based mineral books, which were purchased by Richard Bideaux and John Stimpson about ten years ago. Don was active in the Rochester Mineral Society of the Rochester Academy of Science and he was several times co-chairman of the Rochester Mineral Symposium. He was a long-time employee of Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, NY where he worked in their color print division. Don is survived by his wife, Jane, who remains an active member of the RMS committee and still lives in Spencerport.


Don was a co-author on an article about the Valentine Deposit in New York and with Wayne Holt was primarily responsible for assembling the micro mount portion of the study. This publication can be found in Rocks and Minerals:

CHAMBERLAIN, S. C., KING, V. T., COOKE, D., ROBINSON, G. W., and HOLT, W. (1999) Minerals of the Gouverneur Talc Company No. 4 Quarry (Valentine Deposit), Town of Diana, Lewis County, New York. Rocks and Minerals 74:236-249.

The Cooke Collection contains approximately 2500 specimens each individually labeled with Don’s personal and sometimes hand written label.  Don’s main sources of purchased and exchanged minerals came from the likes of William W. Pinch, Robert Eaton, Minerals Unlimited, and Foote Scientific. Don was careful to preserve the original labels, many of which are antique. 

As of December of 2009, we are just getting into the discovery mode of this collection. We are in the midst of finding long forgotten and classic localities, and sorting through numerous locality suites. Although there are no “killer” cabinet specimens in the collection, there are very good to basic “representative” specimens that will nonetheless appeal to our customer base.  


As we begin to disperse Don’s collection throughout the world, we will slowly integrate Don’s specimens into our weekly updates and on occasion publish “theme” updates, which will showcase some of his favorite localities.  We use this basic strategy of “a little bit at a time” for a reason. Yes, there are marketing advantages to this strategy, but moreover, we like to take our time to research, clean, and savor a collection that was obviously a passion to an individual who loved minerals and obviously devoted an immense amount time to building the collection. To place it all online in a matter of weeks, to us, seems a little cold without regard to the effort in time it took to build the collection.

One last word, we do not intend to place the best pieces online first. This may seem counter-productive as does our approach mentioned above, but that’s the way we like to do it at Dakota Matrix. Bit by Bit – One specimen at a time…….

Enjoy it! We think you’ll like it.

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