A fragment of the meteor which injured over 1,500 people when it exploded over a Russian town earlier this year is up for auction.

It was part of a small asteroid that entered the earth's atmosphere at an estimated speed of 41,000 miles per hour, 50 times the speed of sound, on February 15.

The meteor exploded, creating thousands of small pieces of meteorite, 15 miles above the city of Chelyabinsk.

A factory was knocked down, windows blown in and 1,500 people injured by flying glass.

Rob Elliot, from Milton of Balgonie in Fife, is the owner of the UK's largest private collection of space memorabilia.

He arranged for pieces of it to be smuggled out of the country and it is one of the only pieces of the Russian meteorite to have made it to the West. 

'The Russian government told the local residents that they would arrest anyone selling pieces of the meteorite overseas, so my contact had to disguise the airmail package and mix the meteorites with pieces of electronic equipment to hide them,' said Elliott.

Although the package was opened by Russian customs and several meteorites confiscated, most of them made it to Mr Elliott.

The Chelyabinsk meteorite, lot 44 in the auction, weighing 27.1g, has been valued at £400 to £600.

The piece is one of 85 items up for sale by Mr Elliott - he is also selling what is thought to be the UK's most expensive rock from outer space is to be sold at the auction.

The Hambleton meteorite is an extremely rare pallasite - a stony-iron meteorite - which is the only one of its kind to be found in the UK.

A 2,900g slice of the Hambleton rock has been valued between £7,000 and £10,000 ahead of its sale as lot 60 at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh on Tuesday August 20.

It was discovered by the Scottish-based meteorite hunter and his wife Irene in North Yorkshire in 2005.

Mr Elliott explained that meteorites are always cut up as part of analysis to prove they are not earth rocks.

He said: 'When you cut up the Hambleton meteorite it resembles a fruit cake.

'The fruit in this case is semi-precious gemstones known as peridot crystals and it's the only one of that type to be found in the UK.'

Two previous sales of Elliott's collection have taken place with Lyon & Turnbull in 2009 and 2011. This latest auction, The Robert Elliott Meteorite Collection: Part 3, is expected to attract bids from around the world, including Russia, the Far East and the US, via telephone and online.

According to the auctioneers, if the Hambleton meteorite part reaches the price of £10,000, it will become the most expensive meteorite sold by Lyon & Turnbull, the only auctioneers known to specialise in meteorite sales.