Holabird Western Americana Five-Day Sale Featured 3,500 Lots In A Vast Array Of Categories

Old Wood Ore Car From A Mine In Utah, Circa 1870s, Sells For $2,750

January 11, 2019

An eclectic five-day auction that featured items ranging from a Chinese Hunan One Tael silver coin and a 150-year-old Idaho soda bottle to an antique wood ore car from a mine in Utah and Marilyn Monroe’s signed autograph was held Dec. 5 through 9 by Holabird Western Americana Collections LLC, online and in the gallery at 3555 Airway Drive (Ste. 308) in Reno, Nev.
The auction was nicknamed “to die for” because it featured a massive offering of token dies from the Northwest Territorial Mint Liquidation, but there were many other items in a wide array of collecting categories, a staggering 3,500 lots in all. Nearly 3,700 people registered to bid online via the platforms iCollector.com and Invaluable.com. The auction grossed a total of $355,825. All prices quoted include a buyer’s premium.
“This was the second sale in what promises to be an exciting season for us,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections. Offered were more of the Ken Prag American stock certificate collection; a Texas token collection; the Joe Elcano Nevada history collection; and the Ben-Tchahvtchavadze collection (Native Americana, rugs, weavings, art).
Day one was packed with minerals, vintage and antique bottles, tokens from Alabama to Oregon, and a wide selection of numismatics, to include banks, books, catalogs, coins, counterfeit directories, currency, medals, scales and “so-called” dollars, a total of 582 lots for the day. Also in the mix were 67 lots of tantalizing bargains and dealer specials.
Star lots from this first session included the Chinese Hunan One Tael silver piece, weighing 35.6 grams ($6,875), and the circa 1866-69 Idaho City, Idaho, soda bottle from Pioneer Brown & Co. ($2,625). The blob top bottle, just over seven inches tall, had a very rare light green color. It is one of only a few known specimens of a Territorial soda bottle (Idaho was not yet a state then).
Day two contained 663 lots of tokens (from Texas on) and dies. Sold was a token from the White Elephant Saloon in Mobeetie, Texas ($1,813).
Day three was a collector’s field day, bursting with 654 lots of general Americana, militaria, political items, postal history items, Wells Fargo & Express memorabilia, cowboy collectibles, firearms, weaponry, saloon, gaming, and lots pertaining to Alaska mining.
The general Americana was a virtual entire category unto itself, with autographs, badges, checks, circus memorabilia, firemen collectibles, music items, navigation material, automobilia, outlaw and lawman memorabilia, silverware and flatware, World’s Fair and Expos collectibles, and more.
Day three highlights included an unissued capital stock certificate #495 for the Alaska Commercial Company, Alaska’s largest rural retailer, with a vignette of a Russian church and miners ($4,000), and a group of 11 1950s-era 25-cent red gaming chips from Dopey Norman’s, one of the first gambling casinos in Lake Tahoe, Nev., operated by entrepreneur Norman Reinburg ($2,000).
Day four was jam-packed with 746 lots of mining material, to include artifacts, books, explosives, spoons, and geographic sort from Arizona on. A top lot was a stock certificate #380 for Mass Mining Company of Pittsburgh, datelined Pittsburgh 1881 for a copper mine that is believed to have operated in Michigan. The certificate was for 120 shares ($3,375).
Also sold was the choice old wood ore car from a mine in Utah ($2,750). The 1870s-era car was three feet long, about two feet wide and had a payload area of about 11 inches deep. It held about one ton of high grade. Collectors of Western U.S. history and mining are drawn to ore cars like this because of their “eye appeal,” plus, they’re 50 times rarer than their iron counterparts, according to Holabird.
Day five featured textiles, Native Americana, jewelry and watches, entertainment industry items, furnishings, sculptures, art, railroadiana, imprinted revenue stamps, and more.
Marilyn Monroe’s bold ink signature was presented along with a beautiful black and white photo of the actress, as well as her 1953 payroll card from 20th Century Fox, nicely framed and matted ($1,250). Also, a 1984 watercolor painting of Dayton, Nev., done by artist Jeff Nicholson, known for his renderings of the high desert of the West, particularly of Nevada, brought $1,000.
A stock certificate for the Silverton Railroad (Colorado), issued in 1904 to Charles Graham in the amount of 996 shares, signed by company president Otto Mears and featuring a train exiting a tunnel vignette, realized $1,125. Also, a fine collection of Indian arrowheads from the Great Basin area of the United States, 67 pieces in all, nicely housed in an octagon case, made $938.
To contact Holabird Western Americana, call Fred Holabird at either 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766 or email fredholabird@gmail.com.


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