Signed Ansel Adams Photo, Ca. 1959, Sells For $38,750

Four-Day Holabird Western American Sale Held Oct. 13 To 16

November 18, 2022

An Ansel Adams signed and framed Yosemite photo from around 1959 sold for $38,750 at a four-day Western Frontiers auction held Oct. 13 to 16 by Holabird Western Americana Collections LLC, online and live in the Reno, Nev. gallery. The 2,100-lot sale featured Native and general Americana, mining, Express, numismatics, art, bottles, stocks and more.
There were five lots of Ansel Adams framed photographic prints (and several images taken in the manner of Adams). A snow-covered tree at Yosemite, thought to be part of Adams’s late 1950s winter shots that led to his signed and numbered edition series, was the one which brought $38,750. It was the auction’s top lot.
Headlining was part three of the Gary Bracken collection. Rarities from the collection of the Ponca City, Okla., attorney featured Native Americana (baskets and pottery), Colorado and Oklahoma tokens, foreign coins, Colorado whiskey jugs, and saloon ephemera and billheads.
Internet bidding was provided by,, and Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
Day one showcased Express and philatelic and general Americana, geographically sorted and including miscellaneous categories such as gaming, tobacciana and musical instruments. A Gibson model ES175 Sunburst electric guitar with a factory Bixbee whammy bar and a dark swirl pick guard was a true beauty and changed hands for $3,500.
Also bringing $3,500 was an original ledger containing the Laws for the Governing of the Virginia City (Nevada) Fire Department, ca. 1862-77, signed into law by the Nevada territorial governor, James W. Nye, in 1864. Also, a full-face Wells Fargo advertisement for Adler & Galinger Wholesale Dealers in General Merchandise (Treasure City, Nev.), addressed to James A. Read of San Jose, who was a member of the tragic Donner party, went for $2,375. A Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad lantern with the original lock and key and red embossed Southern Pacific globe, 10 inches plus the handle and no patent info on the lamp, made $2,000.
Day two included political collectibles; militaria, firearms and weaponry; mining artifacts and ephemera; and stock certificates and bonds (with Colorado and Nevada mining, railroad and miscellaneous). A Colt Lightning model carbine rifle chambered for .44 caliber on a medium frame, having an 1887 birthdate and a 20-inch octagon barrel, hit $2,000.
A chunk of banded and dendritic gold and quartz pulled from the Sleeper main vein in Humboldt County, Nev., boasting a cross-sectional cut face exposing native gold (electrum), in the banded quartz sequence, realized $1,562. Also, a suite of seven different buttons, badges and ribbons from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidential campaign, including a Progressive Party button and a delegate ribbon from the Republican State Convention of 1904 in Billings, Mont., finished at $1,375. A rare stock certificate for the Upper San Miguel Gold & Silver Mining Company (with offices in Colorado and Michigan), certificate #389, issued for 500 shares to Henry Gerbs in May 1881, signed by company president A.T. Nichols and secretary John B. Corliss, sold for $1,220.
Day three highlighted art, Wild West and law and order, cowboy and numismatics (to include coins, currency and scrip, medals and exonumia, and tokens). Six items relating to the Lincoln County (N.M.) War, an Old West conflict between rival factions that began in 1878 in the New Mexico Territory (prior to statehood) and continuing to 1881, famous because one of the participants was William H. Bonney (aka “Billy the Kid”), sold for $5,000.
A letter written and signed by the famous lawman Sheriff Seth Bullock, written on “Sheriff’s Office” letterhead and dated July 3, 1874, from Helena, Mont., addressed to Geo. Callaway (Virginia City, Mont.), with Bullock thanking Callaway, earned $3,250. Also, a typed 1908 Wild West Show contract signed by both William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and Gordon W. Lillie (Pawnee Bill), plus Ruth L. Bailey (signed by someone else), all signatures clear, rose to $3,125.
A .9999 one ounce of fine gold 1914 $50 American Buffalo coin, in brilliant uncirculated condition, as new from the U.S. Mint, in a hard plastic case, designed to look like the Buffalo nickel, went to a determined bidder for $2,250. Also, a group of six tokens from the Ouray County town of Russell Gulch, Colo., all six good for five cents each, achieved $2,375.
Day four was led by Native Americana (baskets, pottery, jewelry, rugs, apparel and artifacts, and art and ephemera); saloon and brewing ephemera; and bottles. A heavy vintage (probably old pawn, men’s turquoise and silver cuff, probably Zuni (but could be Navajo), having an unusual inlay with an amazing variety of 42 turquoise pieces, the sides hand-etched with silver, coasted to $2,250. Also, a pictorial Apache basket, 4 inches tall on a three-stick foundation, having a waterfall design with four crosses and eight human figures that are symbolic to the land, made from willow (or sumac) and Devil’s Claw, realized $1,562.
To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit


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