The four-day auction featured Native and general Americana, mining, Express, numismatics, art, bottles, stocks and more. It was headlined by Part 3 of the superb Gary Bracken collection.
RENO, Nev. – An Ansel Adams signed and framed Yosemite photo from around 1959 sold for $38,750 at a four-day Western Frontiers auction held October 13th-16th by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, online and live in the Reno 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 prints (and several for images taken in the manner of Adams – a testament to his enduring popularity), but it was lot #3022 – the large print of 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 – that brought $38,750, making it the auction’s top lot.
Headlining the auction was Part 3 of the Gary Bracken collection. Parts 1 and 2 (also held by Holabird) were huge successes, and more great rarities from the collection of the Ponca City, Oklahoma lawyer featured Native Americana (to include baskets and pottery), Colorado and Oklahoma tokens, foreign coins, Colorado whiskey jugs, and saloon ephemera and billheads.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was provided by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
Day 1, on Thursday, October 13th, 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 on Day 1 was an original ledger containing the Laws for the Governing of the Virginia City (Nevada) Fire Department, circa 1862-1877, 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, gaveled 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 2, on Friday, October 14th, 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, Nevada, boasting a beautiful 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, 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, hammered for $1,220.
Day 3, on Saturday, October 15th, 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, Montana, 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, Colorado, all six good for five cents each, achieved $2,375.
A collection of nine silver coins of Emperor Trajan (the Roman emperor from 98 to 117 AD), two cistophorus, two tetradrachms, 2 provincial denarii (Lycia and Bostra), two Roman denarii, Pax and Spes., all fine or better, went for $3,294; while two circa 1620 gold escudo dubloons, with a certificate of authenticity from Collectible America, found a new owner for $2,750.
Day 4, on Sunday, October 16th, was led by Native Americana (baskets, pottery, jewelry, rugs, apparel and artifacts, and art and ephemera); saloon and brewing ephemera; and bottles. A beautiful circa 1900 red mesa chief pattern rug, 6 feet by 6 ½ feet, left the gallery for $4,000.
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, hammered for $1,562.
A Mike Fisher jug (“Mike Fisher / Wine, Liquors, Cigars / Crested Butte, Colo.”), J28 in Preble, 11 inches by 9 inches, the cork possibly original, with a sloped shoulder, commanded $2,625.
Holabird has auctions lined up for December and February that will feature items from the S.S. Central America. The firm is seeking treasure-related items, ingots, gold nuggets and Gold Rush collectibles to add to these sales, which will feature “Treasures from the Land & Sea”. It is also looking for consignments from mining, railroadiana, Native Americana, numismatics and bottles.
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is always seeking new and major collections to bring to market. It prides itself as being a major source for selling Americana at the best prices obtainable, having sold more than any other similar company in the past decade alone. The firm will have its entire sales database online soon, at no cost – nearly 200,000 lots sold since 2014.
To consign a single piece or a collection, you may call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, you can send an e-mail to [email protected]. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates are posted often.