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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Holabird’s Marvels of the West auction, Jan. 25-28, was packed with Americana, coins, bottles, more

The categories included Western and Native Americana, Gold Rush, mining, coins and currency, railroadiana, tokens, philatelic and bottles. The Ron Reed and Ken Prag collections headlined.

RENO, Nev. – A John E. Smith’s Pharmacy (Victor, Colo.) 32-ounce teal drug store bottle sold for $6,250; an early 1900s 14k Klondike, Alaska gold headed walking stick also realized $6,250; and a pair of mint state $25 U.S. Gold Eagle coins (1994 and 2008) fetched $4,700 at a four-day Marvels of the West auction held Jan. 25-28 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC.

Holabird’s original plan was to have two auctions in January – a timed online-only sale in the middle of the month and a live auction (with online bidding) at the end of the month. That idea was scrapped, however, and both sales were combined into one catalog – the timed online sale on Jan. 25-26 and the live auction on Jan. 27-28, online and live at the gallery in Reno, Nevada.

The two auctions were aptly named – Marvels of the West – considering their contents. Both contained about 500-600 lots per day, in the categories collectors have come to expect from Holabird: Western and Native Americana, Gold Rush, mining, coins and currency, railroadiana, tokens, philatelic, bottles, ephemera and more. Start times all four days were 8 am Pacific time.

The 10 ½ inch tall, quart-size John E. Smith’s drug store bottle was a stunningly beautiful teal example from the Ron Reed collection. “Reed specialized in giant 32-ounce Colorado drugstore bottles, and every Colorado collector knew he had this beauty, one of the prizes of his collection and a true prize for any American colored drugstore bottle collector,” remarked Fred Holabird.

When Mr. Reed, a longtime friend, passed away last year, his family asked Mr. Holabird to sell his collection of Colorado embossed bottles. Ron had purchased a number of key pieces out of the previous Gary Bracken sales, and a few “ringers” in the timed sale were snuck in, to entice new collectors into collecting Colorado bottles. A few other bottles that also did well were these:

• A Cyrus Eaton & Co. (Denver, Colo.) early medium to dark amber quart whiskey bottle (“You Bet”), with an applied top, circa 1880-1885, 12 inches tall, in fine shape ($2,500).
• An A. K. Clarke & Co. (Denver) nice and clean amber whiskey quart bottle (“You Bet”), with a tooled top, Prebble W32 and Barnett 164, comes with two documents ($2,125).
• A Gun Wa’s Chinese Remedy pint bottle, light yellow amber with a touch of green (“Warranted / Entirely Vegetable / And Harmless”), whittled, lots of bubbles ($2,000).

The early 1900s 14k Klondike, Alaska gold headed walking stick was very fancy, and came with a leather case and a book about the family who owned it, titled The Bushes and the Berrys by Alice Edna Berry. The cane measured 35 ½ inches in length, with a four-inch curved gold handle. There were two buttons of gold quartz, each one measuring one inch by one inch.

The two mint state U.S. $25 Gold Eagle coins were the Day 4 top lot. They were in spectacular condition, each weighing a half-ounce of fine gold. Another Day 4 performer was a very rare George Rasmussen’s (Central City, Colo.) pocket mirror, unlisted in Dunn in any form and in nice condition (“Good for 12 ½ c. in trade”), with a graphic of a pretty young woman ($1,000).

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Online bidding was via, and All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

A chest packed with personal effects belonging to 1st. Lt. Charles Allen Rankin, an Engineering Officer in World War I who served with the legendary flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, gaveled for $3,625. The chest contained, among other things, a copy of Rickenbacker’s 1918 book, Fighting the Flying Circus, signed by Rickenbacker, plus photos of him, other aces and Rankin.

An outstanding circa 1970s vintage Navajo squash blossom set consisting of the squash blossom, earrings and ring, the squash blossom showcasing both turquoise and branch coral together, with nice original patina, changed hands for $2,625. Also, a group of 20 points (Native American arrowheads), all from Texas, many of them rare and nicely displayed in a walnut display case measuring 18 inches by 12 inches, came out of the Gary Bracken collection and reached $1,625.

An original oil painting by Canadian artist Robert Atkinson Fox (1860-1935), dating to the early 1900s and depicting horses being herded across a river by Indian riders, untitled, measuring 24 inches by 17 inches, commanded $2,500; while a cabinet card showing the legendary female sharpshooter Annie Oakley holding what appears to be a Lancaster shotgun as if ready for her next glass ball, made at the Brisbois Studios in Chicago, 6 ½ inches by 4 inches, rose to $1,312.

A pair of ornate wall signs – one stating “Everts, Wilson & Co. Express, Gold Dust Bought,” 24 inches by 18 inches; the other a plaque for Jr.O.U.A.M. (The Junior Order of United American Mechanics), 213 inches by 17 inches – went for $1,375. Also, an original appearing Grape Nuts breakfast cereal metal advertising sign with a graphic of a girl and a large St. Bernard, 20 inches by 31 inches, not the same size repro example as is commonly seen online, finished at $1,062.

Two vintage spy cameras piqued the imaginations of bidders. One was a Matchbox Model 2 spy camera, made by Eastman Kodak Co. (Rochester, N.Y.), used by resistance personnel during World War II for target recording and propaganda photography ($1,375). The other was a Minox Model IIIS spy camera manufactured in Germany circa 1956 in a rare anodized finish, housed in a dark brown snapping belt case and calibrated in meters, with Complan 3.5/15mm lens ($1,062).

Anyone owning a collection that might fit into a Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels throughout the U.S., to see and pick up collections. The company has agents all over America and will travel to inspect most collections.

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, LLC, visit Updates posted often.

Cyrus Eaton & Co. (Denver, Colo.) early medium to dark amber quart whiskey bottle (“You Bet”), with an applied top, circa 1880-1885, 12 inches tall, in fine shape ($2,500).