Highlights of Holabird’s April Western Americana Auction
A U.S. one-cent postage stamp commemorating the 1901 Pan American Exposition with an inverted center—an error mark and one of the great philatelic rarities—was sold at Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC’s four-day Western Americana auction, held May 21-21, 2001. April 24 through April 24 sold for $5,500 online and live at the Holabird gallery at 3555 Airway Drive in Reno.
The stamp, Scott Catalog #294A, was green in color and came with a May 19, 1976 Certificate of Service from the American Philatelic Expertising Service. It featured a graphic of a steamship (upside down) in an oval above the words “Eastlake Navigation”. “. The stamp would probably have sold for considerably more, but it was not centered well, a strike on collectors.
Day 1, April 21st, featured three major collection categories: Art, with nearly 100 lots; Native Americana (a popular staple at Holabird auctions) with 65 lots; and the star category of the day – philately, with 52 lots of first day covers, 172 lots of postcards and 71 lots of stamps. Almost 300 lots of philately came under the hammer, which represents half of the total number of lots.
Another commemorative stamp — a $5 stamp for the 1893 Columbian Exposition honoring 400 years since Columbus discovered America, with a profile graphic of Columbus — went for $1,250. Another Day 1 front runner was a squash blossom turquoise and coral Navajo necklace with a matching set of earrings, signed by famed Navajo artist Victor Moses Begay, ca. 1970-1980 ($1,438). It was a double sided set (turquoise on one side, coral on the other).
Day 2, Friday April 22nd was super busy with categories including Jewelry, Clothing, Bottles, Toys, Circus, Gaming, Spirits, Tobacco, Menu, Entertainment Industry, Sports, Calendars, Advertising, Autographs, Photography, Maps, Transportation , Militaria, Firearms and Weapons, General Americana (sorted by geography) and Miscellaneous Collectibles – 637 lots in total.
A Day 2 star lot was a group of 32 photographs taken by EA Hegg (1867-1947), a Swedish-born photographer who worked on the Alaska-Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-1901, becoming one of its most famous Photographers became of the period. From his studio in Skagway, Alaska, he ventured throughout the Alaska-Klondike region, specializing in Dawson, Skagway, Bennett, and scenic railroad-related landscapes. The group gave in for $2,000.
An early 20th-century Tiffany desk set in the popular Venetian pattern — five items, with the elusive letter stand — fetched $1,875. Tiffany designed 24 different patterned desk sets. The pieces were sold individually to suit customers’ needs. Also an original 1901 Elks Whiskey painted metal raised plaque from the Tombstone Museum featuring a beautiful painting of a moose in a mountain woodland setting in an ornate 18″ x 18″ frame which was completed for $1,560.
A set of 12 framed mining trade cards and postcards, including a rare, original Levi Strauss trade card from circa 1885 and another featuring a picture of Molly Brown, fine examples of Gold Rush advertising, fetched $1,438. A gold nugget needle from HDK Alaska, 2½ inches long with a mammoth bone insert, also fetched $1,000. The back had a simple clasp that was easy to open but also had a loop for attaching a security chain.
Also on day 3, April 23, there was a lot of activity. Categories included Mining, Fossils, Minerals, Tokens, and Numismatics, which included bullion, bars, coins, currency, stamps, ephemera, foreign countries, and medals, and Exonumia (numismatics, but other than coins and paper money; some examples are tokens, medals and script). A total of 628 tickets were sold across a variety of categories on Day 3.
One of the star lots of Day 3 (and indeed the auction as a whole) was a 23.06 ounce US Mint San Francisco silver bar, 999.75 fine, measuring 2 ¼ inches by 3 ½ inches, with strong throughout Original mint patina ($8,125). The small oval stamp of San Francisco was at the top center as usual. These are among the most popular of all US silver bars, with this being a larger example.
A large grab bag containing over 50 tokens and medals from western states, from Nebraska to Hawaii, including national park medals and medals from Colorado, North Dakota, Washington, Montana, Oregon and New Mexico, raised $1,312. Also a rare silver example of an unlisted US Mint medal believed to have been struck in 1901 commemorating the assassination of President McKinley, measuring 76.9mm in diameter and in AU+ condition, found for $812 a new owner.
The final day of the auction, Sunday April 24th, featured over 600 lots including stocks and bonds (mining, railways, etc.), advertising, tobacco, 3D collectibles, toys and model railways, photography, postcards, more philately, stamps , Stocks, Cards, General Americana and everyone’s favorite bargains and dealer lots. The bargains and dealer lots alone accounted for 388 lots.
A 1907 $1,000 Yosemite Valley (California) Railroad gold bond with a vignette of Yosemite Falls and an accompanying sheet of 22 coupons (one taped), autographed by the President and Secretary, issued and unstamped, yielded 1,062 US dollars one.
The same amount was paid for a 1906 Christmas postcard with a near-perfect postmark for Thorp (Nye County, Nev.) and a one-cent US Benjamin Franklin stamp. The postcard was stained, but the ticket contained a story by Thorp.
A No. 1 share certificate of Mount Braly G & S Mining Company (Aurora, Nev.) for 50 shares, issued to Gardiner S. Chapin in 1862, with vignettes showing miners and Native Americans, signed by Company President “A. Mitchell “, called $1,000; while a stock certificate No. 358 of the US Mining Company (Aurora, Nev.) for two shares, issued to company secretary William Feast in August 1863, also signed by company president RB Sanchez, with allegorical vignettes, asked for $938.
Online bidding was made possible by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. The full catalog can also be viewed online at www.holabirdamericana.com.
Anyone who owns a collection that might fit into an upcoming Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to contact us. The company travels across the US to view and collect collections. It has agents across America and will travel to inspect most collections.
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is constantly looking for new and significant collections to bring to market. It prides itself on being a major source for selling Americana at the best prices available, having sold more than any other similar company in the last decade alone. The company will soon put its entire sales database online for free – almost 200,000 lots have been sold since 2014.
To consign an individual item or collection, you can call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or you can send an email to [email protected] To learn more about the Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates are posted often.