There was gold in them there hills at Holabird Western Americana Collections’ Gold Rush Sale held March 15-18, 2018, online and in Reno, as an outstanding 36-coin “Harts Coins of the West” set of gold coins sold for $41,572 and a spectacular solid gold goose egg made in 1982 and engraved “one pound troy +/- Fine Gold / 999.9 / 1 of 87” finished at $24,100.
The “Harts Coins of the West” set of 36 gold coins (or tokens) is a colorful commemoration of all U.S. gold rush locales, and features unusual denominations, such as Pinch, DWT, and Expo. The coins range in grade from MS 63 to MS 66 and make for an impressive visual – 36 pieces of privately minted, golden art. The maker, M.E. Hart, is believed to be businesswoman Mary Hart.
The solid gold goose egg is a fabulous artisan’s piece made by Phoenix jeweler George Villa of Goldcraft Jewelers, Inc., in February 1982, for a client who envisioned marketing the golden eggs. He abandoned the idea once he realized the cost to produce just one egg was over $1,000. The eggs were hand-hammered and crafted to actual goose egg size, each one weighing 12.02 troy ounces.
Fittingly, the auction was a celebration of America’s major gold rushes, from Georgia and North Carolina to California – a four-day auction event that featured hundreds of lots in a wide array of collecting categories. Internet bidding was brisk and attendance in Holabird’s gallery at 3555 Airway Drive, Suite 308, in Reno was robust. Many fine collections crossed the auction block.
The headliner was the Al Adams collection. Mr. Adams’s specialty was an area few people even know about – the Georgia and North Carolina gold rushes of 1799 through the 1840s. It began with the discovery of a single gold nugget in North Carolina in 1799. Nearly three decades passed before substantive gold discoveries were made in North Carolina and, to a larger extent, Georgia.
For those unable to attend the auction in person, online bidding was provided by iCollector.com, Invaluable.com, eBay Live, and Auctionzip.com. “We had a record 3,439 registered bidders from the several live bidding platforms, which made the sale popular,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections. “There was strong bidding on easily 70% of the lots. That allowed the sale to proceed at about 65 lots per hour.” Phone and absentee bids were also taken.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices include the buyer’s premium.
A memorandum of gold bullion in the modest amount of 4.85 ounces, for $98.66, deposited at the branch mint in Dahlonega, Georgia by William Bacon, signed by “JM Patton”, hammered for $5,000; and one of only two known uncut sheets of Belfast Mining Company (Auraria, GA) scrip notes, $50-$100, graded PMG Very Fine 30 (the better of the two sheets) made $7,812.
A Munckton Gold & Silver Mining Company stock certificate (Dunderberg Lode, Mono County, CA), for 55 shares, issued to James Fraser on December 9, 1870 in Carson City, NV, hit $1,125; while a Liberty Silver Mining Company stock certificate (San Antonio district, Nye County, Nevada Territory), for five shares, dated June 29, 1864, issued to J.V.B. Perry, fetched $1,000.
An attic-found Henry model 1860 repeating rifle, nicknamed the “Damn Yankee Rifle” for its effectiveness, made by New Haven Arms Co. (CT), the late frame brass model, patented October 16, 1860, hit the mark for $18,750. Also, a 19th century Will and Fink Company (San Francisco) barber’s chair, refinished and reupholstered with velvet purple upholstery, gaveled for $5,625.
An employee payroll document from July 1866 for workers building the Carson City (Nevada) Mint – listing 49 employees, their name, occupation, number of days worked, wage, total pay and signatures – achieved $8,750. Also, a first edition copy of the Wells Fargo & Co. Express Directory and Shippers Guide (Vol. IV, 1884, 395 pages), exceedingly rare, went for $6,250.
An 1897 broadside for the V&T (Virginia & Truckee) Railroad, advertising prices for bringing passengers from Reno to Carson City (both NV), for the Corbett-Fitzsimmons boxing match, 32 inches by 9 inches, earned $1,625; and a visually beautiful and colorful Hudson River Lumber Co. (Hundson, AR) railway pass from 1901, No. 817, issued to Milton McMillan, hit $562.50.
An extremely scarce saloon token for the Crystal Palace in Tombstone, AZ, octagonal in shape and made of aluminum, made around 1879 and measuring 24mm in diameter, topped out at $2,125. Also, a billhead (invoice) for A.B. Stewart (Bodie, CA), a dealer in drugs, chemicals, medicines, toilet articles, paints oils, glass wines, liquors and more, from 1881, brought $812.
Holabird Western Americana Collections’ next big auction will be held sometime in May, date and times to be announced. Watch the website for information and details, at www.fhwac.com.
The firm travels extensively throughout the U.S., to pick up and evaluate collections. Last year it traveled to Boston, Florida, Seattle and New York, among other places. Holabird conducts several major auctions throughout the year.
Holabird Western Americana is always seeking quality bottle, advertising, Americana and coin consignments for future auctions. To consign a single piece or a collection, you may call Fred Holabird at (775) 851-1859 or (844) 492-2766 or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana's March 15-18 auction, visit www.fhwac.com.