A Thomas Edison-Joseph Swan British patent archive for incandescent lighting from the 1880s sold for $5,000 and a group of three silver ingots highlighted by one made at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco brought $6,800 at a Treasures Galore auction held January 24-28, 2019 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, online and in the Reno gallery at 3555 Airway Drive, Reno, NV.
The auction was bursting with nearly 4,000 lots of Americana across a wide range of collecting categories. For those unable to attend in person, online bidding was facilitated by iCollector.com and invaluable.com. “This was the third auction in what has been a very exciting fall and winter season,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections. “It was a big success.”
The Edison-Swan patent archive (circa 1880-1883), which pertained to one of the most important modern inventions – incandescent lighting – consisted of original British patents issued to men working for Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan as part of the Edison-Swan Company at the onset of the invention and manufacture of a product that changed the way people lived and worked.
The three silver ingots were the sale’s top lot. The one produced at the Mint in San Francisco weighed 6.11 ounces and was stamped “7” (the batch number). The other two ingots comprised a 7-ounce silver bar stamped “JMC” (Johnson Mathey), with the Canadian maple leaf; and a 1 inch by 2-inch, 1.56-ounce ingot stamped “Berg Bros.” (LA/SF). All were .999+ fine grade silver.
The ingots were offered on day one, which kicked off with nearly 100 lots of antique bottles, many of them from the Geoff Pollock Collection, gathered throughout Utah. Offered were whiskeys, medicines, poisons, cures, beers, and more. The numismatics section – more than 200 lots – featured token dies, tokens, medals, coins, currency, checks, books, so-called dollars and more.
Day one was highlighted by a display board containing a near-complete set (72 of 80 medals) of the first 40 issues of the Society of Medallists, 1930-1949 ($1,250); and a complete set of eleven five-ounce .999 silver medallions marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Walt Disney’s classic animated movie from 1939, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, dated 1987 ($1,312).
Other first day highlights included a set of 12 sterling silver commemorative coins from the Franklin Mint, titled Norman Rockwell’s Spirit of Scouting (1972), nicely framed ($1,100); a lot containing 14 pieces, to include a 1788 Massachusetts penny, a 1787 Fugio cent, eight Civil War tokens and an 1834 Hard Times token ($2,000); an S-B Co. token (Coffee Creek, MT), “Good For 5 Cents In Trade” ($1,400); and a print of an 1846 map of Texas/Orego/California ($1,062).
The session also featured general Americana lots in various categories, to include American directories, 30 or more maps, history and reference books, badges, comic books, World’s Fair and Expos, political memorabilia, dolls, circus collectibles, breweriana, cigar and tobacco, Gold Rush items, jewelry and watches, postcards, toys, stereoviews, vintage apparel, and Civil War.
Day two began with more Americana, including selections of non-mining and railroad stocks from the Ken Prag collection, plus railroadiana and rare western rails. Lots included a stock certificate for 500 shares of the Virginia & Truckee Rail Road Co. (NV), issued in June 1869 to Alvinza Hayward, an important Gold Rush and Comstock Lode figure ($1,188); and one cancelled share of the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway (NV), issued to Harry Bailey in September 1923 ($1,000).
Day three featured high grade mining ore specimens from the Geoff Pollock collection, as well as artifacts, old mine lighting, explosives and mining stocks, and more of the Prag Silver Mountain (Aurora, NV) collection. Also sold was art, assay, bonds, books, hats, ingots, jewelry, fobs, maps, photos, postcards, transportation, Wells Fargo/Express, postal history items, and militaria.
One of the more intriguing day three lots was a white metal Mammoth Mine time clock, made by the Crosby Steam Gauge and Valve Company, 11 inches in diameter, untested, with winding key ($2,100). But the day’s list of top lots was dominated by mining stock certificates, to include Desert Borax Company (Death Valley, CA) certificate #10 for one share, issued to W.B. Kellogg on May 25, 1892. The company was dissolved two months later ($2,000).
As well as Meridian Borax Company (Furnace Creek, CA) certificate #21 for seven shares, issued to William T. Coleman (company President), with 1892 San Francisco dateline ($3,000); two submarine stocks: 10 shares of Lake Submarine Co. (1907), signed by Simon Lake, inventor of the submarine, and 100 shares of Lake Torpedo Boat Co. (1915) ($1,200); and specimen proof with notes on changes for Bodie Consolidated Mining Company stock (Bodie Mining District, CA), dated Feb. 18, 1884, with two mining vignettes ($1,500).
Along with California Consolidated Mill and Mining Company stock certificate #415 for four shares, issued to James B. Safford in 1866, with a rare Meadow Lake, CA, dateline ($1,100); San Juan (CO) Terrible Mining Company stock certificate #1 (a rare pool certificate), for 600 shares, showing three small vignettes (two of them mining), dated 1880 ($1,500); and New York and Colorado Company (CO) stock certificate #14 for 200 shares, issued to Charles Curtiss, datelined New York 1892, with a rare 25-cent revenue imprint (2,100).
Day four contained more mining collectibles, mostly from the Ken Prag collection, plus additional mining ephemera and stocks, domestic and foreign. But the day also had original art (to include sculptures), Native American art and objects, cowboy collectibles, firearms, gaming, and saloon.
Day four highlights included an oil on board painting of Vernal Falls in Yosemite (CA), signed by the artist Benjamin Willard Sears (American, 1846-1905), 25 inches by 18-1/2 inches ($2,000); an early 20th century print from the studio of Minerva Pierce (American, 1883-1972), an artist known for her town-desert landscapes, mining and building depictions, titled Autumn of the Truckee ($1,250): and an English 1880 brown two shilling Queen Victoria stamp ($2,900).
Day five, marked the expansion of the Bargain/Dealer Section that was started by Holabird over a year ago and became quite popular. The section contained over 1,300 lots, with many rarities. “We lowered the boom on prices, reducing our normal pricing by up to half. We decided to put it in the catalog before lots hit the podium,” Fred Holabird said.
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, (844) 492-2766, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit www.fhwac.com.