RENO, Nev. – A Civil War-era military amputation kit sold for $5,000, a pair of circa 1910-1920 railroad signal lamps brought $5,375 and a choice, attractive crystalline gold specimen weighing 5.45 troy ounces hit $5,625 at a Great American Pow-Wow Auction held August 27-August 31 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, with online bidding through LiveAuctioneers.
Native and general Americana took center stage at the huge, five-day auction, which Holabird Western Americana Collections president and owner Fred Holabird said contained “the best material we’ve offered in a hot August auction in many years.” He added, “The variety was outstanding, as was the quality of goods offered. There was truly something for everybody.”
The military amputation kit, shown at the top of this page, was made around 1861 by G. Tiemann & Co. (N.Y.), which had been making surgical instruments since 1826. The kit contained an oval label adhered to the center of the protective felt cover of the saw department (with the address of 63 Chatham St., New York City), dating the piece prior to 1861. Most of the tools were punched “Tiemann.”
One of the two railroad signal lamps was the four-color Adlake lamp, a prize for any collector, 15 inches tall and 8 inches in diameter. The other was marked “SP & Co.” (for Southern Pacific Railway) and was without a globe. The crystalline gold specimen contained lead and silver sulfides. The specimen had one cut edge, exposing a very high percentage of native gold.
Native American offerings included turquoise and silver jewelry, baskets, Kachinas, and rugs. Also up for bid was a fine California token collection, American and foreign counters and tokens from the Benjamin Fauver collection, rare old whiskey bottles and scarce Nevada documents.
Also offered was a major pinback collection, baseball and boxing collectibles, gold specimens, American and foreign medals, Victorian furniture, Western art, original Buffalo Bill/Pawnee Bill posters, large ore cars and incline cars from a Nevada City mine, and dynamite and candle boxes.
The list continued with an American souvenir plate collection, music collectibles, toys and toy trains, postcard collections, directories, maps, a railroad pass collection, antique firearms, badges, mining and railroad stocks, coins, token dies, a rock-shop section and mining artifacts.
Day 1, on Thursday, August 27, kicked off with 93 lots of art, followed by 231 lots of Native Americana, 269 lots of general Americana (Part 1), eight lots of sports items and 46 lots of toys.
A significant lot was an Indian cuff silver bracelet with a prominent Kingman turquoise stone, measuring 4 inches by 2¼ inches. The sterling cuff was 6 inches. The bracelet brought $2,250. Also sold on Day 1 was a beautiful, American-made 1970s Fender jazz bass guitar, the Cadillac of Fender bass guitars, serial #282180, with a sunburst finish and a rosewood fretboard, $3,375.
Day 2, on Friday, August 28, began with 87 philatelic and postal history lots, followed by Part 2 of general Americana and 24 lots of firearms and weaponry. The railroad signal lamps and military amputation kit were the Day 2 star lots, but also sold was a Van Bergen Gold Dust whiskey bottle from 1880 in an ultra-rare aqua color, in very near perfect condition, $2,500.
Day 3, on Saturday, August 29, contained 125 lots of stocks and bonds; nearly 300 lots of numismatics; and 217 lots of tokens, a fan favorite. Day 3 top achievers included a group of 20 rolls of 90 percent silver Washington quarters, with a face value of $200, $4,375; and a very rare Masonic trade token (“D.K. Nichols / Masonic / Cal.”) that fetched $3,250. Masonic was a tiny mining camp in California that was discovered in the 1860s and died out not long afterward.
Day 4, on Sunday, August 30, commenced with 42 lots of minerals, then progressed into mining collectibles (277 lots) and closed with 290 lots of bargains and dealer specials.
Day 5, on Monday, August 31, was a continuation of more bargains and dealer specials. Top lots included an Indian Head penny hoard of more than 1,500 Indian Head cents from 1880-1908, mostly in almost good to very good condition, $1,563; and a nice group of Western postcards showcasing the women cowboys of the American rodeo, mostly circa 1920s, $625.
Visit Holabird online at www.holabirdamericana.com.
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