Holabird auction unearths mining memorabilia Feb. 11-15

mining memorabilia

Leadville (Colo.) presentation silver ingot, inscribed, ‘From Geo. W. Cook to Col. J. J. Slocum Leadville Col June 1881 965 fine,’ about 23 troy ounces, 3 ½in long. Estimate: $20,000-$25,000. Holabird image

RENO, Nev. – Already famous for its five-day monster auctions that feature thousands of lots in a rainbow of collecting categories, Holabird Western Americana Collections will up the ante with a Sweetheart Express Auction from Feb. 11-15. The sale is bursting with nearly 4,000 premier lots. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.  

“The first sale of 2021 promises to be our best sale in several years – across the board – in every category,” said Fred Holabird, president and owner of Holabird Western Americana Collections. “We’ve been fortunate to receive many key collections to offer some of the best material to be sold in years. It may be the best cross section of collectibles since the big market crash of 2008.”

Start times all five days are 8 a.m. Pacific time. For those planning to attend the auction in person, all state and CDC regulations and protocols regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus (masks, social distancing, etc.) will be strictly enforced

The sale will be headlined by two major collections: the Gary Nelson collection of railroadiana and the Stewart MacKenzie collection of Montana mining. Both should attract a great deal of bidder interest.

Top billing goes to Gary Nelson, a lifetime collector and railroad employee whose collection features hundreds of trains in excellent working condition, engines, accessories, buildings, specialty cars (such as snowplows and maintenance cars, with crews), tracks, one-of-a-kind trains (many in mint or near-mint condition), and hundreds of different multi-signal lamps.

mining memorabilia

Colt single-action Army revolver, 1876, engraved by the notable Colt engraver Louis D. Nimschke. Estimate: $10,000-$13,500. Holabird image

There are also hundreds of railroad lanterns, including a Wabash embossed lamp with a teal globe, railroad signal signs, rolling stock with factory errors, a 1930s Standard Gauge in near-mint condition and more. All-model train scales and gauges include S-Gauge, O-Gauge, HO-Gauge and O-27. Names like Lionel, MTH, American Flyer and Buddy “L” are all included. The collection includes the very first cast-iron train purchased from the Graham Clayton collection.

Stewart “Scotty” MacKenzie (1942-2020) of Chinook, Montana, was a die-hard Montana “paper” collector. One of his great finds was the archive of the Pony, Montana Miners Union, with all their banners, badges and accoutrements. At trade shows he’d have boxes of letters and invoices, having learned that the billhead and letterhead market needed more Montana mining material. MacKenzie also discovered tons of mining stocks. He brought Montana to the forefront when he acquired the huge holdings of the Butte mines. Armed with thousands of stocks signed by mining magnate William A. Clark, MacKenzie fed these pieces into the worldwide certificate market, increasing global demand. His collection of Montana billheads, letterheads and stocks is huge.

Day 1, on Thursday, Feb. 11, will feature general Americana (jewelry, marbles and toys, geographic sort and miscellaneous), bottles and saloon collectibles (including brewing items and drug ephemera), mining collectibles and Part 1 of stocks and bonds (to include mining paper). Featured will be stocks and bonds (especially oil stocks) from Ken Prag’s sizable collection of U.S. businesses other than mining and railroad. Included are great rarities in every category, as well as rare autographs, including Thomas Edison and many other important financial figures.

Day 1 will contain rare Gold Rush and Western mining collectibles, including a gorgeous gold-in-quartz watch chain (below) and a James Marshall autograph (“Discoverer of Gold in California, Jan. 19, 1848″, signed Jas. W. Marshall”).

mining memorabilia

California gold quartz watch chain, 14in long. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000. Holabird image

Also offered will be a Nome Mining photo album, a large Leadville ephemera collection, a circa 1903 United Mine Workers Pikes Peak banner (below), rare Nevada pieces (including a Con-Virginia assay ledger) and choice mining medals.

mining memorabilia

Circa 1903 Pike’s Peak miner’s parade banner by Whitehead & Hoag intended for the United Mine Workers strike against Colorado coal companies. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Holabird image

Day 2, on Friday, Feb. 12, will have Part II of stocks and bonds (to include oil, railroad, transportation, agriculture, banking, brewing and industrial), and firearms, military and political collectibles. The firearms and military portion will feature an original 1865 tintype of Gen. Custer by Matthew Brady in a case, and several Colts with papers, including a Copper Queen Mine security force revolver from 1907 and one from 1876, engraved by Louis D. Nimschke.

mining memorabilia

Original Matthew Brady tintype of George Armstrong Custer, 3¼in x 3½in, taken in 1865. Estimate: $8,000-$20,000. Holabird image

Day 3, on Saturday, Feb. 13, will feature railroadiana and transportation, numismatics, tokens and sports. The numismatics section will include an 1862 Lincoln silver Peace Medal with Osage provenance (below), three choice ingots (an 1881 Leadville silver presentation ingot, a Vulture Mine gold ingot and a 1,000-plus-ounce U.S. Assay Office silver ingot), a California tokens collection, wooden nickels, U.S. gold coin “look-alike” counters and so-called dollars.

mining memorabilia

1862 Lincoln silver Peace Medal, 62.5 mm. Estimate: $20,000-$29,000. Holabird image

Day 4, Feb. 14, features art, Native Americana (to include a collection of 19th century photos and documents, including photos of Apache leaders such as Geronimo and two Apache Scout Medal of Honor winners). The philatelic section has an 1883 Sheriff R.H. Paul letter about a stagecoach robbery and murder in the Arizona Territory, plus thousands of postcards from the Ken Prag collection.

The art category contains fantastic material across the board, the best Holabird has ever offered, such as David Roberts lithographs (Egypt and the Holy Land, circa 1842-1844), selections from the Ben-T art collection (including a superb map from the reign of Peter the Great, circa 1722), and great oil paintings by prominent early 20th century Russian artists.

Also included in Day 4 is the Albert Cauchon sculptures collection, featuring over a thousand Chilmark pewter statues, beautifully detailed, by artists such as Don Polland and Michael Boyett. Some are Native American-themed, some are Western-themed and some are Civil War-era. They range in height from 4 inches to 3 feet.

Day 5, Monday, Feb. 15, will conclude the sale with more philatelic items, more numismatics and general Americana – a total of 708 lots.

For details contact Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766 or fredholabird@gmail.com.


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