RENO, Nev. — A signed and framed Yosemite photo by Ansel Adams from circa 1959 sold for $38,750 at a four-day Western Frontiers auction held Oct. 13-16 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC , online and live in the Reno Gallery. The sale of 2,100 lots included Native American and general American products, mining, Express, numismatics, art, bottles, inventory and more.
There were five lots of framed prints by Ansel Adams (and several for pictures taken in the manner of Adams – a testament to his enduring popularity), but this was Lot No. 3022 – the big print of a snowy tree in Yosemite, thought to be part of Adams’ late 1950s winter snaps that led to his series of signed and numbered editions – which grossed $38,750, making it the best auction lot.
Headlining the auction was the third part of the Gary Bracken collection. Parts 1 and 2 (also owned by Holabird) were huge hits, and other rarities from the attorney’s collection from Ponca City, Oklahoma featured Native Americana (to include baskets and pottery), Colorado and Oklahoma tokens, foreign coins, jugs of Colorado whiskey, as well as saloon ephemera and posters.
Here are more highlights from the auction. Internet auctions were provided by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Telephone and correspondence offers were also accepted. All prices quoted include buyer’s premium.
Day 1, Thursday, October 13, featured the Express and Philatelic and General Americana, sorted geographically and including various categories such as games, tobacciana and musical instruments. A Gibson Model ES175 Sunburst electric guitar with a factory Bixbee whammy bar and darkened pick guard was a real beauty and changed hands for $3,500.
Also bringing in $3,500 on Day 1, there was an original ledger containing the Laws for the Virginia City, Nevada Fire Department Governmentcirca 1862-1877, signed into law by Nevada Territory Governor James W. Nye in 1864. Also, a full Wells Fargo advertisement for Adler & Galinger Wholesale Dealers in General Merchandise (Treasure City, Nevada), addressed to James A. Read of San Jose, who was a member of the tragic Donner party, paid $2,375.
A Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad lantern with the original lock and key and red embossed South Pacific globe, 10 inches plus handle and no patent information on the lamp, fetched $2,000.
Day 2, Friday, October 14, included political collectibles; militaria, firearms and armament; mining and ephemeral artifacts; and stock and bond certificates (with Colorado and Nevada mines, railroads, and miscellaneous). A Colt Lightning model carbine rifle chambered for .44 caliber on a medium frame, having a birth date of 1887 and a 20-inch octagonal barrel, fetched $2,000.
A piece of banded and dendritic gold and quartz mined from the Main Sleeper Vein in Humboldt County, Nevada, showing a fine cross-section face exposing native gold (electrum), in the quartz sequence in strips, brought in $1,562. In addition, a suite of seven different buttons, badges and ribbons from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidential campaign, including a Progressive Party button and a delegate ribbon from the 1904 Republican State Convention in Billings, ended at 1 $375.
A rare stock certificate for the Upper San Miguel Gold & Silver Mining Company (with offices in Colorado and Michigan), Certificate No. 389, issued for 500 shares to Henry Gerbs in May 1881, signed by the company’s president AT Nichols and secretary John B. Corliss, hammered for $1,220.
Day three, Saturday, October 15, focused on Art, Wild West and Law & Order, Cowboy and Numismatics (including coins, currency and certificates , medals and exonumia and tokens). Six articles relating to the Lincoln County (NM) War, an Old West conflict between rival factions that began in 1878 in New Mexico Territory (pre-statehood) and continued until in 1881, famous because one of the participants was William H. Bonney (aka “Billy the Kid”), sold for $5,000.
A letter written and signed by noted Sheriff Lawyer Seth Bullock, written on “Sheriff’s Office” letterhead and dated July 3, 1874 from Helena, Montana, addressed to Geo. Callaway (Virginia City, Montana), with Bullock thanking Callaway, won $3,250. Also, a typewritten contract from the 1908 Wild West Show signed by both William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and Gordon W. Lillie (Pawnee Bill), plus Ruth L. Bailey (signed by someone else) , all clear signatures, rose to $3,125.
A 1914 $50 American Buffalo .9999 one ounce fine gold coin in shiny uncirculated, like new condition from the United States Mint, in a hard plastic case, designed to look like nickel Buffalo, went to a determined bidder for $2,250. Also, a group of six chips from the town of Russell Gulch, Ouray County, Colorado, all six good for five cents each, made $2,375.
A collection of nine silver coins of Emperor Trajan (the Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD), two cistopphores, two tetradrachms, 2 provincial denarii (Lycia and Bostra), two Roman denarii, Pax and Spes., all good or better, went for $3,294; while two doubloons of gold escudos dating from around 1620, with a certificate of authenticity from Collectible America, found a new owner for $2,750.
Day 4, Sunday, October 16, was led by Native Americana (baskets, pottery, jewelry, rugs, clothing and artifacts, art and ephemera); saloon and brewing ephemera; and bottles. A stunning circa 1900 Mesa Chief red carpet, 6ft by 6½ft, left the gallery for $4,000.
A heavy vintage turquoise and silver cuff (probably old men’s pawns) probably Zuni (but could be Navajo), having an unusual inlay with an astonishing variety of 42 turquoise pieces, the sides hand etched with silver, costing $2,250. Also, a pictorial Apache basket, 4 inches high on a three-pole foundation, having a cascading design with four crosses and eight human figures symbolic of the earth, made from willow (or sumac) and claw of the heck, hammered for $1,562.
A Mike Fisher jug (“Mike Fisher / Wine, Liquors, Cigars / Crested Butte, Colo.”), J28 in Preble, 11 inches by 9 inches, cap possibly original, with slanted shoulder, cost 2 $625.
Holabird has auctions scheduled for December and February that will feature items from the SS Central America. The company is looking for treasure-related items, bars, gold nuggets and Gold Rush collectibles to add to these sales, which will include “Treasures of the Land and Sea.” He is also looking for shipments from mining, railroadiana, Native Americana, numismatics and bottles.
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is always looking for new and important collections to bring to market. It prides itself on being a major source of selling Americana at the best prices available, having outsold any other similar company in the last decade alone. The company will soon have its entire sales database online, free of charge – nearly 200,000 lots sold since 2014.
To consign a unique piece or collection, you can call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, you can email [email protected] To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates are released often.