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First Western Americana Auction of the New Year a Huge Success


RENO, Nev. – A beautiful bronze depiction of a cowboy on horseback by California sculptress Betty Saletta sold for $5,000, a 25-cent War Eagle slot machine from the 1930s fetched $2,875, and a mint condition A.B. Stewart & Company of Virginia City, Nevada, drug store bottle dated 1877 made $2,250 at Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC’s auction held on January 20 and 21, 2018.

It was the first big auction event of the New Year for Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, featuring nearly 1,500 lots in many collecting categories. It was held online and in their Reno gallery, at 3555 Airway Drive. “We had our largest online live audience ever,” said owner Fred Holabird, who called the sale “a huge success.” Phone and absentee bids were also taken.

The Saturday session, held on January 20, showcased mining and minerals, art, foreign items, Native Americana and general Americana. Cowboy items, firearms and weaponry, militaria, gaming and tokens, coins), tokens, bottles, saloon, railroadiana, Wells Fargo, World’s Fair and Expositions, bargains and dealer specials, packed the Sunday session on January 21.

The Betty Saletta sculpture, titled "Yesterday is Tomorrow," standing 31 inches tall, was artist signed and dated 1990. Another bronze creation—a high-quality reproduction of the famous sculpture Stagecoach by American artist Charles Marion Russell, brought $2,500. The sculpture, on greenstone, stood 20 inches tall.

The War Eagle slot machine—a classic one-armed bandit design, still popular with collectors—boasted all original wood sides and base, and had been professionally repainted. A top lot in the tokens category was an 1898 Omaha Trans Mississippi Exposition example, in uncirculated condition and gold-plated. The unlisted variety token finished at $344.

Vintage and antique bottles are enormously popular with collectors, and this auction had some beauties, including the aforementioned A.B. Stewart drug store bottle, light purple in color and one of the rarest of all the Virginia City bottles; and a circa 1890-1892 Lemaire soda bottle from Battle Mountain, Nevada, very rare, aqua in color and tooled to Hutchinson style soda, that went for $1,750.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was provided by the platforms iCollector.com, Invaluable.com, eBay Live and Auctionzip.com. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

Mining collectibles are a genre of collectible that’s on the rise, and Holabird has capitalized on the trend. This sale featured fascinating 19th century photographs, including one photograph that shows nine miners and one child posing outside a mine shaft in Virginia City, Nevada, that made $1,125, and one of the Hale & Norcross Mine in Virginia City that brought $1,000. Both framed pieces date to 1885.

Other star lots from the category included a McClellan Gold Mining Company stock certificate from Comstock in the Nevada Territory, one of the very earliest Nevada territorial stock certificates, dated 1863 and in excellent condition, bringing $688, and a group of 23 early Arizona topographic maps, mostly from mining regions, 80 percent pre-1920 and many from the first survey period of 1895-1912, which brought $531.

Railroadiana featured a stock certificate from Virginia & Truckee Railroad in the amount of 500 shares, issued to W. C. Ralston (one of the driving forces behind the Bank of California on the Comstock), signed on the back by him and dated June 21, 1869 brought $1,125, and a rare Montana & Southern Company railroad pass, issued in 1919 and signed by General Manager Allen, which raised $312.

Numismatics and paper currency was highlighted by a collection of Washington quarter coins, with the main collection housed in an album and missing only the 1932-D, 1938 and 1940 dates, plus many duplicates in a backup box, bringing $1,125, and a group of 223 pre-1965 U.S. $1 silver certificate bills, 10 of them either uncirculated or almost uncirculated, the rest circulated, brought $375.

Native American artifacts were led by a gorgeous A handsome Buckskin Plains Indian beaded pipe bag, with a beaded warrior on horseback motif on one side and a twin deer design on the reverse, which brought $875, led the group of Native American artifacts. A corn husk and yarn bag woven by the noted Nez Pierce artist Viola Morris, new and never used, raising $594, and a vintage Hopi vase or seed pot, old and well-used, with chips and fading, brought $625.

A group of 58 pay vouchers for Wisconsin Civil War soldiers killed in battle, most of them marked “Paid” in 1864, for money owed to the soldiers from 1862, with the money going to family members and spouses of the deceased, garnered $562. Also, a two-page handwritten diary of a scout who was performing in the Buffalo Bill Wild West show, dated Jan. 1, 1874, hit $469.

A rare and unusual scrimshaw cup, made from a carved antique horn around 1802 and depicting 18th century British officers in a formation watching a nude solider tied to a cannon carriage while being whipped by three black slaves, signed by artist “N. Spillman”, rose to $1,312. Also, a World War II Marine Corps framed sword and scabbard, the sword 36 inches long, made $687.

A tin advertising sign for Al Furstnow Saddlery—“The Saddle That Made Miles City (Montana) Famous”—14 inches by 20 inches, not a copy, breezed to $625. Also, a Triassic Keichousaurus hui reptile fossil discovered embedded into black shale in Guizhou, China, 6 inches by 11 inches, brought $812. The 200 million-year-old species of reptile was just discovered in 1958, in China.

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 e-mail him at fredholabird@gmail.com. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana's January
20-21 auction, visit their Web site.

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