Reno, NV, USA — A California Gold Rush-era bond from 1856 signed by Cornelius Vanderbilt sold for $11,250, a photo of the execution hanging of outlaw Fleming “James” Parker taken in 1898 brought $9,062, and a gorgeous circa 1880-1920 Red Mesa Navajo rug in near-perfect condition rose to $5,000 at a huge, five-day Western Americana Signature Sale held May 13th thru 17th by Holabird Western Americana Collections, online and live in the Reno gallery at 3555 Airway Drive.
This auction was brimming with over 3,000 lots of historical autographs, gold nuggets and high-grade gold specimens, minerals and mining collectibles, rare reference books, firearms and militaria, numismatics, stock and bond certificates, silver ingots, Native Americana, gaming collectibles, firefighting memorabilia, artwork, turquoise jewelry, medals, tokens and more.
Day 1 featured original artwork, stocks and bonds (including mining and non-mining) and autographs. The Vanderbilt-signed bond certificate, as president of the Accessory Transit Company of Nicaragua, which transported gold prospectors from the East Coast to the West Coast, was the star lot of the day. Issued on Feb. 9, 1856 for $5,000, with early bond number 14, the bond was signed front and back by Vanderbilt. It was also signed by Isaac Lea as secretary.
Also sold on Day 1 was a Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Navigation Company (Philadelphia, Pa.) stock certificate dated Aug. 4, 1792, significant because it was signed by Declaration of Independence signer Robert Morris, the company president ($4,375); and a stock certificate for the Houdini Picture Corporation in New York City from 1921, signed by Houdini himself, as company president ($3,375). Houdini produced and starred in two films under the corporation.
Day 2, on May 14th, showcased mining and mineral collectibles (including ore specimens and fossils), railroadiana and transportation, and philatelic (including covers, stamps and postcards). A top lot was a pair of albums containing photographs and diazo copies of photos) of the construction of the concentrator and smelter by the Nevada Copper Corporation from 1907-1908 ($6,250). The facility processed copper ores from the mines around Ruth, Nevada, near Ely.
Internet bidding was facilitated by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Telephone and absentee bids were also accepted. Anyone owning a collection that might fit into an upcoming Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels extensively throughout the United States, to assess and pick up collections. The company has agents all over America and will travel to inspect most collections.