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Gold and silver lots reign supreme at Holabird Western Americana Collections' three-day auction
The only existing large Rothchild & Sons silver ingot (.966 fine, 1098.3 troy ounces), with the Rothchild & Son hallmark and 1935 date stamp ($23,500).

RENO, NEV.- Silver and gold lots reigned supreme at Holabird Western Americana Collections’ Americana auction, held August 24th-26th in Reno, as a Rothchild & Sons silver ingot from 1935 soared to $23,500, a Chinese gold unicorn coin weighing one troy ounce realized $3,375, and a World War II Confederate Air Force set of 14 silver coins, each one troy ounce, brought $2,125.

The auction, which marked the beginning of Holabird’s summer-fall-winter season, was packed with a number of major collections – over 2,100 lots in all. The event was held online as well as in Holabird’s gallery at 3555 Airway Drive. Internet bidding was provided by,, eBay Live and Phone and absentee bids were also be accepted.

Day 1, which contained all the abovenamed top lots, featured 14 lots of gaming collectibles, 13 saloon collectibles, 121 lots of rare vintage and antique bottles, 201 lots of tokens and 387 lots of numismatic items, to include bank bags, coins, books, checks, ingots, medals, mint and proof coin sets, popular “so-called” dollars, scales, currency, scrip, commemoratives and ephemera.

The Rothchild & Sons 1935 silver ingot was a discovery piece out of the Chicago area and is possibly the only existing large Rothchild silver ingot. And large it was, measuring 14 inches by 5 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches, .966 fine and weighing a stout 1098.3 troy ounces. The ingot had the Rothchild & Son hallmark in a double circle, the date inside a rectangle, and a serial # (R5170).

The Chinese gold unicorn coin, one of 1,000 minted by the China Mint Company, is legal tender in the People’s Republic of China, with a face value of 100 yuan. Measuring 32 mm in diameter and 99.9 percent pure gold by composition, the coin showed a beautiful standing unicorn above foliage on the obverse and a dragon on the reverse. It was housed in its original velvet-lined box.

The set of 14 Confederate Air Force (or “Ghost Squadron”) coins commemorated a group of legendary aircraft from the U.S., England and Germany during World War II. The obverse designs on the .999 pure silver coins each commemorated a different airplane. The set came in a large clamshell case; the white satin inside cover showed the crest of the Confederate Air Force.

Following are additional highlights from the auction, which posted an overall gross of $256,435. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.

A silver colored paperweight weighing 15.87 troy ounces (but possibly silver-plated copper) sold for $625. Some of the highest relief of the plating was worn off, showing a copper-colored metal. Also, a one-peso Filipino coin in the key 1906-S date, graded VF, changed hands for $1,562, and a pale aqua New Almaden Mineral Water bottle (circa 180-1872, San Jose, Calif.), brought $625.

Tokens were hugely popular with collectors. Top achievers included an Abbott & Davis (Fort Davis, Tex.) token good for “1 dollar in M’D’S’E” ($1,562); an early and rare trade token for Moore & Sweet (Fort Quitman, Tex.) from 1871 ($1,062); and two tokens that showed steer heads: for Neff & Guff (Austin, Tex., $375) and one for Fred Schmidt (San Angelo, Tex., $732).

Day 2, on Saturday, August 25th, contained 112 lots of cowboy collectibles, 64 lots of firearms and weaponry, 63 lots of militaria, 19 general foreign lots and more than 450 lots of general Americana, to include advertising items, bonds, books, entertainment industry, Gold Rush, lamps, glassware and flatware, jewelry and watches, sheet music, tools and vintage apparel.

An Elvis Presley limited-edition commemorative 24kt gold-plated silver record disc, weighing three troy ounces and showing Don’t Be Cruel on one side and Hound Dog on the other, issued by The Lincoln Mint and contained in a 6 ½ inch square cherry-finished wood box, made $531.

A carte de visite of plantation owner, slave trader and Texas army colonel James Fannin, of the only known painting of Fannin done when he was at West Point, commanded $688. Col. Fannin fought in three battles against Mexican forces in 1835. He was captured and executed in 1836.

Day 3, on Sunday, August 26th, was brimming with 260 lots of mining collectibles, 19 mineral specimen lots, 46 lots of railroadiana, 15 lots of Wells Fargo & Express, 11 lots of postal history, 15 lots of political memorabilia, 10 lots of World’s Fair and Expositions, 12 lots of artwork, 67 lots of Native Americana and 127 lots of what Holabird called “bargains and dealer specials.”

A vintage mini squash blossom necklace with all hand-stamped and formed squash blossoms set with turquoise stones, crafted circa the 1940s, breezed to $8,125. The naja of the 24-inch-long necklace was set with green turquoise stones and the lot came with a silver and turquoise fork.

A circa 1885 oak-framed chromo-litho poster for the California Powder Works – the first U.S. explosive powder manufacturing company west of the Rocky Mountains – finished at $6,000. The poster, which probably hung in a saloon or mining office, boasted lovely soft pastel colors.

Numerous important collections will be offered over the course of several seasons and multiple auctions at Holabird. These will include the Medallic Arts/Northwest Territorial Mint Reference Ingot Collection, the James Mackie Art & Western Americana Collection, the R.B. Worthington Texas Token Collection, the Ken Prag American Stock Certificate Collection and several others.

“The Prag collection of American stock certificates will inarguably be the highlight of the fall and winter sales,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections, adding, “One of every stock he ever handled is in the collection, untouched and unpicked. As usual, we’re also offering a wide variety of his duplicate material in the dealer/bargain section of the catalogs.”

Other collections to be sold in future sales will include the Falcone Medal Collection, more of the Hawaii Numismatic Collection, the Daniel Manassillian collection of tokens and Americana, cowboy collectibles from three collections (spurs, saddles, saddle bags, etc), antique bottles from the Rod Stock and other collections, and the Jim Clark collection of entertainment collectibles.

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