Alaska Gold Rush nugget brings top dollar at Holabird's Holiday Treasures auction

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Alaska Gold Rush nugget brings top dollar at Holabird's Holiday Treasures auction
4.51 troy ounce Alaska Gold Rush gold nugget sold for $10,845.

RENO, NEV.- A beautiful 4.51 troy ounce Alaska Gold Rush gold nugget from the Atlin mining district, located just east of Skagway in Yukon, Alaska climbed to $10,845, and an oil on board painting of two miners on mules loaded with various items, titled Panhandlers, signed by Texas artist William Forrest Martin, nicely framed, realized $8,540 at Holabird Western Americana Collections’ massive, five day Holiday Treasures Auction held December 5th through the 9th.

The auction was packed with a staggering 4,379 lots in a wide array of collecting categories – including Western Americana, railroadiana, gold, minerals, music memorabilia, mining, art, Native Americana, militaria, aviation, postal history, coins, tokens and more – online and live in the gallery at 3555 Airway Drive (Suite #308) in Reno. The painting and gold nugget were the two lop lots in a sale that grossed $270,272. Over 5,000 registered bidders participated online.

Day 1, December 5th, was the sale’s busiest day, in terms of the sheer number of categories. These included art, militaria, Native Americana, firearms and weapons, general Americana, autographs, antiquarian books, bottles, clothing, comic books, cowboy collectibles, ephemera, entertainment industry, furnishings, 3D items, gaming, jewelry, maps, music and photography.

Also offered on Day 1 were political memorabilia, postcards, saloon/beer/tobacco, spoons, tools, toys, Wells Fargo/Express, World’s Fair/Expositions, coins and tokens. A top achiever was the original 1909 poster mounted on linen promoting “Pawnee Bill’s Great Far East combined with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” ($4,375). The 30 inch by 40 inch framed poster advertised the brief partnership between Gordon William Lillie (aka “Pawnee Bill”) and the legendary Buffalo Bill.

A Parsons & Co. Assayers (Colorado) gold ingot, one of four known examples, marked “1860” and “Twenty Dolls”, changed hands for $3,615. It most certainly would have brought more if it could be proved the ingot was real, but it can’t because there is no provenance for that one or the other three either. Still, two of the four are in museums (one is in the Smithsonian). Not much is known or documented regarding Mr. Parsons, who operated out of a remote mine in Colorado.

A group of 40 ancient Chinese coins, dating to hundreds of years BC, gaveled for $3,500. These included a “Nose” or “Ghost-head” bronze imitation of cowrie shell, used from 700-200 BC throughout central and eastern ancient China. Eleven were unattributed. Also, a vintage, one-of-a-kind Navajo necklace and earrings set, featuring a 32-inch-long Naja pendant with six stones (possibly Royston turquoise) with silver beads, and matching clip-on earrings, rose to $1,562.

Two lots posted identical selling prices of $1,000. One was a stock certificate for Ediphone Service, Inc. (N.J.), issued to Thomas Edison (and his brother Charles), for one share, dated July 16, 1928, cancelled, with Thomas Edison’s bold signature on the reverse. The other was a large group of DC Comics, featuring characters such as Karate Kid, Justice League, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman and Ghosts. The comics were not heavily researched and none were graded.

Day 2, Friday, December 6th, featured stocks and bonds (mining stocks, petroliana stocks and other stocks), railroadiana, transportation, minerals and mining – 737 lots in all. The Yukon / Skagway gold nugget sold on Day 2. Also sold was a 1-share free trading stock certificate from 1856 for the Minnesota Mining Co., the first mine in Ontanogan County, Mich. The certificate, signed by Joseph Henry de Palma (Pres.) and James D. Mansfield (Treas.), finished at $4,250.

Day 3, Saturday, December 7th, contained 957 lots of art, militaria, Americana, antiquarian books, bottles, clothing, cowboy, ephemera, fire, entertainment industry, fraternal organizations, furnishings and 3D items, gaming, maps, photography, political, postcards, saloon/beer/tobacco, signs, spoons, tools, toys, Wells Fargo/Express and World’s Fair and Expositions and foreign.

Day 4, Sunday, December 8th, had Native Americana, minerals, mining, numismatics, tokens, postal history, sport and transportation – 750 lots in all.
Day 5, Monday, December 9th, will conclude the event with 1,227 lots of stocks and bonds, automobilia, aviation, industrial, mining, petroliana, railroadiana, transportation and other.

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