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Holabird Western Americana Collections announces 5-day holiday auction
Major collection of covers from the USS Macon zeppelin, a US airship that was operational from 1933-1935 – 500 covers in all, plus a well-used book on the Macon (est. $2,500-$7,500).

RENO, NEV.- A five-day Holiday Auction packed with hundreds of lots of mining collectibles, philatelic material, Americana and more, and featuring a number of important collections in a wide range of categories – will be held December 17th thru 21st by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, online and live in the gallery located at 3355 Airway Drive (Ste. 308) in Reno.

Start times all five days are 8 am Pacific time, with Internet bidding available via,, and Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted. For those planning to attend the auction in person, all state and CDC reg’s and protocols regarding the COVID-19 virus (masks, social distancing, etc.) will be strictly enforced.

Day 1, December 17th, will be dedicated to stocks and bonds – 712 lots in total, led by 208 lots of mining stocks and 66 lots of railroad and transportation stock. Other categories will include agriculture, banking, breweriana, the entertainment industry, Express, firearms and printing and publishing. Headlining the day will be Ken Prag’s massive industrial stock certificate collection.

“Within the Prag collection are some fantastic sub-collections,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC. “Among these are Ken’s banking collection, American entertainment, brewing, telephone and telegraph, turnpikes, firearms, printing and publishing collections. A few categories are so big they’ll be split between this sale and an early 2021 sale.”

Within these collections are pieces signed by famous Americans such as inventor Thomas Edison. “The American entertainment collection is easily the best ever assembled of the history of motion pictures,” Holabird said. “Several hundred certificates document the financial history of the cinema and movie business from its infancy. Serious collectors will have a field day.”

A stock certificate for the Edison Storage Battery Co. (West Orange, N.J.), issued for one share to Thomas Edison himself as company president, dated November 30, 1920 and signed front and back by the iconic American inventor, is an expected Day 1 superstar lot, carrying a pre-sale estimate of $2,500-$4,000. The stock certificate is also signed by company treasurer H. F. Miller.

Day 2 should see a flurry of bidder activity. Categories include transportation (railroad passes and cap badges, ephemera and more), mining artifacts and ephemera (including geographic sort), general Americana (more geographic sort, badges, bottles, circus, cowboy, World’s Fair and Exposition), numismatics (coins, currency, medals and tokens), jewelry, fire, toys and more.

“The Paul Franklin collection of California and Colorado will absolutely throw bidders into a tizzy,” Holabird promised. “His Bodie mining stocks are among the best collections out there, and his California and Colorado mining photographs are absolutely phenomenal. His collections of Western assayer documents are also among the best ever. You’ll also see some great mining stocks from California and Colorado, to go with the fantastic photographs and assay certificates.”

“But wait- there’s more,” he added. “A great selection of California Gold Rush postal history supplements this group with a crowning glory – a group of 1850s illustrated letter sheets. Our railroad section is again full of original badges and passes. The Express section has a large collection of items. There is such a wonderful variety of Americana that we’re sure you’ll find your own special items. Don’t forget the Dealer/Bargain section, where there are deals galore.”

Day 2 star lots will include a rare 1879 stereoview of a freight wagon on Main Street in Bodie, California, matted and framed, photographed by Ramanzo Wood, a landscape photographer from Santa Cruz, active 1875-1905 (est. $1,500-$2,000); and a large selection of 33 stereoviews of Yosemite, taken from 1870-1875 by Thomas Houseworth, a failed miner, optometrist and photographer (est. $1,000-$1,500). The group includes North and South Domes and Mirror Lake.

Also offered on Day 2 will be a massive collection of over 550 black and white photographs of circus scenes in America throughout the first half of the 20th century, including Barnum & Bailey, Buffalo Bill, Cole Brothers, etc. (est. $2,000-$5,000); and an ephemera collection of items relating to the Alaska-Gastineau Mining Company, which operated a gold mining and milling operation on the outskirts of Juneau, Alaska from 1911 to 1934 (est. $1,000-$2,000).

Day 3, December 19th, will feature Wells Fargo and other Express, postal history (including a California Gold Rush letter sheet), major collections of first flight covers (US and Canada), 600 lots of postcards from the massive Ken Prag collection (Native Americana, Black Americana, holidays, political and military, California, foreign and miscellaneous), stamps and ephemera.

The California Gold Rush letter sheet, dated 1876, titled Methods of Mining, was published by James M. Hutchings. The sheet illustrates all of the major types of gold mining being done in California by 1855, with illustrations by Charles C. Nahl (est. $1,500-$3,000). Also offered will be a major collection of covers from the USS Macon zeppelin, an airship that was operational from 1933-1935 – 500 covers in all, plus a well-used book on the Macon (est. $2,500-$7,500).

Day 4, December 20th, will consist of 733 lots overall. Categories include art, Native Americana, firearms and military, sports (including postcards, stocks and cards), and Part 1 of bargains and dealer specials, including numismatics, stocks and bonds (featuring mining, railroad and other categories), and mining equipment and ephemera. Part 2 of bargains/specials will be on Day 5.

Day 4 Native American lots to watch will feature a stunning example of a Navajo Red Mesa Native American rug in near perfect condition, 5 feet by 8 feet 5 inches, with dramatic, exotic colors inspired by Hispanic weavings (this style a form Teec Noc Pos) (est. $5,000-$8,000); and a Navajo turquoise squash blossom necklace from around the 1950s or ‘60s, an unmarked naja piece 15 ½ inches long and boasting a nice patina built up on all the silver (est. $1,900-$2,400).

The final day of the sale, December 21st, will be a continuation of bargains and dealer specials – 680 lots, led by 29 lots of transportation and the rest general Americana, to include toys, cowboy, souvenir plates, music memorabilia, jewelry, books, general foreign, geographic sort and lastly miscellaneous. Every effort will be made to accommodate bidders requesting Christmas delivery.

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