A ten-dollar 1902 red seal banknote from The Farmers & Merchants National Bank in Reno, Nevada sold for $12,500, a runaway slave broadside from 1862 brought $8,750, and a circa 1868 lime green Dr. Boerhaaves Stomach Bitters bottle finished at $8,435 at a four-day auction held Jan. 19-22, live and online, by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC
The auction, officially titled Pikes Peak or Bust! Western Americana, Bottles, Numismatics & More, was named in honor of the great Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 and featured a healthy dose of Colorado and Western states material, plus collectibles in many categories, including bottles, railroadiana, Native Americana, mining, numismatics, art, antique stocks and general Americana.
The 1902 Farmers & Merchants National Bank $10 red seal note was the second finest known of just the five red seals reported on the bank. It was PMG graded Very Fine 20, with some minor restorations on the reverse, but red seals are rare and coveted by collectors in any condition. It was signed by W. J. Harris and president Richard Kirman, the only president the bank ever had.
The folded slave broadside, 9 ¾ inches by 13 ½ inches, dated Sept. 28, 1852, offered a liberal reward for the apprehension of (two) Negroes, who ran away Saturday night, the 21st, having stolen fifty dollars in money and a large lot of clothing. The runaways were women: Eliza (in her 20s, well made, rather on the slender side) and Fanny (about 50 and fond of smoking).
The circa 1868 Dr. Boerhaaves Stomach Bitters bottle with an applied top, 8 ¾ inches tall, was one of probably less than six known (Wichmann, 1999) and extremely rare (B133 in Ring). Little is known about this very scarce Western bitters bottle. Other examples of just the handful known are amber and yellow-olive. The one sold is possibly the only dark green lime one extant.
Following are additional highlights of the auction, held live in the Reno galley located at 3555 Airway Drive, as well as online via iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. Prices include buyers premium.
Day 1, on Thursday, January 19th, featured 514 lots of general Americana, which included geographic sort and miscellaneous categories, to include cowboy, sports, books and toys.
The runaway slave broadside was the days top lot, but other items included a City of Tombstone, Arizona business license, dated Aug. 1, 1881 (two months before the shoot-out at the OK Corral), and issued to the Peck Bros. (for Peddlers), signed by Town Marshall Virgil Earp (Wyatts brother) ($3,250); and A McLellan model 1885 cavalry saddle with an A.D. Laidley Ordinance inspection stamp, complete with tack, hammered for $2,625. A.D. Laidley inspected leather goods for the U.S. Ordinance Dept. from the Civil War thru the Indian Wars.
A copy of Amy's Marysville (Calif.) Directory, for the Year Commencing June 1858, Being a Register of this City and of the County of Yuba, Embracing a General and Business Register of Citizens, etc., 108 pages, went for $2,000. Also, a rare, unframed lithograph of the infamous Andersonville Confederate prison in Georgia during the Civil War, titled Sparks From the Campfire, copyright 1890, measuring 17 inches by 22 inches, found a new home for $2,625.
Day 2, on Friday, January 20th, had 546 lots of transportation (railroad and steamer passes and transportation ephemera) and bottles and saloon (featuring Colorado whiskey and medicines).
The Dr. Boerhaaves Stomach Bitters bottle was Day 2s top achiever. Also sold was a tan-colored jug for the Bountiful Co-Operative / Mercantile Institution / Bountiful, Utah, 11 inches tall, with five base chips but no apparent cracks ($3,625); and a near-mint, unlisted variant of a Preble (J 32) Old Kentucky Liquor House (Cripple Creek, Colo.) slope shoulder jug, 7 ½ inches tall and very scarce, with a brown glaze on the top and a lighter glaze on the bottom ($3,500).
An autograph letter dated April 14, 1829 and signed by Peter Haywood, whose naval career was clouded by the misfortune of being a 16-year-old seaman aboard the merchant vessel HMS Bounty at the time of her famous mutiny in 1789, rose to $5,625. Also, a United Verde & Pacific Railway Company pass No. 103, issued to W.C. Potts for the year 1900 and signed by W.A. Clark (one of the Copper Kings or mining millionaires of Montana) finished at $1,062.
Day 3, on Saturday, January 21st, was filled with 533 lots of art, Native Americana, political collectibles, militaria, firearms and weaponry, minerals and mining, and stocks and bonds.
A Day 3 top lot was an antique 16 gauge pinfire shotgun made in the 1870s by Masu Freres of Liege Belgium, 46 inches overall and with a 29 ¾ inch barrel ($3,125). The barrels were soft browned Damascus in the water twist pattern and the bores were bright without any pitting. Each component of the weapon was engraved with wild stags and does and was outlined in gold line.
A signed print of the renowned photographer Ansel Adamss image El Capitan Winter Sunrise, 9 inches by 10 inches from an edition of 250 and inscribed on the back to Andrea Gray and Gardner/Fulmer Lithograph, changed hands for $1,250; while a framed lithograph by the equally famous artist Salvador Dali titled The Thumb, #12 of 65, reserved for Dali himself and others in his circle (not for sale), housed in a frame measuring 39 inches by 29 inches, garnered $2,125.
Two American Express Co. stock certificates one dated June 16, 1862 and signed by Henry Wells as president and William G. Fargo as treasurer; and one dated Sept. 11, 1877 and signed by Fargo as secretary sold as one lot for $1,437. Also, a framed print by Currier & Ives titled Gold Mining in California, colorful and vibrant, 10 inches by 14 inches (less frame), hit $1,437.
Day 4, on Sunday, January 22nd, was all numismatics, with 13 different Nevada banknotes and continuing with US coins (including Carson City Morgan silver dollars), plus medals and tokens.
The 1902 Farmers & Merchants banknote was the sessions star lot, but also sold was a seldom seen, large-size 1902 $5 blue seal note from the First National Bank of Winnemucca (Nevada), serial #1887, graded PCGS Very Fine 25, with an image of Benjamin Harrison ($7,500); and an 1871 silver U.S. Peace Medal (Julian IP-42), depicting Ulysses S. Grant on the obverse and the saying One Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men on the reverse, almost uncirculated ($4,500).
A collection of 71 bar and saloon tokens from Denver, Colorado, including the Equitable Bar, the Arch Bar, the Elite Bar, the Old Kentucky Bar, the Miners Saloon and the Little Gem Saloon rang up $3,875; while an 1890s token for the Bear Saloon in Leadville, Colo. (Don Cameron / Leadville / Colo. / Good For / One / 12 ½ Cent / Drink), octagonal in shape and 25 mm in diameter, hit $1,812. In 1898, the saloons license was temporarily revoked for bad behavior.
On March 4th, Holabird will auction Part 2 of items from the S.S. Central America, the fabled Ship of Gold that sank in a storm in 1857. Part 1, held in January by Holabird in Reno, was a huge success. The firm is seeking treasure-related items, ingots, gold nuggets and Gold Rush collectibles to add to this sale, which will feature Treasures from the Land & Sea. It is also looking for consignments from mining, railroadiana, Native Americana, numismatics and bottles.