A 288-pound iron-nickel meteorite found in China in 1958 and believed to have fallen to Earth in 1516 A.D. sold for $4,125 at a four-day Minerals Galore & Western Americana Auction held June 2nd thru 5th by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, online and live in the Reno gallery. Hundreds of collectibles came up for bid in an array of collecting categories.
All prices in this report are inclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Day 1, on June 2nd, was notable because bargains and dealer lots – which had been offered on the last day of Holabird’s multi-day sales in the past – have proven so popular they officially kicked off this event, with 155 lots offered. Other categories included militaria (Civil War, World War I & II, etc.), firearms, weaponry, general Americana, toys, collectibles, art and Native Americana.
A model 1863 Dahlgren Navy bayonet with sheath, complete with scabbard and frog, one of 1,800 made, changed hands for $1,875. The knife was designed by Admiral John Dahlgren of the USS Plymouth and was originally made by Ames Mfg. Co. (Chicopee, Mass.) for the Plymouth / Whitneyville model 1861 musket for the US Navy. The walnut grip was nicely framed in brass.
An outstanding group of paper label pictorial tin cans – 53 in all, with many appearing to be pre-1900 – gaveled for $1,187. Some of the best were from California, including three Mount Hamilton brand 4-inch tins with spectacular color labels showing the Mt. Hamilton observatory and telescope; and one California Fruits 4-inch tin with iconic California golden bear graphic.
Day 2, on Friday, June 3rd, featured the entertainment industry (autographs, music, etc.), sports, Black Americana, cowboy, fraternal organizations, gaming, model railroading, political, tobacco, saloon, beer and liquor, bottles and marbles, tools, World’s Fairs, jewelry and watches, philatelic (postcards, revenue stamps, stamps, postal history) and photography – a total of 565 lots in all.
A stamp album containing a wonderful collection of U.S. commemoratives dating from 1900 to 1975, with all the stamps presented in black glassine protectorates and all appearing to be in mint condition, finished at $3,750. Also, an important collection of pipes – about 40 in all, including six meerschaums and several briars – fetched $1,062. The makers were from England, France, Turkey and Vienna. Included was a second edition copy of The Pipe Book, by Alfred Dunhill.
From the Ken Prag collection, a collection of more than 700 vintage postcards from Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada, including stagecoaches arriving in the valley and views from Camp Curry, Glacier Point and Wawona tunnel, hit $1,187; while a lot of 60 postcards from Hong Kong, China, circa 1905-1910s, including 14 real photo postcards, the rest including three Pacific Mail Steamship Co. cards and a three-panel panorama postcard (repaired), made $875.
Day 3, on Saturday, June 4th, featured furnishings and décor, minerals (including display minerals), fossils and gold and ore), mining lots (ephemera and equipment), numismatics, to include badges, bullion, coins, currency, ephemera, exonumia (numismatic items other than coins and paper money, such as tokens, medals, or scrip), foreign and medals; and tokens.
The meteorite was a Day 3 lot and came out of the Chunlin Zhu collection. Items from that same collection included a large amethyst cavern geode with deep purple crystals – a real show-stopper, 15 inches by 18 inches by 11 inches ($1,375); and a Chinese viewing stone – a beautifully intricate tan-colored flowstone from a cavern, 17 inches tall, on a stand ($1,875).
A small, 17-inch Pelton wheel with nine cups, probably from Nevada City, Calif., with some degree of damage, brought $1,250. And talk about bargains! A group of three Alaska medals (Seward Cornerstone of an Empire; 1967 Centennial of the Alaska Purchase; and Alaska the 49th State) went to a happy bidder for just $12; while five coins from India, all in above average condition, including an 1840 rupee, a 1935 half anna and a 1936-B quarter anna, brought $18.
Day 4, on Sunday, June 5th, featured books, maps, stocks and bonds (including mining and railroad), and transportation (including stagecoach, ships and railroad) – a total of 570 lots.
A Wells Fargo Company (Omaha, Neb.) stock certificate #647 for 100 shares, issued in 1870 to Henry Wells, one of the co-founders of American Express in 1850, rose to $2,875. This stock certificate, one of perhaps five known, is unquestionably one of the most important of all the Wells Fargo and American Express documents, as it represents the takeover of Wells Fargo by California business financier Lloyd Tevis after cutting a back-room deal with Wells and Fargo.
Also sold on Day 4 was a copy of the 1884 book Recollections of Mining Life by Henry DeGroot, 16 pages in near mint condition, with full-page illustrations, a classic book cited in nearly every Gold Rush bibliography ($1,000); and a collection of mostly softcover Montana targeted recreational books, including 3 Montana Big Game Animals, Bed & Breakfast Home of Montana and The Rock Climbers’ Guide to Montana, which sold for the bargain price of $12.
Online bidding was provided by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. The full catalog was available for viewing at www.holabirdamericana.com. Color catalogs were also available for anyone who called 1-844-492-2766, or 775-851-1859.
To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates are posted often.