RENO, Nev. – Who says there’s no such things as unicorns? A five-ounce Chinese ‘Beloved Unicorn’ gold coin sold for $32,535 to take top lot honors at Holabird Western Americana Collections’ five-day June Treasures from Pacific Shores auction held June 22-26 in Reno. The runner-up lot was an astounding ore specimen collection from Nevada’s mining past ($15,625).
The auction was loaded with nearly 3,600 lots covering many categories, including numismatics, mining, minerals, general Americana, railroad, tokens, antique bottles, gaming, firearms and weaponry, Wells Fargo and Express collectibles and more. The event, which grossed $489,500, was held online and in Holabird’s gallery, located at 3555 Airway Drive (Suite 308) in Reno.
The ‘Beloved Unicorn’ gold coin, which is legal tender in the People’s Republic of China, was one of only 99 minted and was graded in proof condition. It came housed in a lovely presentation case and had a .999 gold composition. The mirror back obverse featured a design of two unicorns (a standing adult and resting offspring) with the word “UNICORN” in print and a currency mark.
The June 23rd session contained 158 lots of minerals and ore specimens and 531 lots of mining collectibles, to include lamps, candlesticks and hard goods. “We had two superb collections,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections, “the Gottschalk Aurora, Nevada collection, many with visible gold, and the Con-Virginia, Dayton Consolidated ore collection.”
The latter collection, of more than 250 ore specimens and samples, all labeled, proved to be the more attractive of the two to bidders. “We decided to keep the Con-Virginia collection together, since it represented a complete group of minerals and ore from producing Western mines in the 1920s and ‘30s and before,” Mr. Holabird said. “But both collections were unique and valuable.”
The highlight of the Gottschalk Collection was a high-grade gold specimen from the Florence Mine at Goldfield, Nev. The cut face specimen, 3 inches by 2 inches, with original label, brought $1,750. Also from the Gottschalk Collection, a pair of gold-silver specimens out of the Cortez Mine in Aurora, Nev. – considered one of the original rich mines – sold as one lot for $1,062.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. For those unable to attend in person, online bidding was provided by iCollector.com, Invaluable.com, eBay Live and Auctionzip.com. About 3,700 people registered to bid across all the platforms. They placed 3,155 live bids and 1,843 absentee bids. Phone bids were also accepted. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
A Chinese silver Liang (Tael) coin, minted in 1908 in the Hunan Province and issued by the Ta Ch’ing Government Bank, with the obverse showing three lines of two characters each and the reverse two lines of three characters each, garnered $8,438. Also, a W. Conklin IOU token good for 12 ½ cents in trade, issued in Sabrine Pass, Texas and in good condition, commanded $1,875.
A rare onion skin Green Mountain Mining (Ontonagon County, Mich.) stock certificate issued in 1862 in the amount of 25 shares to a Mr. Oliver Severance, signed by the company president and secretary, realized $2,250; while a Peoples Ice Company (Boca, Calif.) stock certificate for 45 shares, issued to “Thompson” in 1875, also signed by the president and secretary, made $438.
A framed print of the fabled Pacific Coast Borax 20-mule team, pulling wagons through Death Valley, Calif., measuring 16 inches by 42 inches (in the frame) breezed to $2,928. Also, a circa 1900 World War I-era military campaign hat, Western style, with acorn ties and an upturned wreath with the number “3” at the center, issued to staff non-commissioned officers, hit $594.
Great deals were to be had for bidders savvy enough to score them. A black tin box filled with Bassick Gold Mine (Querida, Colo.) company records from 1899-1901 – thousands of checks and invoices – went for just $1,000, and a beautifully refinished early 1900s Mason player piano, a fixtured in early honky-tonk bars and saloons, with stool and 300 music rolls, fetched $938.
Some lots sold for a ridiculously low $12.50 each, believe it or not. They included the following:
- 1950s early Knott’s Berry Farm (Disneyland) ephemera, to include a color booklet with mailing envelope, chicken dinner restaurant menu and Disneyland Hotel unused postcard.
- Set of eight 20th century tobacco company stock certificates, including ones for Liggett & Myers, Burley Tobacco Co., Pumpelly-Howe Tobacco Co., and Continental Tobacco Co.
- Collection of over 40 Wells Fargo and American Express envelopes, most addressed to Stupp Floral Company of St. Joseph, Mo., and postmarked Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas.
Holabird Western Americana Collections’ next big event will be an Americana auction sometime in August (dates and times to be announced), followed by an auction that will coincide with the National Token Collectors Association annual token auction on Friday, Aug. 31, in Sandy, Utah.
Anyone owning a collection that might fit into an upcoming Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels extensively throughout the U.S., to see and pick up collections. Last year it visited Boston, Florida, Seattle and New York.
Holabird Western Americana Collections is always seeking bottle, advertising, Americana and coin consignments for future auctions. To consign a single piece or a collection, you may call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, e-mail him at email@example.com. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, please visit www.fhwac.com.
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3555 Airway Drive