"Last Spike" gold watch fob, Remington bronze, Watling Cupid highlight Witherell's Western Design auction

  • SACRAMENTO, California
  • /
  • April 27, 2015

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The "Last Spike" gold watch fob came from excess gold joining the transcontinental railway in 1869.
Witherell's

Witherell’s Old West Show in Grass Valley—and the online Western Design Auction that accompanies it—will be one of the most exciting events of the Old West year.

Held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, the show runs Friday, May 8 and Saturday May 9, 2015.

The online auction opens May 1 and closes May 15, 2015.

A buyer preview during dealer set-up also is held Thursday afternoon, the day before the show officially opens.

A hosted reception that evening for exhibitors and early buy-ins with beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres will replace the customary dinner.

Local collectors also host private parties throughout the weekend to add to the excitement.

“With people buying, selling and trading, we wheel and deal—and have a lot of fun,” said Brian Witherell, “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser and Witherell’s chief operations officer.

Held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds with more than 100 select dealers, many of whom are collectors themselves, come from across the country to exhibit their finest wares.

“This is the second year we’ve had the honor of producing the show my father, Brad, founded 30 years ago,” said Witherell. “We expect it to be as exciting as last year’s show.”

Mid-nineteenth Mother-Lode gold again will highlight the show and auction.

A newly discovered “Last Spike” presentation watch fob, broken off by legendary railroad magnate Leland Stanford before joining the Union and Central Pacific Railroads with the actual gold spike that made transportation across the nation by rail possible for the first time, will be exhibited at the show.

"The Savage" bronze, by Frederick Remington, is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
Witherell's

The actual gold spike and watch fob were commissioned by David Hewes, an early champion of the railroad.

Made by Schulz, Fischer and Mohrig, San Francisco, Hewes gave it to John B. Sweetser, a close friend of Hewes who bought Rancho Novato, 14,310 acres of Marin County, in 1869 and from it, shipped apples around the world.

Estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, this magnificent item could sell for much higher since the last known one sold for $30,000 privately.

Gambling artifacts such as a Watling’s Cupid Slot Machine, one of the exquisite finds in the Pope Valley Store and Stage Coach Stop, was held back for this auction.

It is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, but has shown a lot of interest.

A small, but exciting Frederick Remington bronze sculpture, The Savage, cast in 1908 by Roman Bronze Works in New York and valued at $30,000 to $50,000, is part of the highly anticipated art being auctioned.

A Southwestern oil on canvas, Natchez, by Henry Raschen, and a Western watercolor, Christmas Greetings/ 1929, by Maynard Dixon should bring interest from collectors looking for the finest Western art.

Brewery advertising such as two Buffalo Brewing Co. calendars, circa 1909 and 1910 from the Sacramento, Calif. company and valued from $4,000 to $10,000, also should be hot sellers.

An autographed letter from Sam Houston stating that “Patriotism is the foundation of true greatness in a Soldier or Statesman” top the unique ephemera that makes this Old West show and auction so fascinating.

WHO: Brian Witherell, “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser and Witherell’s COO

WHAT: Witherell’s Old West Show and the online Western Design Auction

WHERE: Nevada County Fairgrounds
11228 McCourtney Road
Grass Valley, CA 95945

WHEN: Friday, May 8, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Early Buy-in with dealers: Thursday, May 7 from 1 to 5 p.m.

COST: $10 for Friday or Saturday show
$100 for Thursday afternoon preview
Parking at the fairgrounds is free.

Auction highlights will be displayed during the show.

Although lots are not yet complete, the auction usually has more than 300 lots of exquisite items not often available for interested collectors.


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