Reno, NV, USA, July 23, 2021 — General George Armstrong Custer’s Civil War holster and gun belt, a photo diary of Pancho Villa with three books on the Mexican Revolution, and an 1898 prostitute’s license and photo from Tombstone, Arizona are a few of the more interesting items in Holabird Western Americana Collections’ Sizzling Summer Western Americana Auction, slated for August 5th-9th.
The five-day mega-event, packed with nearly 3,000 lots of Native Americana, philatelic (stamps) and numismatics (coins), militaria, railroad collectibles, Americana, mining memorabilia, stock certificates, art and more, will be held live in Holabird’s Reno gallery at 3555 Airway Drive, as well as online, via iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com.
Start times all five days are 8 am Pacific. “This sale will make collectors even hotter than they were before the air conditioning got turned on,” said Fred Holabird, owner of Holabird Western Americana Collections. “The sale is full of ‘hot stuff’ and features some of the best collections in their genre offered publicly in a long time. Two of the major collections are Western in origin.”
The first centers around Arizona and Colorado ephemera, to include 19th century photos and documents related to major mining camps, supplemented by gorgeous oil paintings of Native American and western scenes by Douglas Rosa. The framed cabinet card photo of prostitute “Amelia” (in classic prostitute attire) with her business license, should go for $5,000-$10,000.
Added to this is a major collection related to the Mexican War and Pancho Villa, including the photo-diary by Arizona photographer Walter Horne, plus three books on the Mexican Revolution (estimate: $25,000-$50,000). The militaria section is equally phenomenal, highlighted by Gen. Custer’s holster and gun belt, accompanied by a lengthy history (estimate: $60,000-$90,000).
A California collection of Native American jewelry comprises more than 400 incredible pieces of fine, artistic silver and turquoise jewelry, much of it museum-quality and accumulated over several decades. The main part of the collection is represented by bolos from the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. There are also necklaces, bracelets, rings, belt buckles, brooches and other items.
The California collection also includes jewelry from the Navajo, Santo Domingo Pueblo and the Hopi – amazing pieces of jewelry from many Native people. “Bidders will have a difficult time deciding on which to choose from for their collections,” Mr. Holabird said. “Also, for Western bolo tie collectors, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, the largest sale of its kind ever held.”
A couple of noteworthy Day 3 jewelry lots include a Rainbow Man knifewing bolo by Myra and Homer Vacit, circa 1940s-1950s, with stamped silver edging (estimate $1,200-$1,800); and an incredible vintage No. 8 Mine turquoise jewelry set (Navajo Reservation, Arizona) boasting a magnificent squash blossom necklace with twelve squash blossoms (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).
The Ken Prag collection is the gift that keeps on giving, and there are three distinct parts of his collection in this sale. First and foremost, most or all of the material is from his unsorted acquisitions for decades. There is a wealth of paper ephemera, particularly from California. The post cards (about 500 lots) are stunning, with very rare views in both RPC and printed format.
There are so many examples, it’s hard to pick, like the Tahoe original RPC of Myers, or a trio from Glen Alpine Springs, or printed cards from Weber Lake. Want pioneer cards? The sale has hundreds of them. One of the more fun sections is the gaming section – postcards with a gaming or playing card theme. This collection is now in about 20 lots, comprised of hundreds of cards.
Also from the Prag collection, on Day 5, is a major hoard of German inflation bonds from 1922, with anywhere from 500-1,000 pieces in two types, with varieties: 1,000 Marks with coupons, a 4-inch stack of maybe 1,000 pieces with at least two printing varieties; and a 50,000 Mark bond with coupons, one printing variety, a 3-inch stack of a few hundred (estimate: $1,000-$2,000).
For the firearms collector is a large library of historical books on guns, hunting and related, with some all-time key references. Exploration researchers will love the Arctic Exploration library and other early works on western exploration. Stocks and bonds feature a fantastic selection from about a dozen collections, and there’s a fine selection of railroad passes and stocks, with rarities.
In addition to the 1898 prostitute’s license and photo, another Day 1 super lot is the spectacular large bronze plaque celebrating Charles Lindbergh’s famous first flight across the Atlantic in 1927, made by sculptor and painter Julius T. Gutzwa (Meriden, Conn., 1891-1956). The plaque is one of only two known and is in extra fine to uncirculated condition (estimate: $3,000-$6.000).
Also up for bid on Day 1 will be historic ledgers pertaining to the legendary Hollenbeck Hotel in Los Angeles: three ledgers for the hotel from 1902; one ledger for the hotel restaurant, 1896; and one ledger for the saloon, 1895-1896 (estimate: $2,000-$6,000); and a 14-inch-square original bronze sign for Bell Telephone Company of Nevada, rare and early (estimate: $1,000-$2,000).
Expected star lots on Day 4 will include a painting of Native Americans on horseback, titled Too Many Guns (1982), by the Hungarian-American artist Americo Makk (1927-2015), framed; and a U.S. one dollar gold coin, produced by Christopher Bechtler around 1838. Bechtler’s coins were accepted across the Southeast. Both of the lots have pre-sale estimates of $5,000-$10,000.
The full catalog can be viewed online now, at www.holabirdamericana.com. For those planning to attend the auction in person, regulations and protocols regarding COVID-19 will be enforced.
Color catalogs are available by calling 1-844-492-2766, or 775-851-1859. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections and the Sizzling Summer Western Americana Auction slated for Thursday thru Monday, August 5th-9th, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates posted often.