Holabird Western Americana Collections' Two-Part Marvels of The West Auction, January 25-26 & 27-28

Reno, NV, USA, January 21, 2024 -- Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC’s original plan was to have two auctions in January – a timed online-only sale in the middle of the month and a live auction (with online bidding) at the end of the month. That idea has been scrapped. Now, both sales will be combined into one catalog – the timed online sale Jan. 25-26 and the live auction on Jan. 27-28.

Taken collectively, the two auctions are titled Marvels of the West – aptly named due to their contents. Both events will contain about 500-600 lots per day, in the categories collectors have come to expect from Holabird: Western and Native Americana, Gold Rush, mining, coins and currency, railroadiana, tokens, philatelic, bottles, ephemera and more. Start times all four days are 8 am Pacific. The live auction, Days 3 and 4, will be held at 3555 Airway Drive in Reno.

“We know people love our live auctions, but don’t miss the timed online-only sales,” advised Fred Holabird, president and owner of Holabird Western Americana, LLC. “Hidden in those two days are goodies I call ‘bait’ – items to get folks interested in certain categories and steer them to the live sale on Days 3 and 4. Timed sales are very popular, especially with dealers worldwide.”

Mr. Holabird added, “The timed online sale provides a chance for collectors to compete for less expensive items on their own terms of value. Also – and this is important - all lots open for bidding at just ten dollars during the timed auction. Bargains will be in abundance.” Internet bidding will be facilitated by iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com.

“The live sale on Days 3 and 4 features great rarities in more than twenty different categories,” Mr. Holabird said. “You can scroll through the listings in the virtual catalog, which I always recommend, and also scroll through the listings on the various auction platforms. Don’t miss the Table of Contents page to help you find things in a general sense. Scrolling through the virtual catalog (the digital version of the printed catalog) is the easiest way to look through the listings.”

Perhaps the most intriguing and important item in the entire auction is lot #3027 on Day 3 - a remarkable and historic handwritten 1833 letter delivered to a US Indian Agent and intended for publication in the Buffalo Journal, an obscure, short-lived newspaper in which no copies have been digitalized, let alone finding out how many still exist in any form. Here, the Chiefs of the Six Nations proclaimed though this signed document written for them by their Indian Agent that they had no interest and would not trade any more of their lands at the Government’s request.

Apparently, some skullduggery had taken place between some Government officials, agents, and a few lesser Chiefs to acquire key land parcels in a dubious scheme to benefit a few (or line the pockets, as we might say today), without the permission or knowledge of the Council of the Six Nations. In this document, the Chiefs of the Six Nations at Council, all unilaterally proclaimed, “The Chiefs belong to the Nations, not the Nations to the Chiefs” … in short, the Chiefs cannot act individually or without consent of the Council for their own benefit. (est. $5,000-$10,000).

Several key collections will also come up for bid, beginning with a major collection of railroad dining ware that began in Holabird’s last auction. The massive, high-quality collection of logo marked china and “silver” items from US railroad company dining cars continues in this sale with hundreds of pieces. The collection is quite varied, offering items from dozens of America’s famous and not-so-famous (and rare) rail lines, mostly from the first half of the 20th century.

Then there is Ken Prag’s massive railroad stock collection, to be sold in the timed auction on Days 1 and 2. Offered will be hundreds of different US railroad stocks, some of which we haven’t seen in years, at a price level that bidders will set collectively. Holabird snuck in a few “ringers”, such as a rare stock signed by Declaration of Independence signer Robert Morris.

Longtime friend Ron Reed passed away last year, and his family asked Holabird to sell his collection of Colorado embossed bottles. Ron had purchased a number of key pieces out of the previous Gary Bracken sales, so those are now available. A few “ringers” in the timed sale have been snuck into the Reed Collection, to entice new collectors into collecting Colorado bottles.

Ron Reed didn’t have many Colorado tokens, but he did have an unlisted Central City pocket mirror. That will be in the token section of the live sale. He also had what many believe to be the all-time best collection of Colorado dose glasses – about 56 in all, mostly all embossed, though there are a few etched glasses. He also had odd-ball shaped, yet very attractive, dose glasses. There are at least 16 dose glasses unlisted in Preble’s book on Colorado Drug Store Bottles.

Among Reed’s many Colorado drug bottles, there are a number of “R5” bottles – the rarest category in Preble – and many of these are from the rare towns. Most of the bottles are mint, or very close to it. There is an obvious bias to part of his collecting, color and size. In a few cases, Reed was able to collect period photographs or ephemera from some of the drug stores with embossed bottles, and they are included with the bottles, which make those lots extra-special.

The collection also boasts around twenty 32-ounce ounce drug bottles, which are tough to collect in any condition. Most Western states are lucky to have a few 16-ounce bottles survive, and it is probable that most druggists and pharmacists never ordered drug bottles embossed that were that large. To put things in perspective, there are no 32-ounce embossed drug bottles in Nevada at all.

Color was also important to Reed. There are over 100 colored drug bottles from his collection in the auction, many of them Colorado drug bottles. There is even one or more 32-ounce specimen, as well as at least three different cobalt blue bottles with duplicates, teal drug bottles of Victor in many sizes, amber drug bottles from multiple druggists from multiple cities in nearly every size imaginable, plus mini sets of varied colored drug bottles, many in 3-, 4- and 6-ounce bottles.

Colorado pictorial drug bottles feature trunks, deer, birds, fans, antlers, owls, lambs and horses, plus druggist mortar and pestles. As for Colorado whiskey bottles, Reed had fewer than fifty of them. He has several of the very rare applied top amber fifths and quarts, all listed by Preble. In several cases, Reed was able to collect a billhead from the whiskey merchant, and it is included with the bottle. There are about three mini-jugs and three regular whiskey jugs in the auction.

There are not too many Colorado soda bottles, but the bottles in Reed’s collection are generally of the “blob top” or “sloped shoulder” variety, and thus are mostly very to exceptionally rare. This was a case where he had to settle for what he could get. Some have small damage or blemishes, but the total population of known examples is less than ten. And these are all clean.

Reed collected Pike’s Peak flasks; there are about six. Two don’t fit the carefully drawn sketches of Eatwell & Clint’s Pikes Peak Gold book on the flasks. According to experts, collectors are finding new variants all the time. These Pittsburgh produced bottles from the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush include USA Hospital bottles, pontiled inks and pontiled medicines.

Anyone owning a collection that might fit into a Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels throughout the U.S., to see and pick up collections. The company has agents all over America and will travel to inspect most collections.

To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, and the four-day Marvels of the West auction slated for January 25th-28th, starting at 8 am Pacific each day, please visit www.holabirdamericana.com.

About Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC:
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC is always seeking new and major collections to bring to market. It prides itself as being a major source for selling Americana at the best prices obtainable, having sold more than any other similar company in the past decade alone. The firm will have its entire sales database online soon, at no cost – nearly 200,000 lots sold since 2014. To consign a single piece or a collection, you may call Fred Holabird at 775-851-1859 or 844-492-2766; or, you can send an e-mail to fredholabird@gmail.com. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, please visit www.holabirdamericana.com