The Big Bonanza Auction: Mining, Philatelic, Numismatics, Americana (March 2023)

Auction CurrencyUSD Auction Location3555 Airway Drive Suite 309, Reno, Nevada, 89511, United States In Person PreviewPreview

Auction Details

Welcome to The Big Bonanza Auction!
This is our first live sale since the world-record breaking second (and final) SS Central America Shipwreck Artifacts Auction, which took place on March 4th & 5th, 2023. Virtual catalogs for the SSCA sales are still available on our website and include numerous research essays and articles. We’d sincerely like to thank all who participated and contributed to these historic two auctions!
Out of the ocean and back onto land, we’re pleased to present the phenomenal Big Bonanza Auction! This is a 4-day sale encompassing over 2,000 lots in over a dozen collecting categories.
Since this auction features Part I of the best Comstock mining collection ever to hit the market, we chose an auction name that honors the “Big Bonanza” ore discovery of 1873 in Virginia City, Nevada!
In addition to the Comstock collection, this sale is supplemented by rarities from the Gary Bracken Collection; the Jim & Barbara Sherman Private Western Mining Museum Collection; the Joe Elcano Nevada Collection; the Chunlin Zhu Mineral Collection; as well as others.
*The Comstock Collection, Part I*
We’re honored to have been chosen to sell this lifetime Nevada and Comstock Collection. This collection will be sold in multiple parts. Part I, in this sale, focuses on mining stock certificates, ore specimens, ephemera, and publications. Each of these groups includes spectacular items!
Within the group of ephemera are pieces dating back to very beginning of the Comstock mining rush. This includes an 1859 mining deed for the Ophir claim, signed by Judge Walsh and mentioning the original discovers. We’re calling this the “Comstock Founding Fathers” mining deed (Lot 4204), and it is truly worthy of the most advanced private or institutional collection. Or see the 1860 illustrated “Wash-Oh!” lettersheet (Lot 4205) with a spectacular cartoon highlighting the dangers of mining stock speculation! Or an 1859 letter (Lot 4206) mentioning some of the first ore Comstock assays!
This collection also features hundreds of Comstock checks with great rarities, revenue types, and key autographs represented. Included in this group is the Chollar-Potosi RN check with violet stamp (Lot 4151), the rarest of all Nevada revenue checks!
The ore collection includes high grade gold and silver specimens from key Comstock mines, including the Crown Point, Chollar, California, Gould & Curry, Hale & Norcross, and Ophir. Many are from the famous Gottschalk Ore Collection, with original labels.
The stock certificate section is phenomenal, with key autograph pieces and dozens of territorial pieces including perhaps the earliest Comstock mining stock ever issued! It also features 1870s-80s stocks from the key major mines, which can sometimes be even rarer than territorial pieces.
Part I will grab the attention of the Comstock and Nevada mining collecting community worldwide. And stay tuned for more items from this collection in different categories coming up in future sales!
*The Gary Bracken Collection, Part V*
We’re thrilled to offer more great collectibles from the lifetime collection of Oklahoma lawyer Gary Bracken. This auction features a large Philatelic offering, including US and foreign covers and lettersheets, ultra rare stamps, and express covers. Also from the Bracken Collection: rare items from the famous 101 Ranch including a beaded gun belt (Lot 4017) and original advertising posters; a Buffalo Bill CDV (Lot 4020); Colorado bottles, stocks, and ephemera including a fantastic Baby Doe Tabor Archive (Lot 1238); Native American pottery, and more.
*The Jim & Barbara Sherman Private Western Mining Museum Collection*
A new round of rarities from this fantastic Arizona collection. This sale includes: artifacts from Western forts in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming; rare 19th-century ammunition and antique firearms incl. a Confederate revolver and Winchester rifles; and Civil War militaria.
A brand new batch of railroad and steamer passes from a private collection. Many feature great vignettes. These are always a huge hit with our collectors; this is a robust collecting community! A key piece is a Central Pacific pass signed by Collis P. Huntington (Lot 1009), one of the “Big Four.” And if you have a collection of passes you’re ready to sell, please consider our auction house; we’re setting records!
This section includes a new group of very rare Nevada national banknotes (Elko, Ely, Reno); liberty war bonds; US gold coins and coin collections; California and Nevada medals; and more.

*American Bank Note Co. (& Other Engravers) Printers Plate Collection*
The start of a major offering, this sale features rare printers plates from the American Bank Note Company and other engravers. These plates were used for currency and stocks/bonds. Plates are lotted in both the Stock & Currency Sections in the catalog. This collection has not come to market before and should generate huge excitement with our numismatic & stock collectors!
*Native Americana*
The Native Americana section in this sale is strong! In addition to pottery from the Bracken Collection, this section has arrowheads, beadwork and clothing, Sioux peace pipes, cradleboards, and jewelry.
*Mining & Minerals*
This category is dominated by the previously-mentioned Comstock Collection, but also includes California assay ephemera, mining documents from Colorado and Montana, mineral and fossil specimens from the Chunlin Zhu Collection, and mining artifacts.
*General Americana*
A nice group of ephemera from Western states (particularly California, Colorado, Montana, and Nevada) incl. rare West Coast directories and Gold Rush checks & exchanges; plus sub-categories such as art, jewelry, gaming, political collectibles, and sports. The sports category includes historic letters from baseball legend Connie Mack! And much more…
Please be sure to use the Keyword Search Tool on our website ( to search for items in your collecting categories.
*Timed Auctions*
There is a new auction format we have been experimenting with since last December: special weekend timed auctions. These sales are a mix of both new and old material, and they are where we will now run our lower-priced and/or dealer lots. We have always believed the collectors—you—set the market value. With that philosophy in mind, we’ve set very low start prices (usually just $10) on all lots in the timed auctions. The timed auctions have been a huge hit with our bidders and are a fun format we will be continuing to use in the future. (We just had one this last weekend!) Please check our website or subscribe to our email list to be notified of these internet-only auctions hosted exclusively on iCollector, our preferred auction platform.
Ready to sell your collection? We’re always looking for high-quality consignments in many categories, including Mining, Railroadiana, Native Americana, Numismatics, Bottles, Firearms, Stocks, and more.
If you would like to know more about consigning, or if you have any questions or comments about this sale, please give our office a call at 775-851-1859. 
Our friendly staff is ready to help you continue to build your collection. We’ve created an astonishing community of customers around the world, including private collectors, institutions, and dealers. Remember, your collection could set the next world-record!
Thanks again for your continued interest in our auctions. And as we like to say, bid early and bid often!
--The Holabird Team-- 

Auction Schedule

Thursday, March 30th, 2023, Lots 1000-1552

Railroadiana & Steamship (1000-1126)

Railroad & Steamer Passes

Transportation Ephemera

General Americana (1127-1502)

Geo. Sort



Musical Instruments

Tobacco & Gaming



Bottles, Brewing, Saloon (1503-1552)

Friday, March 31st, 2023, Lots 2000-2548

Art (2000-2062)

Militaria & Firearms (2063-2192)

Stocks & Bonds (2193-2548)

Mining feat. the Comstock Collection



Saturday, April 1st, 2023, Lots 3000-3531

Native Americana (3000-3148)

Numismatics feat. Nevada Banknotes (3149-3285)

Philatelic (3286-3531)

Express & US Covers

US Stamps

Foreign Stamps & Covers

Sunday, April 2nd, 2023, Lots 4000-4400

Cowboy & Old West feat. 101 Ranch Group (4000-4026)

Mining feat. the Comstock Ore & Ephemera Collection (4027-4400)

Ephemera & Ore

Minerals, Fossils, Viewing Stones

SHIPPING & HANDLING: The customer is responsible for all shipping and packaging charges. We offer shipping service as a convenience to our buyers. Items are not shipped until the invoice and shipping charges are completely paid. Shipping costs will be calculated and billed separately after your items have been paid for. Purchases will be shipped via our approved, insured carriers: FedEx, UPS, USPS or DHL. Pick up is available from our Reno office, once you have received your invoice post auction
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A. Bauman Saloon Broadside [161684]1550 - A. Bauman Saloon Broadside [161684]
Holabird Western Americana Collections
Rare A. Bauman & Co. saloon broadside, location unknown expect X L C R Saloon. They are very proud of their oysters! 10.5x6.75", Some chips...
Bidding Has Concluded
Estimate : 200.00 - 400.00
Sold to 8********l.. for (70.00 + 0.00BP) = 70.00
American Whiskey Label Collection [163356]1551 - American Whiskey Label Collection [163356]
Holabird Western Americana Collections
Collection of unused mostly Whiskey and other spirits labels, about .75 lbs. Pre and post Prohibition. Date: Country (if not USA): State: City:
Bidding Has Concluded
Estimate : 300.00 - 600.00
Sold to a*********3 for (140.00 + 35.00BP) = 175.00
Sterling Silver Shot Glasses, 7 [163282]1552 - Sterling Silver Shot Glasses, 7 [163282]
Holabird Western Americana Collections
7 unusual Sterling silver shot glasses with weighted bottoms, about 2.25x1". At least 4 oz. of silver. Date: Country (if not USA): State: ...
Bidding Has Concluded
Estimate : 200.00 - 400.00
Sold to C****s for (150.00 + 37.50BP) = 187.50