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Day 3 of Holabird's June 6th-9th Auction in Reno is Loaded with Many Historically Significant Items

Holabird Western Americana Collections’ four-day American History & Hall of Fame Showcase auction, June 6th thru 9th, online and live in the Reno gallery, is packed with more than 2,300 lots of collectible treasures in a broad range of categories, but bidders would be wise to give special attention to the rare, special items up for bid on Day 3, Saturday, June 8th.

The day is loaded with 595 lots of Wells Fargo & Express, outlaws and lawmen, autographs, Rev War and early military, President Lincoln, the JFK assassination, Black Americana, Civil War, Gen. George A. Custer, presidential, firearms and weaponry, sports / Hall of Fame, baseball and basketball, boxing, football and other items. But some of the lots are truly historically significant.

Black Americana will be led by lot 3084, an original ferrotype photograph of eight of the founding members of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society (better known collectively as the Underground Railroad, which shuttled slaves from the South to the North in the 1800s). The photo was taken circa 1855-1860, with identifying notes included. It may be the only photo of these important men from this era (est. $10,000-$30,000).

Items pertaining to the Civil War will be plentiful. Lot 3268 is an incredible autograph book (and thus an actual POW record) of 116 Confederate officers held at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. It is a spectacular and exceptionally rare first-hand record of the POWs, containing two autographs per page. It includes some of General Morgan’s “Raiders”, an unsuccessful attempt to secretly raid Union camps in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky in 1863. The book should realize $6,000-$10,000.

Lot 3269 is a Confederate officer’s coat button from around 1861, not identified with any state but very rare and in very good condition (est. $2,800-$4,000). The button depicts the American Eagle facing right, surrounded by a total of 11 states, with lightning bolts in the eagle’s talons. It measures 23mm in diameter, two-piece with a shelf shank, a twisted rope border and no ID of manufacture. It was made in England for the Confederate states after the naval blockade of 1861.

Items relating to Abraham Lincoln as President will be offered. Lot 3132 is an official document dated July 2, 1863 and signed by Secretary of the Nevada Territory Orion Clemens as acting governor (which he sometimes did when Governor James Nye was traveling). Clemens joined Lincoln’s election campaign and when Lincoln was elected President, he appointed Clemens Secretary of the Nevada Territory. The document is framed and matted (est. $2,500-$3,500).

Lot 3143 is a lot of five autographs of men involved with Lincoln: Stephen A. Douglas (Senator from Illinois and presidential opponent); Joseph K. Barnes (Surgeon General of the U.S., who was on Lincoln’s deathbed and performed John Wilkes Booth’s autopsy); U.S. Army General David Hunter; U.S. Brigadier General James Shields, who served as Senator from three different states; and Barnes Compton, who served in the U.S. Congress in the 1880s (est. $1,000-$2,000).

Lot 3180 is a rare carte de visite of John Wilkes Booth, signed and inscribed by him circa 1859 on the reverse: “J. Wilkes Booth to James W. McDerman”. James McDerman was manager of the Merchant Hotel in Baltimore, a hotel that catered to actors, from 1859-1866. The photo remained in the McDerman family from the Civil War until 2003, when it was first offered for sale. Booth’s signature is extremely rare, as most of them were destroyed (est. $5,000-$10,000).

Items pertaining to General George Armstrong Custer will feature lot 3339, the signatures of more than ten survivors of the 7th Cavalry (and, subsequently, the Battle of Little Big Horn). Some of the men survived the Indian slaughter, while others were on “leave of absence” or on special duty”. Two were fortunate to have been assigned to the pack train that lagged sadly behind before arriving at Reno’s unit on the hill. The group has an estimate of $3,000-$6,000.

Lot 3350 comprises two Custer-related items: a cabinet card by D.F. Barry dated 1880 from Bismarck, South Dakota of Curly, a Crow scout to Custer’s column who was paid to find other Indian tribes but not to fight (also, he was a Little Big Horn survivor); and a court deposition in very good condition, dated Aug. 7, 1901, in which Curly states he never got paid for delivering hay for the cavalry. Curly’s signature (as “X”) appears on the second page (est. $4,000-$6,000).

There are many original documents and photos of well-known 19th century Western outlaws on Day 3, including the James Gang, Billy the Kid and the Dalton Gang. But the prize lot is the absolute top Western wanted poster of all – the 1882 Black Bart Poet Stage Robber wanted poster (offering an $800 reward), along with a circular compiled by J.B. Hume, a Wells Fargo Special Officer, containing a poem a poem by Bart found after a robbery (est. $10,000-$30,000).

Lot 3046 is a rare original carte de visite of Black Bart (real name, Charles E. Boles), circulated by Wells Fargo out of Sacramento. On the reverse is written “Black Bart for F. Tracy” (Tracy being a Wells Fargo agent), but there is some question as to whether the words are printed or, if not, were signed by Bart at all. The lot also features a photograph of Bart, signed (as “Charles E. Bowles”), from when he served as a U.S. Army First Sergeant in Illinois (est. $5,000-$25,000).

Lot 3051 is a Wells Fargo $1,800 reward poster issued in 1881 for the three masked men still at large after the Nov. 7, 1881 robbery of the stage from Sonora to Milton, California. The three men were Billy Minor (or Miner, alias Billy Anderson and also known as the legendary “Grey Fox”), about whom a movie was made and who originated the phrase “Hands up!”; William Miller, who was fond of poker, whiskey and fast women; and Jim Brown (est. $5,000-$10,000).

To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, and the four-day American History & Hall of Fame Showcase auction, June 6th-9th, at 8 am Pacific time each day, visit

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 [email protected]. To learn more about Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, please visit

Dinesh Kumar


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