Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC’s four-day Wild West Auction slated for July 21-24 will be headlined by two massive and important collections: one from Gary Bracken, who collected in a staggering 60-plus categories, to be spread out over multiple sales; the other from James and Barbara Sherman, whose huge collections were housed in a museum.
The auction will be held online as well as live in the Holabird gallery, located at 3555 Airway Drive in Reno, starting at 8 am Pacific time all four days. Hundreds of collectible lots will come up for bid, at price points that should appeal to seasoned collectors and novices alike. Internet bidding will be via iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com.
“The Gary Bracken collection is huge and varied, covering everything from Roman coins to Colorado collectibles,” said Fred Holabird of Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC. “The Sherman mining collection is also enormous, but exclusively Western. We also have a large Colorado mining exhibit pulled from museums, plus minerals, rocks and other good stuff.”
Gary Bracken was a lawyer in Ponca City, Oklahoma, in the heart of the northern state’s rich oil region. He had two professions: law and collecting. His collections spanned tens of thousands of items in many categories. He started by collecting arrowheads in the Mississippi Valley throughout the Midwest. He noticed the rusty stuff nearby, so that led to artifacts and old bottles.
He collected stamps as a kid, and some of his earliest and best organized collections are his stamp and cover collections. He also collected old coins, given to him by his mother when he was six years old. He tried to assemble a collection of Roman coins sorted by every major ruler and domain. He had what may be the king of all Viking coins, plus tokens, currency and scrip.
Bracken collected just about everything having to do with Colorado (except private gold coins). His token, bottle, key tag, dog tag, letterhead, cover and ephemera collections are terrific. For years he was a regular at the Leadville, Colorado dump, looking for rare old bottles and tokens. He did the same at Tonopah, Nevada; in Leavenworth, Kansas; and in other locations as well.
His Wild West collection is superb, and includes original 101 Ranch goods (near Stillwell, Oklahoma, down the road from where he lived), to include a beaded holster from the original museum, an early carte de visite of William (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody, a dead mint cabinet card of Annie Oakley, a fantastic collection of Indian chiefs on cabinet cards, and other great items.
James and Barbara Sherman were the authors of Ghost Towns of Arizona (1969) and Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico (1975). James was a mining engineer as well as a dedicated historian of the American West. He collected Western antiques, documents and artifacts. A sizable, 40-year collection led to a personal museum located in Tucson, Arizona.
Acquired in Tombstone, Arizona; El Paso, Texas; Cheyenne, Wyoming and the gold fields of California and beyond, the Shermans’ collection covers a vast cross-section of Western Americana, with specific areas of focus that include mining, gambling, cowboys, transportation, bottles, coins, many rare paper documents, ephemera, autographs and other areas of interest.
Just a few of the more unusual items include a well-preserved 1880s buffalo coat, a Wells Fargo strongbox, a legendary lawman Elfego Baca artifact, and documents signed by the likes of Judge Roy Bean, Virgil Earp and Pat Garrett. There are hundreds of museum-quality, one-of-a-kind items, the sort that rarely come to auction, certain to entice collectors of the bygone Wild West.
Day 1 of the auction, on Thursday, July 21st, will feature 480 lots of philatelic items (to include postcards and postal history, featuring items from the Bracken collection and a collection out of Elcano, Nevada); Express; and stocks and bonds. Over 600 lots will come up for bid on Day 1.
Day 2, on Friday, July 22nd, will contain art, transportation collectibles (including railroad and steamer passes, ephemera and artifacts); and general Americana (including geographic sort, general store and miscellaneous categories). In all, 625 lots will cross the Day 2 auction block.
Day 3, on Saturday, July 23rd, will have numismatic offerings (including currency and scrip, coins – featuring U.S., ancient and foreign coins – plus medals, badges and exonumia); and tokens, featuring Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma – in all, 622 lots.
The auction’s final day, on Sunday, July 24th, will feature Native Americana; cowboy and Wild West; minerals and mining; sports; bottles (highlighted by Colorado and Oklahoma); and saloon, tobacciana and gaming. Day 4 will have 583 lots; the auction in its entirely will have 2,441 lots.
Color catalogs are available by calling 1-844-492-2766, or 775-851-1859. Also, anyone owning a collection that might fit into an upcoming Holabird Western Americana Collections auction is encouraged to get in touch. The firm travels extensively 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 and the four-day Wild West Auction slated for July 21st-24th, online and live in the Reno gallery, visit www.holabirdamericana.com. Updates are posted often.