Sold Item Archive

We've moved items that are sold or otherwise no longer available here so that you can still access the stories and information. Please note that we may have similar items available in some cases, so if you see something that you really want, let us know.

A9. Kellogg, Hewston & Co. Gold and Silver Tables Book, San Francisco, CA  1867

Showing the value per ounce troy, at different degrees of fineness, and the net returns of gold and silver when refined, also, other useful tables applicable to the business of the Pacific Coast. Prepared by the San Francisco Assaying and Refining Works, Successors to Kellogg, Hewston & Co.  $5000.  SOLD

A10. Wash-oh! Unique Cornucopia Drawing. 1860

Drawn and Engraved by T. C. Boyd. San Francisco. Depicts a dapper man with sack on his back, standing before the wide opening of a cornucopia where a devil beckons to Washoe; labeled April 1860. Horn is labeled Ophir Lead, Comstock Lead, Central Lead, Mexicana Lead, Trinidad, Guld Co. Dick Sides, Buckeye, Flora Temple.  From the Clifford Collection. $7,750.  SOLD

A11. Wells Fargo & Co. Rare Document. Amador County, CA  Oct 31st, 1873

Keystone Consolidated Mining Company receipt for Wells Fargo freight containing gold and coin. $125. SOLD

A12. F.W. Blake Check. Weaverville, CA  June 4th, 1855

            Express & Banking Office of Rhodes & Co. check no. 1828 for $1000.  $750  SOLD

A13. Colorado Illustrated Miner’s Letter Sheets.  Denver, CO 

            “A Story of Miners’ Life” published by G.L. Taylor.  $1,500. SOLD

A14. Banking House and Assay Office of B. M. DuRell & Co. Idaho City, Idaho Territory, June 1st, 1868  

$2,750. SOLD

A15. Assay Office of Blake & Co.  Silver City  Nov 30th, 1867  

$2,100.  SOLD

A16. Selby Smelting and Lead Co. Business Card. San Francisco, CA 

$750  SOLD

A17. Selby Smelting and Lead Co. Illustrated Card. San Francisco, CA 

$850  SOLD

A18. Banking House of James King of William Blank Exchange. San Francisco, CA 

$300  SOLD

A19. Johnson's 1864 Map of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado

Approx 18in high x 26in wide $475 Sold

A27. Amie Consolidated Mining Company stock certificate

$350 Sold

A29. McCrackin Consolidated Mining Co. stock certificate

$450 Sold

A30. Gold Hill Mining Co. stock certificate

$525 Sold

38. Third of Exchange, Mobile, AL 11-Dec 1851

No.1204 signed by James B. Ames & Co. payable in Providence, RI for $52.90. Vignette at top center of detailed line drawing of Clipper ship at port and second vignette at left of an early steam train. Chip to lower right and stain along right edge. Otherwise, the condition is Very Fine. $150. Sold

39. First of Exchange, Mobile, AL 20-Mar 1852

First of Exchange No.73 signed by William H. Chandler payable in Providence, RI for $3475.28. Allegorical vignette of Lady Liberty at left. Very Fine. $250. Sold

40. First of Exchange, Mobile, AL 29-Jan 1857

Signed by Christopher L. Somers, payable in Providence, RI for $447.94. Allegorical vignette at top center probably related to Alabama State Seal. Has embossed bank cancel in the middle and is marked “Paid.”  The right edge is a little ragged. Otherwise this piece is very fine overall. $250. Sold

41. First of Exchange, Mobile, AL 2-Jan 1857

First of Exchange No.373 signed by William H. Chandler payable in Providence RI  $4288.81. Vignette of side wheel steam ship on top. Embossed page stamp from bank in Providence. Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

48. Arivaca Milling & Refining Co. Laboratory & Assay, AZ Territory 16-Oct 1878

Purchasers of Gold and Silver Ores, Silver planchas, bullion and gold dust.) No.237 Assay receipt printed by R.P. Statdley Company, Lithographer, St. Louis. There is a large vignette of mill scene at center. There are thought to be three of these known, two of which were sold by our company some time around 2001. Arivaca was one of the early Mexican and Spanish silver mining sites in southern Arizona. American companies actively mined it in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s before Apache attacks killed off many of the miners causing an exodus that lasted until after the Civil War. Very Fine. $1,500. Sold

55. Kingman. Arizona Sampling Company, Kingman, AZ Territory18-May 1883

No.49/50 Assay Receipt. This receipt is written for two lots of sacked ore from one of the mines near Kingman. The ore averaged about 125 ounces per ton of silver. This is a very early assay receipt for the Kingman area, which generally did not open up to larger scale mining until the turn of the century. Bought of John Potts signed N.J. Chamberlain. Minor folds and stains, generally Fine Condition. $350. Sold

58. Morenci Photo Collection, AZ Territory c 1897

This is a lot of 12 original 1897 photographs from the Morenci, Arizona mining region. Photos of copper mines, Eagle Creek, the smelter of the Detroit Copper Mining Co., the Humboldt Mine of Arizona Copper Co., Morenci the morning after the fire, five miscellaneous blue, sepia-toned photos of Morenci, and two large matted photos of the #6 Mine of Arizona Copper Co. The first mineral discoveries in the Clifton-Morenci District were made around 1856 when a group of California volunteers pursuing renegade Apache Indians came through the area and wrote about the colorful mineral outcrops. In 1872 a group of soldiers from New Mexico were seeking renegade Indians, among the group were Joe Yankie and Robert and James Metcalf. The three later returned to the area searching for placer gold. Although very little gold was found, they located the Longfellow, Arizona Central and Metcalf claims, which later become the mines around the town of Metcalf and Morenci. This group of original photographs is Extremely Rare and all are Very Fine to Extremely Fine. $4,500. Sold

60. Prescott. J.F. Schutt, Assayer Business Card, Prescott, AZ Terr c 1880

Assayer business cards from this state are exceptionally rare and this may be the only one extant from an Arizona Territory assay office. The card describes Schutt's business and the fact that he teaches assaying classes. Prescott was a regional center for gold mining in northern Arizona. This card appears to date from the 1880’s period. Schutt, however is not listed in the 1880 census, possibly because he was a mining camp assayer. The 1900 census reveals that Schutt was an assayer born in Germany about 1837 and was still practicing as an assayer in 1900 in Prescott. Very Fine.  $500. Sold

63. Tucson. L.M. Jacobs & Co. Check Signed By W.T. Rickard and W.F. Witherell, Tucson, AZ 21-Nov 1878

3 x 8.5” check with black print on crème paper with a vignette of an Indian at left. Endorsed by signature on reverse and cancelled with handwritten cancellation and blue stamp on the face. This check, payable to Rickard and signed by assayer Witherell is important because the signatures of two of the great Arizona assayers of the period, and of the Tombstone boom when the Earp brothers had their showdown at the O.K. Corral, appear on this check. Furthermore, it is likely that W. T. Rickard is related to the famous author T. A. Rickard, although we have been unable to substantiate this information. There is a hole in the upper left corner and light staining. Otherwise Fine. $500. Sold

70. Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Co. Advertising Card Featuring California c 1889

Advertising card for Ariosa Coffee. 3 x 5”. This is one of a series of fifty cards giving a pictorial history of the United States and Territories. This card is for California with a picture of a clipper ship, a mining town, two miners panning for gold, a mission and a redwood tree.  Reverse describes the discovery and history of California as well as the series of advertising cards. This card is numbered 16. Lithographed by Donaldson Bros. New York. Some stains on reverse. Otherwise Very Fine. No photograph. $100. Sold

72. Amador Canal & Mining Company Note, San Francisco, CA 3-Nov 1874

No.54 One Dollar Gold Note in payment for water used by bearer Gerrow?, Signed by Pres. Emery and Sec. Van Brunt.

Amador County, located along the central part of the Mother Lode, was the second largest gold producing county in California. The district supported towns such as Jackson, Sutter Creek and Amador City, holding mines such as the Kennedy, Bunker Hill, and Keystone mines. The original lode of John C. Fremont and the Mariposa Estate can be traced directly to the Keystone mine. 

The Amador Canal and Mining Company had its roots as the Sutter Canal and Mining Company, which began in 1870. They had purchased the rights of the Butte Ditch Company, a company formed to acquire and supply water to hydraulic mines and a few quartz mines. Their work was under funded, and the Amador Canal & Mining Company was formed and purchased the assets in 1873. The new company completed the ditch, providing water to mills which greatly lowered their operating costs. It remained in operation until well after 1881. [Ref: Mason, J: History of Amador County; 1881, pg 266-267] Ross Raymond, U.S. Mineral Commissioner, stated in 1874 that this company was one of the most important of the region: “This canal is intended to supply with motive power the hoisting works and mills of the various mines on the Mother Lode in this country . . . for sixteen months, the work was prosecuted steadily, until the canal was completed to its junction with the old Butte ditch, a distance of thirty five miles from the reservoir at Sutter Creek.”

Unfortunately, the Butte ditch portion suffered losses of water by evaporation that were unacceptable, and a new ditch to the Mokelumne River had to be dug.  The ditch was designed to be full at three feet, five feet wide at the bottom, eight feet wide at the top, with a grade of eight feet per mile, set to deliver 55 cubic feet of water per minute.  Sherman Day was the mine engineer in charge of the project in 1873 and 1874. Day consulted with Henry Knight, superintendent of the successful Natoma Canal at Folsom. In the field the company was run by General Alexander. The company had drawn contracts with many of the larger gold producing mines, such as the Amador, Oneida, Maxwell, Keystone mining companies, and hoped for contracts with the Kennedy, Downes, Mahoney and Summit Mining companies. [Ref: Raymond, Mines and Mining West of the Rocky Mountains, 1875, pgs 69-71] 

The signors of this One Dollar Scrip note, President J.S. Emery and Secretary, V.N. Van Brunt were not San Francisco residents in 1873 or 1875 as might be expected from a note with a San Francisco dateline, and were probably Amador residents. The note was issued to C.M. Gerrow, also not apparently a San Francisco resident.

This note is one of the great California scrip or private currency rarities, with perhaps three known specimens. This is an R8 and the finest specimen of the three. $12,500. Sold

79. Coloma. California Illustrated Gold Rush Letters Written By Seth Boyden, Inventor, CA c 1849

Included are twelve handwritten pages with detailed illustrations and one cover. This group of letters was written by Seth Boyden to family from the California Gold Fields describing mining methods, amounts of gold mined from certain areas, life as a gold miner, etc. Boyden even writes of new inventions he created to facilitate the gold mining process. His camp was situated near Sutter's Mill and an original, vintage photograph of the mill is included with the letters. These letters are Unique and in Very Fine condition.

Seth Boyden, III lived from 1788 to 1870. He was born in Foxborough, Mass, the son of Seth and Susanna. He and his father were both inventors and Seth Boyden, III was also a manufacturer who Thomas Edison called, “One of America's greatest inventors.” Seth Boyden, III's maternal grandfather, (Uriah Atherton, Jr.) cast the first cannon on this continent under a contract with Paul Revere for the Provincial Government. Boyden's paternal grandfather (Seth Boyden I) was one of the Minute Men and transported Atherton's cannon to Dorchester Heights and also to Concord, Mass.

Seth Boyden II was a prisoner of the Revolutionary War and confined on the prison ship Jersey at New York. Seth Boyden, III, the author of the Gold Rush letters was drafted for the war of 1812. He was the Captain of the Independent Jersey Blues, a military company formed in Newark in 1822, and a part of Colonel John I. Plume's Regiment.  His only son, Obadiah Boyden, fought in every major battle of the Civil War with Company K of the 2nd Regiment of the New Jersey Volunteers. He returned home with less than half of his regiment. 

Seth Boyden's reputation as an inventor took off at a young age, particularly when he moved from Massachusetts to Newark, N.J. in 1815 and established the first factory for the production of “patent” leather, founding an important American industry.  In 1828, after six years of experimenting with cast iron, the Franklin Institute awarded him a premium for his malleable castings. He continued to invent and manufacture machinery for the next twenty years, including stationary steam engines and a furnace grate bar still used in the “American Process” today.

It was in 1849 that he made an unproductive trip to the California gold fields and wrote the Gold Rush letters featured here, returning home a year later. He continued his career as a successful inventor, machinist and manufacturer and even published works on his processes and inventions, until he died in Hilton, N.J. in 1868. His son, Obadiah, fought for the next thirty years to erect a monument in his memory, but was ultimately unsuccessful. [Ref: Dictionary of American Biography, Edited by Allen Johnson, 1929 V.2 pp 528-529) This is one of the most important groups of gold rush letters and contains four original ink drawings of gold camps. Very Fine. No photograph. $50,000. Sold

80. Coloma. Gregory's Express Pocket Letter Book ~ Gold Miner's Handwritten Letter, Coloma, CA 21-Feb 1851

This pocket book contains a handwritten letter from a Gold miner in Coloma, written Feb. 21st 1851 to his brother and sister. The miner tells his siblings of letters written from Placerville regarding family matters and tells of .45 cents in gold dust he enclosed with the letter. He continues to describe the hard life of a miner and expresses his hopes that no one else gets "California Fever" and "come so far for such little fine stuff." He describes where he lives and amenities he lacks, as well as the cost of daily life. He summarizes by writing, "So if you want to live and take any comfort of your life do not you ever come to California, for it is not what the folks think it is. A man can make money faster than he can in the states and he has to spend it also, so he does not have what he makes." He also writes about his voyage to California and the length of time he traveled, as well as the scenery.  This unknown miner’s letter fills seven pages of the little book, which is somewhat worn from being written in, but still legible, with both covers still intact. Transcription of letter is included. Fine. $2,250. Sold

82. Columbia. Assay Office of W.O. Sleeper Columbia, CA 5-Jul 1865

No 1111.  Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by Dounall & Co.  This receipt is extremely rare.  During the past 30 years of collecting and dealing in Americana we have never seen or been informed of another example.  The receipt measures 11 x 4 ¾,” and was printed in a light brownish colored ink on buff colored paper.  The printer is not identified.  The gold weight upon delivery, or before melting, is not recorded. However, the weight after melting is listed as 35.90 oz, Fineness .895, and Value of Gold at $664.18.  A commission of $2 was charged by the assayer, Fed tax is listed as $3.32, and the cost for freight at $16.56.  The Net after all costs was recorded as $642.30.  There is a hand written note on the reverse duplicating some of the information already cited. The receipt’s condition is generally Very Fine, but there are indications along the top edge of it having been in a scrapbook.  Additionally, there are typical “pocket-type” folds and some minor foxing and stains.  R8 quite possibly Unique$3,500. Sold

84. Don Pedro’s Bar. Settlement of Estate of John Stewart, Don Pedro's Bar, CA 1-Sep 1850

Two page document regarding the death of John Stewart of Don Pedro's Bar, Tuolumne County. At the time of Stewart's death he had $163 in gold dust and other assets totaling $332. After payment of the physician, undertaker, and grave diggers’ bills, there was $86 left to distribute. The document includes numerous signed statements including that of the physician attending his death. A person by the name of Hartman was taking care of Stewart during his illness and billed the estate $300 for his time. In his statement he claimed he “could have made from $10-$20/day at mining . . . not working more than 10 hours of the day”. Don Pedro's Bar was named after an early 1848 California Pioneer and Prospector Pierre Sainsevain, who's nickname was Don Pedro. He started his mining at Sutter's Mill on Mormon Island in 1848. Fine. $1,500. Sold

87. Dutch Flat. B.F. Moore's Exchange and Banking House, Dutch Flat, CA 15-Jul 1865

Successor to Hall & Allen. Assayer's report of gold dust purchased. Very Fine. $600. Sold

88. Dutch Flat. W.P. Nicholls Gold Dust Receipt, Dutch Flat, CA 7-Apr 1862

This tiny treasure measures 3 ½ x 2 1/8” and is essentially a business card sized receipt for 38 oz, 8 dwt of “Gold Dust Bought of” Iowa Co. at $18 oz.  The total value of the purchase is written as $691.70 and signed by W & P Nicholls.  The printing is in black ink on white business card stock paper.  Nicholls was a gold dust buyer at Dutch Flat located in the central Mother Lode region near Auburn.  The Iowa Co. may have mined this gold at nearby Iowa Hill, which was a rich tertiary gold deposit.  Light soiling.  Fine.  $600.   Sold

89. El Dorado County. Eureka Quartz Mining Company Stock Certificate, Eldorado County, CA 24-Jan 1853

No. 128 Stock certificates issued January 1853 as a bearer certificate for one share, signed James A. Shorb as President and E. H. Cornwall as Secretary. “El Dorado County, California” printed boldly under the title and vignette. No dateline, but the certificate is printed by Leefe in New York.

The Eureka Quartz Mining Company was probably operating in Georgetown. This is quite possibly the earliest known lode mining company stock certificate extant.

There was a second Eureka Mine in Placerville, but it was not active until decades later. The Eureka quartz mine at Georgetown had a 130-foot deep shaft in 1867. It was located immediately north of the Woodside on the same quartz vein, which was about two feet wide. They had a steam hoist, but no mill. The vein had a NE-SW strike and easterly dip averaging about $30 per ton, according to J. Ross Browne in Mineral Resources West of the Rocky Mountains, 1868. By 1882, the mine was 230 feet deep, inactive, and full of water, according to the History of El Dorado County, 1883.

James A. Shorb was a physician born in Maryland about 1798. He went to California for the gold rush, living in Marin County in 1850 according to the US Census. He went back to Maryland a few years later and resumed his practice as a physician. Cornwall was a clerk in New York City.

Stock certificates from the California Gold Rush period of the 1850’s are Very Rare, particularly those that were domestically financed. This is the first time a certificate from this company has been known to us.  We are aware of only the two certificates offered in this catalog, making this an R8Extremely Fine. $3,500. Sold

90. El Dorado County. Eureka Quartz Mining Company Stock Certificate, Eldorado County, CA 24-Jan 1853

No. 107 Stock certificate issued January 1853 as a bearer certificate for four shares, signed James A. Shorb as President and E. H. Cornwall as Secretary. See description above. This is the first time any certificate for this company has been known to us, and we are only aware of two certificates. R8Very Fine. $3,500. Sold

92. Palmer & Day's Assay Office, Folsom, CA 2-May 1864

No. 6289 Assay receipt. Palmer & Day were bankers at an assay office in Folsom and Gold Hill Nevada during Civil War years. They started in California during the Gold Rush as assayers and gold dust buyers. Fine. $150. Sold

99. Gold Rush Original Tintype, California – 1858-1861

Framed colored photo of five Gold Rush miners standing with pick axes and shovels beside a long tom with a one-room log cabin pictured on the hillside behind them. Original tintype measures approximately 6 x 8” and is matted in gilt metal and encased within a wooden “book” covered in brown leather, with hinges and two clasps. The inside cover is lined in burgundy velvet with burnout design.  The case measures 7 x 9.” A rare and historic piece illuminating a unique period in America’s frontier. Case’s top and bottom are starting to separate, but photo is intact. $25,000 Sold

100. Photograph of a Business Man 1850's, Gold Rush, CA c 1857-1860

This photograph is an Ambrotype with the original non-patriotic, pre-Civil War case, of a business man in his dress attire holding a gold ingot and wearing California gold quartz jewelry. Extremely Rare. Very Fine$5,500. Sold

107. California Counters: $5 Size Dated 1849, $10 Size Dated 1847, and $20 Size Dated 1852

The following lot consists of three different types of California Counters.  “Metal gaming counters probably saw their greatest use in the United States in private card games, such as poker, and in public games where the establishment did not participate directly in the game.” During the height of the gold rush era, counters “probably were used largely in San Francisco and elsewhere in northern California.” [Ref: Fauver, p9, Early California Counters]. 

Counters had no set value or stated denomination.  Fauver (Early California Counters, 1991) explains that in 1845 Henery Anners published a book entitled “Hoyle’s Games” in which he defined the rules of poker and commented about gaming counters: “Counters or chips are generally used, the valuations of which must be agreed upon on commencing.”  Many of the known types of California Counters resembled in both size and design circulating United States coinage of the late 1840’s to 1860’s including 50 cent and $1.00 silver coins as well as $1.00, $2.50, $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00 gold pieces. Most mimic US gold pieces.

During the California gold rush, especially during the early to mid 1850’s, circulating coinage of any type or denomination was scarce in the west.  As a means of exchange, and in spite of its abundance, gold dust, or any other form of native gold, was at best difficult and cumbersome to deal with when conducting business transactions.  At the card table gold dust would have been equally as troublesome if used to pay for wagers. Paper currency was not well circulated or accepted in the West until decades later.  In addition to poker, Californians also enjoy several other types of card games including twenty-one, monte, euchre, and casino.  Fauver also notes that betting was commonplace on other games such as roulette, dice, dominoes, billiards, pin pool, keno, prize fighting, horse racing, shooting matches, and even dog fighting.  “Consequently, many of the card games (etc) mentioned here were commonly played with the assistance of counters”.  The following three California Counters are offered here as a group. 

$5 Size or 22 mm: Dated 1849, Brass with reeded edge.

Obverse:  Liberty head facing left. Thirteen stars next to and along the rim edge evenly spaced beginning at 7 o’clock and ending at 5 o’clock with the date 1849 positioned at the bottom between the first and last stars. Reverse:  A gold kneeling, facing left and holding a large gold nugget or ore specimen. There are a pick, shovel, gold pan and palm-like tree to his left and the words “California” at the top and the date “1849” again (as on the obverse) on the bottom. There is a moderate degree of ware affecting most design details but that only lends itself to the romance of the piece . . . begging for answers to the questions: Where was it played, by whom, and when?  Exciting notions when one consider this counter was made and played a 160 years ago.  Fine to Very Fine.

$10 Size or 27 mm: Dated 1847, Brass with reeded edge.

Obverse:  Liberty head facing to the left.  Thirteen stars along rim edge evenly spaced beginning at seven o’clock and ending at 5 o’clock.  Date “1847” placed between first and thirteenth stars. Reverse:  Flag of the United States waving from staff with two stars on each of the flag along rim edge with the words “California” at the top and “Counter” at the bottom. This counter has sharp details and some very pleasing light rose toning. There are a number of carbon spots on both the obverse and reverse.  Uncirculated.

$20 Size or 34 mm: Dated 1852, Brass with reeded edge.

Obverse:  Liberty head facing to the left.  Thirteen stars along rim edge evenly spaced beginning at seven o’clock and ending at 5 o’clock.  Date “1852” placed between first and thirteenth stars. Reverse:  Flag of the United States waving from staff with three stars on each of the flag along rim edge with the words “California” at the top and “Counter” at the bottom.  There is wear at the high points especially hair over eye, brow and bun.  The stars and bars on the flag are worn but most details remain.  Extra Fine to About Uncirculated.

Group of three California counters. $1,150. Sold

113. Pelican Co., Upper California 1849

Four page letter sheet illustrated in Don Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States.

When Dr. Kagin published this sheet it was from a Xerox copy provided to him by Henry Clifford. Clifford, however, did not own the original copy, which was held in a private collection until recently. It is unarguably the most important illustrated Gold Rush letter sheet pertaining to privately minted California gold coins.

The letter sheet illustrates the obverse and reverse of a Pelican Co. $10 gold coin of 1849. Only one Pelican piece is known today, which is a unique pattern. It is not known if any of the three different denominations discussed in the letter sheet were ever circulated. This letter sheet, dated 1849, discusses the coining of  $2 ½, $5, $10 gold coins, the purchase of gold dust and bullion, and assaying of all samples. The piece is datelined “Upper California” and contains testimonials of two members of the New Orleans Branch Mint.

The Pelican Company was apparently run by Dr. Pearson, who appears to have worked in the New Orleans area as well as working for the New Orleans Branch Mint. Three pages of the letter sheet are blank.  The letter sheet is unlisted in Baird's 1849-1869 California Pictorial Letter sheets 1967. It is possible that the sheet was not known to Clifford at the time of publication of Baird’s book, though it certainly would have been included had a second edition been printed since Clifford's collection of illustrated California letter sheets was one of the best in private hands at the time.

The Pelican letter sheet has a few spots of foxing along the bottom and the four edges. There are numerous folds to the lower left corner and folds and chips along the upper right edge. At the top is written “Exhibit A”, a notation rendering the thought that perhaps this letter sheet was used as an exhibit in a lawsuit of unknown origin and consequence. $25,000. Sold

118. A. Delano Banker, Memorandum of Gold Dust Purchased, Grass Valley, CA 6-Apr 1867

This small receipt is 4.25 x 3.5” printed on buff colored paper with black ink. Deposited by Biggs and Co. 3 oz, 11 dwt at $16.25 per oz. Total $57.62. “U.S. Tax” .29 cents. Signed by A. Delano. Very Fine. $300. Sold

121. Findley, Memorandum of Gold Dust Purchased, Grass Valley, CA 12-Nov 1864

Business card sized receipt. Deposited by A. K. Cowger. 33 oz, 1 dwt “pwts”. Assayed $550.00. Reverse is printed in duplicate format of the front. Findley was a gold dust buyer in Grass Valley, California who wisely chose not to compete long term with Delano, the most successful Grass Valley Gold Rush banker. His Business was short lived and his cards are Extremely Rare. This card may be Unique. Very Fine. $600. Sold

122. Benton. 1871 Early Letter, Benton, CA 6-Aug 1871

In this letter Charles Dobbler writes to a friend named Slade about having just left the Kearsarge Mining Region in Inyo County. "I got out alright you bet. The new superintendent, J.D. Winters tried to use me as a tool . . . I was mining for about six weeks in a place called Cerro Gordo . . .  It was a good thing that I left". The letter discusses mining at Benton and a future trip to Virginia City.  Extremely Fine. $300.   Sold         

124. Indian Queen Mining and Milling Company Stock Certificate, Mono County, CA 13-Jul 1882

Stock certificate for Indian Queen Mining and Milling Company. Incorporated in 1880 and issued in 1882 to Samuel D. Shepard for 120 shares.  Signed by Washington Warren as President and M. Dyer, Jr. as Treasurer. This certificate has a large vignette of an Indian maiden at upper left. This certificate is uncancelled and printed on yellow paper with a dateline from Jersey City, N.J.  Very Fine. $1,400. Sold

125. Panorama of Bodie taken from a hill, c 1906

Beautiful four photograph collage panorama of Bodie taken about 1906 by an unknown photographer. The panorama is not formally assembled and came to us in raw form and excellent condition. Each of the prints are about 7 x 11”, rendering the final product about 40” long. The streets are quiet with little or no public activity, perhaps because the photograph was taken at day’s first light, judging from the bright low sun angle. The mines and mills are all shown in the background. No photograph. $2,500. Sold

128. Bodie Consolidated Mining Company Stock Certificate, Bodie, CA 7-Mar 1888

No.14077 Stock certificate issued for 100 shares belonging to G.W. Serrious Jr. Signed W.P. Millana. This rare stock certificate is one of only three or four known to us. The Bodie Consolidated was one of several exceptionally successful gold mining companies at Bodie. As an example in 1883 the company was the second highest dividend payer at $1.295 million (the Standard Consolidated was the largest ($4.35 million). The certificate has five assessment stamps on the back dated 1888 to 1891, indicating the company was not in a profitable mode at that time. This certificate is graded Extremely Fine and has been encapsulated by the Professional Grading Company Pass-Co. $900. Sold

131. Queen Bee Mining Company Stock Certificate, Bodie, CA 13-Jan 1880

No.192 Stock certificate for 5000 shares belonging to F.M. Luce TR. Printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. The Queen Bee Mining Company was located on the eastern slope of Bodie Peak according to Burchard 1880. At the time it had a 400 foot shaft with a few thousand feet of underground workings. It is thought to have had limited production. This certificate has one assessment stamp from 1880 on the reverse and has a tiny chip at the upper left hand corner. This is one of the rare Bodie certificates with perhaps three or four known, possibly R8. Extremely Fine. $600. Sold

134. Miners’ Union Letters. Lundy, CA 11-Mar 1892

This lot contains two handwritten letters regarding the Jackson & Lakeview Mining Co., datelined Lundy, Cal. Very Rare.  Poor condition. $175. Sold

139. Inyo County. California Volunteer Appointment Framed Document, Inyo County, CA 21-Nov 1864

Engraved document signed by California Governor Lowe, appointing Alfred Morton as Major in the 7th Infantry Regiment of the California Volunteers. Morton was a veteran of a number of Indian battles in the west, perhaps most importantly, he was one of the men involved in the battles along the Owens River mining region in the early 1860’s. He was also in another attack at Big Pine Creek and yet another at Keyesville. Morton was born in Maine and was first appointed to the California Volunteers as a Sergeant in Company F in September 1861. He rose through the ranks and remained in service through 1898.  He was also U.S. Army Provost Marshall at San Francisco, California from Feb 1865 to March 1866. The document is beautifully engraved, contains an adhesive gold seal of the State of California, and is signed by Redding as Secretary of State and George Evans, the ADJ. General. The piece is nicely framed with a window in the back where Morton signed the piece himself in 1864. Approximately 20” x 24”. Extremely Fine. No photograph. $1,500. Sold

140. Inyo County. Reward Gold Mining Company Lot of three related items, Inyo, CA c 1893-1895


The first item is a letter dated Oct. 20, 1893 on printed Reward Gold Mining Company letterhead from the San Francisco office to Fred Searles in Nevada City. Searles was an important western mining engineer active at Grass Valley's Empire mine and later worked with the beginnings of the Newmont Mining Company. The second item is a report of the Board of Directors dated May 1894 on company stationary. The third item is a cover, which has a printed corner from the company's San Francisco office.  Reward was a mining camp between Lone Pine and Keeler at the foot of the mountains on the east side of the Owens Valley. It was most active in the late 1880's through the turn of the century when near surface gold/silver/copper ores petered out. The town died off quickly and most of the buildings were moved to Keeler. By the 1950's nothing was left but shards of purple glass. In the 1980's a company drove a long drift exploring for a faulted-off continuation of the Reward ore zone. The effort was unsuccessful. A number of rare bottles were found at the ghost town by collectors in the 1960's. Generally Very Fine. Three items $395. Sold

142. Inyo Mining Company Stock Certificate, Panamint, Inyo County, CA 1-Mar 1876

No.26 Stock certificate issued for 1000 shares belonging to J.P. Batuman and signed by Wm. S. Chapman, President. Uncancelled and lithographed by G.T. Brown & Co. Datelined San Francisco. Incorporated Feb. 1876. This company is difficult to research because of the problems with the U.S. Mineral Commissioner's office, headed by Ross Raymond who quit about this time period. It took the government two years to publish Raymond's 1875 annual report. The Inyo Mining Company's property was one of the early incorporations at Panamint. They owned the Wyoming and some of the other better producing mines. This is the only certificate from this company that we have seen in thirty years of business. It may be Unique. Very Fine. $1,500. Sold

147. St. George Vineyard Bill, Maltermoro, Fresno County, CA c 1879

Unissued Five Dollar Due Bill printed by Maltermoro with a vignette of St. George and the Dragon on the front and a vignette of St. George Vineyard and distillery on the reverse. This bill is an R8 in Extremely Fine condition with light discoloration on edges. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $3,500.  Sold

149. Mariposa. Martin & Walling Mill & Mining Co. Stock Certificate, Mariposa, CA 11-Mar 1874

No.11 Stock certificate printed by Geo. H. Baker in San Francisco. There is a vignette of a butterfly and wildflowers in the lower left-hand corner. Certificate issued for 50 shares belonging to John D. Hudgin and signed by J.S. Mirgan, President.  Mariposa County is bordered on the north by Tuolumne, on the south by Fresno and on the west by Merced, and extends from the edge of the San Joaquin Valley to the summit of the Sierra range. This county possessed many quartz veins outside the Mariposa grant. Two of the mines, which operated with regularity prior to 1874, were Hite's Cove and the Washington. Martin & Walling was incorporated February 25th, 1874 but in 1875 little was done in the Coulterville portion of Mariposa County and many valuable mines in this district stopped operation awaiting litigation due to bad management. The Martin & Walling Company was one but resumed operation in early 1876. [Ref: Statistics of Mines and Mining, Raymond 1874, 1875 & 1876] Encapsulated by Pass-Co and graded Very Fine. R8, Nearly Unique. There are possibly only two or three known. $400. Sold

150. Harvey Harris, Assayer, Silver & Gold Presentation Assay Ingot, Gold Hill, NV Territory 1-Aug 1864


Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3518, John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

No. 2685 The face reads: “No.2685. / H.HARRIS / H. HARRIS / ASSAYER around an all-seeing eye [his assayer's stamp] / GOLDHILL. N.T. / 12.12.OZ. / $34.97” and the back reads: “AUGT. 1864” with the 6 punched over the 4. The top reads: “M.W. IRVIN”, the bottom is blank, the left side reads: “GOLD 083 FINE / SILVER 905 FINE” and the right reads: “MRS. JANE JACKSON”. The ingot measures: 67.3 x 44.8 x 12.0 mm and weighs: 12.20 oz. Very Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $65,000. Sold

154. H. Harris & Co. Pioneer Assay Office, (Late Harris & Marchand), Marysville, CA 7-Dec 1860.


No. 26045 Memorandum of Gold Deposited by Decker, Jewett, and Paxton of Marysville.  This receipt has the same physical and condition descriptions as that of the two preceding lots.  Assay results for amalgam weighing 44.24 oz before melting, 43.38 oz after melting, and having a fineness of .913.  The net value after all fees and costs was $799.15.  Signed H. Harris for D. Marchand.  Very Fine, R8.  No photograph. $3,500. Sold

159. Mokelumne. Mokelumne and Campo Seco Canal & Mining Co. Stock Certificate, Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, CA c 1859


This remarkable certificate printed by famous San Francisco Lithographers Britton & Rey has one of the first versions of what later became a very famous mining vignette that covers the entire left quarter of the certificate. Nearly every aspect of California Gold Rush mining is pictured in the vignette. The vignette was created by Britton & Rey in the 1850's and was used on the Bear River and Auburn Mining Company certificate’s early versions, but it is perhaps most famous for the Tuolumne Water Company certificates from the 1850's that survived in abundance. This is an unissued example from the 1880's in Unissued condition and is a classis representation of California Gold Rush mining and art. $200. Sold

161. Mount Ophir. Mt. Ophir Postcard, Mount Ophir, CA c 1910

This is an original photo postcard of ruins. The photograph clearly shows stone ruins in a desert setting. Mt Ophir, located in Mariposa County was originally known as Ophir. It became active about 1851. Gudde in California Gold Camps states “According to tradition, the famous octagonal $20 and $50 gold slugs were coined here from locally mined gold in a private mint built in 1850 by John L. Moffat. A photograph of the ruins of the building, purported to be the mint is reproduced in the Mining Bureau XIV, page 591. The Merced Mining Company, of which Moffat was one of the directors commenced operation at Mt. Ophir in April 1851.”  The front says “Site of First Mint in California”. Stamped on the back of the card is “Grahame Hardy Carson City, Nevada”. Hardy was one of the original early western American dealers. He had a shop in Carson City and in Virginia City. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. Extremely Fine. $150. Sold

166. Bancroft's Works Volume XXIV History of California Volume VII 1860-1890, San Francisco, CA 1890

The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft Vol XXIV History of California Vol VII 1860-1890. The History Company.  Binding broken, boards loose, x-library. Otherwise Fine condition (contents). This is the tough to obtain volume, published a few years later and contains Bancroft’s data from 1860 to 1890. No photograph. $125. Sold

169. McKenney's Business Directory of San Francisco and Principal Towns of California and Nevada, CA 1877

This Directory has been professionally rebound with the original boards and original end plate. 593 pages. The directory lists California towns and their merchants alphabetically, followed by a California business directory. The second half of the book is a Nevada business directory, followed by many pages of ads. The last part of the directory is a San Francisco business directory. This McKenney's is scarce but does appear from time to time, though almost never in this nice of a condition. VeryFine. No photograph. $1,200. Sold

182. Nevada County. Hydraulic Mining Photos (three each), Nevada County, CA c 1870

Three original 1870’s Hydraulic Mining Photographs by Watkins. “Hydraulic Mining Piping, Watkins' New Boudoir Series Yosemite and Pacific Coast” This remarkable trio has an original large matted photo 5.25 x 8.5” with a very clear, sharp, bold image of a large scale hydraulic mining pit in Nevada County, possibly near the old mining camp of Washington. The accompanying two CDVs are exact pieces of the larger photograph emphasizing different aspects of the hydraulic mining process. For example, one of the CDVs has a shot of a nozzle spraying water from right to left, and the other CDV shows the portion of the larger photograph with an elevated long tom sluice box and a miner controlling the hydraulic nozzle blasting the hillside. Watkins would have sold a number of these smaller CDVs to tourists and other interested parties who visited his San Francisco Gallery. The larger view is particularly crisp and sharp and may not have been subsequently published. Extremely Fine. Three photographs $2,700. Sold

188. Placerville. C.J. Arvidsson's Assay Office, Placerville, CA 28-Feb 1868

No.1095 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited. This assay and bullion receipt is from C. J. Arvidsson’s Assay Office in Placerville, February 28, 1868 to C. M. McQuire for a 19.75 ounce bar .845 fine gold. Signed by C. J. Arvidsson. Printed on darker blue paper with black ink, datelined Placerville 185x and used late into the 1860’s. Extremely rare, only one known to us in thirty plus years. Arvidsson came to the central gold rush mining camp of Placerville in 1851 from Stockholm, Sweden via Panama. After a brief stint as a carpenter, he worked as an assayer and silversmith. He did so well immediately, that he convinced his brother Arvid to join him. The pair immediately started in business as assayers, and helped mine owners with the design of mine equipment patterns for goods to be made at the local Morey foundry, probably including bullion moulds. When Placerville burned in 1856, the brothers erected a new building that some twenty years later housed the Tracy Shoe store, among other businesses. The brothers opened a jewelry store to complement the assay business, a natural expansion for two brothers who saw and handled native gold specimens in quartz daily that was submitted to them for assay. This beautiful rock made splendid jewelry, and the Arvidssons became a good place for miners to sell specimen quality gold in quartz. CJ was a man from the “old school”, and married a young lady from Maine in a “mail order” wedding. The couple had a successful and happy marriage by all accounts. Arvidsson played an important ancillary role in the California gold assayer business.  In 1855, Arvidsson was a minor partner with John Agrell. The pair had a third partner in the firm Agrell , Arvidsson & Co., P. Strettiz. That group dissolved their partnership in April, 1855, perhaps with the coincidental arrival of CJ Arvidsson’s brother, and Agrell immediately went into partnership with Gorham Blake, known as Blake & Agrell. Arvidsson and his brother continued with their own assay office and jewelry store, making some of the finest “California Jewelry”, most likely utilizing the gold in quartz so well known to local miners. This assay receipt is thus another of the many ties to California coiners and assayers. Very Fine. $3,500. Sold

189. Quincy. Wells Fargo & Co. Check, Quincy, CA 19-Oct 1877

Check No.244 Payable to C. Lee for $200 on the account of G. D. Goodwin of Quincy and signed by J.D. Goodwin. Extremely rare imprinted revenue. Very Fine.  $75. Sold

191. Randsburg. Yellow Aster Mining & Milling Company Stock Certificates (four pieces) Randsburg, CA 1897

Lot of four Yellow Aster Mining Company stock certificates #10, 16, 29 & 33 issued to the founders of the Yellow Aster Mining Company, John Singleton, John Miller, F. Moores and Rose Burcham. Each is signed by the Issuee and Burcham and Singleton. Dated 1897 and 1898. Extremely rare.  Of additional note, the stocks have an embossed gold seal with vignette of a yellow aster in the center. All Very Fine condition. $1,000. Sold

198. Blake & Co. (G. Blake, W.R. Waters), 5252 J Street, Sacramento, CA 27-Dec 1860 

No. 9853 Certificate of Gold, deposited by D. O. Mills & Co.  This receipt’s design and layout are the same as the preceding Blake receipt.  Mixed dust: Weight before melting 110.70 oz, After melting 106.49 oz, Fineness .879, Value per oz $18.17, Net amount after all costs and fees $1,928.50.  The names of Forrest Hill merchants Hardy and Kennedy are penciled in at bottom left.  This receipt is in Very Fine condition with typical “pocket” folds and foxing R7$4.500.   Sold

199. Blake & Waters, Assay Office of Blake & Co. Assay Receipt, Sacramento, CA 3-Jan 1861

No.9871 Assay receipt with G. Blake and W.R. Waters on letterhead. Certificate for gold deposited by D. O. Mills & Co. totaling $1059.48. Signed by D.O. Mills & Co in D.O. Mill's own handwriting. This Extremely Rare assay certificate is from the Hardy and Kennedy archive hoard that produced so many of the known Kellogg & Humbert assay receipts. It is arguably one of the great California assay receipts, because it is directly related to the Blake Sacramento ingots that were found on the wrecked S.S. Central America. It is one of only approximately five known Blake & Company bullion receipts, and there are approximately three others in an identical format with Blake's partner Waters name inserted in the masthead showing Assay Office of Waters & Company. R7. Very Good condition. $4,500. Sold

200. Pony Express Letter, Sacramento City, CA 11-Oct 1852

This remarkable letter from the early days of the gold rush involves a bill of exchange drawn by William Waddell payable to the order of William H. Russell, by Joseph L. Waddell of Sacramento City, for the sum of $2500. This is an important document relating to two of the founders of the Pony Express datelined Sacramento, CA 1852. This is a one page, signed and notarized letter dated October 11, 1852 from Sacramento City. It was originally dated at Lexington, Missouri 8/6/1852, endorsed by Russell Waddell and Bankers Page & Bacon. The letter notes that Page & Bacon made a thorough search in an attempt to locate Mr. Waddell of Sacramento but were unable to find him and were notified he had left the state “Gone to parts unknown”.  Page & Bacon, the holders of the exchange, sent this letter to William W. Waddell in Lexington, Missouri as a demand for payment. The letter is generally pristine. Russell, Majors & Waddell formed the famous western shipping firm known as the Pony Express, which terminated at Sacramento City. The Waddell family was based in Missouri and operated an active freight company there. Russell and Waddell also had an express related to the Colorado Gold Rush about 1860, known as the Pike’s Peak Express. This letter may be the only remnant document from original members of this trio involving Sacramento, and clearly illustrates the pairs' involvement in the California Gold Rush. $4,500. Sold

201. Pony Express Archive, Sacramento City, CA c 1838-1870

Original archive of William Waddell and William Russelll of the famous Pony Express and Pikes Peak Express. This archive contains more than 110 pieces of receipts, letters and legal documents of Waddell and Russell, as well as other members of Waddell's family. Most of these documents were executed in Lexington, Missouri, their home between 1838 and 1870. The majority are dated during the Westward Expansion Period, as you might expect which took place from the late 1840's through the 1860’s. This is not part of the Russell, Majors and Waddell archive that we sold about five years ago. Russell was a wealthy businessman who engaged in numerous freighting businesses. His friend and partner William Waddell invested in many of his businesses. This archive shows the high degree to which Waddell conducted business in and around Lexington where he loaned money to individuals, businesses, and rented properties. He bought collateral notes from others, acting as a banker. Both Russell & Waddell purchased a lot of property, and one of these documents reflects a lawsuit against the two in 1870 because they did not convey title on a property they sold in a timely manner. Needless to say, the pair was probably engaged heavily in the express business during the 1860’s, which itself may have led to this suit. Documents from California and Colorado in this archive have been separated in this catalog. The content of this archive is rather remarkable, stretching from deeds for property with and without slaves, receipts for slave clothing, loans for money, receipts for taxes paid on early land lots, etc. At least half the documents are signed by Waddell. As such, each of the signed documents represents a significant Pony Express autographed piece. However we feel it would be a historically detrimental to break this archive up, other than separating the California and Colorado pieces. Generally Fine. $12,500. Sold

202. Rare Check Payable to Pony Express Rider W. S. Lowden,  Shasta, CA1854

Check drawn on Rhodes & Co. Bankers in Shasta to Lowden & Co, signed by their agent D. C. Haycraft. Lowden was a well-known Pony Express Rider, mineral surveyor, and active businessman in the Weaverville-Trinity-Shasta gold regions. He was the fist to make an attempt to climb Mt. Shasta in 1850, though he was then unsuccessful. No photograph. $300. Sold

203. Sacramento. California Salt Lake Mail Line, 10-Apr, 1861

This $10 note is No. 250 and measures 7.25 x 3”. It is lithographed blue ink with red safety print of the denomination. The center vignette is a classic western stage coach scene, with a coach surrounded by protective pony riders with Indians looking on from a nearby hillside. The bottom right corner has a vignette of a maiden with a Billy goat and the bottom left has a vignette of two cherubs carrying a fruit basket. This note is signed by John Brown as Secretary and Peter Funk as Contractor.

Notes are known from both Sacramento and Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City series notes are dated 1859 by George Chorpenning as Contractor, according to a Stack’s Cataloguer from the Ford Sale in October 2007. The Ford $50 note is dated 1863.

The California Salt Lake Mail line was the brainchild of George Chorpenning. George W. Chorpenning, Jr. was born in Pennsylvania in 1820, the son of a county judge. He traveled to California in 1850 in search of gold, but quickly realized he would more likely make a fortune delivering mail from the miners via an overland route. Chorpenning lobbied the Federal Government for a contract to carry mail  between Sacramento and Salt Lake City, the most dangerous and difficult leg of the overland route, and was awarded the U.S. Postal contract in 1851.Chorpenning and Absolom Woodward were not well financed, according to Bancroft (History of California), but the pair laid out and and established a series of way stations through the remote region of Nevada, connecting with a Salt Lake City mail line that Samuel H. Woodson had established from Missouri to Utah. Chorpenning & Woodward thus established a portion of the route that was later used by the Pony Express, though much of that information has not been passed down by modern historians.

The California line took a month for letters to get from Sacramento to Salt Lake City and another month in from Salt Lake City to Missouri. There was no passenger service, and long isolated sections were run by a single rider or team. Chorpenning’s partner, Absolam Woodward was killed by Indians along the Humboldt River in Central Nevada during his first trip across Nevada, which seriously hurt the operation. “One cannot but admire the courage of these pioneer mail carriers, who, all alone in Indian country, in all kinds of weather, trudged ever forward with their tired teams,” wrote Oscar Winther in Via Western Express and Stagecoach (1945). 

Chorpenning renewed his contract in 1854 and again in 1858, this time with added stagecoach service. There was also a change in route, and apparently the new route was from Placerville to Salt Lake City.

When James Simpson came through Nevada on an exploratory route looking for a shorter trail for miners and emigrants in 1859, he established a route that cut off a full hundred miles from the Chorpenning route. This new route later became a shortcut for the Pony Express.

Meanwhile, the long, slow movement of the mail between Sacramento and Salt Lake City became a concern, and soon rival express companies were lobbying the Federal Government for new contracts. In 1857 a contract was awarded to the Butterfield’s Overland Mail, which ran over a southern route in direct competition with Chorpenning’s northern route.

Russell, Majors and Waddell had taken over the Missouri to Salt Lake City U. S. Mail contract and also established a successful express route to the Colorado gold fields from the east, known as the Pikes Peak Express. Russell had met with California Senator Gwin in Washington at San Franciscan businessman Broederick’s suggestion, and urged Russell to start a new line over Simpson’s shorter route that would greatly speed up the mail. It was known as the “central route.” Broederick had met Chorpenning in 1858 in eastern Nevada while en route to Salt Lake City on the California line. Russell and partners did not think the line would pay for itself, but proceeded to establish the new way stations. Gwin was at odds with his southern Congressmen and Senators who had awarded the Butterfield Overland deal. Gwin was successful in getting the Chorpenning U. S. Mail contract nullified, and handed over a new U. S. mail contract for the central route to Russell, Majors and Waddell in 1860, which became known as the Pony Express.

The national politics behind the various express and mail lines were enormous. New Yorkers were at complete odds with Californians on where the route across America should lie. Southern politicians swayed the New Yorkers into thinking the Butterfield Southern Route was the best, though Californians knew the shortest route was ultimately the Simpson (Central) route.  During this period of intense debate, much of which was covered by national newspapers, 60,000 Californians signed a petition requesting the immediate construction of a wagon road from Missouri to California. Westerners figured that since the Fed had pitched in $3 million to assist steamer travel from the East to California, it made as much sense to construct a wagon road to assist in land travel. Californians also argued that the fed had spearheaded an effort to kill the Central Route by charging ten cents for mail from Placerville to Salt Lake City, while charging only three cents for mail carried on the southern Butterfield route! [Alta California October 22, 1858]

Chorpenning continued his coach and mail service, though he lost the valuable US Mail contract. He struggled until the competition and costs ultimately forced closure of the line, probably coincidental with the Pony Express. A telegraph line was built at the same time as the pony Express, which added to the competition Chorpenning faced. Little has been written on the latter days of his express and mail service. He returned to Maryland by 1861 where he was involved with organizing soldiers for the Civil War. He fought a long legal battle with another arm of the Government over payment of his western express services while he held the U. S. Mail contracts. He fought and lost another legal battle in Placerville, where a competitor was awarded $30,000 for breach of contract. [12/18/1860 Alta California] Chorpenning’s obituary, printed by the Somerset Herald in his hometown in Pennsylvania,  labeled him “the First Man to Carry the Mails Across the Continent”.

The author knows of at least five of these notes, though the denominations and dates are presently unknown. This note is probably among the top two in overall condition, with the possible exception of the tightly clipped upper right border and fold ware at center. It should be noted that the $50 note in Ford Sale was also tightly clipped at the top upper right border. The colors in this note and the Ford note are particularly sharp and crisp while some of the other notes show more oxidation.

Now lets discuss these notes. No mention of them or their use was found in the historical record, though more work is necessary, particularly through research in the Sacramento Union, not yet online. From the appearance of the “issue” dates seen on the Ford example and this example, along with the Stack’s cataloger’s note that the Salt Lake dateline notes were issued in 1859, the following can be surmised: 1) Both Sacramento notes were “issued” after Chorpenning’s point of origin appeared to have changed from Sacramento to Placerville. 2) The 1861 Sacramento note was issued after the Pony Express contract was awarded, perhaps somewhat fraudulently, since the line was likely no longer in operation, or in its last days of operation, as evidenced by an article in the Alta California December 18, 1860, in which the California line was regarded as “late contractor on the Overland Mail” 3) the Ford example, dated 1863 without specific month and day, was “issued” so late that its issuance at all is called into question 4) the fact that Chorpenning was fighting the Government over payment for his services is a known fact. He may have thus attempted the use of this scrip as payment for debts dependent upon payment to him from the Fed. 5) Further, who are these people who signed these notes? Are they the leftovers of Chorpenning’s operation in Sacramento? There is certainly a lot more to be learned by the investigation into the history of this pioneer company. Meanwhile, these are certainly among the most beautiful of all the California gold rush currency.

Ref: Wikipedia On Line, Bancroft, History of California, 1890, v7, pp264-5; Winther, Via Western Express & Stagecoach, 1945; Mason, The Pony Express in Nevada, 1976; Simpson, Report of Explorations Across the Great Basin in 1859, reprint 1983; Reinfeld, Pony Express, 1966;] Good condition. $42,500 Sold

207. Sacramento. Waters & Co. Business Card, Sacramento, CA 1-Sep 1866

No.17075 Assay of rock deposited by J. Bigler. This important business card sized assay report acted as a business card as well for Water's & Company of Sacramento. Waters was Goram Blake's partner and the original name of the firm was Blake & Co., made famous due to the recovery of S.S. Central America ingots of the same name. The company is advertising on one side, which is very business card-like, with receipt of rock for assay and assay results with values on the other. Fine. $3,500. Sold

209. Sacramento Directory, CA 1868

This Directory has original binding and boards. It originally belonged to the Sacramento Sheriff's Office. 322 pages; the front page has been trimmed at the right and page 35 has an article cut out of it, which was the County Officers Fleet, or something similar. The directory is rare. The front is the usual alphabetical listing of residents. Ads are scattered throughout, followed by a business directory and a township directory makes up the final part of the directory. Extremely Fine for a directory. No photograph. $2,250. Sold

210. Sacramento. Youngs & Kibbe, General Merchandise Store Ledgers (two volumes) Sacramento, CA 1851-54

Two volumes. Original store ledgers for Youngs Kibbe General Merchandisers, one of the largest general merchandise outfits in Sacramento in the beginning of the Gold Rush. The boards of these ledgers, once fresh leather, are now heavily worn and loose. The pages are all intact and legible, with little or no damage other than by the scribe himself. The store began perhaps sometime in 1850, which was about the same time the city itself was born. Young's and Kibbe are listed in the first Sacramento Directory, and again in the 1853-4 Directory (both reprinted). The ledgers contain the names of many of the early elite, including E.J. (Lucky) Baldwin, who was a partner in the mining company known as the Eagle Tunnel Company. The first volume contains 235 pages and the second 179 pages. On these pages are more than several hundred names and company names.The National Hotel Co and the Southern House are the names of two. Mines include the Keystone Tunnel Co., the Great Western Tunnel Co., and the Washington Quartz Co.. Famous names such as Sutter, Hoard, Judson, and Hunter adorn the ledgers, while such notables as George Hearst are not present. Entries from out of town are also notable: Carson Valley in (Nevada) Utah Territory as well as companies from Marysville, Dobbins, Centreville (Nevada County) are but a few. These ledgers contain not only the individual accounts, but the day to day cash sales. A careful study of the very hectic first days of the city. No photograph. $5,500. Sold

211. San Francisco. Mechanic’s Institute Gold Medal, San Francisco, CA 1882


This gold piece was designed by Kuner of San Francisco, who was considered the finest Diesinker on the west coast. Kuner designed and engraved the dies for many of California's pioneer gold coins struck and issued during the1850's. The obverse reads: MECHANIC’S INSTITUTE/SAN FRANCISCO and the reverse reads: INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION/AWARDED TO/D.M. OSBORNE & CO./BEST/GENERAL DISPLAY/OF/AGRIGULTURAL/MACHINERY/1882. This medal comes in the original case, as pictured here. The case is blue with red velvet lining. The material on the top of the case is torn. Choice and Extremely Rare. Uncirculated condition. $9,500. Sold

212. San Francisco. Mechanic’s Institute Silver Medal, San Francisco, CA, 1886

This piece is similar to the one above, except this is silver and made four years later. It was awarded to W.E.Shaw for the best open buggy. No case. Polished. $1,500. Sold

213. San Francisco. California’s First Store Card. Berenhart, Jacoby & Company. San Francisco, CA c 1850-1853


This brass storecard token has a vignette of an eagle clutching an olive branch on the obverse, a merchant ship on the reverse and reads: * BERENHART, JACOBY & CO.*/ST FRANCISCO//GENERAL MERCHANTS & IMPORTERS. The company appears to have gotten its start in San Francisco about the end of 1850 or perhaps very early 1851. Reports of shipment of goods to Berenhart, Jacoby & Co. started appearing in the Alta California in March, 1851, where they received several shipments of goods from Liverpool on board the barque Hartley via Valparaiso, Chile. The company continued to receive goods regularly on different ships through mid 1853, when it appears Mr. Berenhart retired from the firm, and Jacoby took over as “Jacoby & Co.” as listed in Parker’s 1854 San Francisco Directory. According to Bancroft’s History of California, Berenhart, Jacoby & Company were located on the southeast corner of Pine Street in a corrugated iron house they imported. They are also listed in the 1852-1853 San Francisco City Directory found on-line as “importers of dry goods located at 72 Montgomery St.”

This is the most important of the California Gold Rush store card tokens. As the first known struck advertising piece, it has increased significance. It was possibly designed by Kuner, who designed many of the early private gold coins struck in San Francisco. The question arises of who struck the piece, which may also have been Kuner, whose office was at 167 Washington, or E. Baldwin, another engraver down the street at 152 Washington. It is made in the same style and size as the private California $5 gold coins, including with an eagle vignette.

This exceptionally rare piece is the first store card from California as reported by Kappen in California Tokens and received Kappen’s highest rarity and price rating. It is in About Uncirculated condition. $7,500. Sold

214. Adams & Co. Bankruptcy Archive, San Francisco, CA 1855-1857

This remarkable file contains 33 original documents consisting of legal documents and letters regarding the Adams & Co.’s bankruptcy in 1855. The documents have a common thread. Most were handled through San Francisco attorney Charles Bowman, who represented many of the creditors and also represented Woods in his dealings with Adams.  Interestingly, Attorney Charles C. Bowman was an 1851 member of the original (first) Vigilance Committee as well. His papers contain remarkable content, much of which is discussed in Albert Shumate’s The Notorious I. C. Woods of the Adams Express, 1986. The archive contains the original signatures of all of these famous men, and includes: Woods, Adams, Tracy, Haskell, Norton and James King of William.

Isaiah Churchill Woods was born in Maine in 1825. Woods’ father died when he was 14, forcing the young Woods into the business world at an early age. He worked in the shipping business until 1847 and then went to the Pacific. He had a ship full of goods, perhaps planning to open a business in Hawaii or Tahiti, but when the news of gold reached his ears, he was off to San Francisco, arriving in November 1848. There he sold his cargo, rented his ship, and entered into the San Francisco business world. He returned east, met Daniel Haskell, a clerk for Adams & Co., who introduced him to Alvin Adams. Haskell had “persuaded” Adams into opening a branch of the successful Adams & Co.’s Express in California, and in 1849, the Company opened for business in San Francisco on a lot leased from Woods. After the fire of 1851, Adams Express occupied the Granite Block, along with Page, Bacon & Co. and others in the most prominent building in San Francisco. Adams thus claimed to be the first express agency on the Pacific Coast, and the business grew steadily. “By 1853, Adams & Co. was generally regarded as California’s leading businerss organization. It handled more money, dealt with more people, and furnished more services to industry and commerce than any other”, noted Shumate. The dreams of Alvin Adams, who founded the Company in 1840, were coming to fruition. In 1854, Haskell announced that he and Woods were the new senior management of Adams’ California operations, and Adams himself was a “special partner”. The terminology indicated to some that Adams had sold his western agency to Woods and Haskell, but remained attached in some other way contractually.

In February 1855, California banks were notified that Page, Bacon & Co. had suspended business. While the local branch told the world it would pay all its debts and depositors, a worried municipality soon flooded through the doors and a run on the bank was on. Panic ensued, as rumors spread wildly. Page Bacon suspended business completely about ten days later (Feb. 22), and Adams did the same later in the day. Runs on other banks forced more closures that day, which became known as “Black Friday.” Even mighty Wells Fargo shut down for three days, but opened for business once again.

Then the lawsuits started. Page, Bacon sued Adams for selling them low quality gold dust at high rates. Scams abounded, as many banks had relied more on reputation than assay, and these banks were caught in the downfall crossfire. Judge Norton threw out that case as baseless, since attorneys did not prove their case. Norton, did however, render other judgments against Adams in early March, as shown in this archive.

Suits flew into local and regional courts against Adams & Co, Woods and Haskell. Sheriff sales were ordered for most or all of Woods’ personal property, and that which proved to be owned by Adams & Co. Creditors also sued Adams, and a letter in this archive signed by Woods on the fateful day of closure, February 22, addressed to attorney Bowman that Adams “writes complaining very seriously of the conduct of the business, and of the fact that he has been made a general, instead of a special partner. I hold his Power of Attorney, and I cannot act for him and for myself. I herewith put his interests in your hands . . . ”

James King of William, a “clerk” at Adams & Co.’s office when it closed, later railed in his newspaper against Woods, who left the country shortly after Black Friday. Fearful he would not receive a fair trial, he did not return for years. And rightfully so. Before the closure of the Adams failure in civil and governmental courts, James King of William was assassinated, and his killer hung by the Vigilance Committee, at least the third such hanging in a half decade. Woods himself witnessed the Vigilance Committee at work, and certainly was fearful for his life.

One of the letters involves discussion of a meeting between Woods and Adams in Boston regarding California Governor Johnson’s (fourth Governor, 1856-1858) involvement in proceedings against Adams and Woods. Johnson himself had been attacked by the San Francisco press and was forced into a pistol fight where his pistol misfired. He thus knew of the problems associated with rumor mills, and might listen to Adam’s and Woods’ pleas.

This is quite possibly the most complete archive of Adams material regarding the Black Friday permanent closure of Adams & Co’s California operation. A complete list of documents is available upon request.  $13,500. Sold

218. Adams & Co. Second of Exchange, San Francisco, CA 26-Nov 1851

No.10001 Second of exchange for $200 Signed Adams & Co. $150. Sold

219. Adams & Co. Second of Exchange, Sacramento, CA 14-Sep 1852

No.321 Second of exchange, datelined Sacramento payable to Erastus Phelps Signed: Adams & Co. for $200.00 Sacramento Adams & Company exchanges are rare and this one pictures a wonderful scene of the sluice box and mining operation at the top center. Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

223. Adams & Co. Original Exchange, San Francisco, CA 30-May 1854

No.29334 Original Exchange payable to John Crowley. Signed H.D. Beuch for $160.00. Datelined San Francisco. Black print on white paper. This form has a miner at left and the large San Francisco Banking office vignette at top center. “Original” in large, red under print in center of note. Artwork by Le Count & Strong lithographed by Britton & Rey. Thin, onion skin paper, quite unusual. Fine condition. $75. Sold

237. Adam's & Co. Express Chits, CA 1854

This lot consists of three chits, a block of two with a wide left margin and a single. Both are in Extremely Fine condition with no foxing. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $300. Sold

239. San Francisco. Argenti & Co. Bank Note Proof Sheet, CA c 1849-1856

Proof sheet of Argenti & Co., California Gold Rush bankers, notes, $50, $100. $500 & $1,000. May be only example of each note. Cross claims this is the first bank to issue bank notes in California. x-Schlingoethe Collection, the largest collection of American bank notes ever assembled. Felix Argenti and his partner T. Allen opened a bank on the Palza San Francisco in 1849. Argenti had been sent by bankers in Colon (the Brown Brothers) as their agent to open a bank in the new California gold fields. Ira Cross (History of Banking in California) reported that Argenti first attempted to sell bank notes as early as 1850. With gold pouring in from all parts of the state, local bank currency was overwhelmingly rejected by merchants. Cross equated California bank notes with “eastern wild cat bank notes.” Bills were reportedly issued in denominations of $50, $100, $500, and $1000. Cross speculated that some notes were issued, but no issued specimens are known to date. He suggested that the Argenti notes were perhaps the first California bank notes issued, but did not note existence of the Miners bank minor currency of the 1848-1849 period, An unissued Argenti $500 note is pictured by Cross. Competing bankers at the time were James King of William, Burgoyne & Co., Bacon & Co., Wells & Co., and Tallant & Co. In a run on banks precipitated by a single withdrawal of $1 million in gold from the Page, Bacon & Company's bank on February 23, 1855, Californians lined up to withdraw funds in record numbers, withdrawing more than $3.5 million that day, known as “Black Friday,” causing the failure of six banks, including Adams & Co. (Adams Express) and Argenti & Co. This proof sheet of Argenti notes may be the only example of each note extant. [Bancroft, History of California, VI, pp 335]  Hittelle makes no mention of Argenti. This piece is believed to be Unique. No photograph.  $12,500. Sold



Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California Medals

240. Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California Archive

Little has been written in the historical record of this society. An archive consisting of nearly 100 pieces dating from 1875 to 1893 recently came to light that helps explain its existence and involvement with California history.

The Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California was formed in New York in September 1875. It was formed for all the right reasons that involved everything good about California. Members were to have been in California before the discovery of gold in California, which they deemed January 20, 1848 by John Sutter’s personal account. Their bylaws were later amended to include honorary members who got to California after 1848, and 1850, as well as sons of original pioneers, thus much paralleling California’s Society of California Pioneers and Native Sons of the Golden West.
The Society is perhaps best remembered today because of the ornate, colorful and highly pictorial badges that the members wore. Several survive, some offered in this catalog.

The Society appears to be the brainchild of General Horatio Gates Gibson (1827-1924) with the assistance of Francis D. Clark. Gibson was a West Point Graduate, coming into the Academy just as Ulysses Grant was graduating. Serving in the Mexican War, he got his taste of California before going to command forces in the Civil War. Gibson knew a number of the California expatriates, and apparently all were in awe of California and their experiences there. Ranging from Mexican war veterans of the Army and Navy, as well as gold hunters and politicians and businessmen, the group had plenty of different experiences to share. Gibson got together 49 members for the original meeting and the group formed the Society.

By 1876 they had agreed to make special badges for each member. They were not awards, as has been referenced in the past by other authors, rather they were fancy name badges. On May 3, 1876, the Society sent out a message to its members. A committee of Richard Meade, William Walton, James Sperry, Thomas Jones and Joseph Spinney were proffered ten different designs for the medals from which to choose. The design of Dodd & Hodges Jewelers of New York City was chosen, and that firm also manufactured the medals from their die. Two different badges were offered the members: a 22 carat gold badge for $40 or a sterling silver” heavily plated with gold” at $8 each. All of the badges were made to look the same because some members might not be able to afford the gold piece, and the committee did not want any undue financial hardship placed on some members. It was not a requirement to own a badge. Only the member and the jeweler knew which were gold and which was sterling with gold plate. The only surviving record located to date shows that of the 49 original members, 20 had sterling badges. No count was given for gold badges, though it might be surmised that Gibson had a gold badge, as instigator of the group.

The group’s members were among the elite of California gold rush and military history.  They included: John Sutter, Joseph Hooker, John Fremont, E. Kemble, W. T. Sherman and some unlikely characters such as Cornelius Vanderbilt (one of the owners of the Pacific Mail line). Steven L. Merchant, who was an employee of the U.S. Branch Mint in San Francisco, assembled this archive. At one point he was a Chairman of the Association as well as a Trustee, and most of the correspondence in this archive is addressed to him. The group originally met weekly in New York and corresponded regularly with the Society of California Pioneers and other California pioneer societies, including the New England Society of Pioneers, Maryland Society of Pioneers, Society of California pioneers of Boston, etc. Their annual meetings were a celebratory event of all things California. One occasion involved all of the Army and Navy men in California 1846-1848. At one of the first meetings in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the song “Days of 49” was written expressly for this group.

John Sutter was the most revered member of the Society, and attended most of the meetings up to his death. Along the way, Gibson stepped aside to allow the election of some of the great personalities to take an honorary presidency role. Sutter was the first, followed by Fremont.

This archive contains nearly 100 pieces, including, but not limited to membership lists, meeting announcements, letters, membership applications, death announcements, Anniversary dinner menus and invitations. Almost all of the collection is official correspondence from the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California written to Stephen Merchant on beautifully detailed letterhead; many pieces also have embossed seals. The Collection includes some handwritten notes, many of which are signed by Francis D. Clark, Secretary and Treasurer. Throughout the archive are membership lists that include deceased members and elected officers. The archive also includes a songbook or two from the association with the lyrics included. In one meeting agenda there is an original newspaper clipping about that meeting. A reunion booklet contains speeches and personal stories from John S. Ellis, Francis D., Clark, Hon. Mark D. Wilbur, General H. G. Gibson, General John C. Fremont, Geo. C. Corham, Joseph S. Spinney, Hon. Demas Strong, William H. Thomes, Otto Sutro, Geo. G. Spurr and others.  This archive contains many first-hand accounts from the original Pioneers. There are stories not written in books, telling about the early days of California by the men that lived it. This is an invaluable historical record. Most pieces are in excellent condition. $5,000. Sold

242. Lieutenant Edward F. Beale's Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days Silver Medal, San Francisco, CA c 1875

Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3298, John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

This silver medal, presented to “Lieut. Edward F. Beale, U.S. Navy”,  is in about uncirculated condition and has a pleasing, dramatic patina. It measures 38.7 mm and the ensemble weights 445.2 gns.  It has a “California” hanger and date plate engraved 1846, reflecting his arrival in California.

This medal was presented to Beale by the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California, and is dated the year Beale arrived in California. General Edward F. Beal, an ex-officer of the Navy and old Californian, was well respected by this exclusive organization. The New York Times reported on a meeting of the group in January of 1875 and described in detail the speech Beale made when he addressed the assembly to honor William C. Ralston. Please see the description for the archive from this organization and the Kemble Medal for more information about the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California.

Beale was born in the District of Columbia. His father, George, was a paymaster in the Navy who earned a Congressional Medal for Valor in the War of 1812. His mother, Emily, was the daughter of Commodore Thomas Truxtun.

Beale studied at Georgetown College and graduated from the naval school in Philadelphia in 1842. He then sailed for California in October 1845 but twenty days later Commodore Robert F. Stockton sent Beale back to Washington with important dispatches. He returned to Washington in March 1846 and was promoted to the grade of Master and sailed for Panama, over taking the Congress at Callao, Peru, in May 1846.

Hostilities with Mexico had already begun when Beale reached Monterey, CA and Stockton dispatched him to serve with the land forces. He fought in the disastrous Battle of San Pasqual on December 6, 1846 and after the Mexican Army surrounded the small American force and threatened to destroy it, Beale and two other men (his Delaware Indian servant and Kit Carson) crept through the Mexican lines and made their way to San Diego for reinforcements. Their actions saved many soldiers (under Kearney).

Two months later Beale was sent back to Washington where he appeared as a defense witness for John C. Frémont at the “Pathfinder's” court martial. Over the next two years, Beale made six more journeys across the continent. On the second of these he crossed Mexico in disguise to bring the federal government proof of California's gold.

After being commissioned a lieutenant in 1850, Beale resigned from the Navy and returned to California as a manager for W. H. Aspinwall and Commodore Stockton, who had acquired large properties in America's gold rush territory. On March 3, 1853, President Millard Fillmore appointed Beale Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada and shortly thereafter Congress appropriated $250,000 to improve conditions for the Native Americans in Beale's district. With a party of thirteen, Beale assessed southern Colorado and southern Utah for the feasibility of routes for the transcontinental railroad. Beale retained his position as superintendent until 1856 when California Governor John Bigler also appointed him Brigadier General in the State Militia to give him additional authority to negotiate peace treaties between the Native Americans and the U.S. Army.

In 1862 Beale, as United States Surveyor General of California, dispatched a crew of Chinese workers to widen an 1858 cut, which was then appropriately named Beale's Cut It is still in existence today but is no longer used as a roadway. Beale was involved with the California-Nevada boundary survey of 1862. (see F. Uzes Chaining the Land, A History of Surveying in California, 1977)

Beale retired after the Civil War to Tejon Ranch but died at his other residence in Washington, D.C. In 1940 Camp Beale was established near Marysville, California and two years later the U.S. government bought the property for a training post and POW camp. According to Wikipedia, “dredge materials from the areas abandoned gold mines were used to build streets at the camp.” In 1948 “Camp Beale” became Beale Air Force Base, which today is headquarters for the U2 spy operations and intelligence centers.

 [Ref: Stack's John J. Ford Catalog, Wikipedia] From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $10,750. Sold

243. California Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days Medal, San Francisco, CA c 1875

Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3299 John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

Silver, gilt with blue ribbon, light gold. Engraved “New York Dec. 26.1849 Steamer Gold Hunter San Francisco Apr. 6.1950.”

This medal was presented by the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California in the mid-1870’s to the owner of the steamer Gold Hunter, who we believe was probably Cornelius Vanderbilt. This organization consists of a group of pioneers and military men who were residents of California prior to 1848. The medals themselves reflect their activities. A vignette of part of the California state seal is in the upper right quadrant, the Mexico seal in the upper left, and pioneer scene and the California bear is at the bottom.

The side-wheel steamer Gold Hunter, appropriately named because it was ordered to be made just after the announcement of the California gold discovery, was first launched September 5, 1849 and set off for California December 1, 1849. Immediately after leaving New York, it experienced engine trouble, had to limp back to port, and finally left for the golden state on December 26, 1849. It arrived in San Francisco April 6, 1850 and, built for inland travel, headed up the Sacramento Delta, landing there in May 1850. It remained working the Delta for a few months, when it collided with the McKim near Benicia, and both ships suffered casualties, rendering it one of the first inland ship disasters of the gold rush. After that accident, the Gold Hunter headed up the north coast to Portland, where it was purchased by local businessmen who were disappointed in its fuel efficiency. The Gold Hunter was subsequently sent to Central America and purchased surreptitiously by San Francisco businessmen. In Central America, it was the first ship sent there to take an exploring party for the purpose of finding a rail route across Panama. It returned to New York in 1851, then went back to California, where it was sold to the Coast and Geodedic Survey and renamed the “Active” or “Active Pass”. At some point its owner was reported as Cornelius Vanderbilt. [Refs: Bancroft, History of California. Barnard; The Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 1852. Gatson, The Centennial History of Oregon, 1913. Sunset Pacific Monthly magazine, 1912, p527-529. others]

This medal has one important attribute not mentioned in any prior catalog descriptions. The words “New York” were not part of the original engraving, and were added later in modern times. The engraving is not in the style of nineteenth century engravers, and appears made with a modern electronic engraving device. There is a chance that this medal would have been awarded to the ship’s Captain, based on other known specimens. However, it may also have been presented to the original owner. Unfortunately, the historical record is not clear as to who these men were. There is a distinct lack of information in all of the published information that we found regarding the name of the original Captain. In example, the Gold Hunter is not listed as a departing ship in the New York Herald, 1849. This leads to the possible conclusion that the Pioneer group may not have known who to present the medal to in the 1870’s, and thus left off the proper name at the top of the medal where it was intended to be engraved.

Medal is in Extremely Fine condition. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $10,750. Sold

244. Bank of California Duplicate Exchange, San Francisco, CA 20-Feb 1875

No. 38305 Duplicate Exchange for $5400 payable to J.H. Jenkins and signed by the Bank of California cashier (illegible). Red ink on buff paper. There is a .02 cent federal adhesive revenue stamp at left tied by punch cancel. Very Good condition. $125. Sold

247. Assay Office of G. W. Bell, 148 California Street, San Francisco, CA 13-Apr 1859

No. 28 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposit by D.O. Mills, with the following assay results:

Weight Before Melting 126.76 oz, After Melting 126.49 oz, Fineness .887, Value $2,277.41.

Printers: Town & Beacon.  10 5/8 x 5 5/8,“ crème colored paper with black printing, with typical foxing and folds.  The names of Forrest Hill merchants Hardy & Kennedy are written in red ink at lower left. $3,500. Sold

248. Assay Office of G. W. Bell, 148 California Street, San Francisco, CA 17-Mar 1860

No. 2581 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited with the following assay results:

Weight Before Melting 162.42 oz, After Melting 162.28 oz, Fineness .882,  Net Value of Gold $2,948.01. Printers: Town & Beacon.  10 5/8 x 5 5/8,“ crème colored or off white paper with pale orange printing, with some foxing, folds, and stains.  $450. Sold

250. G. W. Bell Assay Office, No. 512 California Street, San Francisco, CA 7-Aug 1863

No.1102 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by Savage Mining Co., Bar No.2 with assay result as follows: Weight before melting 1111.5 oz, After melting 1108.60 oz, Fineness .951, Value $1,707.67.   Light foxing and folds.  $450. Sold

260. San Francisco. California Trust Company Check with Alpheus Bull Autograph, San Francisco, CA 14-Aug 1873

No.5 Check payable to Alpheus Bull for $100.00 in silver. Reverse signed by Alpheus Bull. Alpheus Bull was a wealthy San Francisco merchant who became a mine financier. He was a director of many famous Comstock mining companies, including the Gould & Curry. This piece has been professionally graded and encapsulated by Pass-Co, grading Extremely Fine. $150. Sold

266. Burgoyne & Co. Bearer Check, San Francisco, CA 27-Aug 1850

Check payable to the Bearer for $150, and signed by William H. Davis, by Charles W. Lawton, Atty. Stamped Paid in red. Printed by Harold Print. Printed with black ink on blue paper. Bearer checks acted as scrip or circulating currency. Extremely Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $400. Sold

278. Justinian Caire Company (Assayer and Assay Supplies) San Francisco, CA c 1885-1898


1885 Billhead to the Bullion Exchange Bank in Carson City for some assay weights and an 1898 receipt to a lab in Santa Clara. While this lot contains only two pieces it duplicates the two most artistic billheads. Two pieces. $175. Sold

282. F. Davis Business Card, San Francisco, CA 1890

See above description. $300. Sold

287. Drexel, Sather & Church Bankers Second of Exchange, San Francisco, CA 3-Jul 1856

No.46232 Second of exchange signed by Drexel, Sather & Church. Pay to order of C.W. Ward $580.82. Vignette of the company's San Francisco operation at top center and an allegorical Goddess Mercury at upper left. This piece is Extremely Fine except for a brown stain to the upper right quarter. Printed by Robinson and Seibert, New York. Extremely rare, probably R8 (1 to 3 known). $250. Sold

290. Duncan, Sherman & Co. and Alsop & Co., Assay Office and Gold and Silver Refinery, San Francisco, CA 1-Mar 1860.

No. 8 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by W. F. & Co. – Palmer. Crème colored paper that measures 12 7/8 x 4 1/8” with black print including the words “Description of Bullion” and below that “Grains California.”  Weight before Melting 66.40 oz, After Melting 66.34 oz, Fineness .906, and a Net Value of $1,237.30. There is a hand written notation “Cont Iridium.”  The most unique aspect of this exceedingly rare assay receipt is a small 1” embossed shield located at the upper right hand corner with the five lines embossed as follows: “Duncan / Sherman & Co / Alsop & Co / E. Justh / Assayer”.  Ultra rare and very possibly the only example having the embossed company shield present. R8+.  $4,500.  Sold

293. California Steam Navigation Company, San Francisco, CA 7-Mar 1860


To Steamboat ECLIPSE. Signed by Mitchell for $11.25. The Eclipse was one of the California Steam Navigation Company's steamers that worked the San Francisco to Sacramento, Delta route. These gold rush era steamboat receipts have become very collectible over the past two decades. Printed by Towne & Bacon, San Francisco Very Fine. $150. Sold Duplicate piece still available. See image under catalog addendum (New, online-only items link).

306. Hentsch & Berton’s Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 14-Sep 1865

No 8839 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by J. Sime & Co. Printer not identified.  Crème colored paper with red print measuring 10 ¼ x 6 ¼.” This bullion/assay receipt is an R8 and may possibly be Unique.  It represents a bullion bar submitted by the banking firm of Sime & Co. of San Francisco, and documents receipt of a bar weighing 53.38 oz before melting and 53.34 oz after melting, with a fineness of .884, and gold that was valued at $952.67 before assaying fees and other charges for transportation and handling were deducted.  There is a normal amount of foxing and the typical folds that down sized the receipt so it would fit into a pocket of the depositor for convenience. There are also some small spots or stains along the left edge and top.  From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  R8 and possibly Unique$4,500.      Sold

311. James King of William Autographed Document, San Francisco, CA 1851

No.365 $100 Bond for the City of San Francisco issued in May 1851 to Thomas Holt and signed by San Francisco notables John Geary, Banker D.J. Tallant, and James King of William. The latter is an exceptionally rare autograph, in particularly Fine condition, without cancellation marks through the signature.  $7,500. Sold

316. San Francisco. Vigilance Committee Medal 1856

  Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3283, John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

Membership No. 5949 Silver Medal. The obverse has the great seal of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance comprising the 'All Seeing Eye' in the center, a tablet below to receive the member's number, “COMMITTEE OF VIGILANCE” immediately above and “ORGANIZED 9TH JUNE 1851. REORGANIZED 14TH MAY 1856” around the top. The reverse has Justice (not blindfolded, as Woodward noted in 1879) standing in the center, “San Francisco CALIFORNIA” below, and “BE JUST AND FEAR NOT. FIAT JUSTITIA RUAT COELUM.” around the top. The maker's mark V & G. (A. Vachon and T. Gihon) appear at the lower left.  This medal is medium gray in color and has some iridescent toning. This is a very handsome piece, considered one of the best in the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  It is extremely rare and the Stack's Cataloguer has records of only nine numbered 1856 San Francisco Vigilance Committee medals in existence. According to Stack's, all 1856 San Francisco Vigilance Committee medals are from a single die pair and the piece that appeared in an October 1998 west coast sale was mounted with an incorrect San Francisco Committee of Vigilance seal. [Ref: Stack's Catalog, John J. Ford, Jr. Collection] From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $37,500. Sold

317. Vigilance Committee Medal 1856


  Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3285 John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

Membership No. 2580 Silver Medal. Please see the above description. This medal is in Very Fine to Extremely Fine condition. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $30,000. Sold

318. Joseph Brothers, NGC  AU  RB 55 - $4,900. – Die crack 9 to 12 on obverse Sold

321. San Francisco. Justh & Hunter Assay Office, 30-Jul 1858

No. 6713 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by Wells Fargo & Co. - Hardy & Kennedy. Measures 9 5/8 x 4,” on buff/crème colored paper with red print, printer unknown.  This is a very rare assay receipt in that it is the only one known without “Hunter” crossed out and is therefore at least an R8 but could very well be Unique.  It is beautifully signed “Justh & Hunter” at the bottom right.  The gold weighed 72.46 oz before melting, 70.10 oz after melting, and was .887 fine. The value before assayer fees and other charges totaled $1,285.34, and $1,276.80 after expenses.  Torn along the bottom edge as if separated from a sheet or page containing several receipts. Typical folds and aged coloration. R8+.  $4,500. Sold

323. Justh, (Hunter Blacked Out) Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 26-Oct 1858

No. 7867 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by W.F. & Co.- C.J. H. Palmer.  Weight before Melting: 66.57 oz. After melting: 66.22 oz. Fineness: .903.  Value after all fees and charges: $1,226.35.  This receipt has an original E. Justh signature at the bottom right - which adds greatly to its collectability. R6  $4,000. Sold

326. E. Justh, Assay Office and Gold and Silver Refinery, 104 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 28-Sep 1859 

No. 1721 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by W.F. & Co. – C.J. H. Palmer.  Weight before melting: 65.44 oz. After melting: 65.25 oz. Fineness: .900. Adjusted value after listed expenses: $1,206.16. There is a hand written comment at lower left “Cont’d Iridium.”  Signed: E. Justh by S. M. Van Wyck at lower right.  Normal folds and foxing typical for assay receipts dating from the gold rush.  $3,500. Sold

332. Justh, Assay Office & Gold & Silver Refinery, San Francisco, CA 26-Sep 1859

No. 1699 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. No photograph. $3,500. Sold

334. Kellogg & Richter’s Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 16-Mar 1854

No. 879 Memoranda of Gold Bullion deposited with Kellogg & Richter by Almy & Anthony. Printed on thin light blue paper with black ink measuring 8 x 6” and printed by La Count & Strong. Lithographer is Britton & Rey.  The preprinted description of the bullion deposited is “Gold Dust.”  Its weight before melting was given in pennyweights as 4000 dwt, Loss in Melting 121 dwt, Nett 3879 dwt. Fineness .930, Net Proceeds $3,654.97 less 2% commission and costs.  There is some minor foxing and folds.  Not Unique but exceptionally rare R8 (2-3 known).  $7,500. Sold

339. Kellogg & Humbert’s Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 23-Oct 1858  

No.6433 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by J.H. Coghill & Co. This receipt and the next five offered are of uniform size and design, (measuring 10 ½ x 5” each was printed with black ink on buff colored paper. These receipts are the plain variety without a vignette.  Printer not identified.  Weight before melting 132.60oz, after melting 131.88oz, Fineness .877, Net value after all fees and other costs $2,381.69.  Fine to Very Fine condition - typical folds and light foxing, R5$750. Sold

345. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 24-May 1859

No. 2680 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. $375. Sold

346. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 1-Jun 1859

No. 2946 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. No photograph. $375. Sold

348. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 25-Aug 1859

No. 5346 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. $375. Sold

349. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 30-Aug 1859

No. 5408 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. $375. Sold

350. Kellogg & Humbert’s Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 2-Sep 1859  

No.5563 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by D.O. Mills & Co.  Weight before melting 120.60oz, after melting 117.45oz, Fineness .885, Net value $2,146.41.  Exhibits the typical foxing and folds but very nice otherwise.  Very Fine condition.  R5. $375.   Sold

351. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 27-Sep 1859

No. 6151 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. $375. Sold

352. Kellogg & Humbert's Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 4-Oct 1859

No. 6367 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited and assay report. $375. Sold

353. Kellogg & Humbert’s Assay Office, San Francisco, CA 18-Oct 1859  

No.6710 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by D.O. Mills & Co.  Weight before melting 217.52oz, after melting 211.72oz, Fineness .889, Net value $3,862.39.  Condition Very Fine.  R5. $375. Sold

354. Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot Face Plate, San Francisco, CA 1857

Encased 4.5” x 2.5” face plate of Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot No. 997. The orginal ingot was 147.56 ounces, 884 fine, $2,696.49. This historic ingot is one of a number recovered from the wreck site of the S.S. Central America and subsequently cut in two with one part being melted down to create commemorative gold coins. In each case the face of each ingot was removed and retained. These face plates are approximately 3/16” thick and each was placed in a clear plastic protective holder. In this manner an otherwise exceptionally expensive ingot becomes affordable. $33,500. Sold

358. Kellogg, Hewston & Co., 108 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 7-Jun 1860

No. 2081 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by James Wilson.  This receipts measure 10 ½ x 5” and has a vignette of the assay office building at 108 Montgomery pictured at the left, with the partners names listed above: J.G. Kellogg, John Hewston Jr., and J.H. Stearns.  Lithogaph by Britton & Co. S.F.  The weight of the deposit was 690.60 oz before melting and 685.90 after melting.  The fineness was very high at .949.  The value of gold before deductions for fees and costs is listed as $13,459.63.  Wilson was an active Californian who became well known for the discovery of a large gold nugget weighing over 25 lbs at Spanish Dry Diggins on the Middle Fork of the American River in 1865. [Ref: Bancroft VII, page 654]. Very Fine condition, $375. Sold

359. Kellogg, Hewston & Co., 108 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 19-Jan 1861

No. 7078 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by J.H. Coghill & Co. Same style or design as above receipt with vignette.  Weight before melting 65.10 oz, After melting 63.30, Fineness .888,  Net value $1,156.69.  Very Fine.  $375. Sold

362. Kellogg, Hewston & Co., for Refining, 416 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 31-Jan 1866

No. 8913 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by London & S. F. Bank.  Same receipt design as above but with added printing at the bottom of the first column at left “Internal Revenue Tax.” It was during this period a tax was required to be paid on each deposit. The other Kellogg & Hewston receipts in this catalog predate the bullion tax.  Weight before melting 299.22 oz, After melting 298.46 oz, Fineness .915, Net value after tax and fees $5581.42.  Fine condition with some discoloration along center folds.  $375. Sold

369. London & San Francisco Bank Limited Check, San Francisco, CA 29-Jul 1898

Signed by Puffer, Dooly & Co. with two adhesive .01 cent U.S. Postage stamps overprinted “I.R.” (Internal Revenue) Extremely Fine. No photograph. $30. Sold

374. San Francisco. California Assay Office, No. 512 California Street, San Francisco, CA 21-Nov 1871

No.1042 Memorandum of Assay “of Sample of Ore Marked #2” for H. H. Lawrence Esq. This receipt measures 7 ¾ x 9 ¾” and is printed on letter sheet buff colored paper in a medium blue ink.  Metals Assayed “Placer Gold.” at “$131.99 Silver, 1 ton, 2000 lbs.” Signed J.A. Mars, Assayer.  The California Assay Office was originally managed by H.H. Lawrence, with J.A. Mars as the assayer. Mars bought out Lawrence in mid 1871 and ran the assay office for a while thereafter.  Assay reports or bullion receipts from this firm are extremely rare, with a rarity of R8 (1 to 3 pieces known).  Very Fine.  $450. Sold

378. Moffat & Co., San Francisco, CA 30-Apr 1850

Moffat & Co., original handwritten letter from and signed by John L. Moffat to New York bankers Beebee & Ludlow. Moffat thanks them for supporting his private gold coin at full value (par) and his gold at $18 an ounce, while the standard trade amount was $16/oz. He also stated that he would be publishing Beebee & Ludlow's letter in his advertisements. The letter is on classic blue paper, folded, and sent by Gregory's New York and California Express, and has their large oval stamped cancellation on the front. This is one of the most important documents ever discovered concerning private California gold coinage. It is the only Moffat letter known to the author. No photograph.  $15,000. Sold

380. Moffatt & Co., San Francisco, CA 21-Mar 1851

No.176 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by Teschmacher & Co.  This receipt measures 7 ¾ x 5” and is printed on light blue paper with black ink.  There is no printers hallmark or information provided.

Gold Dust Weight before melting 1502 dwt, Loss in melting 126 dwt, Nett 1376 dwt, Fineness .884, Commission 2 ¾%, Nett Proceeds $1,222,66.  Almost no foxing but there is one fold lengthwise across the receipt and a few small errant ink spots.  This receipt is dated very early during the gold rush and is very rare with less than a handful known.  R8 (2 to 3 known).  $15,000. Sold

381. Moffatt & Co., San Francisco, CA 24-Mar 1851


No.194 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by Teschmacher & Co.  This receipt measures 7 ¾ x 5” and is printed on light blue paper with black ink.  Gold Dust Weight before melting 3823 dwt, Loss in melting 295 dwt, Nett 3628 dwt, Fineness .880, Commission 2.3/4 % Net Proceeds $3,209.14.  R8 (2 to 3 known).  $15,000. Sold

383. Assay Office of S. Molitor & Co. 110 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 1-May 1860

No.911 Bullion deposit with assay results signed S. Molitor & Co.  Weight before melting 78.45 oz, after melting 78.39 oz, .883 fine, value of gold before deductions for fees etc. $1,430.85. Condition Very Fine. R6. $450. Sold

402. San Francisco. North American Steamship Co. Hand Bill, Boston, MA  1868

Hand bill advertising steamer service to San Francisco, California via Aspenwall and Panama, as a direct “Opposition to Monopoly”. This company attempted to operate as competition to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. and its related companies. Extremely Fine. $600. Sold

411. San Francisco. Ocean Shore Railway Company $50 Scrip, c 1907

Unissued proof. R-7 The ill fated rail line was originally intended to run along the Pacific coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Initial construction began in 1905 but the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 delayed its completion. Two tunnels were built at Devil’s Slide and Davenport, as well as bridges and trestles in various places along the route, but the line was never completed. At the San Francisco end, the tracks were finished south to Tunitas Creek below Half Moon Bay, and at the Santa Cruz end the tracks were completed as far north as Swanton, just beyond Davenport. In San Francisco the trains were electric but the rest was operated with steam locomotives, and later, with self propelled railcars. Although the line, such as it was, was used for about seven years, it never recovered from the damages of 1906, and was basically abandoned in 1921. A segment of the railroad in the southeast section of San Francisco was taken over and operated by the Western Pacific Railroad, which was in use until the mid 1980's, the time that the last part of the Ocean Shore was in operation. Today there is an elementary/middle school located where the rail line ran and it is called Ocean Shore school. Green safety print and under print, black lettering.  Printer – Britton & Rey. 3 ½” x 7 ¾.”  Small brown stain in lower left corner, otherwise Excellent. $1,200. Sold

420. Page, Bacon & Co., Bankers Check, San Francisco, CA 25-Jul 1853

Pay to McAllister $50,000. Signed by Theodore Payne & Co. Vignette of Indian at left, California state seal at right. Printed by Wheeler, Beale & Co. New York. Cancelled at center. “Good Page Bacon & Co.” Probably R5. Fine to Very Fine. $150. Sold

422. Page, Bacon & Co., Bankers First of Exchange, St. Louis, MO 15-Feb 1855

No.16564 First of exchange signed by Page, Bacon & Co. Pay to the order of A. Loffin for $500.00. This form is important because it says exchange and banking houses for Page & Bacon in St. Louis and Page, Bacon & Co. in Sacramento City in California. This piece is datelined Sacramento City. Rarity thought to be R7.  Very Good. $550. Sold

425. Palmer, Cook & Co., Bankers Exchange, San Francisco, CA 20-Nov 1852

No.1021 Payable to F.P. Tracey for $246, Signed by Sheriff John C. Hays and Deputy Johnson. Blue ink on oyster paper. No vignette but at left is a safety pattern that involves the interwoven initials “FCCECK”. Hays is the namesake of San Francisco's Hays Street. Hays was Sheriff for two terms, 1850-1851. Bancroft did not report any stories of his escapades. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Oval blue “PAID” at center. Probably R5. $350. Sold

429. San Francisco. Peterson & Trinius’ Assay Office, 124 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 4-Oct 1856

No.758  Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited with assay results. This receipt measures 10 ½ x 4 ½” and was printed by Town Talk Printers on buff colored paper with red ink. The weight before melting was 10 oz, after melting 9.52 oz, fineness .859, net value $165.04.  The receipt has some light foxing and the typical “pocket” folds chacteristic of having been folded and then carried in the pocket or wallet of the depositor as he left the assay office.  Extremely rare, probably an R8$4,500. Sold

436. Thomas Price’s Assay Office  (Red) San Francisco, CA 23-Oct 1879

No. 9749-50 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by the Bank of California. This receipt is for a gold ingot weighing 3918.25 ounces. Printed with red ink on white paper by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. The fineness appears to be in code. Very Fine. $450. Sold

451. Assay Office of Geo. E. Rogers, San Francisco, CA 5-Aug 1869

No. 6387 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by Parrott & Co. (Bankers, San Francisco) Receipt does not reflect the bullion tax because it had been repealed by this time. Very Fine. $450. Sold

459. San Francisco Assaying & Refining Works, San Francisco, CA 2-Apr 1869

No.9801 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by Kruse & Euler, and C.C. Bush & Co. Shasta. Weight before melting: 76.15 oz. Weight after melting: 72.48. Fineness: .886. Very Fine. $475. Sold

467. 1851 $50 Humbert Reeded Edge 887-Thous. (K.7) VF35

U.S. Assay Office. The $50 gold coins produced by the USAO are among the most historic and highly collectible of all California Gold Rush items. This piece is a fine example. Details with tooling at edges. This is listed in Don Kagin’s book as an R7. It is a desirable variety, and rarely gets offered publicly. The tooling on this piece is limited to about 30% of the periphery on the front, and a bit less on the back, and it doesn’t affect the design. $13,500. Sold. We have another piece in stock in slightly better condition for $18,000

472. United States Branch Mint, San Francisco, CA c 1850

Original photographic print matted to thick stock paper and apparently removed from a publication. There is a notation in pencil on the reverse that reads “1869”. The 4 x 6” photograph is a high quality print of the San Francisco Branch Mint, known today as the Granite Lady. Minor foxing on the matte. Otherwise, the condition is Very Fine. $650. Sold

474. United States Branch Mint, San Francisco, CA c 1854-1855

This is one of the rare California illustrated letter sheets published during the Gold Rush era. It contains seven different scenes of operations at the Mint. They are the same scenes as published in Hutching California Magazine. $5,000. Sold

475. U. S. Branch Mint San Francisco, CA 5-Oct 1854 


No. 3853 “Mint Receipt Received from Adams & Co. a Deposit of Gold Bullion for Coinage.” Printer Evans, South Fourth St. Philadelphia, and measures 8 x 4 ¼,“ printed on crème or buff colored paper in red ink.  The weight of the gold deposited was 14.50 oz.  The receipt was signed by John C. Mitchell for the Treasure. There is a wonderful little vignette of an American Bald Eagle standing on a shield adorned with flag-like starts and strips and leaning against a cornucopia with sailing ships in the distant background.  The receipt does not have any pre-printed blank lines for the assayer to fill out and complete that would normally provide a record of the deposit it is weight both before and after melting, as well as the weight of clippings, fineness, and the dollar amount of assaying fees etc. The absence on these early receipts of any provision for this information tends to indicate the Mint must have been using some other internal form or ledger for such important records keeping. 

The opening of The San Francisco Branch Mint on April 3, 1854 was a much needed event in gold rush California.  Between 1849 and 1854 the region was ripe with gold dust that filled the pokes and pockets of prosperous miners and merchants alike.  At times gold literally filled the vaults and safes of San Francisco’s banks and assay offices to capacity.  Ironically during this period the abundance of gold also created a critical shortage of circulating United States coinage.  With so few coins available, gold dust was regularly used as a medium of exchange in everyday commerce.  Several pioneer California assayers and coiners attempted to fill the void by issuing their own gold coins. 

However, once the San Francisco Branch Mint was fully operational the need for private coinage and the use of gold dust to facilitate trade lessened and eventually ended altogether.  In 1854, during the Branch Mint’s first year of operation, only about $4,000,000 in coins were struck there.  This was a far cry from what was desperately needed to satisfy the local economy.  Start-up problems and a lack of parting acids used in the refining processes had greatly inhibited production.  Today 1854 San Francisco Branch Mint gold Half and Quarter Eagles, in better grades, are some of the most valuable and sought after coins.  This original gold bullion receipt from October 1854 is one of only two known to us to be held in private hands.  They are the earliest gold bullion receipts from the San Francisco Branch Mint.  The condition of this extraordinary “Mint Receipt” is Extra Fine. R8.  $10,000.   Sold

476. U. S. Branch Mint San Francisco, CA 5-Oct 1854  

No. 3854 Mint Receipt: Received from Adams & Co. a Deposit of Gold Bullion for Coinage. Physical description and condition is the same as the preceding receipt.  The weight of the gold deposited was 11.15 oz.  Signed by John C. Mitchell for the Treasure.  Extra Fine, High R8.  $10,000. Sold

478. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Branch Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 1-Oct 1855

No. 8909 Receipt for gold bullion deposited by James Wilson (we do not know if this is the same James Wilson who became famous for the discovery of a huge gold nugget in 1865).This receipt is also signed by Cahill. Very Fine. $1,500. Sold

479. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Branch Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 16-Oct 1855

No. 9687 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited & assay report. Very Fine$1,500. Sold

483. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Branch Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 27-Jan 1871

No. 4745 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by Daneri & Co. for C. Agostini. This is probably an Amador or El Dorado County source for the gold. Very Fine. $350. Sold

484. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 29-Nov 1878

No. 5495 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited by Wells Fargo & Co. on the account of Andrews and Hallenbeck, signed for the Superintendent by Ed S. Gavin.  This deposit receipt and assay results was for 14.09 oz of “amalgam cake” before melting and 13.93 oz after melting, Fineness .856, with a “Net Value” of  $246.44.  Interestingly also printed on the form is the statement “This Memorandum is the for the information of the Depositor, and is of no other value.”  The receipt measures 11 x 4 ¼” and is printed in red ink on crème or buff colored paper with the printer not identified.  Typical “pocket” folds and very light foxing – otherwise in Very Fine condition.  $350. Sold

485. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 7-Jul 1881


No. 80 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by First National Gold Bank forwarded by the Citizens Bank in Nevada City, California for the account of Lewis Wheeler and Company.  Weight before melting 143.81 oz, after melting 140.37 oz, Fineness .945.  Net value $2,740.56 less costs.  Signed by Ed. S. Gavin for the Superintendent.  This is U. S. Mint Service – Form No. 42A.  It measures 11 ½ x 5 7/8” and is printed in red ink on light crème or buff colored paper.  The format and or style of this receipt is much more complex than earlier dated San Francisco Branch Mint bullion deposit receipt.  For the first time the columns used for recording the assay results are further divide by multiple horizontal lines – sufficient for eight or ten individual entries, and at the lower left there are preprinted lines for payment in “Gold Coin $,” “Gold Bars,” or “Silver Coin,” and below that along the very bottom left hand edge is printed “[Ed. 7-22-’80-10,000.]  Stereo’s.”  This larger size and differently formatted receipt has the usual “pocket” folds and minor foxing and soiling – otherwise it is in Very Fine condition.  $350.   Sold

486. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 23-Feb 1904


No. 4941 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited by First National Bank of S.F. on the account of The Yellow Aster Mine.  Described as “Bar, California”, with a weight before melting 497.50 oz, after melting 497.43, Fineness .793, Net value $8084.84.  Printed on 11 ½ x 6” buff colored paper in red ink.  U.S. Mint Service – Form No. 42 B.  Signed by Donnelly for the Superintendent. 

The Yellow Aster Mine is located in Kern County, California between Mojave and San Bernardino in southern California. It was discovered in 1895 by Charles Burcham, John Singleton, and Fred Moores. The company incorporated in 1897 and became a very profitable, large scale gold mining company that was tightly held and managed by Rose Burcham, the well known woman financier and desert doctor.  The mine has produced more than one million ounces, classifying it as a world class gold deposit and is still in productions today. Very Fine. $200. Sold

487. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 4-Mar 1909

No. 5187 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited (California Grains) by Mercantile Trust of San Francisco.  Weight before melting 9.55 oz, after melting 9.34 oz, Fineness .845, Net value $162.46.  U.S. Mint Service - Form No. 42 A. printed on 11 ½ x 6” crème colored paper in red ink.   Very Fine. $175. Sold

489. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 7-Oct 1914

No. 2739 Memorandum of Gold Bullion deposited “Amal Cakes California.” by Wells, Fargo & Co’s Express.  Weight before melting 68.24 oz, after melting 66.51 oz, Fineness .849 1.4, Net value $1,156.79..  U.S. Mint Service - Form No. 42 A.  9 ½ x 6 “ on buff colored paper with red ink.  Very Fine. $125. Sold

The following ten lots are Memorandums of Gold/Silver Bullion deposited at the United States Mint at San Francisco.  U.S. Mint Service – Form 42. dated Nov 26, 1915.  Printed on 9 ½ x 6” crème or buff colored paper in black ink.       

490. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 11-Jul 1918

No. 520 Memorandum of Gold/Silver Bullion deposited “Amal Cake California.” by Ferguson Mc Ardle. Weight before melting 71.67 oz, after melting 70.02 oz, Fineness .851 ½, Net value $1,238.59.  Very Fine.  $125. Sold

492. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 18-Sep 1918

No. 2218 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited (Amal Cakes - CAL) by Ferguson McArdle for Placer gold. Very Fine. $45. Sold

498. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 29-Sep 1920

No. 1811 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited (Amal Cakes - CAL) by American Railway Express for Placer gold. Very Fine. $45. Sold

499. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 3-Jun 1919

No. 7796 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited (Amal Cakes - CAL) by American Railway Express for Placer gold. Very Fine. $45. Sold

500. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at San Francisco, CA 22-Nov 1937

No. E. P. 9738 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited - BAR, by Bill Donovan, who was Mine Manager of a number of mines on the Comstock during the Depression. Very Fine. $45. Sold

511. San Francisco Directory, San Francisco, CA 1872

This large directory is in its original state with original boards and binding, and has 916 pages of text, 112 pages of ads in the front and 59 pages of ads in back. This directory was issued at a critical time in western mining history because of the bonanzas found on the Comstock, the rush to White Pine County, Nevada and the general development of mining interests in California overall. The front of the directory has an alphabetical listing of residents and the back has a typical business directory listed alphabetically by business type, which includes assayers. Extremely Fine for a directory. No photograph. $950. Sold

514. Selby Smelting & Lead Co. with Wells, Fargo & Co’s Express Receipt, San Francisco, CA 29-Nov 1880

No. 4881 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited. $250. Sold

522. Selby Smelting & Lead Co. (two items sold as a pair) San Francisco, CA, 13-Apr 1904, 26-Jul 1909

No. 9071 & No. 1320 Memorandums of gold bullion deposited (Silver Bar & Amal) Two items. $100. Sold

525. Adolph Sutro Autograph on Wells Fargo & Co. Check, San Francisco, CA 10-Jan 1893

No. 1186 Wells Fargo & Co. Check signed by Adolph Sutro, the genius behind the Sutro tunnel, financier of numerous San Francisco street railroads and Mayor of San Francisco. The autograph is legible.  Very Fine. $60. Sold

526. Adolph Sutro Autograph on Wells Fargo & Co. Check, San Francisco, CA 15-Dec 1892

No.1105 Wells Fargo & Co. Check signed by Adolph Sutro, the genius behind the Sutro tunnel, financier of numerous San Francisco street railroads and Mayor of San Francisco. The autograph is legible.  Very Fine. $60. Sold

531. Adolph Sutro Autograph, Austin, NV 9-Feb 1864

This is an Exceptionally Rare check written on a short lived bank of Adolph Sutro's in Dayton, Nevada Territory. It is signed by Hugo Sutro. The check is for $50.00, payable to Philippson Mansfield. Hugo Sutro was Adolph's brother and was an agent for the bank. So little is known of the bank that the dateline of Austin, NV has an unknown relationship to the Sutro family. A few blank printed checks on Sutro's bank are known to exist but are Extremely Rare. This is the only issued piece of which we are aware. $250. Sold

541. San Francisco. Wells, Fargo & Co. Express and Banking Office Second of Exchange, San Francisco, CA 12-Apr 1864

A second exchange check No. 2165.501 for $450.55 signed Wells Fargo issued to Israel Ferguson. The exchange has two original adhesive revenue stamps both with W.F. & Co. oval cancellations from 1864. There is a Federal .02 cent blue express stamp at upper left, and a red California second of exchange $1 stamp at lower left. A rubber stamp at right indicates the exchange was paid in currency. Repair at upper right. $250. Sold

549. Shasta. Bell Brothers’ Business Card, Shasta, CA c 1875

The Bell Brothers were assayers. This business card is one of the few remaining pieces from one of the many assay offices located at Shasta, a one time contender for the California state capital and central point for the northern gold region. Fine. $400. Sold

550. Shasta. Wells, Fargo & Co's Express Forwarding Receipt, Shasta, CA 15-Mar 1881

Document shows it was received by Frank Litsch - Bag of gold dust valued at $475.00 Signed by Hopping & Dobrowsky. Fine. $150. Sold

558. Sutter’s Mill. James W. Marshall Autograph Card, Sutter’s Mill, CA 1848

Autograph Card of James W. Marshall “The Discoverer of Gold in California”. This autograph card is about 3 x 5” and contains James W. Marshall's autograph, and has a vignette of Sutter's Mill at the upper left and the date January 19, 1848 at the lower right. This card is one of perhaps ten to fifteen such cards known in western collections today. They were sold by Marshall to raise money towards the end of his life. A number of these cards that survive have serious condition problems and this card is the finest that we have ever seen or handled by far. It is sharp, clear and clean with only the slightest bit of foxing in the lower left corner. The vignette is a wood block print of Sutter's Mill that has become famous through time. It has been used on many products relating to the California Gold Rush including such rarities as the Chalmer's Catawba wine bitters bottle of the 1870's. $5,000. Sold

560. Tahoe. Tahoe Silver Mining Company Check, Lake Tahoe, CA 31-Mar 1876

Check No. 1 for the Tahoe Silver Mining Company is in the amount of $192.50 payable to F.E. Luty, Secretary, signed by F.E. Luty and George Benson, President. This is the first document we've seen with this specific company name. It is not listed in Raymond or Burchard and was probably short lived. It could represent one of several properties. The first area of silver and gold prospects at or near Tahoe was close to the intersection of Squaw Valley and the Truckee River. This area was prospected heavily in 1863 and a mining camp existed there for a brief period. Other prospects are found along the northeast rim and can be seen today along segments of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Most of these prospects, however, particularly from Spooner Summit southward are copper-gold-silver prospects, not just silver. A third possibility is that the name Tahoe was used for a mine at one of the many silver districts in eastern California or western Nevada. Extremely Fine except for having a tiny chip at the lower left. $175. Sold

564. Blackhawk. Eagle Gold Company Stock Certificate, Blackhawk, CO 16-Jan 1865

The Eagle Gold Company was incorporated in New York. The certificate was issued to Edwin A. Burgess for 250 shares on Jan 16, 1865, and is signed by R. Emett White, President and J. R. Davies, Secretary. (It was issued for the purchase of mining property in Colorado). There is an uncancelled 25 cent adhesive revenue stamp at left and it is endorsed by Burgess on the reverse. There is a large vignette of an eagle and American flag at top center. Certificate printed by Fred Mayer and Co., Lithographers, New York.

This company is perhaps best known to collectors today for the beautiful, unique, incuse Gold Eagle ingot. Holllister's Mines of Colorado, published in 1867, stated that the Eagle Gold Mining Company owned 650 feet on the Ben Franklin Lode, 350 feet on the Knapp Lode and had purchased interest in the Pine Silver Mining Company located in the Argentine District near Georgetown. The company had a small mill on Lyon's Creek.

The company encountered trouble in 1865 when the news media discovered they had paid $35,000 in salaries to the corporate officers that first year. The market forced them to let go of the start up officers and replace them with new officers in 1866. This certificate is tightly trimmed around the outside of the border but is in otherwise Very Fine condition. It is Extremely Rare, R8 with probably fewer than three known. $1,200. Sold

570. Gold Sheriff’s Badge, Teller County (Cripple Creek District), 1912

This very rare 14kt gold enameled Sheriff’s badge is a five-point star encircled by a ring with blue enameled lettering: “Sheriff” (top), “Teller County Colo.” (bottom) It is engraved with the initials of Sheriff John L. Muehlhausen (JLM) at the center of the star, and engraved on the reverse “Presented by L.(Louis) Caro January 21, 1911”.


Muehlhausen was possibly born in Illinois, which is where census records show his family, about 1873, although one census shows he was born in 1871. We know he came to Denver, where he worked in a jewelry store for A. J. Stark in 1890, according to the 1890 Denver City Directory. Sometime later he ventured into Colorado mining camps, perhaps to Cripple Creek in the early days as a miner.

By 1910 Muehlhausen was a resident of Victor and the proprietor of a cigar shop on the 300 block of Victor Avenue. Louis Caro ran a saloon just a few doors down the street at 308 Victor Avenue.

Muehlhausen was elected Sheriff in early 1911. He succeeded Sheriff Henry Von Puhl, an assayer in Cripple Creek since the late 1890’s, who was Sheriff from 1908-1911. David Kingston was the Cripple Creek Police Chief at the time. Muehlhausen took the Sheriff’s job as a full time venture, selling out of his cigar store.

The Cripple Creek District

The job of Sheriff in the Cripple Creek region was a hazardous job, and arguably in the first twenty years of the region, it was one of the toughest jobs in the West. Murders, crime, and worst of all – organized crime carried out by mine labor groups, particularly the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), made national news as early as 1894. With a huge production of gold beginning to pour from the mines of Cripple Creek, the money brought in jobs, and with it the miners’ union.

The Cripple Creek region was rife with mineworker and mine owner conflicts. The first labor strike and violence was in 1894. The WFM was officially formed May 15, 1893 at Butte, Montana. At that first meeting, there were representatives from fifteen unions, four of which were from Colorado (Ouray, Rico, Creede and Aspen). In January 1894, Cripple Creek region mine owners tried to reduce workers’ wages from $3 per eight-hour day to $2.50 per ten-hour day ($0.375/hour to $0.25/hour). This was a full one third cut in wages, an astronomical wage cut. Miners cited the glowing corporate annual reports, which showed large dividends paid, thus no apparent need for the cuts other than owner greed, so the mineworkers decided to strike.

On March 16, six Deputy Sheriffs on the way to Victor to protect the mine owners’ property were “surrounded near Altman by a force of miners and arrested. One of the deputies was wounded by a pistol shot; and another was struck in the back with a club. The deputies were disarmed, taken to Altman, and arraigned before the police magistrate who was a union miner…” (Stone; History of Colorado, v1, p841-2). The Sheriff, M. F. Bowers, appealed to the Governor for troops, who were called in, along with 50 deputy sheriffs who were sworn in. The force later grew to several hundred. In May, full war broke out between the parties. The leader of the strikers and one Deputy were killed, and many wounded. By the beginning of June, miners from all over Colorado were prepared to join the Cripple Creek battle. Ultimately the mine owners relented, granting a $3 per eight -hour day wage, including a 20-minute lunch break. But Sheriff Bowers had other plans and brought in an “army of 1200” to march on Bull Hill. The Governor immediately ordered in the National Guard. The Guard overtook the Sheriff’s “posse” and sent them packing back home. The Bowers group continued in their agitation in the face of Federal troops and counter to the Governor’s orders. Forced to back down and badly beaten and embarrassed, Bowers’ men secretly captured the head of the Troops, General Tarsney and tar and feathered him.

By 1901, the WFM had complete control of the Cripple Creek District. They had managed to remove most or all of the competing unions, and all non-union workers were considered scabs. Union men regularly beat up scabs and drove them from the mining camps. But not all mines went union. Sheriff Robertson continually tried to protect the producing mines that allowed non-union labor, and protect them from violence committed by WFM unionists, which began to become commonplace.

 In 1903, violence erupted in the Cripple Creek region in a more serious way, and Governor James Peabody called out the National Guard to protect the populace with the ultimate goal to destroy union power in the gold camps.  Two labor strikes marked the year, the first of which was ordered in support of mill workers in Colorado City. As soon as fights broke out, Federal troops were again called in. The violence and tempers cooled, but just for a few months. Beginning in August, all hell broke loose in the Cripple Creek District. A shaft house was burned, a judge attacked and one carpenter was murdered. The National Guard was again called in, but violence not only continued, it got much worse. In November, a cage full of miners on the 600 level of a mine was blown up in the Vindicator Mine. A train was blown up. In December the Governor “proclaimed Teller County in a state of insurrection and rebellion.” In January, the WFM killed fifteen men in the non-union Independence Mine. By March, the president of the WFM, Charles Moyer, was arrested in Ouray. Martial Law had been declared. By June, the WFM blew up a train station late at night, killing 13 non-union workers. The perpetrator was never caught. All the mines closed and Sheriff Robertson ordered all the saloons closed, as well. Mine owners were so upset with Robertson, that they formed a posse and came after Robertson with a rope, threatening to lynch him if he didn’t resign. Robertson yelled back “show me the rope” upon which time the crowd produced the hangman’s noose and Robertson signed his pre-prepared resignation. Officials responded immediately by appointing Ed Bell Sheriff just minutes later. Bell was a member of the Mine Owners Association. (Stone; History of Colorado, v1, p863)

With more than two dozen murders to their credit, one politician boldly proclaimed: “The badge of the WFM is a badge of murder…” Another riot ensued with yet more deaths. Banks closed, businesses shut down and work generally stopped. More killings ensued, including one Union man, the only Union man killed by soldiers in all of the 1903 and 1904 riots. The WFM destroyed the newspaper. The National Guard deported 75 men, and the Union retaliated by infiltrating the District Attorney’s office and dismissed the cases against the WFM. It was pure mayhem.

Governor Peabody remained committed to stopping the violence, and it slowly came to a halt in 1905. For more on this incredible period of lawlessness, please read George Suggs Jr.’s Colorado’s War on Militant Unionism (reprint 1991).

The Colorado labor wars ran over into Idaho and Nevada, particularly in 1907-8. Idaho’s former governor was murdered by the WFM, and in Goldfield, Nevada, mine union strikers threatened the town.

Ed Bell was the Sheriff in Cripple Creek from about 1904-1908 during the period of the worst violence.  He, with the help of the Governor and Federal Troops appear to have broken the back of the Western Federation of Miners, who were essentially run out of town permanently. Bell was succeeded by assayer Henry Von Puhl, who had worked with his own firm in Cripple Creek since the late 1890’s. His son or brother joined the firm about the time of the strikes.

Muehlhausen’s Career as Sheriff

In 1911, John L. Muehlhausen was elected Sheriff, and his (this) gold badge was presented by L. Caro.  The badge represents one of the most tumultuous Sheriff’s offices in all of the United States, which was one of the largest gold mining camps in the world.

Muehlhausen’s career in Cripple Creek needs more research. It appears to have ended in disgrace, typical of the WFM war period. He was arrested in Cheyenne, Wyoming in June 1917 as part of a large gold theft ring, along with his brother. In a newspaper article entitled “Free Five in Gold Theft Case”, John and Carl Muehlhausen and four others were charged with “conspiracy to defraud the government through the sale of gold extracted from high grade gold ore stolen at Cripple Creek.” They plead guilty. Muehlhausen and his brother turned State’s evidence against the leader of the group, Antonio Cuaz. (Akron Weekly Pioneer Press, June 17, 1917). Von Puhl took over immediately after Muehlhausen, suggesting the possibility that he was removed from office. Further research is needed.

The Badge

The history this badge represents places it in the penultimate, highest possible category perhaps exceeded only by the great Sheriffs such as Wyatt and Virgil Earp.

The badge is in ExtremelyFine condition, with bright yellow-red gold and blue enameled letters.  The badge carries no local jewelers name, but is probably the product of Cripple Creek gold. It is arguably the top lawman’s badge from Colorado known today.  It certainly must favorably compare to other precious metal artifacts, such as the rare Colorado silver railroad passes, the last two of which sold for nearly $11,000 and $14,000. This badge is priced at $12,500. Sold

572. Cripple Creek Sampling & Ore Co., Cripple Creek, CO 27-Feb 1897

This is No. 1081 Assay receipt that is somewhat common, probably rating an R6. There are a number of different forms known, probably reflecting changes in management. The next lot from 1897 is perhaps the most collectible form showing Charles Tutt as President and Spencer Penrose as Secretary and Treasurer. These two men are among the most famous of the Cripple Creek Mining Magnates. $100. Sold

577. Denver Assay Scale, Denver, CO c 1906


Style “N” Pulp Balance. This mint condition balance comes with the original catalog from the Denver Balance Company. The dimensions are 17 x 14 x 8”. The description in the original advertisement reads: “This balance has steel edges and agate bearings, fall-away center bearings, screw adjustment for beam, level and leveling screws, adjustable pan rests, three-inch pans. In French polished mahogany case, with counterpoised sliding door.”

The Denver Balance Co. was founded in 1903 by Swedish born Albert Dahlberg and German born Hugo Franow, two immigrants who met in the employment of Ainsworth Balance Company. The Denver Balance Co. was incorporated on April 9, 1906. The company existed for only thirteen years, but due to Dahlberg's advanced skill as a machinist, his fine work can be seen in the portable assay balances made by this company, which are a joy to examine and seem to be perfect in every detail. Very few balances made by this company are known to exist, but several of the small portable units have been observed in various collections. The  company published only one catalog in 1905 and a an advertisement appeared in the Mining and Scientific Press on July 7, 1906. That advertisement and a brief history of the company are included with the scale.

This particular scale is in mint condition, appearing to be brand new. It came to us from Auburn, CA, found in 1972 in the attic of an 1852 brick building near the courthouse. The building was believed to have originally been built by Adams Express Co. and other Adams Express items were in the same place. Adams preceded Wells Fargo in the Gold Rush period and was later absorbed by them. This balance, according to Shannon is Extremely Rare. Mint condition. $2,250. Sold

582. Colorado National Bank Deposit Receipt, Denver, CO 3-May 1867

No. 3062 Deposit receipt payable to Charles R. Oliver for $100.00 and signed by C.B. Kountze. An applied revenue stamp is at left and a vignette of Denver with the Rockies in the background is at center. It has been endorsed on the back by Oliver, and cancelled with blue PAID stamp. Fine Condition. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $65. Sold

591. Denver. Golden Sun Mining & Milling Co. Hand Bill, c 1904

This is a period handbill printed on cardboard stock with classic promotional phrases in large print such as “Struck Ore”. The Goldfield Sun Mining Company was located at Goldfield, Colorado, just north of Victor. This promotional piece was made to sell stock and it may date to 1904. Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

599. United States (Branch) Mint, Denver, CO 19-May 1873

No. 135 Certification of Assay, White Rock Lode, Gold Hill, CT. $750. Sold

602. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at Denver, Colo. 21-Oct 1876

No. 1013 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited (Am Gold) $350. Sold

609. Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited at the Mint of the United States at Denver, Colo.  3-Aug 1878

No.450 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited (Am Gold) $350. Sold

621. Georgetown. Colorado Stereo View, c 1890

Photographed and published by Kilburn Bros. Littletown, NH. Pictures a street scene of a residential section of Georgetown, #4404. The view predates the construction of the Georgetown Loop. Date of photograph may predate the published date. Very Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $500. Sold

622. Georgetown. Territorial Assay Office, Georgetown, CO 6-Dec 1872

No. 2425 Certification of Assay, Stevens Lode, Argentine Dist., Clear Creek County. Signed by the territorial assayer, H.Saoelsing(?) Probably R7, and possibly R8. Very Fine. $550. Sold

625. Leadville. Colorado Cabinet Card, c 1879

This is a view of Chestnut Street and Carbonate Hill, probably taken by G.D. Wakely, but not signed.  The photograph is a major street scent that includes the Grand Hotel, Louis Braham Co., Marx Bros. O.K. Clothing Store, the Pioneer Saloon, a drug store, Hotel Windsor and many other businesses. Very Fine Condition, minor rubbing along edges. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $1,250. Sold

629. Leadville. Wood & Hersey Assay Office, Leadville, CO 23-Jun 1887

Assay certificate for H.R. Smith of Colorado Springs. On the reverse is a handwritten option for mining property. This card is scarce. Very Fine. $175. Sold

630. Silver Plume and Mines Colorado Original Photograph, CO c 1885

This is a Cabinet Card of Silver Plum and Mines in Colorado, stamped by the Photographer Barkalow Bros. Denver, Col. The name J.L. Young is handwritten in pencil under the stamp. Barkalow is not listed in Mautz's Biographies of Western Photographers, which is one of the most thorough and outstanding reference works we regularly have the pleasure of using. The view is a particularly sharp focus and detailed view of Silver Plum and Associated Mines taken from the south ridge in the canyon. Silver Plum is located near Georgetown, Colorado. Extremely Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $1,100. Sold

631. Victor. Eagle Ore Sampling Company, Victor, CO 27-Apr 1903

No. 5510 Receipt for ore from the Abe Lincoln Mine. $75. Sold

632. Dakota Territory Gold Dust Payable Note, Central City, Black Hills, Dakota Territory, 1877


This is one of the great western Gold Rush notes, issued from Central City in Lawrence County about the time of the formation of the famous Homestake Mining Company. Central City was in its infancy, as were the neighboring towns of Deadwood and Lead. About one thousand miners had flocked to the Black Hills between 1875 and 1876 after discoveries of gold were announced in the western press. The region was still in conflict from the massacre of Custer’s forces in 1874. Central City sprang up in late 1876, along with others. George Hearst purchased the Homestake for $200,000 about this time, and the huge influx of money drove even more prospectors to the region. By mid 1877 Central City was known around the region for its “Gold Nugget Beer”. Dorr Heffleman managed the only bank in town, the Central Bank. It stood amongst 15 saloons, the most common business in the mining camp, as shown in the 1878 Wolfe’s Mercantile Guide. [ref: Parker, Deadwood,1981]

This is an extremely rare, possibly unique, one dollar note, fully signed and issued payable in gold dust at $18 per ounce. Note No. 82 payable at First Central Bank, Central City, Territory of Dakota, Black Hills. Signed by Dorr Heffleman, Manager. This note measures approximately 7.5 x 3” and is lithographed on both sides by “The Milwaukee Litho. and Engr. Co.” Vignette of three miners working over serial block at left, and the Manager’s name engraved just above the vignette. Printed with black ink on light gold paper with gold under print. There is green print on reverse. Ink stamped serial number. Stack’s described this piece as “One of the great rarities in the Territorial Note field and one of very few Dakota pieces we have seen or catalogued.” This note has a confirmed rarity rating of R8. As Stack’s observed, the folds and stains on this one dollar note clearly indicate it was widely circulated amongst the miners of the Black Hills. This note is arguably one of the most important American gold rush notes, since it was issued in the early days of the Black Hills gold rush before the Homestake mine got into full swing production. Much could also be said about Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and Calamity Jane, who were in Deadwood in late 1876, and probably partook in some Gold Nugget Beer in Central City, but that is another story. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $35,000. Sold

930. Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia 1869

Notes on the Modes of Occurrence of Gold and Other Metals and Minerals; By R. Brough Smyth, F.G.S. Melbourne: Printed and published by John Ferres, Government Printer. H.T. Dwight: Trubner and Co. 1869. This is the most important reference book on the Australian Gold Rush. Fine. No photograph. $1,500. Sold

15. Fricot Nugget Carte De Visite, CA 1867

This is an original photograph of three gold ingots and the famous Fricot nugget. It was taken in 1867 at the Paris International Exhibition. The ingots are Kellogg and Hewston, Hentch & Berton and A.P. Molitor. This is the only known photograph with a relatively clear view of the assay ingots when enlarged and magnified. This CDV is arguably the most important historical artifact in the ingot-collecting field. It is the only copy of this rare photograph in private hands, and was used in Holabird’s article published in Coin World during 2005 on the subject of western assay ingots. This photograph forms the foundation of all historical ingot research, as the large Fricot gold specimen was placed on three different gold assayer ingots, all from California. All are clearly visible when this photo is enlarged. These ingots show the exact same characteristic markings as those found on the S.S. Central America. The only other known photo of these ingots is in the Hearst Collection taken by Watkins. This photograph is every bit as important as an original western assay ingot. Extremely Fine. $3,500. Sold

22. Crystalline Gold, Monarch Mine, Carson City, NV

This is one of the finest known examples from the Monarch Mine, which is between the Comstock and Como on the east side of Eagle Valley. This is one of the top two specimens from this rare locale. Its weight is 0.41 troy ounces. $4,000. Sold

642. Boise City. Rossi & Robie Assay Office, Boise City, ID 13-Sep 1867

Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited. This receipt involves seven silver/gold ingots each weighing about 450 ounces. R8. $1,500. Sold

643. Rossi & Robie Assay Office, Boise City, ID 28-Sep 1867

No. 733 Receipt for 1702 ounces of silver from Downing et. al. Printed by Walling & Co. Portland, Oregon. This bullion receipt, while datelined Boise City, is probably for bullion from Silver City, Idaho. R7, and possibly an R8.Very Fine. $500. Sold

644. First National Bank of Idaho Bank Note, Boise City, ID Territory c 1860

No. 37 $10 Bank Note without signature MS63. $9,500. Sold

646. First National Bank of Idaho Bank Note, Boise City, ID Territory c 1860

No.211$50 Bank Note without signature MS20. $7,500. Sold

648. Idaho City. Assay Office of Koenigsberg & Co., Idaho City, ID 11-May 1866

No. 399 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited for a 46 ounce gold ingot. Rarity R7. Fine. $850. Sold

649. Silver City. Assay Office of Richard Euler, Silver City, ID 27-Sep 1887

Assayer's handwritten letter on Euler's printed stationary. This letter, signed by Euler, is an attempt to acquire payment of an unpaid debt by attaching a sale of “mutten sheep”. Rarity R7. Very Fine. $200. Sold

650. New Orleans First of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 6-Mar 1856

No. 7643 First of exchange signed by John A. Mitchel payable in Providence, RI $4715.09. Small hole at center. Otherwise Very Fine. $150. Sold

651. New Orleans First of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 31-Oct 1856

No. 896 First of exchange signed by John A. Mitchel payable in Providence, RI $535.83. Vignette of Steamer ship at top center, and allegorical woman at left. Printed by Corson & Armstrong, New Orleans on light blue paper with black ink. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

652. New Orleans First of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 2-Dec 1856

No. 4163 First of exchange for $1,100.00 Signed John A. Mitchell. Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

653. New Orleans First of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 27-Dec 1856

No. 114 First of exchange paid to John  A. Mitchell Boston, MA Exchange Bank for $1047.34. Very Fine. $250. Sold

658. Brown Brothers & Co. Second of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 21-May 1842

No.1266 Second exchange check for $650 signed Jamie Nicholson. Extremely Fine. $250. Sold

659. New Orleans. Jackson, and Great Northern Rail Road Company Exchange, New Orleans, LA 1-Feb 1853

No.184 Exchange check for $1000 signed James Rose and J Calhann. Fine. $125. Sold

660. New Orleans. Union Bank of Louisiana Second of Exchange, New Orleans, LA 27-Mar 1856

No. 2270 Second of exchange written as an exchange by George A. Frenchy payable at the Bank of the Republic in NY. Very Fine. $150. Sold

937. Sowerby's British Mineralogy Volume I-IV, London, England c 1804

British Mineralogy: On Coloured Figures Intended to Elucidate The Mineralogy of Great Britain. By James Sowerby. Four Volumes in fair condition professionally re-bound in custom box for preservation. This group is considered one of the most beautifully illustrated mineral references. No photograph. $7,000. Sold

939. A System of Mineralogy, in which Minerals Are Arranged According To The Natural History Method. Volumes 1,2 & 3. Edinburgh, Scottland 1820

By Robert Jameson.Third Edition, Enlarged and Improved. Vol.I., Vol.II.& Vol. III. Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable & Co. Edinburgh; and Hurst, Robinson & Co. Cheapside, London. Set of three vols. $950. Sold

951. Underground Treasures, Philadelphia, PA 1887

How and Where to Find Them. A Key For The Ready Determination of all the useful minerals within the United States. By James Orton, A.M. Henry Carey Baird & Co. Excellent Condition. $325. Sold

664. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 3-Feb 1843

Second of exchange; W.H. Fox payable in New York for $300. Very Fine. $150. Sold

665. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 11-Apr 1843

Second of exchange on W.H. Fox payable in New York for $300. Very Fine. $150. Sold

666. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 4-Apr 1846

Second exchange check for $200 payable to C. Bates at G.F. Leverick, New York signed by Stephen Diccus? (Illegible) Very Fine. $150. Sold

667. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 23-Jan 1847

Second exchange check for $377.44 signed B.N. Vaughan. To Providence Rhode Island. Very Fine. $45. Sold

668. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 30-Jan 1847

Second exchange check for $150.00 signed Fuller J. Vaughan. To Providence Rhode Island. Very Fine. $45. Sold

669. Natchez, Mississippi Second of Exchange, Natchez, MS 30-Jan 1847

Second of exchange Check for $200.00 Signed Fuller J. Vaughan. To Providence Rhode Island. Very Fine. $45. Sold

672. Butte. Alice Gold and Silver Mining Company Correspondence, Butte, MT  c 1880-1906

This document archive contains about one half cubic foot of letters regarding the daily operation of the mine. The correspondence primarily is addressed to various mine Superintendents and signed by either the company President, Joseph Walker or a secretary. This mine was one of the principal financial sources of the Walker family fortune. A mining camp at the Alice Mine became known as Walkerville, Montana Territory. The company was based in Salt Lake City, where the Walkers turned their financial fortune into a bigger reward by creating the Walker Bros. Bank. This archive contains approximately 400 letters of between one and four pages each, most of which are dated between 1884 and 1896. Some of these letters include a valuation of the mine and mill, bullion shipments, daily operations and details of management issues. The letters are generally on fancy printed Alice GSMC Stationary. Generally Very Fine. No photograph. $5,000. Sold

674. Butte. Fair Drug and Assay Supply Co. Business Card, Butte, MT c 1910

Four page folding business card for this Butte, Montana assay firm. Useful Notes For Miners on Business Card. Fine. $150. Sold

675. Helena. Bohm & Molitor, Helena, MT 19-Aug 1867

No.406 Bullion receipt for early gold produced in Montana Territory. This particular ingot was about 42 ounces, 892 fine. The Molitor named here is Stephen Molitor who was the son of A. Molitor of San Francisco. Rarity R8. Very Fine$1,500. Sold

676. Helena. Assay Office of Charles Rumley, Helena, MT 17-Jun 1870

Assay report for two bullion bars of varying fineness. R8 rarity. The gold was assayed for J.C. Ricker. Rumley's Assay Office was established in 1862, according to the fine print on this receipt. Very Fine. $550. Sold

687. First Directory of Nevada Territory, NV 1862

Containing: The names of residents in the principal towns; a historical sketch; the organic act, and other political matters of interest; together with a description of all the quartz mills; reduction works, and all other industrial establishments in the territory; as also of the leading mining claims; and various mineral discoveries, works of internal improvements, etc, with a table of distances, list of public officers, and other useful information. Compiled from the most recent and authentic sources by J. Wells Kelly and including sketches of the Washoe Silver Mines by Henry De Groot. Introduction by Richard Lingenfelter. Reprint of the original 1862 Territorial Directory. The Talisman Press. Los Gatos, California 1962. No photograph. $200. Sold

688. Roughing It, Hartford, CT 1872

By Mark Twin (Samuel L. Clemens.) Fully Illustrated by Eminent Artists. Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company. 1872. 1st Edition with appendixes.  $650. Sold

689. History of Nevada with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. NV 1881

Angel, Myron, Editor. Thompson & West, 1st Edition. Howes A273. 680 pages, 116 plates, Illustrations. A classic “Little worth knowing about Nevada before 1881 that cannot be found in this book.” Recased in original leather spine and decorated cloth. Very good tight copy. $1,250. Sold

690. Nevada. Overland Stage and Express Agent’s (Supplier) Personal Log Book 1860-1863

Personal log book of places, mileage between stations, grass and water availability, names of ranchers. About fifty pages, written entirely in pencil. This  4 x 6” lined paper booklet is part of what once was probably a bound book in which the writer kept fairly detailed notes. Made at a time when paper was scarce to non-existent, the writer may have removed these pages to keep his records.

The beginning of the booklet contains notes from Texas with the names possibly of people traveling with the writer west. The first date of entry is October 11, 1860, when the group apparently leaves for or from Texas.  The writer purchased feed many times, recording the price paid and places, and from whom. In March 1861 he left “home” (camp?) for the Indian Nation, returning sixteen days later. By mid 1862 he was in Salt Lake City, then headed west through Nevada, recording the places, distances and choice water and grass sites (recorded as “w & g”).

Regular entries are for shoeing horses, purchase of hay, pasture for stock, etc. By early 1863 he appears to be regularly working the trail in Nevada. He mentions Buckland, Roberts, Smiths Creek, Middlegate, Carson Sink, “Dog Valley to head of Little Truckey”, Jackson’s Ranch. Then the writer turns and heads east, back to Sulphur Springs, Roberts Creek, Reese River, Cold Springs, Sand Springs, etc. dutifully recording the distances between each station and the places where he can find water and grass for his horses and stock, sometimes noting specific places. The notebook reflects going back and forth across Nevada at least twice, probably the time required to learn the route.

The writer was following the Pony Express Route which later became the route of the Overland Stage and Mail Express of John Butterfield, who started this line just before the demise of the Pony Express in 1861. As noted by Mason in The Pony Express in Nevada” (1976), the Overland Stage and Mail Express Company used several of these stops nearly exclusively, including Reese River and others.

This book appears to be written by a person employed by Butterfield for his Overland Express business. He is running horses and a few head of cattle back and forth across the state, apparently supplying the remote stage stops along the way. Unfortunately the writer is never identified, but the book gives an excellent record of this part of the stage business at a time when central Nevada was just getting discovered (Reese River silver discoveries of 1863).  While the accounts are not detailed, it records the distances and places where he needed water and grass for his livestock, illustrating that this was of central concern. A small notebook with a transcript of the first half of the book is present. The provenance of the book itself is from an old Virginia City mining family. No photograph.  $3,500. Sold

693. Austin. Manuscript Letter From H.J. Newmark to S. R. Hutchinson, Secty. Washington Silver Mining Company, Austin, Nevada – 13-March 1866

Quarto, ten pages. There is a small rare printed map which is folded and accompanies this letter. Map titled: Nevada Silver Mining Districts and Connections. Published by Waters – Son Sc. NY [nd. ca 1860’s], measures 10 x 11 ½,” on thin tissue paper.

This is a detailed letter discussing the financial and operating difficulties faced by Newmark attempting to develop the mine of the Washington Silver MC in Austin, the central silver mining camp in the Reese River District. The letter also touches on conditions and mining methods at Austin. “ . . .  I am sorry to be compelled to complain again of the manner in which my demands for funds have been met in response to my call by telegraph on the 3rd for $5000.00. Mr. Clark forwarded me $1000.00. I must again say that it is useless to proceed in this manner for besides being very annoying and prejudicial not to have means on hand promptly to pay our debts it retards and impedes all my operations I can make no calculations whatever as to the number of men to employ or what materials to furnish . . .  it is dangerous to be in debt in this country as creditors do not wait long before initiating legal proceedings and the costs in these matters are fearful . . . in answer to that part of Mr. Clark’s telegraph referring to purchase of Austin mill & property . . . I have investigated Austin mill property do not purchase will cost eighty-thousand coin to complete . . . with the last month I have examined thoroughly the mill questions and the Board will probably be surprise to hear that for the present I am opposed to building any mill there are a very large number of very fine mills already completed here and many of them have very indifferent mines to supply them with ores . . .  they will be compelled to take custom ores and I feel satisfied that during the present year we shall be able to have ores worked at very low rates . . .  Now my ideas with regard to the policy that should be pursued by our company . . .  In the first place we have what I consider a very valuable mining property . . .  all of our energies should be exercised to speedily, thoroughly and vigorously develop the same . . .  In the next place I am in favor of adding to our mining property . . .  there are in our immediate vicinity and running parallel with the Washington several other mines which I think could be got hold of upon very reasonable terms as the owners have no means to work them . . .  I have seen many instances here where companies have expended all their working capital in the erection of mills & left nothing for the development of their mines, this you can see at a glance is a suicidal policy and I do not wish this Co. to be placed in such a predicament . . . all the famous mining companies of Washoe whose mines have turned out and are now yielding their millions of dollars yearly pursued the plan that I now suggest . . . ”

Letter formerly folded, in very good, clean, legible condition. No photograph. $1,750. Sold

694. Austin and Reese River Transportation Co. Stock, Austin, NV 27-Feb 1871

This receipt is for one dividend on two shares of capitol stock for the Austin and Reese River Transportation Company. This firm became semi famous when Mark Twain made fun of them. The company's name brings to mind a steamer, or other method of transportation down the Reese River. This “river”, however, is little more than an intermittent seasonal stream, easy to jump across in the summer, and not flowing year round in time of drought. Thus Sam Clemens had his fun with W. Gage's operation. Gage was also one of the managers of the Manhattan Silver Mining Company and an officer of one of the local banks. $120. Sold

696. Austin. Assay Office of J.S. Currie, Austin, NV 24-July 1864

No.2674 Assay receipt for Currie's firm of which little is presently known. It has an adhesive 5 cent Nevada revenue stamp at lower left and is Extremely Rare, possibly an R7, but probably an R8. Very Fine. $750. Sold

697. First National Bank of Nevada Assay Office, Austin, NV 21-Jul 1866

No.270 Assay certificate for ores submitted from the Camayo Silver Mining Company, who's agent was C.F. Horn at Austin, NV.  Singed by John R. Murphy, Assayer. $750. Sold

703. Assay Office of D. Lundbom, Austin, NV 20-Apr 1867

No. 2556 Specimen deposited for assay and assay results for a sample submitted by Alan Curtis, Superintendent of the Manhattan Mining & Milling Co. Vignette of Lady Liberty at left and a miner at lower right. Printed by Reese River Reivelle. Fine to Very Fine. $750. Sold

710. Austin. Manhattan Silver Mining Company Monthly Statement, Austin, Nevada – 30-January 1875

Treasurer’s statement of the Coin Account. Handwritten on accounting paper, lists receipts and disbursements. Totals balance out at $283,228.62 for each.  In January 1875 they sold $80,000 in silver bullion bars (64 bars), providing them with the balance noted above. This was a very successful firm. 8 ½ x 14.”  There are some folds. Very Fine. No photograph. $375. Sold

712. Austin. Stagecoach Robbery Letter, Austin, NV 4-Oct 1872

One page letter on the Manhattan Silver Mining Co. of NV stationary signed by Morgan L. Ogden, Sec of Company in NY office. Ogden writes Allen Curtis, Superintendent of the mine in Nevada, about a claim the company has made for six silver bars stolen from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The letter discusses the ingots in detail. Letters discussing stagecoach robberies, particularly that of ingots are exceptionally rare. Very Fine. $1,500. Sold

713. Austin. Assay Office of the New York & Reese River Mining Company, Austin, NV 8-Jun 1866

No. 84 Memorandum of bullion assayed for Manhattan Mining Co. This assay certificate is another of the Extremely Rare R8 certificates. The certificate number (84) might indicate this receipt was for one of the first bullion bars handled by the company. The New York and Reese River Mining Co. was probably absorbed by the Manhattan Mining Co. within a year of this certificate. Very Fine. $750. Sold

718. Carson City. Bullion & Exchange Bank Assay Office, Carson City, NV 12-May 1886

No. 349 Report of assay. This is an Extremely Rare, R8 bullion receipt and, in fact, out of 81 cubic feet of records for this bank, handled by the author, this may be the lone example extant. This certificate was for a sample of gold ore submitted by H. M. Yerington, the President of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and signed by Charles Hofer as Assayer. Very Fine. $400. Sold

719. Carson City. Comstock Mines Silver Ingot. c 1981

1” x 1/2” x 1/4” 1.03 troy oz. These ingots were made around the 1981 silver boom. On the reverse is a spread-winged eagle with “.999 Silver” underneath. While these ingots have been sold as antiques, do not be fooled. Perhaps more importantly, the Comstock Mines bullion punch has been used as a counter stamp on American coins of the 1800’s. Once again, do not be fooled; this bullion punch is strictly a modern product. Nonetheless, this is a very collectible ingot. $200. Sold

725. United States Mint, Carson City, NV 29-Dec 1890

This is a bullion receipt handwritten on stationary from the Cashier's Office of the Mint of United States in Carson City for 4870 ounces of bullion received from the Mexican Mill and being property of Savage Mining Company. The receipt is addressed to the Honorable R.P. Keating, of Savage Mining Co. and signed by L.L. Elrod, Cashier for the U.S. Mint. Extremely Fine. No photograph. $300. Sold

735. Carson City. Assay Office of Witherell & Company, Carson City, NV 19-Jun 1885

Assay report for yields per ton and reported as “none”. This form was signed by P.B. Ellis, Assayer for Witherell. Witherell was an Assayer in Tucson about the time of the Earp brothers’ battle at the O.K. Corral. The assay certificate is Very Rare, R7. Very Fine. $350. Sold

738. Death Valley Mining Photo Albums (Two Albums) Death Valley, CA and NV c 1916

Two photo albums compiled by Joseph D. O'Brien, District Mining Recorder of Nevada of the Death Valley Region. First album contains 167 photographs ranging from Death Valley Scotty's Ranch in 1916 to the pyramids of Egypt in 1932. Many photos of the Carrera Marble  and “Silver Crown” mines. Panoramic photos of Silver City, Tuscarora, Virginia City, Ruth and McGill, Nevada in the early 20th Century. The second album consists of twenty photographs of miscellaneous campsites and Shoshone landmarks near the Death Valley mining region. Many of the photographs picture Mrs. O'Brien with local Shoshone people. Generally Very Fine. No photograph. $4,250. Sold

739. Death Valley. Nevada Mines Photo Albums (Two Albums) NV c 1913-1920

The first album contains 19 photographs of the “Sierra Blanca,” the “Yellowjacket,” “Dome Hill,” and “Liberator” mines. All dated 1913 or 1914, including state mining inspector Gaughan visiting the mines. The second Album contains 49 photographs of the “Pahruneah,” and “Carbonate Group” of mines near Death Valley. Also photographs of Death Valley including native Shoshone Indians' camp “Kahneah Pahnega.” No photograph. $4,750. Sold

740. Eberhardt and Aurora Mining Company (Limited) Letter, Eberhardt, NV 12-Jan 1886

Letter to say he had enclosed payment of $100 for one oak air tight casket for the remains of Frank Hathoway, Signed Frank Drake. No photograph. $200. Sold

741. Eureka. Assay Office of M.H. Joseph, Eureka, NV 22-Dec 1883

No. 2 thru 5 Assay report for silver ore from the Snug Harbor Mine. Printed by Eureka Sentinel. This is a rare form, R8. Very Fine. $450. Sold

743. Geddes. Bertrand Mining Company Letter, Geddes, NV 4-Aug 1883

This is a three page handwritten letter by R.D. Clark who was the Metallurgist for the Bertrand Mining Co. In the letter he discusses experiments performed on ore and tailings with successful results that should have allowed for the high recovery of silver. Written to J.R.Walker Esq. R.D. Clark discusses in detail the methodology he used to extract the silver. Geddes was a small mining camp in Secret Canyon near Eureka, and was originally known by the name of Vanderbilt. There was a post office located there between 1882 and 1885. Very Fine. $475. Sold

744. Gold Hill. Nevada Stereo View, c 1875

The border of the card says “Descriptive Views of the American Continent” and “Continent Stereoscopic Company, New York”. On the back is printed “From Ewald's Bazar 156 Newark Avenue, Jersey City.” This card shows a street scene with four empty ore wagons. This is a Very Rare view. Very Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $1,200. Sold

745. Gold Hill. Mining Works Photograph labeled Virginia City, Nevada. c 1875

The border of the card says “Descriptive Views of the American Continent” and “Continent Stereoscopic Company, New York. On the back is printed “From Ewald's Bazar 156 Newark Avenue, Jersey City”. The photograph shows Leviathan Mining Company sign. Leviathan was located at Gold Hill, next to the Sapphire Mill and the Belcher Mine. [Becker, 1882]. This photo has a generic Virginia City label, when in reality it is Gold Hill and a rare view at that. The buildings in the foreground may belong to the Sapphire Mill. The author believes the Birdseye Co. is an early Comstock Company. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $1,200. Sold

746. Gold Hill. Belcher Silver Mining Company Stock Certificate, Gold Hill, NV 3-Dec 1877

No. 42519 Certificate issued to E. Cahill & Co. Uncancelled for five shares. Signed by famous Comstock Mine Superintendent, Financier and Mine Officer, John D. Fry as Pres. and John Crockett as Secretary. The certificate had thirteen assessments paid as recorded on the reverse. This is the earliest example of any stock certificate from this important mine. Stains and folds. $800. Sold

747. Gold Hill. West Belcher Gold & Silver Mining Company Stock Certificate, Gold Hill, NV 30-Mar 1876

No. 209 Stock certificate for 30 shares belonging to J.P. Moore, Trustee. $400. Sold

752. Gold Hill. Justice Mining Company Stock Certificate, Gold Hill, NV 8-Nov 1881

No. 18791 Stock certificate for 50 shares belonging to R.E. Kelly Jr. Signed J.P. Carallun. Printed by W.T. Galloway, San Francisco. Vignette of Justice sitting on a bullion box. This is the earliest known Justice certificate that we are aware of. Encased in Pass-Co holder, graded Very Fine. The Justice was one of the most important mines of Gold Hill. $800. Sold

754. Gold Hill. Overman Silver Mining Company Stock Certificate, Gold Hill, NV 4-Apr 1879

No. 24435 Stock certificate for 40 shares Woods & Freeborn Trustees. The Overmine was just above the Sapphire Mill above the New York Mine in Gold Canyon, one half of a mile below Gold Hill. It produced over $2.5 million between 1861 and 1897. This certificate is lithographed by Britton & Rey. $800. Sold

755. Gold Hill. Pacific Mining Company Stock Certificate, Gold Hill, NV 24-Aug 1875

No. 330 Issued to D. L. Bates, for 300 shares signed by J.W. Clark, Secretary and John Skae, President. Lithographed by G.T. Brown, San Francisco. Brown was a famous African American Lithographer. John Skae was Superintendent of many of the important Comstock mines and had made a million dollars or more reportedly on the Crown Point Bonanza. PASCO encapsulated at Extremely Fine. $450. Sold

756. Gold Hill. Palmer & Day, Goldhill, NV 1863

Assayer's Cover-Envelope. This Extremely Rare and possibly unique cover may be the only remnant of the Palmer & Day Assay Office at Gold Hill, Nevada Territory. This is a typical Wells Fargo advertising cover showing Palmer & Day's Offices at Folsom and Gold Hill, N.T. It carries a Wells Fargo Express cancellation from Folsom. For a short story on Palmer & Day please see their entry under Folsom, California. Fine to Very Fine. $600. Sold

758. Goldfield. Photo Album c 1904-1905

Goldfield - Mining Activity in a Boomtown: This is a Unique, original photo album of the discovery period of Goldfield, Nevada which has 47 original photographs taken by A. Allen and W. I. Booth during 1903 and 1904 of the town of Goldfield and the local surrounding mines. Included are up close photos of mining activities of Columbia, Jumbo, Florence, Curtis Lease, Richards Lease, Bartlett Lease, January Mine, Velvet Lease, Ricker-Ryder Lease, and more.  There are photos of the “First Strike” in Goldfield, the “First Freight” to Goldfield, some show the growth of the town, as well as some local businesses and miners. This is a wonderful, comprehensive photo history of the beginning of Goldfield, Nevada. This important one of a kind historical photo record predates by a few years two or three other (1907-1908) Goldfield albums, which are known to be held privately or in the possession of institutions.  Extremely Fine. $13,500. Sold

762. Goldfield. Jumbo Mining Company Check, 4-Jun 1906

No. 201 Check signed by C.D. Taylor with Jumbo the Elephant as the background. The Jumbo was another of the early mining companies located in the heart of the Goldfield District. This check, along with another gorgeous pictorial check from the Red Top are arguably two of the most beautiful and collectible Nevada checks in existence. There are probably less than ten known of each, rarity R7. Very Fine. $225. Sold

763. Goldfield. Polin Bros Original Photograph and Trade Token, Goldfield, NV 1-Oct c 1910

This is a Polin Bros. photograph and Token Set. The photo shows a large crowd gathered in the Northern Saloon at midnight, 1910 when gambling was made illegal. October 1st, 12:00pm Goldfield. This was one of the most popular saloons in all of Goldfield and was owned by Tex Rickard. The Copyright of the photograph was purchased by Louie and Harry Polin, who probably sold copies out of their establishment in Goldfield. The Polin coin is graded AU55 by NGC and as such is the finest known example. It is an important piece because it shows the Polin Bros business in Oatman, AZ and Goldfield. It is good for 6 1/4 cents in trade, which equaled a 1/2 bit, the typical price of a cheap beer at the bar. The token is dated c 1908-1910. $1,850. Sold

764. Hamilton. Photo from Jones and Pickett Photographers, Hamilton, NV c 1869

Photograph of a man in a suit with dark hair and beard. $80. Sold


765. Hamilton. Four Mining Letters 1869, Hamilton, NV 22-Feb 1869


This lot contains four handwritten letters from a miner named Steve to his brother detailing his daily life as a miner. The letter discusses the writer's hopes of finding open ground to stake mining claims on 2/22/1869. By April the writer is discouraged and not sure if he will ever find any gold at all. He had struck a promising surface ore but it “petered out”. . .”in other words smoked out”. The writer's camp was about three miles from Hamilton. Steve further discusses his reluctance in telling anyone else to come to Hamilton because the chances of finding diggings of any value are very remote, writing that the type of labor required is more strenuous than people would believe. By the end of April he was working on a mine known as the Forest Rose, which sounded promising. The last letter was sent 5/6/1869. Very Fine. $650. Sold

766. Letter to Henry Strachan From Thos. Purcely, Marietta, NV 19-Mar 1892

This is a one page handwritten letter apparently regarding borax work at Teels Marsh about weather and marsh updates. There are several mentions of a Mr.Knapp, Mr. Grayson, and Mr. Zebriskie and ends with “P.S. Mr. G is almost too late to prevent us from getting a patton.” [patent] Marietta is a mining camp that served the Borax mines of Teels Marsh and the mines in the Excelsior Range above town, which included the Endowment and Moho Mines. Very Fine. $200. Sold

767. Pioche. Assay Office of John Cahill (first of two duplicate items) Pioche, NV 1-Jan 1874


Receipt for twenty assays of ore from the Pioche Phoenix Silver Mining Company. Good Condition. $350. Sold

770. Pioneer. Mining Photo Albums & Memorabilia Set - Three Albums, c 1909-1913

Group of three family photo albums compiled by Joseph D. O'Brien, the District Mining Recorder of Nevada: Album  #1 1910 to 1913: 311 Original photos chronicling a young girl's school years and travels. Possibly the daughter of Joseph D. O'Brien, District Mining Recorder of Nevada. This young woman is clearly from an affluent family and these photos appear to be pictures of a private Catholic school, probably a college. A few photos include Mrs. O'Brien, and some are taken during travels in Nevada, specifically Pioneer and Rhyolite. Album #2 1909 to 1913: 97 Photographs from the period 1909 to 1913. Several photos of the Shoshone Indian Camp in Pioneer, Nevada. Many of the Yellowjacket, Baby Florence, and Ironside Mines. Family vacation photographs of Southern California, including visits to Bakersfield, Santa Catalina, Los Angeles and Boston. Summary:  Album #3 1908 to 1912: 102 photographs of the 1908 to 1912 era, many from mining communities of Pioneer, Nevada; Crestone, Colorado; and Rhyolite, Nevada. Also O'Brien family vacation photos of Santa Catalina and other locations in Southern California, with vintage automobiles and Victorian fashion on display. $7,500. Sold

772. Rhyolite Clearing House Certificate, Rhyolite, NV 30-Nov 1907

Series D printed on rust colored paper with brown safety print and brown under print of vignette. Certificate states, “Securities having been deposited with the Clearing House Committee of the Associated Banks of Rhyolite, NV, this Certificate will be accepted by the said Banks for the sum named. Bullfrog Bank & Trust Co. John S. Cooke & Co. The First National Bank of Rhyolite” Not signed. $1.00. Printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco .Graded by PMG About Unc 55. $1,200. Sold

774. Rhyolite Clearing House Certificate, Rhyolite, NV 30-Nov 1907

Series A with rust colored safety print and a rust colored vignette under print certificate states, “Securities having been deposited with the Clearing House Committee of the Associated Banks of Rhyolite, Nev, this Certificate will be accepted by the said Banks for the sum named. Bullfrog Bank & Trust Co. John S. Cooke & Co. The First National Bank of Rhyolite” Not signed. $5.00. Printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. Graded by PMG Choice Unc 64. $2,500. Sold

775. Rhyolite Clearing House Certificate, Rhyolite, NV 30-Nov 1907

Series B printed on blue paper with blue safety print and blue under print of vignette. Certificate states, “Securities having been deposited with the Clearing House Committee of the Associated Banks of Rhyolite, Nev, this Certificate will be accepted by the said Banks for the sum named. Bullfrog Bank & Trust Co. John S. Cooke & Co. The First National Bank of Rhyolite” Not signed. $10.00. Printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. Graded by PMG Choice Unc 64. $2,500. Sold

777. Rhyolite Clearing House Certificate (one of two duplicate pieces) Rhyolite, NV 30-Nov 1907

Series C printed on orange paper with orange safety print and dark orange under print of vignette certificate states, “Securities having been deposited with the Clearing House Committee of the Associated Banks of Rhyolite, NV, this Certificate will be accepted by the said Banks for the sum named. Bullfrog Bank & Trust Co. John S. Cooke & Co. The First National Bank of Rhyolite” Not signed. $20.00.  Printed by Britton & Rey, San Francisco. Graded by PMG Choice Unc 64. $2,500. Sold

780. Tonopah And Tidewater Railroad Pass, Tonopah, NV 1926

No. 462 Railroad pass for Tonopah, Tidewater, Bullfrog Goldfield, Death Valley Railroads for Mr. H.O. Marler, the Chief Clerk for the Pacific Electric Railway. This pass was good until 12/31/1926 and valid when countersigned by W.W. Cahill. The pass has three signatures, one is Marler, the second is Cahill, the third is C.B. Zabriskie. These three railroads operated in Beatty during the 1906 to 1907 boom, serving as a north/south terminus for local mining. [Ref: Paher, 1970, p.312]. This pass is approx. 3.75 x 2.25”and is printed on cream colored cardstock. The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad logo is printed in red. Very Fine$350. Sold

782. Bousfield, Wm. C., & Co., Assayers, Virginia City, NV 30-Jun 1869

Statement of charges for assaying bars May/June1869. This is presently the only known document from Bousfield, rendering it Unique. This bullion receipt is for six ingots that were produced at the Summit Mill. Extremely Fine. $1,350. Sold

786. Virginia City. Lawrence & Houseworth Stereo card, Virginia City, NV - 1866

Bird’s eye view of Virginia City, from the East. No. 705. Lawrence & Houseworth were opticians located on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, CA. This card is one of their stereoscopic and album views from their California Scenery collection. 3 ½” x 6 ¾.” Several stains to sky in left photo. Rare. $900. Sold

787. Virginia City. Bank of California Duplicate Exchange, Virginia City, NV 11-Aug 1879

Edge has been cropped in this photograph. No. 3869 Duplicate exchange check signed J.P.Martin and J.W. Eckley. Exchanges from Virginia City are Extremely Rare and this one is an R7, with approximately 4 to 6 known. Extremely Fine. $300. Sold

788. Bank of California Duplicate Exchange, Virginia City, NV 13-Sep 1880

No. 4873 Duplicate exchange check for $14.70 signed J.W. Eckley and Charles Farnsworth. See description for Lot #440. R7. Extremely Fine. $300. Sold

801. Virginia City. Comstock Lode Assay Office, Virginia City, NV 31-Dec 1875

Voucher 25. This is an assay receipt with a rarity of R8. Very Fine. $750. Sold

802. Comstock Lode Assay Office, Virginia City, NV 10-Mar 1876

No. 499 This is an assay receipt for 630 lbs of bullion for melting & assaying and is a rarity R8. Very Fine. $750. Sold

805. Comstock Tunnel Company, New York, NY 1-Sep 1910

Twenty-First Report of The Comstock Tunnel Company To The Share and Bondholders, for the fiscal Year Ending August 31, 1910. $150. Sold

808. Gould and Curry Assay Office, Virginia City, NV 2-Feb 1864

Same as above but for bullion deposited from Savage Mill and Atchison Mill. There is a note written to the side by Assayer Moore that states, “This lot contained an enormous amount of mercury. The large cases of bullion from this mill (Atchison Mill) always contain a considerable amount of mercury “. . . R5. Extremely Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. No photograph. $350. Sold

810. Gould and Curry Assay Office, Virginia City, NV 18-Feb 1864

Same as above but for bullion deposited from Woodworth Mill, Central Mill, Atchison Mill Tailings, Atchison Mill Concentrated Tailings, and Island  Mill. R5. Extremely Fine. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. No photograph. $350. Sold

814. Gould and Curry Silver Mining Company Letter, Virginia City, NV 26-Jan 1865

Pony Express Letter Concerning receipt of Tax Letter to John Earl and Lawton from T.G. Smith Tax collector Signed A.G. Lawton. $350. Sold

815. Gould and Curry Silver Mining Company Stock Certificate, Virginia City, NV 28-Jan 1865

No. 3240 Stock certificate issued to R. Morganstern signed by A.Lawton, President Pro Tem. Cancelled May 27, 1860. Revenue Stamps front and back. $1,400. Sold

816. Gould and Curry Silver Mining Company Stock Certificate, Virginia City, NV 22-May 1865

No. 3727 Stock certificate. Incorporated June 27, 1860. Issued to R. Morganstern, Trustee for 20 shares in 1865. Signed by Thomas Dill (?) President pro tem and Secretary, J.M. Shorwell. Cancelled by red writing across face. Vignette of mountainous mining site at top center. Applied revenue stamp at left. 5.5 x 10.25”. Printer not noted. Datelined San Francisco. Black print on crème paper. A second applied revenue stamp on reverse. Hole at center within vignette and trimmed tight at left. Otherwise Very Good. $2,200. Sold

818. Gould and Curry Silver Mining Company Check, Virginia City, NV 3-May 1870

No. 7733 This is arguably one of the most famous of all Nevada checks. The Gould & Curry Silver Mining Co. check drawn on the Bank of California at Virginia City, with a beautiful imprinted green Nevada .02 cent revenue stamp at left, signed by famous Comstock Engineer Phillip Diedesheimer, dated 5/3/1870. Diedesheimer is credited with the invention of the square set timber process which revolutionized underground mining on the Comstock. There are perhaps only six or so of these checks known. Most were signed by Louis Janin who was a long term Superintendent for Gould & Curry. $500. Sold

822. Assay Office of Leopold Kuh, Virginia City, NV 7-Feb 1867

No. 11343 + Deposit by Hale & Norcross Silver Mining Co. samples of crushed ore. Lists nine samples with their weights and assay values. Very Fine. $1,250. Sold

823. Assay Office of Leopold Kuh, Virginia City, NV 16-May 1867

No. 12086 + Deposit by Mr. J.G. Fair for four samples of crushed ore. Lists weights and assay value. Signed by Leopold Kuh, Assayer. Very Fine. $1,250. Sold

825. Virginia City. Mexican Union Mines Photos (Thirteen) Virginia City, NV


Winter photo of miners with names on back of photo, Keys Mine photo, Union Shaft, View of Virginia City from Combination Shaft. Thirteen Photos total. $350. Sold

827. Virginia City. Ophir Mill Agency of the Bank of California Check, Virginia City, NV 4-May 1872

No. 561 Rare check with a red Nevada .02 cent imprinted revenue stamp and an RN B16A Federal imprinted revenue stamp. Bank of California, Virginia City check for W.S. Hobart’s Ophir Mill. This is a rare check printed in bright blue and red ink with the orange revenue stamp in the middle, signed by famous Comstock Financier, Nevada Mining Man, and Senator, James G. Fair. Dated 5/4/1872. One of the reasons this check is important is that it is for ore processed at the Ophir Mill in Washoe Valley near Franktown, where Hobart also ran a large lumber operation. Mary Ansari’s book,  Mines and Mills of the Comstock Region (1989) has quite a story on the Ophir Mill. $250. Sold

828. Virginia City. Pacific Mill and Mining Company, Virginia City, NV 5-Jul 1879

No. 170,171 & 172 Memorandum of gold and silver bullion deposited by Omega Mill totaling $6,511.23, signed by Henry E. Elder, Assayer. This R8 assay receipt is for bullion assayed by Conrad Wiegand for one of John Mackey's milling companies associated with the Con-Virginia Mine. The certificate has Wiegand's name written under the title and is signed by Henry Elder, Assayer. Extremely Fine. $600. Sold

829. Virginia City. Ruhling & Co. Assayer Check/Palmer & Day, Gold Hill, NV 28-Jul 1862

No. One. This may be the only existing check from Ruhling & Co. showing their business as bankers and assayers. Palmer & Day may have succeeded the firm in the banking business allowing Ruhling a complete free hand in the assaying business. Extremely Fine. $1,250. Sold

835. Assay Office of Ruhling & Company, Virginia City, NV 20-Oct 1869

No. 8964 Memorandum of gold & silver bullion deposited for assay. $2,000. Sold

839. Virginia City. Sapphire Mill Check Signed By W.S. Hobart, Virginia City, NV 14-Sep 1867

No. 29 Check for $20 payable to Charles McCarty Signed by W.S. Hobart, one of the Sierra Nevada Timber magnates. R6. Very Fine. $200. Sold

841. Savage Mining Company, Virginia City, NV 30-May 1870

No. 547 Receipts for Special Tax - Assayer Over $500,000. This is an Extremely Rare receipt for a special tax assessed to an Assayer who processed more than $500,000 in Virginia City. It is noted at left, “Paid under protest.” At the bottom is noted that the bill was settled in payment of $450 in coin. Clearly the Savage Mining Company negotiated a discount. Very Fine. $850. Sold

845. Savage Mining Company Stock Certificate, Virginia City, NV 5-Mar 1883

No. 37997 Stock certificate for 30 shares to E.B. Holmes signed by H.M. (illegible) as President and E. Holmes, Secretary. Uncancelled $650. Sold

847. Virginia City. Sutro Tunnel Company Stock Certificate, Virginia City, NV 18-Sep 1869

No. 5 Cancelled stock certificate for two shares belonging to Lambert Molinelli. A new certificate was issued on March 16th, 1871 Signed by A. Sutro. Molinelli was an important Eureka NV merchant and author of Eureka And Its Resources published in 1877. Extremely Rare. $1,400. Sold

Please see the Adolph Sutro section in California for related items.

848. Theall & Company, Virginia City, NV 6-Aug 1863

No. 1528 Memorandum of bullion deposited for assay. $1,450. Sold

859. Van Wyck & Company Assay Office, Virginia City, NV 27-Oct 1865

No. 3079 Bullion deposit for 1009 oz for smelting and assaying. $350. Sold

861. Virginia City. Wells Fargo & Company Check, Carson City, NV 11-Jan 1862


No. 28 Check to M. Murphy signed by James W. Nye the Nevada Territorial Governor. Very Fine. $200. Sold

862. Wells Fargo & Co. Second of Exchange, Virginia City, NV 8-Jul 1870

No. 361487 Second exchange check for $3000 Gold Signed Wells Fargo. This is an Extremely Rare exchange, probably R8. It is signed by C.C. Pendergast, the Wells Fargo Agent in Virginia City. Extremely Fine. $400. Sold

863. Wiegand Gold Ingot $20, Virginia City, NV

Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3547 John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

Monetary ingot with a value of $20. $150,000. Sold

868. Wiegand Gold Ingot 1866


Photo Courtesy of Stack’s, Lot 3549 John J. Ford, Jr. Collection Part XX & XXI, October 2007 Sale.

Wiegand gold ingot. Impressive 2.76 troy ounce gold ingot dated 1866, .880 fine gold and .111 fine silver, value $50.60. Wiegand probably intended this to be another of his gold monetary ingots, similar to the $20.00 ingots, though this is .60 cents over. It has the IRS bullion tax punch on the reverse with the date. One of just a very few known Wiegand gold ingots. From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.  $80,000. Sold

870. Wahmonie Photo Album & Scrapbook, Wahmonie, NV c 1910-1936

Journal of Discovery - Wahmonie - The Last Gold Rush: There are 71 original photographs in the album, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings with 20 photos, compiled by Joseph D. O'Brien, the District Mining Recorder of Nevada.  58-60 photos are of Wahmonie, the mining district, Beatty, Nevada or regional landscape. These albums chronicle the Wahmonie Gold Rush beginning February 1928, the date of discovery as well as the life and family of Joseph D. O'Brien. No photograph. $6,500. Sold

874. Short Hills Garden Club Silver Presentation Plaque-Ingot, NJ, 26-Aug, 1926


Weight: 2.83 troy ounces of silver. The piece was awarded for “Most Beautiful and Perfect Dahlia in the Show” won by Charles Garrity 8/26/1926. Very attractive 1920’s presentation piece that is non-mining in origin made during the St. Gaudens period. $175. Sold

877. Silver City Assay Office, Silver City, NM 18-Jun 1881

No. 3 Assay Receipt for ore from JL Holland. The Silver City Assay office was run by Brown & Mahoney. The four samples of Silver City ore here ran nearly $18 per ton, mostly from silver. Extremely Rare, probably R8. $350. Sold

883. New York Assay Office Gold Ingot Suite, 1930-1959


These three different historic New York Assay Office gold ingots represent an important period of radical change in America. Two of these gold ingots are among the earliest known New York Assay Office gold ingots, and may be the earliest known. They predate the Gold Reserve Act of 1933, ordered by Franklin Roosevelt as part of the New Deal in an attempt to curb wild international gold trading that drove America into a severe depression. 

Each are dated and stamped with the classic New York Assay Office official bullion punch. These three are 1930 (11.79 troy oz), 1932 (24.38 oz), 1959 (6.35 oz). This flight of ingots represents an historic period in America’s history. The 1930 ingot was poured at a time just after the market crash of 1929 when Americans became scared that their currency  may become worthless, and as a result, they started to hoard gold. 

By 1932, the economic conditions were worsening as the country moved into a full scale depression, and Americans and world banks hurried to turn in their gold backed notes for gold ingots. As the American dollar weakened in the world setting, the price of gold to Europeans in American dollars had risen above the fixed US gold standard of $20.67 level based on a free trading international market. In response, the US Government instituted the first phases of the Gold Reserve Act, (as amended in 1934 and 1939), which specifically would have recalled this 1932 gold ingot. The fact that it still exits is only explainable if the ingot was from a European customer who exchanged gold notes for gold. If the ingot was owned by a US citizen, that person would have been subject to search and seizure by the Treasury Department. All gold recalled or seized was melted down and placed in Federal gold facilities, such as Fort Knox. The 1930 gold ingot is the earliest known US Assay Office gold ingot of which we have knowledge. A similar ingot is pictured on page four of our last catalog. 

The imbalance of an internationally free trading gold market spot price (which was about $35 per ounce) versus the archaic fixed price in the United States of $20.67 lead to a run on the New York Assay Office, since it was home port to Europeans, who had been hoarding gold certificates. The run amounted to millions of dollars per day, until the crisis was abruptly stopped by the Fed recalling all gold, making gold in any form, except personal jewelry, illegal to own. In succeeding years, legislation was enacted to allow for the collecting of numismatic related material and art or antiquities, though the Fed broadly interpreted those new amendments to the Gold Reserve Act and seized nearly anything made out of gold. After the emplacement of the Act, the Fed raised the price of gold standard to $35 per ounce, where it stood fixed until 1974, when President Nixon finally lifted and abolished the Gold Reserve Act. 

The 1959 ingot represents a unique period at the end of the Gold Reserve Act when American gold mining was at an all time low. With decades of increasing overhead and costs, the profit margins of American gold mines dwindled to nothing while the gold spot price was fixed at $35 per ounce. As a strategic metal, this market condition caused a cessation of gold production in the U.S. After another decade of arguing at the Congressional level, and international pressure as the free market level of gold rose above the $100 per ounce mark, President Nixon abolished the Gold Reserve Act.  The trio is priced at $76,000. Sold

885. New York Assay Office, New York, NY 13-Feb 1863

No.186 Memo of gold bullion deposited. Assay certificates from the New York Assay Office are high R7, and possibly R8, at the present time. This form dated 1863 is very significant because of the pre-printed information at the left for the description of bullion. Typical of the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mint, the top line states, “California Grains”. However, added to this are “Pike's Peak Grains, Lumps, Coins, Bars.” Added to this is the handwritten term “African Grains.”  Very Fine. $1,250. Sold

886. New York City. Wells Fargo & Company Check, New York, NY 28-Oct 1870

Check issued to and signed by N.L. Zabriskie on the acct of Edwin Morgan for $400. Zabriskie is probably a relative of the Two Zabriskis of Nevada and California fame. Very Fine.  $60. Sold

890. Baker City. Virtue, James M., Gold Dust, Gold & Silver Bars,  Baker City, OR 11-Aug 1871

Letter to Eagle Canal Co., most important mine in southern Oregon. This is an R8 related assayer piece. James Virtue was the namesake of the famous Virtue Mine, just outside of Baker, Oregon. The mine was the largest producer in this section of the country. Very Fine. $750. Sold

896. Portland. London & San Francisco Bank Limited Check, Portland, OR 1-Feb 1900

Signed by J.W. Hill for Oregon Hop Growers Association. These two checks represent the thriving beer industry. Very Fine. No photograph. $75. Sold

898. Tracy & King, Portland, OR 17-Jan 1863

No.1216 This is an R8 with two known. Both came from the Corbett & Failing Archive. This firm is the predecessor of the Portland, Oregon Wells Fargo Assay Office. Very Fine. No photograph. $3,500. Sold

900. Portland. Wells, Fargo & Company Assay Office, Portland, OR 31-Oct 1864

No.2551 Memorandum of Gold Bullion Deposited. This is the only known Wells Fargo bullion receipt from the only Wells Fargo Assay Office ever instituted by Wells Fargo. It is exceptionally important for ingot collectors. Unique. Fine. No photograph. $10,000. Sold

903. United States Mint, Philadelphia, PA 16-Sep 1852

No. 5534 This assay certificate is an R8. It shows the early form of receiving Placer Gold from California at left under description of bullion where it says “Grains California”. Extremely Fine. $2,500. Sold

28. Brother Jonathan Steamship Ticket Voyage No.5 Homeward and Freight Receipt, Crescent City, CA c 1860

This lot contains two Extremely Rare pieces, Possibly Unique; The Voyage No. 5 steamship second cabin ticket from the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection and the pictorial Brother Jonathan freight receipt from the Art Kagin Collection. The Brother Jonathan was launched in November 1850. In 1851 it began a regular route from New York to Chagres, Panama and returned carrying California Gold Rush passengers and goods. On its first trip it set a record with a 31 day round-trip. The ticket includes the word "Homeward", which indicates to the cataloger that the ticket was used for passage from Panama to New York. Voyage No. 5 may indicate the 5th voyage, which would have been in the fall of 1852 (approximately) with travel from Panama to New York. In the early 1860's the Brother Jonathan was moved to the Pacific coast to take advantage of the extremely strong shipping market. From 1862 to 1865 the Brother Jonathan ran routes from L.A. to Portland, stopping at ports along the route, depending on cargo shipments. The freight receipt here is datelined San Pedro, Feb 1, 1865. The Purser was Mr. Poule. A vignette of the Brother Jonathan appears in the upper left of the receipt, which measures approximately 8 x 8". The ship was well known to western merchants because it set another record on the west coast by carrying more than one thousand passengers on a trip from San Francisco to Portland. The Brother Jonathan wrecked off the coast of Crescent City, California on July 30th, 1865, and is perhaps best known for the many gold coins recovered from the wreck site on the ocean floor. For those that collect the Brother Jonathan gold coins, these two items could be the ultimate elements to add to their collection. The ticket is printed on green card stock. "To be returned when called for and shown at meals" signed by Sam Lea (purser) and hand written "No. 14 E Winsor" on reverse. Both are Very Fine. $10,500. Sold

914. Frank Foote Assayer, Salt Lake City, UT 1-Feb 1878

Receipt for five samples at $1.50, signed by Frank Foote. R7 or R8. Very Fine. $300. Sold

915. Assay Office of J. McVicker, Salt Lake City, UT 5-Jul 1879

Certificate of Assay of ore for Mr. D.D. Shell. $200. Sold

916. Assay Office of J. McVicker, Business Card, Salt Lake City, UT c 1870

Business card that includes a scale of prices. $350. Sold

920. Assay Office of J. B. Meader, Salt Lake City, UT 27-Jun 1874

Three sheets of paper or six handwritten pages on company letterhead. $300. Sold

924. Sandy Station. Pioneer Ore Sampling Mill & Assay Office, Sandy Station, UT 30-Jul 1887

No. 8651 Statement of ore sampled and weighed. This is a high R7 or R8. Very Fine. $450. Sold

1. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Company Stock Certificate 21-Mar 1887

This is absolutely the quintessential western stock certificate, bar none. It is a truly great work of art with one of the most important and memorable themes – the Wild West Show. This certificate (No. 156) is issued to N. Salsbury for five shares and signed by N. Salsbury as Treasurer.  8.5 x 12.5” with black print on crème paper with orange under print and safety print. Incorporated under the laws of New Jersey and printed by the American Bank Note Co., New York Lithograph. This is the most artistic and historic of all western stocks with art worthy of the exclusive Couer D’Alene Western Art sale. This certificate is beautifully illustrated with detailed and intricate vignettes decorating the entire face; they include an Indian on horseback, a portrait of Buffalo Bill (William Cody), a cowboy on horseback holding a rifle, two Indians hunting bison on horseback, a western homestead scene, and a man chopping down a tree with two small children and two oxen.  The piece also has exceptionally decorative borders and corner designs. Only two of these stocks are known by the author to be in private collections.

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was formed in 1883 and performed for the first time in Omaha. The Wild West Show was founded by Buffalo Bill and Nate Salsbury and was a great success, with performances thrilling audiences all over the country until 1913, when Bill sold the production. This certificate is issued to and signed by N. Salsbury, the manager and primary owner of the show.  Salsbury was an orphan from Illinois, who served with the Union Army during the Civil War. After discharge he became an actor and playwright, forming a successful acting group in 1875 known as the “Salsbury Troubadours.”  In 1883 he joined up with Buffalo Bill Cody and partnered-up as co-owner of the Wild West Show. Eleven years later he established “Black America”, a performance group with a cast of 600 black actors, singers and acrobats. 

This certificate has only come up for sale twice in history.  It is in Extremely Fine condition.  $35,000. Sold

9. Tea Kettle Saloon and Whiskey Bottle, c 1875-1885

Tea Kettle Whiskey was one of two of the most popular brands of whiskey on the West Coast. It surfaced about 1875 and quickly created a sensation. It was easily the most popular brand of whiskey poured at saloons in Virginia City, Nevada. This whiskey and other brand names such as Gilt Edge, Cutter, Old Judge, etc. were so popular that saloons began to name themselves after the brand name whiskeys. A few of these saloons issued their own pioneer minor coinage. This lot contains a wonderful, dark amber, original Tea Kettle Whiskey Bottle from San Francisco dug in Virginia City and a Teakettle Saloon token (ca.1883-1891) from Needles California. The token was made by Jacob Strahle & Company from San Francisco and dates to approximately the same period as the bottle. It is NCS certified as genuine and is Extremely Rare. $3,500. Sold

14. Two Spectacular Arizona Gold Nuggets, AZ

These two choice large nuggets came to us from an Arizona collection recently. The author (Fred Holabird) had the opportunity to work these districts about 1980. At the time full scale mining was underway at Rich Hill and in remote canyons around Wickenburg. Only a few of these larger nuggets were found in modern times. Historical reports discuss things such as “the potato patch” on top of Rich Hill where large nuggets were found in historic times.  These are certainly two of the best and largest Arizona nuggets to be placed on the market recently.

1) 2.30 troy oz nugget from Rich Hill

2) 1.75 troy oz nugget from the Constellation Mine area near Wickenburg.

Total weight: 4.05 troy ounces. Two pieces $8,100.

17. Gold, Sixteen to One Mine, Alleghany, CA

This is a lot of four specimens from the three million dollar pocket of coarse gold in quartz, with minor amounts of dark sulfides. 1) 0.59 troy oz; 2) 0.16 troy oz; 3) 0.32 troy oz 4) 1.24 troy oz. Total weight: 2.31 troy ounces. Four Pieces. $2,250.

19. Raw Gold in Quartz, Jackson, CA

This is a lot of three specimens. The sizes are about 1 x 2 x 3” each, with much visible leaf and crystalline gold. They about 20% gold by weight. 1) 1.19 troy oz 2) 1.36 troy oz 3) 2.50 troy oz. Total weight: 5.05 troy ounces. Three Pieces $2,000.

24. Gold Slabs, Goldfield, Nevada

This is a lot of two pieces. This pair of polished slabs of high grade gold in quartz is from a very old collection. 1) 1.65 troy oz; 2) 0.95 troy oz. Total weight: 2.6 troy ounces. Two pieces. $6,000.

132. Bodie Cover, Bodie, CA 1-Feb 1890

This standard, small sized cover has a printed corner advertiser from the Standard Consolidated Mining Company at Bodie, Cal. The Standard Consolidated Mining Company, the largest and most successful mining company in Bodie, sent this cover to a patent agent in New York City in 1890. The agent could not be found as indicated by numerous stamps on the reverse and a special post office adhesive "Letter Returned" stamp. On the front is a fancy rubber stamp in the shape of a hand with a finger pointing to the return address that says "Returned to writer. Cannot be found". Very Fine. $250. Sold


A1. The 1889 Silverton Railroad Silver Pass

This silver pass is one of three different Colorado silver annual railroad passes. They are all extremely rare. This pass is for the Silverton Railroad, 1889, signed by Otto Mears. It was issued to Colgate (C. D.) Hoyt (b1849 Ohio), a tremendously important railroad official. He was a director of the Union Pacific Railroad, First V. P. of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, a Director of the Oregon & transcontinental Co. and other rail lines.
The Silverton Railroad ran from Ouray to Silverton. It was chartered in 1887, and opened in 1889, the year this silver pass was issued. Famous railroad man Otto Mears was the president. There are probably about five of these passes extant, though an exact count is nearly impossible because the diversity in collectors seeking these rare passes that are a form of silver ingots. This pass weighs 1.12 troy ounces. [ref: Busbey; Biographical  Directory of Railway Officials of America, 1896. Poors Manual of Railroads; 1894.]  $14,500

A34. The Bald Mountain Mining Company stock certificate


A40. Directors of People's Savings Bank of Sacramento, Cal 1893

Approx 16in x 20in image of the eight directors. Framed. $1000

11. Marvels of the New West, Norwich, CT 1889

A Vivid Portrayal of the Stupendous Marvels In the Vast Wonderland West of the Missouri River. Six Books in One Volume Comprising Marvels of Nature, Marvels of Race, Marvels of Enterprise, Marvels of Mining, Marvels of Stock-Raising, and Marvels of Agriculture. Graphically and Truthfully Described by William M. Thayer. Illustrated with over three hundred and fifty fine engravings and maps. Norwich, Conn: The Henry Hill Publishing Company.1889. Mint Condition. $350.

16. Original Sixteen to One Mine Gold Collection, Alleghany, Sierra County, CA

We are proud to present this exclusive offering of the last and largest remaining high-grade single-source mine gold collection in America. The Original Sixteen to One Mine has been in production since the 19th century. California Gold Rush miners found a rich gold-quartz vein system in the northern end of the California Mother Lode Region near Downieville.

The mine was made famous in modern times by the discovery of a rich $3 million pocket two decades ago, worth nearly $10 million today, just for the gold alone. As specimens, the material is truly priceless. The collection of 100 specimens includes the “Whopper”, a massive specimen of native gold in quartz, and one of the largest gold specimens left from California. The collection also includes a dozen hand carved pieces, carved from the native gold in quartz rock from the mine, depicting miners and high grade gold. Carvings of this intricate nature and quality would be impossible today with high gold prices. A complete catalog of the collection is available upon request. $3.5 Million.


18. Gold Nuggets, Downieville, Sierra County, CA c 1970’s

This is a lot of three choice placer gold nuggets from the Downieville area that were mined more than thirty years ago:  1) 6.73 troy oz 2) 5.06 troy oz 3) 3.00 troy oz. Total weight: 14.79 troy ounces. Three pieces. $25,500.

20. Large Gold in Quartz Specimen

This large gold specimen is from an unknown location, probably somewhere in California. It is from an old collection and is a very nice specimen that could stand professional curation to enhance the massive gold vein. Regardless, it is a rare, large specimen weighing 9.69 troy ounces, probably 60% by weight gold. $10,000.

21. Gold In Quartz Specimen Collection

Each of these pieces are gold in quartz.

1) 0.32 troy oz from and unknown, unnamed gold mine in Bodie, California.

2) 0.34 troy oz “Kingfisher Nugget” This piece resembles a small kingfisher.

It is mostly gold. The location from which it originated is unknown but probably in California.

3) 0.78 troy oz Spiderweb crystalline, probably from California.

4) 0.10 troy oz Original piece from the 16:1 mine in Alleghany.

5) 0.04 troy oz Nice crystalline specimen, probably from California.

Total weight: 1.58 troy ounces. Five pieces $3,000.


23. Raw Crystalline Gold, Monarch Mine, Carson City, NV

This nugget is raw, original gold in quartz gangue. It probably contains 1.5 troy oz. gold. Its total weight is 9.3 troy ounces. $2,850.


25. Gold Leaf, Round Mountain, NV

Specimens of leaf gold from Round Mountain weighing 0.16 troy oz. Includes two specimens that are nearly 2” in length. Four pieces. $350.

26. Leaf Gold, Alura Mine, Australia

.022 troy ounces. x-Barlow collection, #5075. $850.

46. Arizona Stock Certificate Collection, AZ c 1860-1925

This is a lot of three large albums containing more than 250 different Arizona stock certificates. This widely varied collection of stock certificates dates mostly from the early 20th century copper and gold mining camp booms, with a number of pieces dating from the 1800’s. This is a large collection that would take years to assemble separately, and represents an historical treasure trove in Arizona history. Many of these pieces have short, historical descriptive text describing the mines, development and production, which were researched and written by mining geologist Fred Holabird. This collection has examples of every type of stock certificate, both issued and unissued, cancelled and uncancelled, some with revenue stamps, a few printer’s specimens, proofs, etc.

This is a wonderful, large collection of pieces from hundreds of different mining companies and includes some ancillary documents such as legal memorandums, mine statements, location notices and correspondence from the accompanying mine. Mines included are Gila River Mining Company (c 1859-61), Cox & Norcross Canal & Land Co., American Exploring Company of Philadelphia (1860’s), Peerless Mining Company, San Pedro and Canon Del Agua Company, Specie Basis Mining Company, Copper Butte Mines, Verde Combination Copper Company, Arcturas Mining Company, Consolidated Arizona Smelting Co., Silver King of Arizona Mining Company and many more. Conditions range from AU to Very Good, but are generally Fine. A list of the content of the collection is available. No photograph. $17,500

67. Tucson. L. Zeckendorf & Co. Note, Tucson, AZ Territory c 1870

This is a rare smaller format 50 cent note that is lithographed on both sides without imprint. The note shows Washington to the right side and has "50" printed on center left, with engraved signature at bottom. It was issued and has a purple ink stamp on the back dated July 16th, 187?, and hand written in pen on back at bottom left is "131".

Aaron, Louis and William Zeckendorf were born in Hemmendorf, Hanover, Germany and came to America in the early 1850’s. The two eldest brothers, Aaron and Louis opened their first store in Santa Fe. This first operation was called A & L Zeckendorf Company and the two brothers found moderate success as merchants and army provisioners. Soon the two brothers were able to open a branch in Old Albuquerque and were joined by their youngest brother, William. Under the direction of William, who traveled to Arizona in a wagon train to open a new branch of the general mercantile store, the largest and most successful Tucson branch was opened in the late 1860’s. The oldest of the brothers, Aaron, died in 1872 and the Tucson branch became known only as L. Zeckendorf and Company. 

William Zeckendorf, southwestern frontier merchant and grandfather of the real-estate magnate, was no doubt the most colorful member of the Zeckendorf family, and is well remembered today. He was not only the Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Committee, and railroad promoter, but he also served in the Eighth Assembly in Tucson. Some of his escapades include chasing down a gang of cattle rustlers outside Tucson, and firing shots at a party of would-be burglars who attempted to steal $300 worth of clothing from his store. He was also known for his love of fireworks, and apparently used any occasion as an excuse to light up the Tucson sky with a spectacular show.  William was the Manager and primary operator of the Tucson store and throughout the life of the company, the firm was able to meet all business obligations, withstanding numerous panics and failures. This note is from the Tucson store and is generally Very Fine with some creases and slight staining. [Ref: Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West, by Harriet and Fred Rochlin, 2000. USGW History of Arizona. Southwest Peddlers And Merchants on the Southwest Frontier. 1850-1880 by Floyd S. Fierman] 

From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection. $14,500.

106. $2.50 “CAL” Gold Quarter Eagle ~ The First Western Gold Piece ~ PCGS XF 45 1848

The Rush For Gold, indeed gold and the new wealth it provided was precisely what the California gold rush was all about.  The coin offered in this lot personifies the very essence of the greatest gold rush in history.  It began in 1848 along the banks of rivers and streams in what would become the heart of California’s Mother Lode region.  This coin was made from some of the earliest gold mined in California during the spring and summer of 1848.  The 1389 gold quarter eagles counter stamped “CAL” were arguably the first “official” souvenirs of the California Gold Rush, and America’s very first commemorative coins. 

On January 24, 1848 John Marshall discovered gold in the tailrace of Sutter’s sawmill located the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Coloma.  Somewhat unsure of what he had found Marshall hurried back to Sacramento to show his find to Sutter.  After some very elementary tests Sutter confirmed that Marshall had in fact discovered gold.  At that moment Sutter became justifiably concerned that a gold rush of sorts might occur if word of the discovery were to get out.[1]

Initially Sutter and Marshall endeavored to keep news of the gold discovery, “secret until a certain grist mill of Sutter’s was finished.”[2]  Clearly Sutter wanted to avoid any potential problems the lure of gold might have on his ranch hands and others.  He was probably most concerned they would abandon him, quit their jobs, and overrun his land in search of gold.  Ultimately Sutter’s concerns proved well founded.  However, his attempts of secrecy were to no avail and within a short period of time the rush was on.  News of the discovery spread quickly throughout the region and soon hundreds, and then thousands of able-bodied men were off to the “diggings” to make their fortune.

Within months of Marshall’s discovery Colonel Mason, the Military Governor of California, accompanied by a young Lieutenant William Tecumseh Sherman, lead a party of soldiers from Monterey into the foothills and mountains to observe and confirm first hand the extent of the gold excitement and mining activity.[3]  Mason and his troops got under way on the 17th of June and by mid August they had returned to their military headquarters at Monterey.

During his brief journey Mason acquired a total of about 230 ounces of native gold from miners and other sources.  However, only a small quantity of the 230 ounces was actually purchased by Mason: “Specimen No. 7 which I got from Mr. Neligh, at $12 the ounce,” the remainder “presented for transport to the department by the gentlemen named below.”  At the conclusion of his letter Mason listed the names of fourteen individuals and companies who gave or “presented” him gold to be sent to the east and among those was Captain J. A. Sutter.[4]  Some other historical references differ in interpretation, however we chose to quote an original August 17, 1848 source.

Upon his return to Monterey, Mason sent his letter of August 17th to General Jones, and the gold to Philadelphia where it could be assayed and the results reported to Secretary of war Marcy.[5]  President Polk was subsequently informed and on December 5, 1848, during his State of the Union Address, Polk extolled California’s abundance of gold and an excited world took notice and The Rush For Gold was on!

“It was known that the mines of the precious metals existed to a considerable extent in California at the time of its acquisition.  Recent discoveries render it probable that these mines are more extensive and valuable than was anticipated.  The accounts of the abundance of gold in that territory are of such an extraordinary character as would scarcely command belief were they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public service who have visited the mineral district and derived the facts which they detail from personal observation.  Reluctant to credit the reports in general circulation as to the quantity of gold, the officer commanding our forces in California visited the mineral district in July last for the purpose of obtaining accurate information on the subject.  His report to the War Department of the result of his examination and the facts obtained on the spot is herewith laid before Congress.  When he visited the country there were about 4,000 persons engaged in collecting gold.  There is every reason to believe that the number of persons so employed has since been augmented.  The explorations already made warrant the belief that the supply is very large and that gold is found ar various places in an extensive district of country.

The effects produced by the discovery of these rich mineral deposits and the success which has attended the labors of those who have resorted to them have produced a surprising change in the state of affairs in California.  Labor commands a most exorbitant price, and all other pursuits but that of searching for the precious metals are abandoned.  Nearly the whole of the male population of the country have gone to the gold districts.  The abundance of gold and the all-engrossing pursuit of it have already caused in California an unprecedented rise in the price of all the necessaries of life.” [6]

Contemplate, if you will:  the coin offered here was made from some of the very first California gold mined after Marshall’s discovery.  Gold that Governor Mason himself obtained first-hand during his visit to the mines in the spring of 1848.  Gold that firmly held Californians in its grasp.  The very gold that quickly excited citizens of the world.  Gold that by the time 1848 had ended had been shipped east, delivered to the United States Mint at Philadelphia where it was refined, assayed and then processed into 1, 389 quarter eagles.  Gold that was destined to commemorate the excitement and importance of the California Gold Rush by being coined into quarter eagles and counter stamped with the letters CAL.

It is remarkable that the counter stamped letters  “CAL” were added to the 1848, quarter eagles thus making them easily identifiable and preserving forever their important historical significance.

Exactly how many of these coins have survived since their coining in 1848 is impossible to determine with any certainty, and estimates very widely among expert numismatists.  However, if the population reports provided by two of the major authentication and grading services can be relied on as indicators, there are only a fraction of the original 1389 coins in any condition and all grades that remain today.

The Professional Coin Grading Service, PCGS, has authenticated, graded, and encapsulated a total of just 59 1848 CAL quarter eagles.  Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, NGC, lists a total population of just 46 that their company has handled.  Many of these 145 combined pieces are the same coin, submitted multiple times for potential upgrades. Certainly there are others that have escaped the melting pots over the years and still exist besides just those documented by PCGS and NGC, and any estimate would only be arbitrary.  The coin offered in this lot has pleasing luster and excellent details consistent for its grade, PCGS XF45. POR



We currently have many other “Counters” in inventory and invite you to contact us for details and pricing.

181. Nevada City Lithograph, Nevada City, CA c 1851

Original Britton and Rey et. al. lithograph produced from a Daguerreotype by Kilbourn published by A. W. Potter, Miner's Bookstore, Main St. Nevada City. This Extremely Rare view with perhaps one other known copy has been professionally repaired along two vertical folds. The Adams & Co. office is prominently shown in the front center. The view has been reproduced various times from 1852 to 1855. This is the earliest known representation. Very Fine. $5,000.

The two coins below are classic representations of Moffat’s early and later privately minted gold coins.

376. 1849 $5 Moffat (K4) NGC MS62


377.  1853 $20 Moffat NGC AU55

Rare. $17,500.

507. 1854-S San Francisco Branch Mint $20 Gold Double Eagle, Uncertified AU.  San Francisco, CA


Many private gold and California collectors consider this coin the King of San Francisco gold.  It is the first official U.S. Mint $20 product from San Francisco, replacing the circulating private $20 (Kellogg etc.) and USAO pieces.  For more information on the San Francisco Mint opening, see that section in this catalog and our story detailing the $20 Kellogg gold coin.

Authorized by the Coinage Act of March 3, 1849 and designed by James B. Longacre, $20 gold pieces measure 34 mm, weigh 33.44 grams, are .999 fine gold and they each contain .96759 troy ounce of pure gold.  Within a year of the discovery of gold in California by James Marshall, President Polk and members of his administration acknowledged a coin larger than the $10 denomination United States gold coin that was currently circulating was needed to satisfy the needs of the nations rapidly growing economy.

Beginning in 1849 the United States Mint at Philadelphia, and each of its three branch mints - located at Dahlonega, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana were authorized to begin striking and issuing gold dollars.  Interestingly, the same coinage Act approving the coining of gold dollars was subsequently amended to include and provide for a $20 gold coin, which was to be officially referred to as a “double eagle.”  By the end of 1849, Longacre had completed the design for the new double eagles, and a single pattern or trial piece struck.  Today the unique 1849 double eagle occupies a revered place in the Smithsonian’s numismatic cabinet.

Mass production of $20 gold double eagles did not begin until March of 1850, and even then the denomination was only struck at the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mints.  It was not until 1854 that the San Francisco Branch Mint opened and struck its first coins, including 141,468 “S” mint marked double eagles. [Ref: Bressett, p254, The Official Red Book of United States Coins, 2007].

The condition of this coin could be described as being at the highest end of the About Uncirculated grades.  If it were not for the faintest degree of rub or wear on some of the coin’s high points, its sharp details and luster would surly qualify the coin for a mint state grade.  The combined total population of PCGS and NGC authenticated and graded 1854-S $20 gold double eagles is just 295 coins in all grades, with only 92 of those having been certified as mint state.  About Uncirculated.  POR

540. 1852  Wass, Molitor & Co., $10 Gold Coin, PCGS AU55, San Francisco, CA

Samuel C. Wass and Agoston P. Molitor emigrated from their native Hungary to the United States and arrived separately in San Francisco in late 1850 and early 1851 respectively.  Both men “acquired a through and practical knowledge of mining and all its ramifications in the celebrated School of Mines of Germany, having perfected that knowledge by working in the gold mines of their own native lands for many years.”[22] As graduates of Freiberg, they were among the elite of the early California assayers and coiners.

The October 14, 1851 issue of the San Francisco newspaper Alta California ran an advertisement for Wass, Molitor & Co., which proclaimed them as “Mining Engineers, assayers, smelters, refiners, etc. of gold and silver. Quartz and ore of every description assayed.  Metaliferous veins examined. Orders for mining plans promptly executed.”  About this same time Californians were agonizing over the severe shortage of circulating coin they were experiencing.  Banks, merchants, miners and citizens alike were having difficult times conducting business and paying for goods and services.  Making change for their transactions was nearly impossible because of a lack of circulating United States coin.

Additionally, “as early as April 1851, great inconvenience was experienced in the financial community of San Francisco.  No private mints were operating and the United States Assay Office was issuing only the cumbersome $50 slugs.”[23]  Apparently the lack of small denomination coins and the confounding factors caused by “too many” USAO $50 gold slugs that were in circulation between 1851 and 1854 was so significant that historian John S. Hittell wrote about it years later.  “Previous to ’53, there was such a lack of coin, that a large proportion of the private coin was in fifty dollar pieces called “slugs” or “adobes.”[24]

In response to the over abundance of $50 slugs and the extreme shortage of smaller denomination coinage, a few San Francisco assaying firms took steps to fill the void taking their businesses to the next level by setting up shop as private coiners.  “The very serious inconveniences to which the people of California have been subjected through the want of a mint, and the stream of unwieldy slugs that have been issued from the United States Assay Office have imperatively called for an increase of small coin.  The well known and highly respectable firm Wass, Molitor & Co. has come forward in this emergency.”[25]

Between 1852 and 1855 Wass, Molitor & Co. struck and issued both $5 and $10 gold pieces.  Interestingly, three years later, in 1855 the company also struck and circulated $20 and $50 gold pieces as the coinage shortages and demands of the times had changed dramatically. By 1861 “slugs as well as most other private coins, have disappeared from circulation, and are almost as great curiosities in California as elsewhere.”[26]

Extremely Rare, AU55$27,500

714. Beatty. Early Panorama Photograph 1907


Original photograph by the California Panorama Co. of Los Angeles, taken from a hillside above the town in its earliest days. Shows rail tracks running through the town with a steam engine moving along, as well as the dirt highway into and out of town, and numerous tent buildings scattered among wooden structures. Detail is good. Founded two years after the big silver discovery at Tonopah, Nevada just after the turn of the 20th Century. Beatty was the supply hub for the Bullfrog Mining district. While Bullfrog and Rhyolite have become ghost towns, Beatty survived in part because it sits above the mostly underground Amargosa River and because it serves as the gateway to Death Valley. Photo measures 9 ¾” tall x 67” long. Numerous vertical fold creases, foxing at top left, no tears. $1,400.

912. 1849 Mormon $5 Gold Coin, PCGS VF35, Salt Lake City, U.T. (Utah Territory)

As more and more Mormons immigrated to the Salt Lake region during the late 1840’s and early 1850’s the need for circulating coinage increased exponentially.  Coinage issued by the United States Mint simply did not exist in Utah Territory in quantities sufficient to accommodate the needs of day-to-day business, nor was it necessarily acceptable to them.  Often times it was necessary for gold dust and small nuggets to be used to conduct daily business.  When scales were available for weighing raw gold, the process was tedious and cumbersome at best.  However, scales were not always handy and gold weights had to be estimated with varying degrees of accuracy. 

In 1849 Church leader Brigham Young created and oversaw the operation of a private mint  “as a measure of public convenience.”  Initially the gold that was used to make the first Mormon coins “came chiefly from members of the Mormon Battalion on their return from the Mexican War,” hence it came from California. [Ref: Granite State News, December 13, 1898].

The news also stated: “Old timers disagree as to who made the dies with which the gold was stamped into $2.50, $5, $10, and $20 coins.  The honor lies between John Kay and James M. Barlow.  Kay was a mechanic and Barlow a jeweler and dentist.  Judge Hammond of San Juan, who came to Utah in 1848, says that dies were made by both men.” 

The designs of the Mormon coins are probably best described as radically different than the designs on any coins the United States Mint has ever produced. The gold pieces are entirely religious in theme. The 1850 $5 gold piece offered here has clasped hands on one side; which are said to “exemplify strength in unity,” and the words “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” on the other. [Ref: Bressett, The Official Red Book of United States Coins 2007].  Also appearing on the coins are the letters G.S.L.C.P.G. representing “Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold.”  In fact the coins contain virtually no base metals and were refined to “pure” gold, or at least as close to pure gold as was humanly possible, given the primitive melting and refining methods used by early Mormon coiners.  

This is a choice AU coin with a couple of minor pin scratches. PCGS has net graded the piece pretty harshly. It would look more reasonable in an XF45 holder. (The coin is as nice in terms of details as a few AU58 examples that we have seen).  $28,500.

940. Mining Postcard Collection c 1905-1925

Offered here are 268 different cards, some with handwritten messages and postmarked from across the United States, including a select few from Wales, Australia and France. U.S cards include many from PA and others from CO, OH, MN, AZ, MT, MI, MO, ND, SD, OK, AK, and MD. This collection includes real photo, chromo lithographs and black and white cards, with a few illustrated cards as well. All cards are in album sleeves and in Excellent condition. $3,250.

945. Hunting For Gold San Francisco, CA 1893

This is a 1st Edition. Reminiscences of Personal Experience and Research in The Early Days of The Pacific Coast From Alaska To Panama. By Major William Downie [Founder of Downieville, Cal.] Press of The California Publishing Co. San Francisco, Cal. 1893 This is a rare memoir of great historical value, warmly appealing in its rustic, often humorous, candid style and an authentic and delightful account of what life was really like during the early days of western gold prospecting and mining, as told by an unusually perceptive prospector and successful gold miner. Extremely Fine. $750

947. The Coal Mines of the Western Coast of the United States, San Francisco, CA 1877

By W.A. Goodyear, Mining Engineer. San Francisco: A.L. Bancroft & Company. This is a first and only edition of the best western coal directory available. It contains information on most known coal mines of the 1870’s. $550.