Gold in its natural state can take on many forms, several of which
are featured in Holabird’s Western Americana Collections LLC auction
scheduled for Oct. 19 to 23. The 2,900-lot auction will be held in
Reno, Nevada, at the firm’s offices at 3555 Airway Drive Suite 309 in Reno.
Lots featuring gold in its natural states include examples of leaf
gold, wire gold, gold nuggets and gold embedded in quartz, among others.
One year, coin collecting in the United States
Also in this week’s print issue of Coin World, we cite the secret
weapon for any modern coin researcher or collector interested in how
coins are made.
Among the gold nuggets offered is a 2-centimeter by 2-centimeter by
0.7-centimeter nugget weighing 5 grams with an estimate of $1,250 to $1,875.
The nugget traces its origin to the bustling California mining town
of Michigan Bluff. Within five years of mining commencing in 1853,
Michigan Bluff gold miners were shipping $100,000 worth of the metal monthly.
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According to the auction lot description: “The Michigan Bluff
District was largely composed of many small mines and claims, some of
which were consolidated into only a few significant mines. For the
past several decades, the De Maria / Eagle's Nest Mines in the
Michigan Bluff District of Placer County, California have been
prolific producers of superbly crystallized, lode gold specimens.”
A number of lots in the auction trace their pedigree to the mineral
collection of F. John Barlow, “acknowledged as one of America’s most
prominent private mineral collectors during the 1970’s until the early
2000’s,” with more than 5,000 specimens of various types, weights and sizes.
Among the Barlow gold specimens is an example of leaf gold found in
an undisclosed location in California.
The example weighs 6.2 grams and measures 3.1 centimeters by 1.7
centimeters by 2.2 centimeters. The nugget carries an estimate of
$3,000 to $4,500.
An unusual example of wire gold in quartz was discovered several
decades ago by a metal detectorist at the site of the Ibex Mine,
Breece Hill, Leadville, Leadville District, Lake County, Colorado. It
was recovered from mine dumps on Breece Hill.
The Ibex Mine has a historical link to Margaret “Molly” Brown, who
became known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” having survived the 1912
sinking of the RMS Titanic.
According to the auction lot description, Molly “moved to Leadville
when she was 18. In 1886 she married a mining engineer who was twelve
years older, James J. Brown. The Brown family acquired great wealth in
1893 when Brown was instrumental in the discovery of a substantial
gold ore seam at the Little Jonny Mine owned by his employers, the
Ibex Mining Company.”
Weighing 11.1 grams, the specimen measures 2 centimeters by 2.5
centimeters by 1.3 centimeters.
The nugget carries an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.
Gold in quartz
Another former Barlow specimen “features leaf gold in quartz matrix
with associated pyrite crystals” that was discovered in the northern
Sierra Nevada region that is home to numerous important gold deposits.
According to the lot description, these deposits “include the famous
lode districts and placer deposits of Nevada County which were
prolific producers for nearly a century, starting in the 1850’s.” The
sample measures 3.7 centimeters by 2.3 centimeters by 1.4 centimeters.
The estimate for the lot is $3,600 to $5,400.
Another former Barlow specimen is a 14.3-gram Russian gold nugget
found in a stream in the Lena River Basin, Bulun District, Polar
Yakutia, Sakha Republic, Eastern-Siberian Region, Russia.
The specimen measures 2.5 centimeters by 2 centimeters by 1.3 centimeters.
The nugget’s estimate is $3,500 to $5,250.
View the auction’s complete contents here.