Early Comstock Lode mining document from 1859 brings $16,875 at Holabird's 4-day Big Bonanza auction

The auction featured more than 2,000 lots in many categories that included mining, philatelic, numismatic, railroadiana, Native Americana and more. The Comstock Lode doc was the top lot. Online bidding was available on three platforms.
By: Holabird Western Americana Collections
Historic document from 1859 for the Comstock Lode.
Historic document from 1859 for the Comstock Lode.
RENO, Nev. - April 14, 2023 - PRLog -- An historic document from 1859, dating to the very beginning of the Comstock Lode silver rush in the U.S. and including mention of the most important mining claim – the Ophir – sold for $16,875 at a four-day Big Bonanza auction held March 30th thru April 2nd by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC, online and live in Holabird's Reno gallery.

The Comstock Lode was a lode of silver ore located under the eastern slope of Mount Davidson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Davidson_(Nevada), in Virginia City, Nevada (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_City,_Nevada) (then western Utah Territory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Territory)). It was the first major discovery of silver ore in the United States and was named after American miner Henry Comstock (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Comstock). The discovery, in 1859, sparked a big silver rush of prospectors to the area, all scrambling to stake their claims.

The document – a handwritten deed on blue paper – was datelined "Ophir Diggings, Utah Territory, U.S., Sept. 17, 1859." Just 11 days later the San Francisco Daily Alta California would announce a name change from Ophir Diggings to Virginia City. The document also mentioned the Comstock Lode's "Founding Fathers" (Comstock, McLaughlin, Osborn, Penrod and Walsh).

The auction overall contained over 2,000 lots in many categories that included mining, philatelic, numismatic, railroad, Native Americana and more. Since the auction featured Part 1 of what Fred Holabird called "the best Comstock mining collection ever to hit the market," the auction name was chosen to honor the "Big Bonanza" ore discovery in Virginia City, Nevada, made in 1873.

Part 1 focused on mining stock certificates, ore specimens, ephemera and publications. Most were offered on Day 4. The session also featured a spectacular Comstock "Wash-Oh!" illustrated lettersheet from 1860, drawn and engraved by TC Boyd (San Francisco) and with a vignette showing a natty prospector (or mine investor) about to meet the devil in a cornucopia ($5,750).

Day 4 ore specimens included a 55-pound boulder of Comstock silver-gold ore, reportedly found in the basement of the Virginia City, Nevada Bonanza Club in the 1980s, 16 inches by 13 inches by 10 inches ($4,375); and a cut and polished slab of gold-in-quartz ore from Goldfield, Nevada (Esmeralda County), 51.4 grams ($3,500). Wyatt and Virgil Earp both spent time in Goldfield.

The auction was held online (via iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com), as well as live in the Holabird gallery located at 3555 Airway Drive in Reno.

To learn more, visit www.holabirdamericana.com.

Fred Holabird
Source:Holabird Western Americana Collections
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Location:Reno - Nevada - United States
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