The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 51, December 17, 2006, Article 6


Stack's and American Numismatic Rarities aren’t the only numismatic
firms merging: "Kagin’s, Inc. and Holabird Americana have combined
forces into a new venture called Holabird-Kagin Americana, a division
of Kagin’s, Inc. The two biggest entities in “collecting the West”
join forces to bring a new level of education and opportunity to the
collecting field... The result of this merger will include a series
of fixed price catalogs focusing on Western Americana specimens of
high rarity, quality and variety, with unparalleled descriptions
drawn from the research and knowledge of Dr. Kagin and Mr. Holabird."

"Holabird states, “the new venture will allow me to concentrate on
the acquisition and sales of great Western Americana rarities, as
well as continue to bring new published works to the marketplace.”

"Currently, Holabird has four books due for publication within the
next year, including what is expected to be the primary reference
book on ingots."

The above text is taken from the new firm's first fixed-price catalog,
which is due to be posted online next week.  I was fortunate to have
an opportunity to review advance copies of several pages, and every
numismatist with an interest in the American West and gold bars and
ingots in particular should take notice.

The catalog consists of "the Robert Bass Collection of precious metal
ingots and western assayer receipts as well as specimens put together
by A.M. Kagin several decades ago for the Kagin Reference Collection."

"Many of the items presented here (several for the first time ever
at a fixed price) are unique. Others, while collectable, remain
controversial and deserve more research and are so noted in our
listing. In all cases we have endeavored to present all pertinent
information- controversial or not – about the origin of the ingots
based not on tradition or circumstantial evidence, but on the actual
science and empirical data."

The catalog opens with a selection of U.S. Assay Office & U.S. Branch
Mint Ingots from New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.  The
catalog acknowledges that "Precious Metal ingots have been made at
the US Branch Mint and Assay Offices since their inception. The only
definitively pre-1900 Mint or Assay Office ingots that exist in the
knowledge of the author are from the Denver Branch Mint, held in an
institutional collection dated 1865. Most of the ingots seen at coin
shows are products of twentieth century collecting. Most are silver
and post-WWII."

The remainder of the catalog is organized by geographic area: Arizona,
California, Colorado, Dakota, Idaho, Mexico, Montana, Nevada and New
Mexico.  For researchers and ephemera collectors, the final section
features Assay Certificates.

A number of gold and silver ingots of the Thorne Mining & Refining
Company are pictured in the Arizona section.  Cataloger Holabird
writes that "the Thorne pieces, which are not dated, are a product
of the post-1964 silver craze. They were most probably made for sale
into the bullion markets, though most are silver. They have remained
very collectible, however, primarily because they are an artistic

A number of presentation ingots are pictured and described, including
one from the Colorado-Philadelphia Reduction Company, which "was
presented to one of the CPRC Board members upon the opening of the
reduction works in 1896. J. A. Hayes, whose name is borne upon the
ingot in fancy engraved fashion of the period was the president of
the First National Bank in Colorado Springs and one of the key
investors in the Company."

The Assay Certificate section is led by a Gold Bullion receipt for
the Branch Mint of the United States at Charlotte, North Carolina,
June 27, 1840.  Also included is a "Letter from the Mint of the United
States at Carson, Nevada, dated December, 1890. L. L. Elrod, cashier
for the Mint, writes to R. Keating, the superintendent of the Savage
Mining Co. that he has received 334 pounds of bullion. Letters from
the Mint are scarce."

The Holabird-Kagin Americana catalog is well illustrated with color
photos of nearly every item, accompanied by lengthy footnoted text
descriptions.  It's a real eye-opener. I've been in numismatics for
years, but have never seen most of the pieces illustrated here.   I
suspect the catalog will be in demand as a reference work, for it
contains much information to be found no where else.  To obtain a
copy, contact the firm at 888-8KAGINS for visit their web site at

Fred Holabird adds: "The most controversial piece that I rendered an
opinion on was the Eagle mining Company, which were created using a
copy the logo of the US Mint!

"I now have a photo of an 1892 New York Assay Office silver ingot,
unquestionably authentic, in an old collection. I didn't have this
at the time of the last writing. This is typical of what will come
in the ingot book to be published by Monaco in 2007."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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