Unusual Memorabilia from the American West at Johns' Western Gallery
Item 233 is a bond certificate for the Death Valley Railroad Company, with its coupon sheet still attached. Don't try to collect on it. The certificate was printed in 1914, the year the railroad was built. It was designed to haul borax from mines in the nearby hills to the Tonopah and Tidewater line at Death Valley Junction, twenty miles away. High grades and sharp turns limited it to speeds of 15 mph. The railroad ceased to haul borax in 1928, but continued to operate as a tourist train until 1931, when it was closed down and the tracks torn up. The railroad roughly paralleled today's State Route 190 out of Death Valley Junction. $950.
Here are a couple more railroad items: Progress Report of the Union Pacific Railroad West from Omaha, Nebraska, across the Continent... Item 242 is the 1867 edition ($175), item 243 is from 1868 ($200). These were promotional progress reports for investors. As any student of history will recall, it was the following year, 1869, that the first transcontinental railroad was completed.
Item 250 includes two receipts from the American Whip Co., Manufacturers of Whips and Lashes. These 1890 receipts went to Jesse McCallum, of Nebraska City. American Whip Manager W.C. Pease writes, "Hope this will fill the bill as to what you want. It is a bone through whip to spike in butt end." Before you make any inferences about Mr. McCallum's proclivities, let me remind you that in 1890, people used whips on horses, that still being the preferred mode of transportation. $50.
Epes Ellery ran San Francisco's first antiquarian bookstore. It's hard to find many Ellery items today, though an occasional one of his bookplates still shows up in old books. Here is an unusual piece of Ellery memorabilia - his water bill from September 1876. Item 7. $35.
Item 305 offers some ephemeral items from one of New York's finest at the turn of the last century. George F. Bigge was a New York City policeman who died in 1918. Here are the Officer's police shield, hat badge, and a photograph of Mr. Bigge in uniform, including shield and badge, taken at White's Studio in New York. $1,000.
Johns' Western Gallery may be found online at www.johnswesterngallery.com, phone number 415-837-1656.