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Gold ‘Last Spike’ watch fob could nail down $15,000

A unique 19th century “Last Spike” watch fob, recently discovered, is headlining Witherell’s online Western Americana Auction and Old West Show, which begins May 1.
Watch fob Last Spike

Unique “Last Spike” watch fob may command upward of $10,000 during Western Americana Auction. (All photos courtesy Witherell’s)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Witherell’s online Western Americana Auction and Old West Show in Grass Valley are scheduled for May 1-15, and May 8-9, respectively. The online auction opens May 1 and closes May 15, 2015. Bidding will be facilitated by

Among the items garnering much interest ahead of the auction is a recently discovered “Last Spike” watch fob. The mid-19th century presentation watch fob features the gold spike that made rail transportation across the nation possible for the first time.

The spike was broken by legendary railroad magnate Leland Stanford before joining the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, and the actual gold spike and watch fob were commissioned by David Hewes, an early champion of the railroad. Made by Schulz, Fischer and Mohrig, San Francisco, Hewes gave the watch fob to a close friend. The fob carries a conservative presale estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. The watch fob will be displayed during the Old West Show.

Also crossing the auction block is a Watling’s Cupid Slot Machine — one of the items found at the Pope Valley Store and Stage Coach Stop in 2014. It carries a presale estimate of $10,000 to $15,000 into the sale. More top lots include vintage brewery advertising items, including two Buffalo Brewing Co. calendars, circa 1909 and 1910, which are estimated at $4,000 to $10,000; Southwestern oil painting, “Natchez,” by Henry Raschen; Western watercolor “Christmas Greetings/1929,” by Maynard Dixon; and an autographed letter from Sam Houston.

Another contender for top lot is a bronze sculpture by Frederick Remington. “The Savage,” cast in 1908, is valued at $30,000 to $50,000.

The Old West Show will be held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Rd., Grass Valley, California, with more than 100 exhibiting dealers. There will be an afternoon preview event, May 7, from 1-5 p.m., which costs $100. Regular show hours are Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $10 a day, and parking is free.

For more information, visit or call 916-446-6490.

Remington sculpture

Frederick Remington sculpture, The Savage, cast in 1908 by Roman Bronze Works, N.Y., has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.

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