Reno, Nevada, USA, April 30, 2020 -- A massive collection of circus side show original photographs and ephemera – around 50,000 pieces in all and spanning over a century, from 1850-1960 – sold for $37,500 at a four-day, online-only Big Tent Auction held April 16th-19th by Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC. The auction was packed with around 3,200 lots in many collecting categories.
The John Reynolds circus side show collection was the sale’s top lot and had three main parts:
- The midget collection, nearly 3,000 pieces, a photographic history of how PT Barnum got the world to love midgets like the world-famous Nicu de Barcsy and Tom Thumb, and how circus and entertainment entities promoted the odd and curious to the world.
- The circus freaks side show collection, about 2,000 pieces, including cartes de visite of every sort of human disfigurement (circa 1860s-1870s), cabinet cards (circa 1880s-1900), real photo post cards, a Fat Lady collection (200 pieces), handbills, signed photos, more.
- The circus collection, including Ringling calendars, broadsides, tickets, promo material, circus programs from the 1940s, and a notebook of historical circus collectibles including many of the colorful letterheads of various circuses from the first half of the 20th century.
The auction was led by Part 2 of the John Reynolds collections. His circus side show collection was just for starters. They also featured California tokens, medals and shell cards, as well as his fabulous aviation mail (and California) postal history collection of more than 10,000 covers, plus his Pioneer postcard collection. The collections contributed to a highly successful online auction.
“This may have been a record-setting auction,” remarked Fred Holabird, president and owner of Holabird Western Americana Collections. “Over time, we have mined many statistical patterns associated with collector interests, bidding practices and Internet visibility. We used this data to guide our marketing for this sale, and it was a near absolute success. The numbers bore this out.”
Holabird likened the auction room to “a war room,” commenting, “With no live bidding in our gallery because of COVID-19, the room contained a complex array of computers and operators, with all phone participation handled by Zoom and our employees working remotely from home around the country. This high-tech approach to the business may well be the wave of the future.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction, which attracted more than 6,000 registered bidders, with just under 600 successful winning bidders and over 550 people participating online live over the course of the four days (with a high of just under 1,000 people online live at a time). The sale had less than ten lots reserved. All prices quoted are inclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC
3555 Airway Drive, Suite 308
Reno, NV 89511
Company :-Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC
User :- Fred Holabird