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We have just seen Rich Lingenfelter’s new book(s) on mine financing. Entitled “Bonanzas and Borasscas”, Lingenfelter originally was set to write a book on classic historical mining scams. But it turned into a work of a lifetime, and centers more on the specific mining rushes and the gallant efforts made by generations of American business greed to fleece the public of their pocket change (millions!). It’s a MUST READ.

I love the work, but cant help myself at every junction, since each of his stories is so exciting to me that I’m sure he or I could write a book about each incident. There are more indepth stories about mine finance swindles here in these volumes than I can remember seeing anywhere – and very well presented at that. The book(s) remind me that the mining business is really a five part game: A) Theory to grass roots exploration B) Exploration to Development C) Production D) Deconstruction and Environmental mitigation E) The Finance Game which entails all or parts of these These books are about E, above. Only a handful of mine financiers ever ran the gamut of the five steps listed above – among them, and the most successful, was George Hearst. Those of us who have worked at all these parts, particularly the miners and millmen or yore, understood that “profit” was a heck of a lot more than just finding ore that could produce enough bullion to make paychecks. Too often the upper echelon “management” of these companies sandbagged their financial sheets with outrageous expenses so they could take home more cash – which ultimately was at the expense of the shareholder AND the people doing the real work, inclusive of geologists, secretaries and mechanics. The books are fascinating, and to me exciting, but my wife says I’m a whacko at loving mining history. Sound familiar? But all of you have been through this – it was called the “dot-com” era, where public companies were formed, floated, and the principals and brokers took home the cash, leaving the shareholders with an empty bag. How ‘bout the latest Wall Street crash? Same game, new stories. Generally absent are views and stories about the geology, mining engineering and legitimate risk measures undertaken by many of the mining companies.

It would be impossible to add this angle to these books because it would then become a fifty volume set. So, since we can’t spend our lives relating all these stories, you’ll have to read his book and come ask us (Rich and I) about the mining geology angle etc. You can get this book from us, 2 volumes for about $70 plus shipping, or order direct from the Arthur Clark Company. Fred Holabird

Fred and Don


Holabird-Kagin Americana is the combined creative vision of Fred Holabird and Dr. Donald Kagin. Our company is devoted to bringing collectors the greatest Western Americana rarities with an emphasis on numismatics, currency, and western Americana. Under the leadership and direction of Fred Holabird and assisted by the hardworking Reno office and the numismatic experts at Kagin’s, Inc. we have combined the efforts of both companies to bring you a unique piece of western American history in every item we sell and in every catalog we publish. It is our goal to ensure our clients the most accurate, detailed item descriptions and well-researched, historically factual backgrounds.

Holabird-Kagin specializes in buying, selling and appraising western Americana, numismatica (coins, ingots, banknotes), exonumia (pioneer minor coinage/trade tokens), western antiquities and mining goods. This includes coins, tokens, stocks certificates, documents, photographs, assay certificates, postcards and other antiques and collectibles relating to western history, numismatics and mining, dating from c.1800 to c.1930. We produce several fixed price catalogs each year and hold Americana and numismatic auctions of some of the greatest rarities extant, working personally with our clients to help them build significant collections. We have become known for our well-researched histories on the mining companies, historical figures and mining districts of the items we sell.

Our appraisals have involved some of the largest, most expensive museum items ever publicly displayed or sold.

Holabird-Kagin Publications for Purchase

mint state

Mint State Pioneer Minor Coinage:

Fixed price catalog featuring MS-60 and higher graded pieces. This incredible sale will surely fascinate collectors, since much of this material has never before been seen in these conditions.
Now Available! $15.00 or FREE with purchase of $100 or more.

coins of the comstock

Coins of the Comstock:

Another fabulous guide, by Fred Holabird, depicting the story of the pioneer minor coinage evolution and the businesses that used these great pieces throughout the Comstock Mining Region.

rare and collectible

A Treasure Chest of Rare and Collectible Pioneer Minor Coinage:

Fixed price catalog contains 176 full color pages featuring some of the greatest rarities available, unparalleled collections, and Holabird’s fun comprehensive historical research.  A must have for every token collector!
$15.00 or FREE with purchase of $100 or more.

Sallon book

Collecting Guide to the Pioneer Minor Coinage of American Saloons:

One of a kind collecting guide contains 124 colorful pages illustrating saloon tokens from all 50 states, with fun stories on the history of American saloons and liquor laws up until Federal Prohibition. This fun to read picture book is loaded with images of some of the greatest saloon tokens extant. 

rush for gold

THE RUSH FOR GOLD! ~America’s Gold Rushes:

958  Lots cover 560 Pages in full color with complete historical descriptions for almost every piece! This is the most comprehensive catalog of its kind ever published. Amazing mining related items featuring rare gold specimens and ingots, mining books, western ephemera and so much more! It is a must have for collectors and researchers alike.
Order your copy today. $50.

collector edition

THE RUSH FOR GOLD! Collector’s Edition:

Hardbound, individually numbered, autographed by Fred Holabird.   

field guide

Field Guide to Collecting Pioneer Minor Coinage:

Pocket guide to trade tokens by Fred Holabird. Includes a brief history of tokens, collecting categories, shapes, sizes, denominations, conditions, and tables and checklists for the beginner’s collection. $9.95

Other Publications Available

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