“We’ll be interested to piece off this large collection of photos,” said Mike Traum, spokesperson for the Nugget.
The images include one of Jim Butler and Wyatt Earp at the Northern Bar in Tonopah.
Another local photo shows Sparks’ “B” Street, or what is now Victorian Avenue, with some of its businesses, including Sierra Pacific Power Co., Toggery, and the Bank of Sparks, which is now the Blue Garter wedding shop.
The Nugget staff, and even president John Ascuaga himself, will be happy to see these items go in an auction this weekend as about 1,000 items will be auctioned off to anyone who wants a piece of the Nugget’s history.
The Nugget is currently doing well, Traum said, but a recent warehouse move left the Ascuagas and staff many excess items that now cannot be stored.
Ascuaga said the auctioning off of the antiques is like “doing remodeling.”
“It’s like your house – you go through stuff and you think, ‘Oh, I gotta keep this,’ ” but there’s just no room for it, he said.
Old memorabilia ranged from tea kettles and canisters to “76” gas pumps and bicycles.
Baxtin’s Inc., based in Reno, is handling this weekend’s event. The company specializes in auctions and appraisals.
Bill Austin, an employee of Baxtin’s, has built up experience in the business and can recognize a unique collection. He called the Nugget’s showcase “unique.”
“There are some John Ascuaga’s Nugget providences here that I’ve never seen before, like this V&T Railway bell,” Austin said. “Things like that are hot items.”
Once it starts, the auction will allow people to enter the Rose Ballroom and register immediately with staff on four computer stations for a number to identify themselves. From a catalog, potential buyers can choose on what they want to bid. Every item will have a lot number and the bids will progress in chronological order, so people are free to float in and out of the ballroom if they are interested a particular lot, Austin said.
When the bidding is complete and a buyer has the item, they then return to the staff in the back and may pay for the item by cash or credit card.
Baxtin’s will charge a 10-percent premium on all items, so if an item is sold for $10, the buyer pays $11, and this premium just covers the cost of setting up and for the computer equipment, Austin said.
Austin expects the V&T bell to be the big selling item at anywhere between $1,500 and $6,500. On other items, it’s hard to say what they could go for, he said.
Traum noted this would be an opportunity for collectors of relics to get a piece of Nugget – and Ascuaga – history. Some of Ascuaga’s personal things up for auction are his Schwinn bicycles with name tags that have his name incorrectly engraved as “Ascuga.”
“Mr. Ascuaga is such a public person – he’s a pillar,” Traum said.
Proceeds from the auction likely will go back into the Nugget, Traum said, although the intentions for it have not been made clear yet.
The auction runs in the Nugget’s Rose Ballroom on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until completion. A preview of items will be on Friday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.