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  • Ceremonial silver railroad spike to make $35,000 in Reno auction?
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Ceremonialrailroadsilverspike

Ceremonial silver railroad spike to make $35,000 in Reno auction?

A ceremonial engraved silver railroad spike is to auction at Holabird Western Americana Collections with a valuation of $15,000-35,000 in Reno on September 14.

It was presented to the head of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1881 by the people of Rosita, Colorado following the arrival of the line at nearby Westcliffe.

Rosita silver spike
The silver spike was presented by the people of Rosita to the head of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad

The company had won control of the route from rival Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line during the infamous Railroad Wars of the late 1870s.

Each side hired armed gunmen following a row over access to Colorado's Royal Gorge, which led to the prosperous silver encampments in the Rocky Mountains.  

The Leadville Democrat reported on May 27, 1881: "A band was in attendance at the depot when the ceremony of driving a silver spike was presented by the citizens of Rosita and made from the silver of the Rosita mines."

Very few silver spikes from the birth of the American railroads have survived, this example being one of only two in private collections.  

The sale will also feature a Lake Tahoe broadside dating to 1878.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Ceremonialrailroadsilverspike