5 pieces of US railroad memorabilia you need to see



2015-06-26 14:07:07

5. Broadside 

This exceptional broadside was issued by the Hannibal & St Joseph railroad to advertise land for sale in Missouri. It promises"500,000 Acres of the Best Prairie, Timber, and Coal Lands in the West!"  The lot sold for $18,000 at Cowan's in Ohio in 2013. 

4. Northern Pacific Railroad photographs

Image: Cowan's The Northern Pacific railroad was among the most important routes in America, connecting the northernmost parts of the Eastern and Western United States.  Built in 1864 it hovered up millions of dollars and took up almost 20 years to build.  These photographs document the final spike ceremony in 1883. The collection made $25,000 at Cowan's in 2013.  

3. Silver railway spike

Image: Holabird Western Americana Collections The railroad spread opportunity and wealth wherever it went, with the result that people were usually extremely grateful when it arrived at their town.  This ceremonial silver spike was given to the head of the Denver & Rio Grande railroad by the people of Rosita, Colorado in 1881.  It sold for $22,000 at Holabird Western Americana Collections last year.  

2. Pullman Porters archive 

Image: Swann Auction Galleries The Pullman Porters were former slaves who were employed to work on sleeper cars in the aftermath of emancipation in 1860.  They established the first black union in America and were key to the development of a black middle class. This set of materials and memorabilia, including a rare uniform, sold for $22,800 at Swann Auction Galleries in New York in 2013. 

1. Transcontinental Railroad cane

Image: Heritage Auctions The first Transcontinental Railroad was among the most remarkable engineering projects of all time, spanning 1,907 miles.  At its completion in 1869, this cane was made from the tree used to make the final sleeper. Aditionally part of the gold from the golden spike was also incorporated.  It was commissioned by David Hewes, brother in law of Leland Stanford – the head of the railway. It sold for $113,525 at Heritage Auctions in 2012.

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