Casino treasures hit the auction block in Reno
RENO (AP) — A treasure trove of memories — from silver saddles to boxing gloves and circus posters — that once crammed Sharkey’s Nugget in Gardnerville will be sold this weekend to the highest bidder.
Milos “Sharkey” Begovich spent a lifetime acquiring his collection that he displayed at the landmark casino 50 miles south of Reno.
Begovich sold the casino in June to Holder Hospitality Group. The collectibles were part of the deal. All will be sold during a three-day auction that begins Friday in Reno.
The items range from sports memorabilia and ornate Western gear to small tokens of nostalgia.
Big-ticket items include more than 80 saddles, many of them sterling silver, that formed the foundation of the popular display at Sharkey’s Nugget.
Bill Fileger, manager of Anchor Auction that is conducting the sale, believes the ones made by Edward H. Bohlin, who catered to movie star cowboys, would be the auction’s most expensive items, bringing about $100,000 each.
There also are more than 100 paintings of American Indian chiefs done for Begovich by one artist, K.F. Young.
Popular items for people taking a preview look at the auction were hundreds of vintage metal signs advertising everything from railroads to soda pop.
“I used to drink that,” said Tony Valdez of Reno, gazing at a sign for Bireley’s orange soda that said, “Young thirsts deserve the best.”
If you didn’t like Bireley’s, you could try Nichol Kola, “America’s taste sensation” at 5 cents a bottle, or Cook’s Goldblume, “the best beer on earth.”
The signs cover part of two walls in one of two large rooms in the auction house.
Nearby, boxing dominates, with photographs, posters, a glove autographed by Muhammad Ali, and the ringside bell from heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey’s match with Luis Firpo at the Polo Grounds in New York on Sept. 14, 1923.
The loudest item on sale is an orchestral player piano made by the Carty Piano Co. of Manhattan Beach, Calif., that blasts out tunes for 25 cents each.
“Sharkey collected everything,” Fileger said.