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    Yukon Gold Archive Composed of Three Ledgers of the Northern Pacific Express Company for the Years 1898 to 1905. Three tall clothbound ledgers, 10" x 14.25", each containing more than 450 pages of yellow carbon paper containing copies of letters, abstract waybills, shipping logs, supplies lists and settlement statements recording all transactions for the Skagway, Alaska office. The narrative of the letters written by the clerks provides a full picture of commerce and daily life in the town.

    Upon the discovery of gold in the late 1890s, people from all over world arrived at Skagway, Alaska to begin their journey to the camp mines along the Klondike River. Located in a port city with a deep harbor, the Skagway office of the Northern Pacific Express Company (later known as the Alaska Pacific Company) became a hub of commerce. Of course the allure of quick fortune attracted a criminal element, and the clerks' letters tell of these stories as well.

    In a letter dated July 17, 1898 contained in the first of the three ledgers, agent N.C. Battin reports: "I found business at a standstill and the law being administered by the citizens... at the close of business last night we had persuaded 17 people to leave the town... making 27 in all of undesirable citizens that we are rid of not counting the notorious Soapy Smith who fell early in the fight shot through the heart..." Battin's notes include many important pioneer figures from the period, and often comments on the challenges of the job. The following year Battin resigns citing that he provided "a good service for measly earnings".

    In a letter dated October 12, 1898 addressed to Wells Fargo Bank, agent H.P. Blankenship writes: "Gentlemen, you will take this [gold dust] to the U.S. mint and send returns by the Alaska Pacific Express Co.... This dust is from Discovery Claim on Wright Creek." Another letter cites that credit has been established for the Alaska Brewing Company in Dyea.

    Letters also discuss insurance for the shipment of gold dust, as well as the state of different industries in the region. In a letter dated October 11, 1903, an agent writes: "... you will notice about 50% falling off on the different commodities excepting milk... The fish business was killed for Dawson by the Canadian Customs cording & sealing at Summit..."

    An accounting dated October 31, 1903 lists the "Receipts for Gold passing this point 1903 Received by Stage from Dawson prior to June 1st 341,264.66 / June 1st to Oct 31 - 9640,102.53 / From Atlin Dist. - 395,864.00 / Total for Season $10,377,231.19..." The same page lists the names of the steamship companies responsible for transporting the aforementioned gold.

    The clothbound ledgers have soiling commensurate with age and use to the exterior, but all interior pages are clean, and remarkably legible. The ledgers represent a substantial primary source for the history of the Yukon Gold Rush as well as a relic from the period.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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