A collection of memorabilia connected to pioneer politician and businessman Jack Coghill is up for online auction in Fairbanks this week.

Although listed as an estate sale, not all of the items come directly from the Coghill family. Nevertheless, there is a lot of history here.

For example, the first cash box from the Coghill General Store, more than 100 years old, is included.

“It still functions,” said Jacob Griswold of Last Frontier Auction & Sales. “When you open the drawer, the bell still rings.”

Jack Coghill’s walking stick, with his name carved in it, is up for auction. That item actually did come from the family, according to John Coghill.

There is a long list of items, including historic documentation, maps, photographs of attendees of the Alaska Constitutional Convention, a lot of political pins, and the front page of a newspaper declaring Alaska becoming a state in 1959. Jack Coghill was a member of the Alaska Constitutional Convention that helped lead to statehood. He also once served as Alaska’s lieutenant governor.

Online auctions are turning into the new normal since COVID-19 hit earlier last year. At this auction house, online auctions are generally active for one week. But due to Jack Coghill’s historic significance, this particular auction will be open for bidding for two weeks, ending at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Here’s how it works: Go to the website www.lastfrontierauction.com and click on the link to online auctions. Register there and you can begin bidding.

“The industry seems to be moving to online,” Griswold said.

The new online format provides flexibility and allows participation nationwide, not just Alaskans who can make it to the weekly auctions in person. Of course, that was before COVID-19 put those in person auctions on hold.

People who live outside Alaska tune in often.

“I have customers who participate from California on a weekly basis,” he said.

The average age of folks who attend live auctions at his business are in the 50s and 60s. Younger people are more comfortable online, he said.

Hats and pins from the Nenana Alaska Lions Club, once owned by Jack Coghill, are among many items available for auction. This collection also includes some Alaska memorabilia that Griswold obtained from other antique vendors. For instance, there is a 76-inch long harpoon made by Alaska artist Tony Henry. It is made from wood, ivory, bone and seal gut.

“There’s a lot of Alaska collectibility in this one,” Griswold said.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com.


Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at kcapps@newsminer.com, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.