Large Map in Paper Wraps for the Greene Consolidated Gold Company

Mining for Gold in Sonora, Mexico

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306. [MAP]. [GREENE CONSOLIDATED GOLD COMPANY]. RAND, McNALLY & company. Mexico [scale below title]; [inset map at lower left] Topographical Map of the Eastern Portion of the State of Sonora, showing the operating and projected railways with relation to the property of the Greene Consolidated Gold Co...;[table of Mexican cities in left margin]; [below neat line lower center] Compliments Greene Consolidated Gold Company. N.p.: Rand, McNally, 1904 (with copyright for 1891). Color lithograph map, overall sheet size: 53 x 67.5 cm. Folded into printed pocket covers (14.4 x 6.6 cm), upper cover titled: Mexico Compliments of Greene Consolidated Gold Company.... [verso and lower wrapper with additional text: board of directors, promotional statements, detached post card for further information, etc.]. A few clean splits and slight chipping to lower blank margin, otherwise a very fine, fresh copy of an ephemeral map.

     First edition. The mining venture was incorporated in West Virginia in 1904 with capital stock of $5,000,000, and its president was William Cornell Greene. The Huntington Library in San Marino owns a seven-page copy of the company’s prospectus dated 1904. The 1891 copyright date and the 1904 publication date of the present map document Rand, McNally’s practice of recycling and adding features to their basic maps for special-purpose maps, such as this one.

     A native son of Wisconsin, Greene (1852-1911) was a U.S. businessman famous for discovering rich copper reserves in Cananea, Mexico, the basis for the creation of his wealth. He went on to found the Greene Consolidated Copper Company in 1899. By 1905, William Greene was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the world. Unfortunately, the Lawson Panic of 1904 and mining strikes two years later led to the demise of the Greene Consolidated Gold Company. The panic was precipitated by Thomas Lawson, a popular investor and writer of his day, who created a selling frenzy on Wall Street that devalued Greene Consolidated shares. Two years later after partial recovery, the venture flopped when the company came under siege by hostile miners demanding equal pay. Local Sonoran rurales and uninvited Arizona Rangers brought order back to the mining operation. Greene reportedly prevailed on account of his numerous encounters with local Native tribes and outlaws who roamed the areas where he prospected. Overactive acquisitions of mining properties without developing them also diminished Greene’s wealth and fostered his financial demise. He led an adventurous life while prospecting and ranching in the Borderlands of the southwestern United States and Mexico.

     Steven E. Sanderson, Agrarian Populism and the Mexican State: The Struggle for Land in Sonora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), pp. 43-44:

The Sonoran boom of the Porfiriato took many forms, according to region and economic sector of activity. In the North and Álamos, mining companies from the United States revamped the decaying remains of the colonial system of mineral extraction. Probably the most illustrious example of Yanqui presence in Sonora’s mines was Colonel William C. Green, whose Cananea Consolidated Copper Company gave rise to the Cananea Realty Company, the Cananea Cattle Company, the Green Consolidated Gold Company, the Yaqui River Gold and Silver Company, and the Bonanza Belt Copper Company, in addition to timber lands, sheep ranches, railroads, and other activities.

See also Charles L. Sonnichsen, Colonel Greene and the Copper Skyrocket: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of William Cornell Greene Copper King, Cattle Baron and Promoter (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1974).


Sold. Hammer: $125.00; Price Realized: $153.13.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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