The Haines Sheldon Museum recently acquired the notary public stamp of pioneer Mayor and postmaster Solomon Ripinsky.

The cast-iron and steel embossing device used for notarizing official documents is engraved with the words, “Sol Ripinsky – Notary Public – District of Alaska.” It’s the first personal possession of Ripinsky the museum has acquired, said Niall Hackett, operations and education manager.

The embosser came as a gift from Kelly Turney, a Palmer-based antique scout and dealer who spent time in Haines in October surveying two estates, including one that belonged to Richard Manuel, a miner who lived for decades in a modest house on Union Street.

Manuel arrived in Haines in the late 1920s and collected broadly, including such items as a mill for crushing rock, a never-used emergency parachute, sights for a Sherman tank and a hydrogen generator.

Other pieces included old guns, bags of coins, a dresser fashioned from the wood of crates for Zarembo Mineral Spirits, a tonic company that operated in Southeast Alaska in the early 1900s, and a treadle sewing machine dating to around 1915 – as well as a photo of the machine in a Haines home in 1957.

An antiques dealer for 10 years, Turney said Manuel’s home ranked among his “top five treasure hunts.”

“It kept me up at night, there was so much cool stuff that we didn’t see or get to,” Turney said in an interview.

Contrary to some rumors, Turney said he did not find any hidden gold. He did acquire several mining books, some of Manuel’s notes and a 1922 map of placer claims in the Porcupine Mining District that he sent off to a friend in Juneau.

He filled up a truck and trailer. “I still have six or seven 27-gallon tubs of things I haven’t gone through,” he said.

As the top of the embosser stamp is written in reverse, it took some deciphering and a Google search to understand what it was, Turney said.

“My 19-year-old daughter got in there and wrote down what it said. We looked it up and said, ‘This has to go back to Haines. That means way more to them than it ever would mean to someone up here,'” he said.

The bottom half of the embossing stamp – a medallion-sized metal disc or “die” with identical lettering that is raised instead of recessed and written forward instead of backward – is missing.

It’s unclear how Manuel acquired Ripinsky‘s embosser, which was found in an upstairs work area in the Union Street home. Turney donated it to the museum along with a book autographed by some prominent local people.

“I thanked him profusely,” said museum worker Hackett. “I am so thrilled that he thought of us and brought it here. He could have just taken it to his big antique store in Palmer.”

Ripinsky arrived in Haines in 1886. In the 1890s, he operated a post office and general store in Haines, including at “Chilkat,” a historic settlement at the current site of 1.5 Mile Mud Bay Road. He was appointed U.S. Commissioner in Haines in 1899 and was elected Mayor of the new City of Haines in 1916.

The mountain overlooking Haines bears his name.