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WORMSER BROS' / (round indentation) / SAN FRANCISCO. - Here is one of the classic Western (made) bottles - the famous Wormser barrel! This is the only true Western barrel bitters (or maybe used for liquor too?) bottle (the Turner Brothers barrels are really Eastern items).
These used to be virtually unobtainable - rarely seen even - but due to a couple small caches of them being found in recent years (Nevada & Oregon reportedly) there are a few around now...including this very nice example. These bottles date from only 1869 according to Wichmann's great "Antique Western Bitters Bottles" book (and the Wilson's 1969 classic) who listed them as valued at "$3000 to $7000" in the various shades of amber (the unique light citron green example was unknown at that time). Well, now that there are more of them on the market, the prices have come down...Economics 101! However, there is still a very limited supply of these and they are not showing up much of recent.
Anyway, this offered example is almost 10" tall, has an applied, one-part "oil" type lip or finish, smooth shallowly domed base, and is in a very nice yellow with an amber tone. Call it light yellow amber if you will; lighter than the average example but not quite as light as the lighter example pictured in Wichmann's book. The close-up of the upper body to the left above shows the tone of the color best to my eye. This example is in near mint condition with no chips, cracks, pings, dings or flea-bites (OK one tiny pin prick mark on the back and a very light, short scratch). It has been professionally cleaned (like most of the recent finds) and does retain some scattered, though very light (can't even be seen in the images) residual etching on the inside; the outside is sparkling and smooth. A very nice example that every Western bottle collector should have. This one is priced within the range of the various shades-of-amber ones sold over the past few years. $1750 ON HOLD!
MOULTON'S OLOROSO BITTERS / TRADE / (Pineapple motif) / MARK -These large, heavy glass and very esthetically pleasing bottles have always been a favorite of mine and this example is an very nice one indeed. It has a moderately deep blue aqua color with fluted shoulders, neck, and lower body, stands almost 11.5" tall, with a crudely applied two-part "mineral" finish or lip. It dates from the 1870s. Listed as Ring & Ham M-146 these bottles were apparently from Troy, NY and features the neat, boldly embossed pineapple (all the embossing is bold for that matter). This example (an ex-Heckler auction item) is in near perfect condition with no chips, cracks, noticeable scratches or staining; appears to have never been professionally cleaned. There is a bit of an indentation on the lower left side (visible in photos) that resulted in some lower vertical mold seam roughness. The glass is wavy and bubbly with a string of some partially melted glass component (soda or lime?) within the glass in the neck and upper shoulder which is a cool reminder of the primitive methods still being used in bottle/glass making at the time. In total, all the in-making crudity and deeper than usual blue aqua color adds up to a very pretty bottle at a great price! $395
"Pineapple Bitters" - These familiar shaped bottles are very popular with collectors for obvious reasons and this is an exceptional example. This is the earlier example made from the same mold that was used for either the W & Co / N.Y. or the J. C. & Co examples (or both?) except with the embossing "slugged out" or more accurately stated, with no engraved plate inserted in place of the blank mold plate. (The oval plate covering the engraving is clearly evident in real life on the bottle but only vaguely visible in the enlarged image to the right.) This example is a light to medium golden amber with a beautiful brilliance to the glass. The base has a large (1.5" in diameter) and quite distinct pontil scar - a circular "disk" pontil scar which is an unusual pontil style for these bottles...and unusual on American manufactured bottles for that matter. Click base view to view this light but distinct pontil scar. (For more information on the disk pontil, see my other, comprehensive Historic Bottle Website pontil scars page at this link: http://www.sha.org/bottle/pontil_scars.htm#Sand Pontil ) The bottle is almost 9" tall, bubbles here and there in the glass, has a crudely applied double ring type finish (the finish found on the earlier bottles - click upper neck view to see such), and is ca. 1850s. The condition of this example is essentially perfect as it never appears to have been buried and exhibits a bit of high point wear on the base. There are a few very short in-making stress lines at the finish/upper neck junction where the finishing glass was applied - common on these early bottles - but they are very hard to see. An exceptional specimen and the equal of the almost identical example (same color and plate area [i.e., same mold] though with a blowpipe pontil scar) sold in early 2010 at American Bottle Auctions for over a $1200 (with commission). Bottle acquired for and pictured on the Historic Bottle Website. $650
S. T. / DRAKES / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - This mold variation of the ubiquitous, famous and popular Drake's Plantation Bitters has the PATENTED / 1862 embossed totally on one (the center) roof panel on the reverse. This example shares the same general dimensions as most of the 6-log examples I've sold (bottom of this page), i.e., almost 10" tall, crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar" or LTC), smooth non-pontiled base (6 dots spaced evenly in a circle on the base), and dates from the heyday of the 6-log Plantations - 1865 to the mid to late 1870s. This example is a medium to dark-ish chocolate amber as shown in the images - one in artificial light and the other with natural light - which is relatively "bright" to my eye...it passes light pretty easy for a "darker" color. The embossing is average to good; click on the image to the right to see such in close-up. It is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage; just a few spots of very faint wisps of extremely light haze on the outside label panels and a few very small and unobtrusive spots of (apparent) original contents in the inside. There is also some nice body crudeness in the way of wavy, dimpled glass and scattered bubbles. This is one of those darker but interesting colors that helps set off the moderate to lighter colored Plantations. A beautiful, dark-ish but "bright," crisply molded example. $165
S. T. / DRAKES / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - This example was blown in the same mold as the example listed above so it has the PATENTED / 1862 embossed totally on one (the center) roof panel on the reverse and the 6 dots on the base in a circle. I rarely pick up a Drake's that was made in a mold of one that I already have; there must have literally been scores of different molds used for 6-log Drakes and lots of them for the 4-logs (though less it seems than the 6-log). This example also is almost 10" tall, crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar" and distinctly taller than the example above), smooth non-pontiled base (6 dots spaced evenly in a circle on the base), and dates from the same era noted above - 1865 to the mid to late 1870s. The embossing is average to good though the S. T. is a bit hard to see; click on the image to the right to see a close-up of the front embossing. It is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage...as mint as one sees, though the wear on the base indicates this was probably never buried anyway. There is less body crudeness to this example, though it has a color that is distinctly lighter than the one above and with an "orange" tone to it compared to other amber Drake's I have as well as the other offering above. It is no red amber or anything like that, just a bit of a bright reddish or orange tone that brightens up the color in a window - where I have had it sitting for years. Another beautiful, but "bright" example that in hand with the other darker amber one above could be the start of your color run of Drakes! $160
HUTCHINGS - DYSPEPSIA / BITTERS - NEW YORK - That is embossed on three sides of this scarce "open" pontiled bitters bottle from New York. Listed as H-218 in Ring & Ham, this bottle is listed as..."scarce" - a "they are around but not commonly seen" type thing. This one is a bit different that the listed H-218 in that it has no periods after NEW and YORK like shown in the "Bitters Bible." I've also got a cool rectangular iron pontiled example in my collection made in the same mold lacking the periods as was another example I had years ago. Makes me wonder if Ring & Ham were in error with the periods in the H-218 listing? Whatever it is classified as, this is a nice, larger sized, 1850s era pontiled bitters bottle that was blown in a nice blue-aqua glass. As noted it has an "open" or blowpipe type pontil scar...a big, nasty, sharp blowpipe pontil scar! An image of the base is found at this link - base view. It is 8.3" tall, has a crudely applied moderately long tapered collar (LTC or "oil" finish), a wavy & dimply glass surface with some great bubbles in the glass including stretched and twisted ones in the neck. It is a dug bottle and retains some variably light-ish to moderate water staining to much of the inside, although the outside is clean and unstained it appears (a great candidate for a quick inside tumble in a cleaning machine). The three images show the overall "haze" to the inside relatively well. Otherwise the bottle is near perfect with no chips, cracks, dings, flea bites or other post-manufacturing issues besides maybe a little scratch or scuff mark somewhere, though I don't see obvious ones. In any event, a very nice pre-Civil War bitters bottle at a decent price. $250
S. O. RICHARDSON'S - BITTERS - SOUTH /READING - MASS. - All this is embossed on four sides of this early (1840s or early 1850s) bitters bottle from New England. This one is classified as R57 by Ring & Ham. The product was apparently quite popular and made for an extended period - from 1840 to at least the early 1900s with this bottle being, of course, at the early end of that range. An interesting feature of this mold is that the lettering engraver ran out of room with the "S" in RICHARDSON'S so it goes a bit "off the edge" at the heel. It is 6.25" tall, rectangular in cross-section with very side beveled corners, has an applied flared bead type finish (or want of a better term) that was wrapped crudely around point the blow-pipe was cracked off (the cracked-off surface is still quite apparently on the inside of the neck), and has a very nice blowpipe pontil scar on the base. Click on the image to the right to view a close-up of the blowpipe pontiled base showing the mold seam dissecting the base - a certain indication of production in a true two-piece mold. The color is a nice greenish aqua, glass being quite crude with ample pebbly roughness and whittle to the surface and many bubbles of varying size scattered throughout. Condition is about mint with no chips, cracks or noticeable staining. The only issues are a very, very tiny nick on the edge of the lip rim which is very hard to see or even feel, a few short light scratches (also hard to see), and a small (5 mm long, 2 mm wide), shallow open bubble towards the bottom of the South Reading panel which is non-distracting. This is indeed a very nice example with a lot of character which should please the most discriminating collectors. $95
HARTWIG KANTOROWIGZ / POSEN / HAM: / BURG / GERM: / MANY - All the preceding is embossed on the front of this "case" type bottle that originally held "Litthauer Stomach Bitters." Although German made, the product was widely imported into the U. S. and the bottles pretty commonly found throughout North America. The embossing details vary a lot on the different mold variations; this and all of these variations are cataloged in Ring & Ham as L106L - for labeled bitters. (There are also examples that are embossed with LITTHAUER STOMACH BITTERS.) The style emulated the "case gins" of the era (mid to late 19th century...into the very early 20th) but are of a heavy, thick glass...and of course, usually (though not always) made of milk glass. This example is 9+" tall, has an applied one-part "flaring at the base" lip (typical but distinct style) and a sharply a domed center to the base. The condition is essentially mint with no chips, cracks or other post-production damage though it could have some light scuff marks or scratches which are about impossible to see on this type milk glass. A nice example of a cool bottle that every collector should have in their collection. $65
DR. HENLEY'S / WILD GRAPE ROOT / IXL (in an oval) / BITTERS - These large (at least a quart in capacity) Western bitters bottles are quite popular with collectors since they are...large...have great embossing and found in a myriad of colors. A very popular product, these bottles are found all over the West from the mining camps of Utah, Nevada, and Montana to the big cities of the day - San Francisco, Portland, Sacramento. In my experience visiting lots of the mining camps and ghost towns of the West, it is a rare location where one does NOT find fragments of an IXL - it was that popular. This example is just over 12" tall, a rich "San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works" blue-aqua color (where it was made), the usual domed base, and a very crudely applied "champagne" style banded finish (click on lip image to the left to enlarge). This example probably dates from the early 1880s I would estimate since it fairly crude (stretch marks, bubbles), not air vented resulting in the flattened embossing, and from a mold that lacks the distinctive curved "R" of the earlier mold(s). This example is near mint with no chips, cracks, staining, or repairs - only some light scratching or scuffing here and there. As is a frequent case, the embossing is quite lightly rendered but all easily readable; click on embossing close-up to see such though in real life it is a bit more distinct than the image shows. As is fairly typical with these lighter embossed IXL's - and this mold in particular - the lightest of the embossing is in the middle of the pattern (GRAPE ROOT & IXL and oval) though even that part of the embossing is quite readable with the rest of the embossing a better. All around a great condition bottle with a nice deep aqua coloration though sub-standard embossing; priced accordingly. $145
DAMIANA BITTERS / BAJA CALIFORNIA - This is embossed vertically on two sides of this tall "fifth" or "sixth" sized Western Bitters bottles from San Francisco, CA. 11 1/4" tall, tooled "brandy" finish (with some of the original foil wrapper still remaining), bluish aqua in color, ca. 1890s. Click Baja California embossed side to see such. A nice example of an unusual shaped bitters that began production in the 1870s and continued until about the turn-of-the-century. This is the variant without "Lewis Hess - Manfr'r" on the shoulder and the last of the three molds to be used. This bitters (and the Damiana herb in general) was thought to be a sexual stimulant... Condition is about mint with just a few light scratches and no chips, cracks, or staining. Has a bit of body crudeness in the form of bubbles - including some neat teardrop ones - and stretch marks. $50
LASH'S KIDNEY & LIVER BITTERS Cribbage board - Everyone needs some bottle related go-withs to spice up their bottle collections; here is a cool one that could even be functional today! (With the addition of the pegs and whatever else is needed to play cribbage; I don't.) This cribbage board advertises LASH'S KIDNEY & LIVER BITTERS (that stenciled twice in the middle of the board) and is some type of wood which I have no idea what type it is. The board measures 13" long, 4.2" wide, and 0.75" thick. It is also has the lettering on each end of the working surface noting what the Bitters cured. One end has CURES DYSPEPSIA / INDIGESTION BILIOUSNESS; the other end has CURES HEADACHE / MALARIA / CONSTIPATION. Click on the links to see close-up images of each end showing the lettering. The condition of this board is pretty good as the various images show...with some darkening and/or soiling of the lacquer finish, some chipping and minor staining here and there, but an overall "antique" look to it that is bona fide time related aging. Again, take a close look at the images as they show the condition pretty well. Nice, original board that dates from about 1900 (give or take 5 years) I would guess given that it notes the "curing" of various maladies of the day. I've seen a few of these through the years, but they are uncommon. Neat item! $85
S. T. / DRAKES / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - This mold variation of the ubiquitous Drake's Bitters has the PATENTED / 1862 embossed totally on one (the center) roof panel on the reverse. This example is almost 10" tall, crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar), smooth base (embossed dot in the center), and dates from the heyday of the 6-log Plantations - 1865 to the mid to late 1870s. The glass is medium to dark chocolate-ish amber. It is essentially pristine with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage (besides a touch of base wear and one tiny scratch on one label panel)...and no staining to my eye, even under a bright lamp. There is also some crudeness to the bottle - befitting its early manufacture and the embossing is better than average; see the close-up image enlargement. This is one of those darker but interesting colors that helps set off the moderate to lighter colored Plantations. A solid beautiful, crisply molded, and essentially mint example. SOLD!
S. T. / DRAKE'S / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - Reverse says PATENTED / 1862 on two different roof panels. This is the four-log version of one of the most famous and popular of the bitters bottles but in a beautiful light yellow gold color - a color that is significantly lighter than the other 4 log listed below - and a great window bottle. The images here are quite accurate, though for a comparison of the color versus a medium amber 6 log example click on the two bottle images thumbnail to see a much larger version. The offered example has a crudely applied long tapered collar (i.e. "oil" finish), almost 10" tall, smooth base (two dots), ca. 1875-1885. The embossing is distinct on this example - click close-up to see a close-up of the upper half of this bottle which also shows the color well. The condition is essentially mint with no chips, cracks, staining, dings, or flea bites; just a couple very small, extremely shallow "onion skin" open bubbles on a couple corners is all I can find. Bottle was likely never buried given the wear on the base. This really is a very nice light golden yellow (but not quite pure yellow) example that is somewhat hard to capture in the images. A great "window bottle" color. SOLD!
S. T. / DRAKE'S / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - Reverse says PATENTED / 1862 on two different roof panels. This example is just over 9.75" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar), smooth base (embossed dot in the center with a dissecting line), and dates from the heyday of the 6-log Plantations - mid-1860s to the mid/late 1870s. The glass is medium-ish to dark chocolate-ish amber. It is essentially pristine with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage (besides a touch of base wear) and only the very slightest wisps of content haze inside which is only visible under a bright lamp and then almost invisible. There is also some crudeness to the bottle, i.e., bubbles and differently toned glass befitting its early manufacture - and the embossing is better than average; see the close-up image enlargement which shows the relatively large 1860 of this mold variant. This is one of those darker but interesting colors that helps set off the lighter colored Plantations...or so people say. It's true though, as I have eleven 6-loggers in the window next to my desk (10 distinctly different molds!) - in 11 different shades of amber from light yellow to dark red - and a joy to behold. Also, a row of these is the best line-up of 19th century, esthetically pleasing, crude figural bitters that one can acquire without spending a fortune. Here is a solid, beautiful, crisply molded, and essentially mint example that will please your eye and start your window line-up. SOLD!
S T / DRAKE'S / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - Reverse says PATENTED / 1862 all on just one (middle) roof panel. This example is 9.75" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar), smooth base (with 6 embossed dots in a circle), and dates from the heyday of the 6-log Plantations - mid-1860s to the mid/late 1870s. The glass is light-ish orange amber; the images show the color well to my eye. It is essentially pristine with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage, not even any base wear really. There is also some period crudeness to the bottle, i.e., bubbles and differently toned glass befitting its early manufacture. The embossing is good, maybe a bit better than average; see the embossing close-up image enlargement. I changed my "Plantation window" to another color and shape theme (Saratoga mineral waters) and shifted my Drake's to a smaller window...so a couple most go and this is one of them. As I've noted before, a row of Drakes cabins is the best line-up of 19th century, esthetically pleasing, crude figural bitters that one can acquire without spending a fortune. Here is a solid, beautiful, pretty crisply molded, and essentially mint example that will please your eye and start your window line-up. SOLD!
S. T. / DRAKE'S / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - Reverse says PATENTED / 1862 on two different roof panels. Here is another four-log version of one of the most famous and popular of the 19th century bitters bottles, though instead in a medium golden amber. Plantations make great window bottles to my eye. This example has a somewhat crudely applied long tapered collar (i.e. "oil" finish), a bit over 10" tall, smooth base (except for an embossed one inch+ line with sharp ends), dating ca. 1875-1885. The embossing is also pretty distinct on this example; click the close-up image for a larger version showing the upper half of the bottle body and which also shows the color well. The condition is near mint with no chips, cracks, staining, dings, or flea bites; just a bit of faint interior content staining in the corners of the lower roof panel that is only visible under strong light. Nice example! SOLD!
S. T. / DRAKES / 1860 / PLANTATION / X / BITTERS - Time to get another Drakes on my for sale list! Even though a "common" bottle, they are wildly popular for obvious reasons. I've collected too many of them over the years so time to move another on to make room for other cool bottles. This mold variation of the ubiquitous Drake's Bitters has the PATENTED / 1862 embossed totally on one (the center) roof panel on the reverse. This example is 10" tall, crudely applied "oil" type finish or lip (aka "long tapered collar), smooth base (embossed dot in the center), and dates from the heyday of the 6-log Plantations - 1865 to the mid to late 1870s. The glass is light to medium golden amber; the images show the color well, though in real life there is a "glow" to the color that looks spectacular in a window. It is essentially pristine with no chips, cracks, or other post-production damage besides base wear indicating that this bottle was likely never buried. Also, no staining to my eye even under a bright lamp. There is also some crudeness befitting its early manufacture with the embossing better than average; see the close-up image enlargement. This is one of those never ending interesting colors with Drake's that help set off the darker amber colored Plantations. A solid, beautiful, crisply molded, and dead mint example. SOLD!
AFRICAN / STOMACH / BITTERS - This is embossed horizontally on this nice Western bitters produced by the Spruance, Stanley & Co. of San Francisco. This example is the one without the company name embossed and dates from the early 1880s, i.e., maybe as early as 1881 or 1882 and as late as 1885. How do I deduce that? Well, it has one small single mold air venting mark on the shoulder on both sides, indicating it isn't probably earlier than around 1880 or 1881, it has an applied finish typical of no later than the mid-1880s, and it has the "curved R's" of the Bay Area mold engraver that was active from the early 1870s to maybe as late as 1885 (based on other bottles with these distinctive "R's"). In any event, this example is just short of 9.5" tall, has a crudely applied "oil" finish or lip, smooth base, and was blown in a four-piece mold it appears. The color is a bright medium golden amber and the glass has crudeness in the form of a bit of "whittle" waviness and scattered bubbles. The bottle appears sparking mint and appears to have been never professionally cleaned. The only issues are a very small, very fine and extremely difficult to see hairline annealing check that is about 3/8" long underneath the "C" in STOMACH and a very small and equally invisible impact mark just below the air venting mark on the reverse...all of which sounds worse than it is. Otherwise this is a very nice, clean, and esthetic example...but priced accordingly. SOLD!
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