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(Late Colonial to Civil War era including some European bottles used in the U.S.)

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Horse and Cart "Railroad" side - Spread Eagle -  Here is a nice example of a relatively "common" figured or historical flask which commemorated the expanding railroad-ization of the United States during the first half of the 19th century.  The railroad flasks were considered as a large (mold examples) and distinct enough group that McKearin & Wilson in their monumental work "American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry" (1978) broke them out as a separate category designated as the GV (G5) grouping. 

This example was listed as GV-9 and is firmly attributed to the Coventry Glass Works in Connecticut which operated from 1813 to 1849 - truly "Early American."  They dated this mold to the late 1820s to 1830s and it is essentially identical to the equally "common" GV-8 mold except the GV-9 did not have the SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD embossing around the horse and cart nor the 17 stars around the eagle.  (Note: This flask may be from the same mold as the GV-8 which would make it a later product with the addition of the inscription and stars?  There is certainly room for all that in the GV-9 empty areas. The reworking of molds was very common back in the 19th century.)  Anyway, this flask is firmly attributed to Coventry due to the work of Harry Hall White in the early 20th century who did excavations at many eastern glass works sites back when one could do such.  He found shards of this flask along with many others during his work.  His work was critical to the attribution of scores of different bottles and flasks to an assortment of early glass companies.  Thanks Harry!

This flask is what is considered a pint in size (probably more like 12 oz.) which is typical of most of the railroad flasks as only two molds - also the products of the Coventry Glass Works - were half pint in size; no quarts.  This flask is 6.75" tall, has a cracked-off/sheared and re-fired lip or "finish" and a blowpipe pontil scar on the key mold base.  A close-up of the lip is found at this link - close-up of the finish.  An image of the base and pontil scar is available at the following link - base view.

Condition of this flask is very good with no chips, cracks, potstone radiations or other issues.  It does have a stable (no radiations) potstone in one shoulder which along with the wavy, crude and bubbly glass makes this bottle look its early age.  It also has a bit of "orange peel" crudeness to the surface though just enough to enhance the look of the flask without being too much.  There is some high point wear to the eagle's upper breast shield and one wing as well as a bit here and there on the horse & cart side on the horse's butt, a small patch on the rail and a couple spots on the cart.  Also typical wear on the base for a bottle that has never been buried - see base view image linked above.  All are a minor visual distraction and typical of these flasks since the early owners of these flasks often laid them on their sides.  Oh, and the glass color is a bright medium golden amber, reminiscent of the works from the Granite Glass Works (Stoddard, NH) though these are not believed to by connected to that equally famous glass company.  I see no olive at all in the color; the amber is quite accurately shown in the images.  Nice example of what is now essentially a 200 year old flask!  $350


I. F. / 1822 - That is embossed - or more accurately "impressed" I guess - in the center of this applied seal, called a "blob seal" by collectors.  This is not technically "early American" as it is certainly English in origin although the time period is right and it is an interesting bottle chock full of history.  This style was also widely imitated by early American bottle makers.  This is one of the earliest of the revolutionary Rickett's three-piece, "open-and-shut" molded bottles - a mold type which was patented in December of 1821 in England (and I believe patented a bit later in the US).  I used this bottle to describe this squatty early 19th century style on my Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website (HBW).  Here is the write-up from the HBW:

The olive green bottle...is a sand pontiled three-piece Ricketts' mold produced...spirits bottle which is blob sealed and dated 1822, which is likely the date of manufacture.  It is also embossed H. RICKETT'S & CO. GLASS WORKS BRISTOL on the base and PATENT on the shoulder.  Click Rickett's base for a close-up picture of the pontil scar and some of the embossing.  Though English in origin, this shape of bottle was commonly made and/or used in the U.S. during the first third of the 19th century (McKearin & Wilson 1978).  This particular bottle has the early version of the applied mineral finish with the relatively short upper part which was common during the 1820s to 1840s era on Rickett's and similar bottles.  This particular bottle was thought to have been made for a John Fothergill of Kingthorpe Hall, near Pickering, Yorkshire, England although firm documentation is lacking and it is possible that these bottles were blown for an American customer since several (including this example) have been located in the U.S. (Burton 2015: 859-860). 

This bottle is the actual example illustrated in Burton's monumental 3 vol. work "Antique Sealed Bottles - 1640-1900," page 860 and described on page 859.  Burton copied the image I took for inclusion on the HBW on the Liquor/Spirits Bottles Typology page at this link: https://sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm.  (I'm flattered actually.)  He also notes some details about the bottle including that there were "3+" examples estimated in existence.  Burton also noted that an example was part of the famous Charles Gardner collection auctioned in 1975.  Of note is that the most recent sale of an example (not the Gardner auction example; see below) as a "private sale" in England in 2003 for £650 which would have been over $1000 USD at that time according to an online historical exchange rate calculator. 

(Note:  This is a bottle I've owned for a long time having been one of around 45 bottles I acquired back in the 1980s from an elderly gentleman who was an early bottle collector in New Orleans who put together a collection of early bottles during the late 1940s or early 1950s.  Most of bottles were early American though there were a few foreign bottles in the mix like this bottle.  The group included historical flasks, New England chestnut flasks, snuff bottles, an unusual clear green New England style "Pitkin" half post flask, snuff bottles (below) and many more - virtually all dating from or well before the American Civil War.  Virtually all were in in mint condition with the appearance of having never been buried.  Apparently Gardner had two examples of this sealed bottle - one of which he kept and the other sold to the New Orleans collector since that collector kept records and noted which bottles were from Gardner.)

As noted, the bottle is "embossed" in the seal with I. F. / 1822.  At that time an "I" was often used as a "J"; thus, the possible attribution to John Fothergill.  The shoulder has the word PATENT weekly - but visibly - embossed just above the horizontal mold line that marks the interface between the lower "dip" mold portion (no mold seams except on the base) and the upper two-part shoulder and neck mold.  Click view of the shoulder, neck and finish to see such including the slightly bulging neck and applied two-part early "mineral" finish.  Click view of the shoulder mold lines to see such with a few of the letters for PATENT showing slightly (it is more visible in real life), the mold lines in that area, moderate bubbly glass and generally nice surface to this likely never buried bottles.  The base is embossed as noted earlier; click Rickett's base to see such including the relatively bold sand or disk pontil scar.  The heavy glass (bottle weighs almost 2 lbs.) is a nice light to medium olive green which passes light well, has some whittle to the body, swirls in the glass and other crudeness to the shoulder and neck.  It is about 7.75" tall and I would guess the internal capacity at 25-30 fluid oz.  Condition is essentially mint with just a small patch (1.5" x 0.75") of dirt or light stain inside just below the "T" in PATENT.  I have never tried to wash it out in the 35 years I've had it but believe it would.  Otherwise the bottle is essentially perfect with no chips, cracks, dings, potstone bruises or scratching that I can see; just 200 years of wear on the outside edge of the base just beyond the noted embossing.  Great item and I'll miss it!  $850


LOUIS KOSSUTH - U.S. STEAM FRIGATE MISSISSIPPI calabash bottle - This is probably the most heavily embossed, most historically interesting and beautiful bottle I've ever owned...for an aqua bottle.  This great "calabash" bottle is listed as GI-112 in McKearin & Wilson who also note that it is "comparatively scarce" which they note is 75-150 specimens known by the authors at that time.  I would agree as one see's them periodically at the major auction houses (where this came from some years ago) but not all the time.  (Note: I explain "calabash" bottles on my educational website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/liquor.htm#Calabash%20Bottles )

This bottle also was produced in array of colors from the most commonly seen (this nice blue aqua) to various shades of amber, emerald and yellow green, all the way to dark olive green ("black glass").  Wouldn't a color run of this bottle in that range of colors be quite a grouping all together!  That run would be way beyond my means in retirement so I settled for this fine example for what I wanted to use it for which was to illustrate on my Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website.  I've yet to add it to my section on "figured" or "historical" liquor flasks, but I've got the images now and will add a brief history once I write it below.  So the bottle is for sale here...

The front side - portrait side - is embossed as described by McKearin & Wilson:  "Kossuth, full-faced bust in uniform with high hat and plume. Bust rests between furled flags, two on either side, lower left flag showing seven 5-pointed stars. LOUIS KOSSUTH" in semicircle above bust."  Louis Kossuth was known as the Hungarian Patriot for leading a revolution that freed Hungary from Austria though after a few years of freedom, the Russian Czar crushed the rebellion and Kossuth had to flee.  As with Jenny Lind about the same time, Kossuth drew the attention of P. T. Barnum who brought him to the U.S. knowing that there was a hunger by Americans for those who led republican revolutions elsewhere.   Click close-up of the front body embossing to see such.

The reverse has the following - again from McKearin & Wilson:  "Large frigate sailing left, flags flying, large wheel on the side of the vessel and water beneath. Beneath the water in three lines, "U.S. STEAM FRIGATE MISSISSIPPI, HUFFSEY"  On upper arc of wheel on frigate "S. HUFFSEY" and beneath markings possibly intended for letters too indistinct to be determined on any specimens we have examined."  This was the ship that brought Kossuth to the US from England in October of 1851.   Click close-up of the back body embossing to see such.

If that wasn't enough the base is even more interesting...at least to me.  It is embossed on three lines with the following:  "PH. DOFLEIN MOULD MAKER NTH. 5! St 84".  Overlaying some of that embossing is an iron pontil scar about 1.5" in diameter with lots of iron left behind.  Click base view to see such.  This is the only bottle I've ever seen where the actual mold maker is clearly noted engraving his name and address on the bottle.  Yes, there are all kinds of makers markings identifying the glass company that made a particular bottle but this is the only one with the actual mold maker clearly marked.  Actually, I've never seen any embossing identifying any specific glass worker involved in the production of a mouth-blown bottle, just company related markings.  The mold makers was Phillip Doflein, a German immigrant who began his career as a mold maker in Philadelphia, PA. in 1842.  The mold for this bottle having been made in early 1851 according to McKearin & Wilson.  (For more information on Kossuth and the S.S. Mississippi see McKearin & Wilson pages 469-472; Wikipedia at this link -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lajos_Kossuth). 

This bottle is about 9.25" tall, probably holds a quart or so, has a somewhat crudely applied "oil" finish with a bit of slop over (click close-up of the neck and finish to see such), and the noted iron pontil scar. The glass color is a pale blue aqua as the images show with an assortment of smallish bubbles scattered throughout.  Forgot to mention that these bottles are attributed to M'Carty & Torreyson, Wellsburg, W. Virginia by McKearin & Wilson as well as previous researchers.  However, in a quick check of the much more recent FOHBC auction results I see that this mold has also been attributed to the Millford Glass Works (Millford, NJ), the Isabella Glass Works (New Brooklyn, NJ) or just generically to "a South Jersey Glass Works."  Condition is perfect as I see no post-production damage whatsoever and it has no staining or scratching as I'm sure it was never buried; there isn't even much wear visible around the resting points of the base.  One of the great American bottles (even with the Hungarian on it).   $475


CHESNUT GROVE / "crown?" ornament / WHISKEY / C. W. -  That is embossed inside a raised circle - a faux "blob" seal - it being actually mold engraving to form an embossed  imitation seal whereas the earlier (?) examples were actual applied and impressed seals (see below).   See the image to the immediate right (click to view a larger version).  The reverse has an unusual circular indentation the same size as the embossed seal.  Inside that indented circle is another small indentation which is also of unknown meaning or utility.  (See the image to the far right.)  The C. W. in the in the faux seal stands for Charles Wharton who was an early to mid 19th century Philadelphia liquor dealer located at 116 Walnut St.  The name of his whiskey was as embossed - Chesnut Grove Whiskey - with no "T" unlike the tree.  I'm sure there is some history behind that spelling, but I don't know what it is.  Click close-up of the faux seal to see such.

Wharton's success was probably a combination of an upscale spirits product as well as beautiful, equally upscale packaging in the form of various "chestnut" style handled jugs (like this), small pocket flasks and a differently shaped, somewhat larger and unusual pour spout handled jug which was embossed WHARTON'S / WHISKEY / 1850 / CHESTNUT GROVE. (I also have an example of that jug which will be listed for sale in the more distant future).  This 1850 whiskey jug spelled Chestnut properly with a "T" and was also embossed with WHITNEY GLASS WORKS GLASSBORO, N.J. on the base which was highly likely to also be the maker of this and the true applied seal jugs.  (Both Chesnut Grove bottles are shown together below.) 

This offered example is 8.75" tall, has an applied "ring" type finish, was blown in a true two-piece mold (side mold seams proceed over the heel to connect equally dissecting the base) as well as a large circular disk type pontil scar.  Click image of the base to see this large (about 1.75" in diameter) pontil scar.  (Note:  I cover this type of pontil scar on my educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website" at the following link - https://sha.org/bottle/pontil_scars.htm .)  Click base view to see such.  The color of this example is a beautiful light to medium golden amber which passes the light well - a great window bottle!  The body is completely covered with "hammered" whittle - actually cold mold - waviness adding to the beauty of it.  The handle is perfect including no application fissures at the neck and shoulder connection points and a completely intact with a much better than average decorative finial and rigaree (the rippled application point on the shoulder) which are often not complete on many handled jugs.  Click view of the applied handle to see such.  This one is perfect!

According to the seller I procured this bottle from, it was formerly in the famous Dr. Burton Spiller collection most of which was auctioned by Glass Works Auctions in (May 2000) although this example doesn't retain an auction tag indicating such.  Having fished my copy of that auction catalogue from the attic I checked and indeed an example of the "embossed seal" variant was offered (and sold for $185+ commission).  It was about identical in glass color and nice crudity, but alas, the finial and rigaree are different...this offered example actually being much more ornate than the example at the Spiller auction (Lot #132); more like the handle on the applied seal example offered below.  That doesn't mean that the seller of this one didn't acquire it from Dr. Spiller at a bottle show or otherwise.

This example is in absolutely mint condition with no chips, cracks, potstone bruises, or other post-production (or even during production) issues.  It has some base wear around the resting point but even that is minimal.  It appears the bottle was sitting somewhere little moved for most of it's 160 years of life, it dating from the 1855 to 1865 period.  Oh, and McKearin & Wilson's great book American Bottles and Flasks (1978) included the ad at the following link:  1860 Chesnut Grove Whiskey advertisement   That ad appeared in the year 1860 and has an illustration of these bottles but one can't tell whether it was the blob or embossed seal.  It does seem to indicate that the indented circle opposite the embossed side may have been for a paper label, albeit smaller than that shown in the illustration?  As fine an example as one can acquire!   $295


CHESNUT GROVE / "crown?" ornament / WHISKEY / C. W. - As discussed above, there were two versions of these Chesnut Grove style handled jugs.  The molded version listed and described above and the free-blown jug shown in the far left image as well as the right bottle in the image to immediate left.  Both have "right hand" applied handles with a bit of difference to the decoration on the lower attachment point, aka the "filial."  I call them right handed since holding these in ones right hand you can still see the cool "seal" - fake like above or the real McCoy like this offering.

These likely earlier examples with the "harder to obtain" true applied seal (according to the auction catalog noted above) were NOT mold blown, but rather free-blown with the help of various simple glass maker tools.  Thus, this type of jug exhibits no mold seams and tend to have much smoother bodies than the mold blown ones which can be quite "whittled" as one can see better by clicking on the images of the listing above. (Tangent Alert:  I believe it is actually impossible to get "whittle" marks on a free-blown bottle since the whittle marks are a function of the hot glass hitting a colder - relatively speaking - iron mold surface.  The molds were typically hot but just much less hot than the 2000 degree glass just out of the glass pot.)

This fine specimen is 8.75" tall, about 6.5" wide and 3" deep - all about the same as it's younger (?) brother above.  It has a similar though more "banded" applied finish - almost a champagne style finish.  And as noted it was free-blown without the use of a mold.  The base - click base view to see such - has a typical and distinct blowpipe style pontil scar centered in the base.  I'm sure the moderate indentation of the base is also done when affixing the pontil rod for lip finishing by simply pushing it appropriately firm against the still plastic glass just enough to get a better, more even base for sitting stable.  The handle is fully intact (the tips often snap off of the lower affixing point during manufacture) and was finished by just curling the end back on itself.  Click view of the shoulder, neck and handle to see such closer up.

Condition of this jug - like its brother (sister?) above - is essentially dead mint...just like it was made a good 160+ years ago.  The glass has some nice swirls in the glass as well as a few little bubbles here and there.  It appears that Whitney Glass Works, who was an expert producer of all kinds of bottles, knew how to mix up a batch of glass without introducing a lot of bubbles in the glass which weaken the bottle if too abundant.  A fine example!  $275 

(However, if you just must have both of these Chesnut Grove jugs I would let the pair go for $550 plus shipping.)


DR. TOWNSEND'S - SARSAPARILLA - ALBANY / N. Y. - Here offered is a big and heavy (2 full pounds of glass!) classic early American medicinal bottle from New York which is well know to most collectors.  Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla bottles were made in this basic shape and embossing pattern in scores of different molds from the 1830s until at least the 1880s. 

The excellent article series on Townsend's in Antique Bottle & Glass Collector magazine a couple years back (by Rick Ciralli) covers the varying molds of the earlier (and largely pontiled) examples including this one (August 2015 issue, pages 36-37) which is the "very scarce" mold DT-17.  Rick's pictured example is a "medium olive green" though this offered one is more of a medium to dark-ish (lighter in the upper 3/4ths and dark in the lower 1/4th) olive amber.

This 9.5" tall example is very crude with varying color intensity and some fine swirls through the body, a very crudely applied and formed one part tapered lip/finish with nice slop-over below the bottom of the lip that is visible in the images.  The glass surface is also nicely crude with indentations, texture, bubbles of all sizes in the glass, etc.  Click base view to see such showing the large, rough and very distinct glass-tipped, disk or possibly a very crude "sand" pontil scar (aka "sticky ball pontil").  Not sure which to call it though the linked base view shows what is there well.  (For a discussion of pontil types see my educational Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website page on such.)  The bottle is in about mint condition with no chips, cracks, pings or significant staining inside.  It has some minor fine scratching here and there - hard to see.  It has no staining I can see on the inside, but does have some spotty light wear (faint staining?) in a few patches here and there on several of the panels.  Kind of adds to the look of age to my eye and is not distracting.  An ex-Glass Works Auction item from some years ago.  Overall this is an excellent, early and appropriately crude example of a Townsend's likely dating from the 1840s.  $475  SOLD


AMBROSIAL / (motif or ornament) / B.N. & E.A.W & Co - That is boldly "embossed" - actually impressed with a seal - within a 1.5" wide oval seal (aka "blob seal" to collectors) which also has a line of dots intermittently around the edges of the nicely crude seal.  This is another of those uncommon to moderately rare chestnut flasks with a seal and applied handle.  (See the Wharton's Whiskey listed earlier.)  These are cataloged as Denzin WHI-3 by the auction houses based on a book on the subject. (I personally don't have a copy of the book.)  They are listed in the Wilson's "Spirits Bottles of the Old West" (1968) book on pages 27-28 and noted as "rare".

The initials stand for Benjamin M. and Edward A. Whitlock.  To quote from a Glass Works Auctions catalog entry from a decade ago  - "Benjamin M. and Edward A. Whitlock were in business at 132 Nassau Street in New York. In 1863, William Barrett in ‘The Old Merchants of New York’ described the Whitlocks as ”Southern Grocers and Sympathizers”.  Sounds like they may have not been too popular in the Union dominated New York City during the Civil War!

Not sure what specific liquor product was contained in these cool flasks but pretty sure it was some upscale, high octane liquor.  These may have contained various products made and/or distributed by the Whitlock's since I've not seen another bottle type with their name on it.  This example is 9.6" tall, free blown (not molded), has a very crudely applied "banded" finish or lip and a nice, distinct blowpipe pontil scar centered in the base.  Click base view to see such.  I've never seen an example of these that were not pontiled which would indicate manufacture in the 1850s to maybe sometime during the Civil War, though those type flattened "chestnut" flasks were possibly made back as early as the 1840s.  However, the vast majority of bottles/flasks with this shape were neither embossed nor have blob seals - labeled only.  This example almost certainly had a label on the back side; click reverse view to see such. 

The handle on this bottle is perfect with a complete as-made filial end as shown in the images.  The glass color is a medium amber glass which is shown accurately in the images.  This bottle is essentially in mint condition with no chips, nicks, dings, cracks, or potstone radiations (or potstones even).  It has no staining but does have some bubbles here and there in the glass.  It has a few very light scuff marks which are hard to see and a very minor amount of wear around the resting points of the base - actually much less that I would expect from a bottle that was likely never buried.  About as good example as you can find.  $200  SOLD


Pair of Early American "blacking" bottles - Offered here is a cool pair of blowpipe pontiled, two-piece "hinge mold", New England blown blacking (shoe polish) bottles that are likely to be Stoddard products.  The color of them both - a medium to darkish golden amber - sure do appear to have been blown of the same color glass as several firmly established Stoddard flasks (several embossed as such) that I have or had in the recent past.  Both are of quite thick glass reminiscent of similar colored umbrella inks blown at this factories.

These small, square bottles date from as early as the 1820s into the 1850s according to McKearin & Wilson "American Bottles & Flasks" (1978).  Such bottles are also pictured as Stoddard products in Anne Field's "On the Trail of Stoddard Glass" (1975) as well as "Yankee Glass - A History of Glassmaking in New Hampshire 1790-1886" (1990) by the Yankee Bottle Club.  The latter book also notes such bottles were blown at Keene which was only 19 miles away.  In the end, such unembossed bottles can't be ascribed to either of those glass making towns precisely even if one knows where each of them was found which I don't.

The taller of the two bottles (to the left in the images) is 4.75" tall, and is a very nice golden amber which is brighter than the images show.  (It is essentially identical in color to the Stoddard Glass Co. pint flask listed above.)  It is in essentially pristine condition with much crudeness & "whittle" to the glass.  It also has some of those interesting wavy, more or less parallel surface lines which are either in-making or due to some reaction to the soil the bottle was buried.  I've never quite figured out how those lines were formed though I have a few similar period bottles (snuffs) which had those type lines and which I know were never buried.  Click image of the taller bottle to see these lines which are really cool looking.  (Incidentally, the felt pads on the base are not necessary for it to stand up straight and could be easily removed.)

The other, shorter (4.5") bottle is essentially of the same density of glass and golden amber coloration with just a hint of olive to make it a bit different.  It also is very crude in the body and shares the same attributes as the other example - blowpipe pontil scar, true two-piece "hinge" mold produced with a sheared and re-fired (to smooth it out) "straight" lip or finish. Click full view of the shorter bottle to see the crudeness of the surface.  It also has quite a bit of wear on the resting points of the base edge - visible in the image above (click to see a larger version) - indicating that it may have been sitting somewhere for its 175+ years of existence and possibly not buried.  Both bottles have no staining, chips, cracks or other issues...no potstone bruises either.   A great pair of likely Stoddard blacking bottles!   Both for $300


Medium olive with an amber tone early American umbrella ink - These New England umbrella (or fluted or pyramid style) ink bottles are quite popular with collectors and are reasonably acquirable examples of early American utilitarian bottle making from the first half of the 19th century.  People speculate about where these early umbrella inks were made as such umbrella inks were standard offerings from New England & New York/New Jersey (Midwestern even?) glass houses of the early to mid-19th century (McKearin & Wilson 1978).  Like many of these lovely bottles, it is a beautiful little jewel that looks like it was poured into the mold. 

This example was reportedly found in an old house in Greenfield, Mass. which is not very far (30-35 miles) south of Keene, NH.  So likely a Keene product?  I've seen similar examples from the same mold (see next "Note" paragraph) attributed to Keene as well as Stoddard (only 12 miles or so NE of Keene).  Both glass houses produced a wide array of utilitarian bottles - including figured flasks - in olive, olive amber and amber colored glass.  Since these type bottles were never makers marked it can't be determined precisely where it originated.  (If someone out there has a better feel for these type ink bottles than I (3000 miles away would) please let me know what your thoughts on this subject!)

(Note:  I have had at least 3 or 4 other examples of umbrellas from this same mold.  How do I know that?  Even though the bottles are always pretty crude like this one, there are three variably reliable attributes that together make this mold fairly easy to identify.  The first is that the two-piece mold seam on the base is "keyed" - i.e., with the mold seam dissecting the base with a squared off flange on one side fitting into the opposite indentation on the others mold side.  If unfamiliar with the concept, I discuss it on my educational website at the following link:  https://sha.org/bottle/bases.htm#Key%20&%20hinge%20molds  I'm sure that some other similar inks also have that conformation so not definitive.  The second attribute is the straight neck like shown in this example.  It doesn't usually flare at all near the end nor have a "rolled" in/out lip or (in my limited experience) any other finishing method.  Instead, it is apparent that once the pontil rod was affixed the blowpipe was "wetted" or "cracked" off (not sheared which I think was more unusual than people think?) leaving a broken lip surface with was variably fire polished to smooth it out and make it safer, if nothing else.  However, that attribution could also be found on other glass works products I suppose.  The clincher is that on the base at the edge perpendicular to the middle of the "key" mold seam is a variably faint embossed line "pointing" at the key flange mark.  The embossed line is almost 1 cm long and is visible at the top edge of the base image at the following link, which also shows the blowpipe type pontil mark.  Click BASE VIEW to see such.  All three of those attributes have come together in the handful of examples I've owned of this mold.  So whichever glass works it was, it was likely that they were all made there...unless the mold was passed around.  Won't get into that speculation but certainly such happened in the old days between glass houses close to each other.)

Back to this bottle...  The color of these great ink bottles are often pretty hard to describe as well as photograph .  I've taken several images of this bottle and it is more green than the images show except for the following one which has an florescent light behind it.  Click backlit view to see this image which also shows the seed bubbles scattered about.  My wife calls it gray olive amber but I'll just call it olive with a strong amber tone.  It has has the noted "cracked off" and re-fired straight finish or lip (close-up above), the noted blow-pipe pontil scar on the base, was blown in a two-piece mold as also described above, and dates most likely from around late 1830s to early 1850s.  The surface of the glass is glossy, waxy, with some rippled whittle along with some glass thickness waviness.  Since I didn't find it in the house (that was the story that came with it though I believe it to be true) and can't affirm personally that it has never been buried or professionally cleaned but there is not evidence of either.  In any event, the condition is essentially dead mint with no chips, cracks, or staining...just 190 years of wear on the base.  Nice example of these iconic ink bottles.  $275


Stoddard? Pontiled Umbrella Ink - Since I dealt with the subject of Stoddard products just above I might as well continue with another likely product of that famous - actually legendary - glass company in New Hampshire.  It is known that the Granite Glass Works (and most other glass companies in that general area like at Keene) did produce ink bottles.  I guess those long New England winters were also occupied with writing letters, school, and other business related reasons to use ink in quantity as these ink bottles are fairly abundant - as were the bulk inks bottles to refill them - and oh so collectible! 

This example is almost identical to those shown on pages 71 (#2) and 72 (#5) of Anne Field's 1975 "On The Trail of Stoddard Glass" which was discussed in the listing above.  That includes having a very similar, somewhat extended (for want of a better term) rolled finish to those two examples.  The other Yankee Bottle Club book also noted above also has a couple very similar examples on page 47 (top image, bottles #2 and #4 counting left to right) which are also identified specifically as Stoddard products.

This example looks dark brown/black when sitting like it is in the images.  However, it is a variably deep golden amber color with lots of little bubbles, wavy glass and overall crudeness to the glass.  It varies in the depth of color based on the thickness of the glass it appears - a kind of cool swirly look to it.  Click view of bottle with lamp behind it to see such.  That image accurately shows the color well to my eye. It was illuminated for that image by a LED light bulb which seems to render colors closer than incandescent bulbs.  Click on the smaller images above to see larger versions of those images.  And that image also shows it is packed with bubbles.

The bottle dates from 1840 to 1860, is about 2.5" tall, eight sided of course, and has a nice blowpipe pontil scar on the base.  It was blown in a true two piece "hinge" mold without a base "keying" visible, though it could have been and masked by the pontil scar as well as the plasticity of the glass when being worked.  (See the other key base mold umbrella discussion above.)  It has a few very light scratches which may just be waviness on the glass surface from manufacture.  Otherwise this jewel has no chips, cracks, obvious staining, or other issues...just lots of wonderful crudity.  Nice example of an almost certain Stoddard umbrella ink.  $285


Early "Dutch" Gin Bottle -  If you're in the market for a virtually pristine early bottle, this is a fine example.  It is quite unlikely this bottle was actually blown in the U.S. (or the American Colonies).  The style is thought to be pretty much Dutch or at least from the Low Countries in Northern Europe, possibly even Germany.  They are found all over the world in the places colonized by those type of European countries.  (NOTE:  A great source of information on such bottles is found in Willy Van den Bossche (a Belgian) book "Antique Glass Bottles - Their History and Evolution (1500-1850)".  Although out of print, it is available used online from many book vendors.)

(Another note:  This is a bottle I've owned for a long time having been one of around 45 bottles I acquired back in the 1980s from an elderly gentleman who was an early bottle collector in New Orleans who put together a collection of early bottles during the late 1940s or early 1950s.  Most of bottles were early American though there were a few foreign bottles in the mix like this bottle.  The group included historical flasks, New England chestnut flasks, snuff bottles, an unusual clear green New England style "Pitkin" half post flask, snuff bottles (below) and many more - virtually all dating from or well before the American Civil War.  Virtually all were in in mint condition with the appearance of having never been buried.  This early collector kept records and noted which bottles were acquired from Charles Gardner who had a for sale list mailed out periodically during the noted period.  This bottle was noted as having come from Gardner.)

This bottle stands 9.75" tall from the base tips to the top of the "pig snout" style finish which has the period "slop" or globiness that collectors love.  It was blown in a dip mold which was a very early type of mold, dating back (I believe) to the Roman era.  If unfamiliar with that type of molding, see my other educational website for a overview of such at this link:  http://www.sha.org/bottle/glassmaking.htm#Dip molds.  The sides are about 3.5" wide at the shoulder tapering to 2.75" at the base.  Bottle looks to hold at least a quart and probably more like 40 oz. give or take.   The base has a blowpipe style pontil which is somewhat oval in conformation.  The glass is crude and wavy with lots of little bubbles scattered throughout; color is olive amber and very clear (not cloudy).  There is essentially no staining to the glass just a bit of wear on base corner tips, a tiny bit at the upper shoulder edges where apparently it was laid on its side (?), and just a minor scratch here and there.  Click on the images to see larger versions showing its beauty even more.  A beautiful example of this style which dates from the 1770s into first third of the 19th century according to the book noted above.  A solid 200+ year old bottle in exceptional condition as it appears to have never been buried if that is possible.  $135


FOR PIKE'S PEAK (walking dude/prospector above flattened oval) - (eagle with banner in beak above squared oval) - This is McKearin & Wilson classification #GXI-30 - the large quart size (probably holds less than a quart but is what this size is referred to as by collectors) and one of the more abundant larger Pike's Peak flasks.  Celebrating the gold rush to Colorado in 1859, these popular flasks were made throughout the 1860s and possibly into the early 1870s.  This a very nice, clean, blue aqua example with the typical applied "champagne" style banded finish common on flasks made at various Pittsburgh, PA. glasshouses - where the majority of Pike's Peak flasks were made. 

This example is near mint with the original sheen (never professionally cleaned nor buried) to the glass, a nice deeper blue-aqua color glass with some body crudeness, neck stretch marks & bubbles, an applied "champagne" style finish/lip (or a "flat ring below thickened plain lip" according the McKearin & Wilson), 9" tall and a "key-base mold" smooth base.  On close inspection, the bottle does have a small (3-4 mm in diameter), faint, iridescent impact mark at the heel underneath the walking dude/oval and a very small "flea bite" on the inside of the finish which appears to be a bit of "in making" roughness.  Below is a similar but different mold example in the quart size with embossing in both ovals.  (Click the following links to see the two quart Pike's Peak flasks side by side - FRONT view and BACK view. The GXI-30 is the left and GXI-8 to the right in both images.) Otherwise this an above average, clean, bright, blue aqua example which is big and boldly embossed.  $75


FOR PIKE'S PEAK / (walking dude/prospector) / OLD RYE (in a flattened oval) - (eagle with banner and arrows) / PITTSBURGH, PA (in an oval) - Offered here is another "quart" that is different than the above example with a lot of similarities.  (Click the following links to see the two quart Pike's Peak flasks side by side - FRONT view and BACK view. The GXI-30 is the left and GXI-8 to the right in both images.)

It is McKearin & Wilson classification #GXI-8 and also comes in a pint (GXI-9) and half pint (GXI-10) all of which are thought to have been made by the same glassworks and mold maker...both unknown except for the location - Pittsburgh, PA.  Eatwell & Clint's excellent book "Pike's Peak Gold" (2000) - a must have for collectors of these flasks - notes that the similarities between the noted three molds (and 5 or 6 other Pike's Peak flasks) indicates a strong likelihood of the same mold maker and/or glass company producing quite a few of the  Pike's Peak flasks.

This example is 9" tall, has an applied "champagne" style finish/lip (or a "flat ring below thickened plain lip" according the McKearin & Wilson), and a "key-base mold" like the example above.  Click view of shoulder, neck and finish and base view to see such.  The color is an even deeper blue aquamarine; see the FRONT view and BACK view links to compare.  This example dates to the same era as the other example, i.e., 1859 to possibly as late as the early 1870s.  The condition is essentially pristine with no staining, chips, cracks, nicks or other post-production issues. There is an interesting small dark inclusion in the thick part of the base which appears to be some unmelted bit of matter from the glass batch. (Click the base view link to see it.  Sort of looks like a small mayfly landed in the batch and got encased - like those bugs in amber from millions of years ago.  However, such fragile bits of organic material would have burned up quickly in the 2000 degree glass batch.)  An even nicer looking, big and boldly embossed flask which I'm not wild about parting with...but can't keep everything.  $145


Wickered & handled miniature demijohn "cologne" bottle -  The wicker and handles are, of course, just embossed on this cute little bottle.  These are early American (pre-Civil War) bottles that were largely produced as containers for cologne, though other "...cosmetic liquids as well as cologne and toilet or "sweet" waters" according to McKearin & Wilson's 1978 book "American Bottles & Flasks."  They dated the large and interesting group of Antebellum cologne bottles to "183o-1860s."  The open oval label space on the reverse (second image to the left) would have told the story about the contents if the label was still there, but it is long gone.

This example - like most of the earlier ones I've seen - has a "blowpipe" style pontil scar (right image) which was formed by using the end of a (in this case) very small diameter blowpipe doing double duty as a pontil rod.  (I discuss pontil types at length on my other educational "Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website" on the following linked page:  https://sha.org/bottle/pontil_scars.htm ) I have two of these bottles and a quick comparison indicates they were made in totally different molds though upon casual looking appear identical.  They are not - having different looks to the wicker embossing, the faux handles and other subtle features - indicating that these bottles were either made over a long period of time (wearing out molds) or were made by different period glassworks...or both.  (I've also seen later examples which are not pontiled, were blown in a cup-base mold and have tooled finishes dating them to the later portions of the 19th century or even early 20th.  It was a popular style for cologne.)

This offered example is about 2.75" tall, has an inwardly rolled "straight" finish or lip, made in a true two-piece "hinge" mold and of a pale bluish aqua glass.  This example is perfect mint condition with no chips, cracks, or staining; I doubt it was ever buried.  It does have a bit a little wear on the base from sitting somewhere for at least a century and a half.  $60


Clasped Hands / Eagle with Banner Half Pint Flask (ex-Gardner Collection) - Offered here is an example of a historical or figured flask from the most famous bottle collection of all time - the Charles B. Gardner collection which was auctioned and dispersed in 1975.  This small flask was actually part of Gardner's famous collection as indicated by the auction sticker on the lower body of the eagle side and his personal catalog number on the neck label. 

(Note: This is not one of the bottles from Gardner's earlier "for sale" lists which some of the other bottles on this page were from.  I purchased it much later - maybe 15+ years ago - from another source I don't remember.  Since I couldn't possibly attend the actual auction [$100 "cover charge," taking place 3000 miles away and being a struggling college student on the GI Bill] I have since picked up a few Gardner bottles for sentimental reasons.  Sentimental because I was privileged to view his collection personally when back East in the military in 1972 when Charley was 82 years old. Charley picked me up at the bus depot, guided me through his entire flask and bitters collections - WOW - and took me out to lunch with his wife Nina.  Then back to the bus station for my return trip to NYC.  I did purchase a cornucopia & urn flask from him during my visit which I still cherish.  I believe he died not long after the auction as he had many bouts of illness.)

To continue...this half pint flask is listed in McKearin & Wilson's monumental work "American Bottles & Flasks and Their Ancestry" in the GXII section ("Shield and Clasped hands Flasks") as GXII-31.  According to the book it was blown in aquamarine, Golden-amber and Yellow-green (light)...this example being the Golden amber color, of course.  Since the actually glass works that produced the flask around the time of the Civil War is unknown it is listed as simply "Midwestern" although many of these flasks were produced by various Pittsburgh glass makers who did sometimes note the source in the embossing somewhere.  For example the very similar (size and design) GXII-32 is embossed with W. F. & Sons indicating manufacture by William Frank & Sons located in Pittsburgh.

In any event, this bottle stands 6.25" tall and likely holds something less than the "half pint" size it is classified as which was not uncommon back then, i.e. the so called "scant size" half pint.  I would guess it held maybe 6 oz.  The base shows it was blown in a true two-piece keyed "hinge mold".  Click base view to see such.  I describe such on my Historic Bottle Website at the following link:  https://sha.org/bottle/bases.htm#Key%20&%20hinge%20molds  The bottle has what I would call an applied "champagne" style finish which McKearin & Wilson describe as "Tooled, flat ring below thickened plain lip."  Click view of the upper body, neck and finish to see such.

The bottle is essentially perfectly mint as most of the bottles in the Gardner collection were.  No chips, cracks, dings, potstone radiations or staining; I'm sure it was never buried. It also has nice body and finish crudity, bubbles in the glass, stretch marks in the shoulder and neck and attributes typical of a bottle blown 160 years ago.  Priced a bit higher than such a flask would be due to its high status provenience (or provenance).  Ex-Gardner collection/auction bottles do turn up now and then at the current auction houses though they are not commonly encountered otherwise.  $325  SOLD


Early Dip Mold Spirits bottle -  This is an interesting bottle that was reportedly found in Florida.  I acquired it decades ago from a collector in the South with the story that it had been found by a diver somewhere along the Florida Coast.  It is obvious that the bottle was tossed overboard (or came from a wreck) and rolled around in the sand and salt water for upwards of 200 years given the matte surface to the bottle. 

A dip mold is a mold type that mold forms only the body of the bottle.  The shoulder and neck were formed with hand tools and the skill of the gaffer (glass blower).  Click view of the shoulder to view the horizontal line or interface which marks the top of the one-piece dip molded lower body and base.  Once the body of the bottle was formed it was removed from (lifted out of) the dip mold, a pontil rod attached to the base, the blowpipe cracked off from the bottle neck and the finishing glass applied and formed while still attached to the pontil rod.  The pontil rod was then removed from the base and the bottle complete and ready to anneal to make it stronger.  For more information about this ancient (goes all the way back to Roman days!) type of molding see my other educational website for a overview of such at this link:  http://www.sha.org/bottle/glassmaking.htm#Dip molds.

This bottle is almost 12" tall and 3" in diameter at the base (slightly wider at the shoulder) and has a two part lip or finish of a type called a "mineral" or "double oil" style.  That finish style varied widely in conformation as discussed on my Historic Bottle Website at the following link: https://sha.org/bottle/finishstyles.htm#Mineral%20or%20Double%20Oil    (It is like the last one pictured in that section on finishes.)  The base was indented better than an inch with a tool called a molette which was basically just a metal rod which leaves a more or less circular indentation at the apex of the base kick-up. I believe that was done to get a better surface for the sand or ring pontil rod to attach to and is commonly seen on early spirits bottles.  Click on the base image to the left to view a larger version which better shows the molette mark and the faint sand pontil scar circling the indented base about halfway between the central molette mark and the base edge.

The bottle is a dark olive amber; click view of the shoulder to see the color in the shoulder.  It is essentially black near the base. The base of the neck shows vaguely some tooling marks from the scissor-like tongs that the gaffer used to create the neck bulge.  The physical condition of the bottle is perfect (excluding the sand induced matte surface) with no chips, cracks, potstone stars, etc.  The pontil mark is weak but there, likely being smoothed down by the conditions it was found - in the ocean.  The bottle was made in either England or possibly some early New England glass works; it dates between about 1830 and 1850 I would estimate.  It is a cool early tall cylinder which was a precursor style that led to the slightly later "Patent" liquor cylinders and then the standard "fifth" sized whiskey bottles so cherished by collectors in the West.   $85






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