Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Whisky Display

Thinking about redoing the top western whiskey display at Reno 2020 .Would collectors be willing to put their high value bottles in a display??

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Collin's Valley Bitters

A western bottle of mystery no more, or is it still. Before the labeled Collin's Valley Bitters was discovered, the bottle which the label was on had been a mystery for a long time. There has only been a hand full of these bottles found over the years. Mostly from the Northern Sierra foothills ( Gold Country) The two in the pic. the amber one was found by D. Bell in the foothills and the yellow one I found in mining tailings in the foothills. The labeled one I discovered in an antique shop in downtown Roseville in 2003, putting the connection of where the bottle was from finally. Yahoo, its western!
The label reads; "Collin's Valley Bitters" A perfect tonic,  prepared by, Harry Collins apothecary. Clark and Mayhew sole prop. Red Bluff, Cal.
 
 
The connection with these bottles is the uniqueness in which the bottle was made. Not only in shape but the repairs to the mold that you can see on the bottles. There is 3 repaired areas on 2 edges. Two on one edge and one on another.(see pics) The amber ones repairs are more crisp than the yellow one and the labeled one. Showing the long use of the mold. Strange that the amber one is plain with almost no character to it at all with crisp repairs, while the other two are much cruder with weak repairs. I have seen these in some nice colors, even green and they all have those repair marks.
 
 


 Now with that said, who, where and when was the Collin's Valley Bitters born. Well all I could find out was, the C.V.B was put out by Clark and Mayhew from Red Bluff, Cal. They are listed as general merchants and the only ad for C.V.B. was in the Red Bluff Independent July 12, 1873 and June 27, 1874. That says prepared and sold by Harry Collins Main St. Red Bluff, Cal. This is the only reference of Harry Collins I could find selling his bitters. No other ads are listed. A very short lived western bitters.
 
 
His first ad shows up on May 23, 1866 when he owned Apothecaries' Hall
 
 
Then again on July 30, 1868
 
 
By Feb. 19,1870 he sold the Apothecaries' Hall to W.J. Mason
 
 
So, sometime shortly after 1870 Harry Collins open up the Practical Apothecary store on Main St. Red Bluff, Cal. and started selling his "Collin's Valley Bitters" by 1873. Still not sure how Clark and Mayhew became Sole Prop's
 
 The last great mystery is where was this bottle made. It is unique with its repair marks and shape. There is however the T.M. with star bottle that is the same shape and age, but with no repair marks and is very western. These Collin's bottles only come from a small area in Nor Cal. It is hard not to believe its western made, but by whom. A bottle short lived like the Collin's Valley Bitters.
 
 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Aqua N. Van Bergen Gold Dust, 1880 and newer?

Now I'm confused. The folklore of western whiskey collecting tells us that the aqua N. Van Bergen Gold Dust bottle dates from 1877-1883. While trying to come up with some evidence to support this claim I came across some advertisements that N. Van Bergen put out in the Daily Alta from 1874 to 1883.


Daily Alta, July 10th, 1874:



The following ad in almost identical iterations ran in the Daily Alta from August 21st, 1874 to May 17th,1880:



Then, beginning on May 18th, 1880 this ad appeared and ran until July 28th, 1883:



Where it gets confusing is that Barkhouse Brothers & Co. from Louisville Kentucky was only in business from late 1871 to 1876 and then renamed themselves Kentucky Distilling Co. in 1877. Based on the above monthly ads, N. Van Bergen did not proclaim to be the sole proprietor of the brand until May 18th 1880. Who owned the brand from 1876 to 1880 ? It is interesting to note that Julius Barkhouse made two trips to California from Louisville, one in February 1878 and one in August 1879. Was he perhaps hammering out the details of N. Van Bergen's future sole proprietorship of the Gold Dust Brand ?

Does this mean the aqua N. Van Bergen variant dates to 1880 and is a few years newer than previously thought ? I would believe so and also believe that the aqua N. Van Bergen went well past 1883, perhaps up to 1887 or so.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Richard Siri admitted to the FOHBC Hall of Fame

 


The FOHBC Board of Directors announces that Richard T. Siri was voted into the FOHBC Hall of Fame with 14 of 17 votes constituting a 2/3 majority. The award with be presented at the 2018 Cleveland National banquet on Friday, 03 August 2018.
For someone whose brother lit the fuse that sparked an interest in collecting historical bottles, Richard Siri has come a long way. The first chapter in his story notes that his brother, Ted, was working on a road construction project in Willits, California in the mid 1960s and an 1890-1900 dump containing a pile of early Western whiskey bottles was uncovered. Fast forward to the present day, supported by his wife, Beverley, Richard, 77, is known for his extensive Western bottle collections having amassed one of the most complete Western bitters bottle collections, as well as extensive collections of whiskeys, Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters and USA Hospital bottles, among other things. He is always willing to share his knowledge on his favorite subjects and that knowledge has found a public place inside many books, articles and exhibitions about antique bottles. He has held several offices within the federation, most notably that as president in 2008. Richard co-chaired the FOHBC 2012 Reno National Antique Bottle Expo and the most recent, FOHBC 2016 Sacramento National Antique Bottle Convention & Expo. He is also a major supporter and an active member of the Northwestern Bottle Collectors Association. In 2009, Richard Siri first brought forth the concept of developing the FOHBC Virtual Museum. He now serves on the museum Board of Directors and he, along with his wife Beverley, is a major financial contributor to the museum.

The Hall of Fame is intended to recognize outstanding and significant contributions to the bottle collecting hobby that have made a lasting and enduring impact upon the hobby at the national or international level*. Such individuals should be generally known throughout the bottle collecting community for their collections, contributions and impact upon the hobby. Such contributions include but are not limited to research and publications that furthered a greater understanding of the history and production of bottles and glass, or major contributions that significantly encouraged people to participate in the hobby. Such contributions include creation and organization of significant activities or events that fostered growth, understanding, and cooperation in the hobby.

Richard's contributions to further the bottle collecting hobby are immeasurable.
 Congratulations Richard. - rs - 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

2020 shot out

For the 2020 shoot out three bottles needed . Should be bottles that a number of people have. Could be a soda , whiskey or bitters or ??? Post your choices .

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Neustadter Brothers

San Francisco Gold Rush Merchants
 
 
The firm of Neustadters Brothers was established in 1852 by the brothers Louis W. and Henry Neustadter. The company was one of the earliest men’s clothing manufacturer in San Francisco.

Louis Neustadter is listed in the 1847-48 New York City Directory selling or manufacturing fancy goods. He most likely left New York for the California gold rush sometime after 1847.

New York City directory 1847-48

The California gold rush was the largest mass migration in American history and brought about 300,00 people to California. Louis Neustadter saw the need for goods and services in the emerging and soon to become state of California and opened a business in San Francisco 
 
The first mention of the Neustadter's in San Francisco was in the January 1850 edition of the Daily Alta California newspaper advertising the dissolution of the partnership of the business of Adelsdorfer and Louis W. Neustadter located on Sacramento Street in San Francisco.
 

Daily Alta California January 1850   
 
The 1852-53 San Francisco directory lists Neustadter & Company as dealers in clothing at 132 California Street. The directory also lists Louis and Henry Neustadter as commission merchants at 113 Sacramento Street  A commission merchant is someone who buys or sells products for a percentage of the sales price. During the early period of the California gold rush ship loads of all sort of products were sold right off of the wharfs or ships by commission merchants. The directory also lists N. Neustadter at 132 California Street as selling clothing.
 

San Francisco City directory 1852-53
 
The 1854 LeCount & Strong San Francisco directory lists N. Neustadter & Co. at 132 California selling clothing.
 
LeCount & Strong 1854 San Francisco directory
 
The September 1857 edition of the Daily California lists the copartnership of  Henry and Louis Neustadter
 
1857 Daily Alta California
 
San Francisco directory 1859
 
The firm of Neustadter Brothers continued to grow and expand in the 1860's and became known for their Standard Shirt brand and Boss of the Road overalls. They were in direct competition with the well known San Francisco firm of Levi Strauss & Co. 
 
 
 
As successful as the Neustadter Brothers were in the clothing business gold rush history buffs and collectors of gold rush clasps will always remember them as the manufacturers of the rare stamped belt clasp marked:
 
 NEUSTADTER BROTHERS / SAN FRANCISCO
 
 
Thanks to Max Bell for the image  - rs -
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Reno 2020


RENO announced for the 2020 National Antique Bottle Show & Expo

After an extensive search, negotiations, presentations and FOHBC board approval, Reno has be selected as the location for the FOHBC 2020 National Antique Bottle Show & Expo. The event will be held at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino. Richard Siri will act as Show Chair. Team Reno at this point will also include Warren Friedrich, Eric McGuire and Ferdinand Meyer V. Essentially the same team as the very successful 2016 Sacramento National.

Stay tuned for more information!

https://www.fohbc.org/2018/06/reno-announced-for-the-2020-national-antique-bottle-show-expo/

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I have been getting into the Western Whiskey bottles, my latest acquisition, Old Judge. Applied top, red amber, whittled.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Reno Show 2020

Signed a contract with the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno for the FOHBC show in 2020 . The dates are July 30 to August 2 start making your plans now

Friday, June 1, 2018

Alex Von Humbolt & Roger Terry


While visiting the Peachridge Glass site I stumbled across a link to an old post that my amigo Roger Terry wrote for this here Western Bottle News back in 2010. It was so well written and interesting that I though I would bring it back for those that missed it when it was published:



HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

A new record price for a flask!     What a flask it is..  the famous "Firecracker Flask".   A flask that honors  two of the great men in U.S. history,   framers of the Constitution,  former presidents of these United States.   They both died on July 4, 1826,  within hours of each other.  Exactly 50 years from the signing of the Declaration!

Can it possibly get more "historical" than that?   I don't think so.

Pikes Peak flasks,  Civil War flasks,  Success to the Railroad,  Tippecanoe Cabin,  all of the pictorial flasks,  whew!!    They are beautiful,  and historical!    They are out of my league... and out of my limited realm of knowledge..  and for the most part out of my pocket book capacity.


We western digger/collectors just have bottles.   Good old bottles!    Crazy names,  funny shapes,  beautiful colors.   I guess we have a few that have a historical theme...  the beautiful Chalmer's Catawba Wine Bitters... Sutter' Mill,  or the Old Pioneer Whiskey...the California Bear   (can you hear the scoffs and hoots raining down from east of the Mississippi)  ha, ha!

Ok,  we have what we have... but we do have a name on a bottle that is tied to Mr. Jefferson.  His name is tied to Lewis & Clark,  tied to John C. Fremont,  to Charles Darwin,  tied to half the western U.S.


HUMBOLDT

If you live in N. California, or N. Nevada  how often do you say that name,  as compared to John Adams, or maybe even T. Jefferson.
 
 
 






"Alexander von Humboldt was the reigning scientific mind of the early nineteenth century, a unique combination of naturalist and adventurer.  With his companion, Aime Bonpland,  Humboldt cut a six thousand mile swath across the New World, through what is now Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, and Cuba.  Risking his life in treacherous terrain, he conducted the first extensive scientific explorations of the Andes and the Amazon, literally redrawing the map of the Americas and dramatically expanding our knowledge of the natural world.  He brought back to Europe more than 60,000 plant specimens and a multitude of exotic New World animals, set an altitude record while climbing the volcano Chimborazo, made revolutionary discoveries regarding volcanoes and the Earth's magnetic field,  and introduced millions of Americans and Europeans to the astonishing cultures of the Aztecs and the Incas. 
At the completion of his epic journey, Humboldt became one of the most celebrated men in the world,  feted by Thomas Jefferson in Washington and  invited to Napoleon's coronation in Paris.  His ideas revolutionized scientific research,  laid the ground work for entire new fields of study, such as climatology, oceanography, and several branch's of geography.  His adventures profoundly influenced followers and students such as Charles Darwin.  Today,  more places and geographical features are named after Humboldt than any other historical figure,  and scientists continue to build on the foundations he established."  -  Gerard Helferich
 
Alex von Humboldt,  incredible traveler, author,  and father figure of science,  was perhaps the most admired man of the 19th century.  Fourteen towns in the United States and one in Canada are named for him.  Mountains in Antarctica, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand.  An ocean current off of Peru,  the largest glacier in Greenland.  A bay, a county, a university, a redwood forest in California.   Streams, parks, city streets,  even a "sea" on the moon carry his name. 


The map of Northern Nevada is covered with Humboldts name;  the county, a town, a canyon, a mountain range,  a huge national forest.  Most of the California and Nevada naming was due to the little "Pathfinder".  John C. Fremont.   Fremont was an ardent Humboldt admirer,  naming the river that marked the westward expansion and later the gold rush trail.  

Fremont's diary- Nov. 8th, 1845.  " Crane's Branch led into a larger stream that was one of the two forks forming a river to which I gave the name of Humboldt.  I am given by Himself the honor of being the first to place his great name on the map of the continent.  Both the river and mountain to which I gave his name are conspicuous;  the river stretching across the Basin to the foot of the Sierra Nevada."
Ok, Ok... it looks like I know way too much about Humboldt.   I put together a display for the Reno Show a few years ago...  this is just some of that material.   I always loved the photos of the Alex von Humboldts Stomach Bitters bottle in Wilson's Western Bitters.    The two bottles,  one plain-jane,  the other whittled, crooked,  crude.. the epitome of what we want in a western bitters.  If there was a picture that I went back to over and over and helped to form my fascination with Western Bitters,  that's it.   I thought I knew I little about the bottles when I put together that display.   Warren F.'s research will change much of the previous written information about the manufacturers,  even the date of distribution.  I thought for sure the beginning had to be 1869,  the hundred year centenary of  Humboldts birth.   Nope!  
Wilson had one thing right about Alex von Humboldt;  he "isolated the deadly native poison 'curare'."   That he did,  but it's kinda like condensing Abe Lincoln's accomplishments down to "being tall".
 
 





So,  if your not buying the "Historical of the West" thing...  don't confuse our bottle with the lame looking Eastern aqua bitters.   Our   ALEX VON HUMBOLDTS / STOMACH BITTERS  was blown in San Francisco.
 
Well done Roger - Well done!
rs
 
(Thanks to Dale Mlasko & Ferdinand Meyer for the pictures)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

From Charles Festersen

Hi Rick ;
 I acquired an Oregon Grape Root Bitters not long ago and thought I would send you some photos for your website as nothing has been posted there on this particular bottle before. Below is the description and history of the bottle as published by Bill and Betty Wilson in there 1969 book Western Bitters. I hope it is of interest to your readers. - Charles F.
 
 
 
64. Embossed:   ORGON / GRAPE ROOT / BITTERS.   Cylindrical sixth. Extremely Rare. Made in 1885 only. Clear - 48*
 
 

 George and August Wolters had been in the wholesale liquor business for over six years in San Francisco when this new brand was introduced. The main ingredient for the formula was the bitter root of any evergreen shrub of the Barberry family which grows mainly in northern California and Oregon. The flower of the bush is the Oregon state flower. 
    The expensive clear flint glass bottle was discontinued after only one order from the glass works and the sold in paper labeled bottles for a year or so before it was discontinued.
 

 
Charles; the Oregon Grape Root Bitters, is indeed, a very rare and interesting western bottle from the Wolters Brothers firm. Thanks for the information and the pictures. - rs -
 
Anyone have any additional information on the Oregon Grape Root Bitters?

This bitters is pretty scarce. I don't believe these bottles are made of flint glass. They are what the glass works referred to as white glass, and I have seen this bitters in a sun colored amethyst tint.
Warren Friedrich

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sands Sarsaparilla

A.B. SANDS & CO.
SANDS SARSAPARILLA
NEW YORK

Abraham B. Sands of New York City opened his first retail drug store sometime around 1840. In 1842 he expanded his horizons and opened a wholesale store at another location installing David Sands in the original retail store. By 1843 Sands has published a informative pamphlet on the curative properties of their sarsaparilla product.  In early 1850 the firm of A B & D Sands emerged as a wholesale and retail drug company and were advertising regularly in local newspapers.

By 1851 David retired, was replaced by William Sands, and the firm was listed as A.B. Sands & Co. After 1851 Sands & Co. became primarily a wholesale drug operation. Sands produced other products (Horehound Cough Syrup, Liquid Opeldoc and Anodyne Liniment) but his sarsaparilla was by far his best seller. A.B. Sands & Co. continued in business until 1875 when the company was dissolved.
 
 
 
 
Pictured at right is the earliest example of the Sands Sarsaparilla. It has widely beveled corners and is embossed on three panels SANDS SARSAPARILLA NEW YORK. The Sand’s Sarsaparilla was distributed throughout the California  gold rush country. Open pontil examples of the Sand’s have been found from  San Francisco to the Mother Lode and the  gold rush camps and settlements of the Northern Mines. These bottles are considered  scarce but as with all gold rush era bottles are highly collectable and prized by western and gold rush bottle collectors. The Sand’s that I have examined, that were recovered from Sierra County, are usually pretty crude, highly whittled and usually come out of the ground without mineral staining
 
 
 

Pictured at left is a copy of a Sand's Sarsaparilla advertisement. The second variant of the Sand's bottle, on the right side of the ad, is being filled with the sarsaparilla product. Sand's sarsaparilla was coined by the company as "The Very Best Remedy for Purifying the Blood"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Pictured at right is the later variant of the Sands bottle that was produced sometime after 1858. It still has a pontil base, but is a larger size, different shape, and has “GENUINE” embossed on one panel.

One whole example of the second variant of the Sands was recovered from the gold rush settlement of Excelsior in the early 1990’s. Two examples were recovered from the southern Sierra County settlement of Plum Valley and another mint example was un-earthed at Brandy City by a Nevada City digger. Numerous broken examples have been found at the Sierra County gold rush camps of  Monte Cristo, Poker Flat, Chaparral Hill and Rattlesnake. This variant of the Sands is considered more common than the earlier example with the widely beveled corners but is still a scarce and collectable gold rush bottle.



 
  



 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Wormser Brothers

 

The firm of Wormser Brother was located on the corner of California and Front Streets in San Francisco and listed as importers and jobbers of wines and liquors. Started sometime in 1856 Isaac Wormser, who was living in Germany, was the president of the company and his brother Lewis was the manager. In 1864 Lewis left San Francisco and his brother Simon took over management of the company. In October of 1867, during Simon’s management of the firm, they trademarked the “Golden Sheaf” brand of whiskey. By 1872 the Wormser Bros. business was sold to the firm of Braeg Frank and Dallemand.




The Wormser Brothers produced some of the more desirable western bottles while they were in business in San Francisco. The earliest glass container from the Wormser firm is the large whiskey flask horizontally embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO. The Wormser  flask is considered very rare with possibly 8 to 12 examples in private collections. Several of these early containers seem to have poor quality glass with annealing checks and other manufacture related problems. It is not known if this bottle was blown in a San Francisco glass house or manufactured in the east and distributed in the west. 


Horizontal embossed Wormser flask circa 1867-69


It is believed the barrel shaped bottle with an applied tapered top and a smooth base embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO was produced for a very short period of time, possibly in 1869 only. Although I could not find any advertisements to confirm what these bottles contained, Western collectors believe this container held a whiskey bitters product.

Wormser Bros. barrel style bottles

This barrel shaped bottle comes in various shades of amber from light yellow to darker brown amber. Most examples show very little crudity but a couple examples that I have observed have some pretty good whittle to the glass.

It is thought that there are between 25 and 30 of the Wormser Bros. barrels in collections at the present time. 
 Years ago, in the Virginia City area, several examples of the Wormser barrel were recovered from a large bottle digging excavation.
 
Vertical embossed Wormser flask


The last bottle produced by the Wormser Bros. is the vertically embossed flask. These bottles were more than likely manufactured post 1869. They come in colors ranging from dark chocolate to green and are the most common of the Wormser bottles.



 

 

Thanks to American Bottle Auctions, Western Whiskey Gazette, Western Whiskey blog site and Dale Mlasko for the images - rs -


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Mystery of the 1856 Patent Suspender Buckle
By Nicholas Kane
 
 
Back in the fall of 2001 I obtained permission to metal detect and dig a fantastic property. This camp produced many 1850s belt clasps and other metallic artifacts such as this suspender buckle. I was familiar with the buckle's 1856 Patent date but not with this elaborate embossing. Like it was yesterday I clearly remember gridding out a slope backwards through four foot tall poison oak that was below a large camp.
 
The camp was infested with square nails up top and most of the better targets were pitched down the hill where the poison oak happened to be. I spent close to four hours looking for the mate to this buckle with no avail. I never recovered the mate but did get a few hits from items such as a brass frame from a 1/6th plate image, brass shoe tips and a camphene or whale oil lamp burner that I thought were the buckle.
 
 
I managed to bring the "poison" home to my wife after immersing myself in the patch and I was in the dog house for quite some time after that. That poison was a beautiful green and just starting to  turn red.

I had a suspicion 15 years ago or so after a few hours of online research what the crossed U.S. and British Naval flag meant. Since that time I realized I really should do some research and see what I could come up with and share my findings with fellow history enthusiasts. I decided to try and find a western connection to the eastern event first for appeal and.... EUREKA!
 
This buckle dates from the correct period and I strongly believe it was created for this special event, as we all know, was often done during the mid 19th century.