Friday, May 22, 2009

Circa: 1864 – 1868

The first mention of Rosenbaums Bitters is in an 1858 advertisement listing George Thatcher, a liquor merchant residing in San Francisco, as an agent for the product and Dr. Rosenbaum of Philadelphia as proprietor and manufacturer. In 1859 N.B. Jacobs was listed as the general agent for Rosenbaums Bitters while he was working at the George Thatcher & Co. In November of 1859, N.B. Jacobs removed himself from Thatcher & Co. and started his own liquor concern, still advertising that he had the depot for Rosenbaums Bitters. Meanwhile Thatcher & Co. is still advertising that they are also an agent for Rosenbaums Bitters. In 1860, Jacobs starts to advertise more aggressively, pushing the Rosenbaums Bitters in several large ads, stating that he is the sole agent for the Pacific Coast. In an advertisement for Rosenbaums in 1860, he cautions the public about another firm counterfeiting these bitters, saying that it is put up in similar bottles with the name Rosenchief’s Bitters, and to beware that it is of externally similar style, and to look for the name, N.B. Jacobs & Co., branded on the top of every cork. In 1861 N. B. Jacobs becomes the proprietor of Rosenbaums Bitters, suggesting that he is now the owner of such brand and we do not see anymore advertisements with Dr. Rosenbaum of Philadelphia as manufacturer and proprietor in any of his ads.
The Rosenbaums Bitters comes in various shades of green and also in amber. There are two variants of this bottle; the large variant is believed to be the earliest, and is thought to have been blown in the east. The small variant is believed to be a later western blown bottle. These bottles are considered rare with possibly thirty some specimens known.

Relation to Sierra County:
One whole medium green example of the large size Rosenbaums was dug by the author at Indian Hill in Western Sierra County. This bottle had a small base chip and was sold to a collector from Redding California. A broken green small variant Rosenbaums was also uncovered at Indian Hill by a Nevada City digger in the 1990’s. A base of a dark green large size Rosenbaums was discovered above the Ruby Mine by the author in 2008. To my knowledge these are the only examples of the Rosenbaums discovered in Sierra County.

The above post was taken from the forthcoming book "Gold Rush Camps & Bottles of Sierra County" by Rick Simi. This book will be available in September of 2009 at the Downieville Bottle Show


  1. I have dug mint "Rosies" in Sackamenna and in El Dorado County. Damaged examples have come from numerous Placer and Nevada County sites, as well as up in your neck of the woods. Brandy City and Port Wine come to mind.

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