Thursday, May 28, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
N.B. JACOBS & CO.
Circa: 1864 – 1868
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.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Heckler does his auctions old school, by telephone, fax or mail. He has been doing them for years and is highly respected. His website is:
Although several western collectors believe some variants of the Hostetter’s were blown out west I cannot find any evidence that Hostetter had any of his bitters bottles manufactured on the west coast.
Hostetter’s Bitters was one of the best selling bottled products of the 19th century and the amount of these bottles available to collectors is staggering. It is believed that after 1865 Hostetter was selling over six thousand bottles of bitters a day, an unbelievable amount of bottled goods for that time period. The Hostetter’s come in dozens of variants and a myriad of colors ranging from the lightest of yellows to a dark black-amber. Although the majority of the Hostetter’s are considered common, unusual colors and different mold variants are highly desirable and sought after by collectors.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Turner Brothers were listed as soda water manufacturers as early as 1850 in Buffalo New York. By 1853 they had opened a branch depot in San Francisco and were listed as syrup and cordial manufacturers. By 1858 they are pushing their Ginger Wine, Forest Wine Bitters and a Vegetable Bitters in newspaper advertising. Even though the Turner's manufactured many products, most Western collectors believe that the Turners bottle contained the Forest Wine Bitters product. It would be my guess that the bottle was used for all of the products that they marketed. Just slap a different paper label on the old square for whatever the contents and you were good to go!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Above are five desirable Western Bitters,
from left to right:
Dr. Renz Herb Bitters - straight legged R variant
Excelsior Bitters - variant with the correct spelling of Excelsior
Hibernia Bitters - arched letter variant with an applied top
Dr. Renz Herb Bitters - curved legged R variant
Bennett's Celebrated Stomach Bitters
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Chaparral Hill was located on the west side of Goodyears Creek, north of the town of Goodyears Bar, and was settled as early as the early 1850's. This small gold rush era camp, consisting of some roughly constructed cabins, mine buildings and a blacksmith shop, was entirely dependent on the drift and hydraulic mines of the area. The area was mined from the early 1850’s to sometime around the early 1870’s when the ancient river channel they were mining played out. This area was again mined during the depression years by the Thompson family without too much success. It is generally believed that Chaparral Hill was mined exclusively by the drift tunnel method of mining, but on one of several field trips to the area I found evidence to the contrary. The discovery of pieces of a hydraulic monitor, large cast iron diversion valves, remains of hand riveted iron pipe and a water ditch running from Goodyears Creek to the area indicate that hydraulic mining played a major role in the recovery of gold at Chaparral Hill.
The heavy winter snow, seasonal availability of water and rugged remote location, I believe, forced this camp or settlement into being a seasonal mining community.
The example above, discovered at Chaparral Hill, is a six log variant with a smooth base and came out of the ground without any stain in near mint condition. This bottle shows the same characteristics as the 1862 patent drawing for the Drakes Plantation Bitters that is shown in the Ring - Ham Bitters Book.
There are conflicting theories on the origin of this bottle and even a report of an example of this un-embossed cabin style bottle with an open pontil on the base. Some collectors believe that this bottle was an attempt to counterfeit the Drakes Plantation Bitters. Other collectors believe that this cabin bottle was the prototype of the embossed Drakes Plantation Bitters and was first sold in bottles with paper labels. There have been other examples of this "Drakes Clone" un-earthed in Northern California, but to my knowledge, the Chaparral Hill example is the only one recovered from 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 starting in September of 2009 at the Downieville Bottle Show.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
WILD GRAPE ROOT
Circa: 1868 – 1871
The first and oldest embossed bottle that contained Henley’s Bitters does not have a circle embossed around the IXL. These early examples come in various colors with amber being the rarest and one of the most sought after, although any colored Henley’s is extremely desirable and collectable.