Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Western Wines

After seeing that CC & B, I was a bit reluctant to post this, but I opened one of my Christmas presents a few days ago, and was thrilled to see these western blown wines!

Apparently my wife acquired these at the Canyonville show last October from my good friend Jeff Hooper in Washington. I kept noticing he, Dennis Eastley, and her in some type of covert discussions but never thought she was wheeling and dealing on these wines, and the Henley's. They were stored secretly in my basement for the months since. I NEVER go down there anymore, as Lance Westfall used his "ghost detector" on his I-Phone recently, and the radar showed several ghosts, or spirit activity. I have not gone down there since!

I now have 16 of these beautiful wines, and each one is a different color. It is interesting ( though not as interesting as a CC & friggin B soda), that the Henley's Celery Beef and Iron is the exact same mold as the regular unembossed wines. I have seen these in some wild colors, and would love an ice blue one.

Happy New year to all! I just want to dig a W B Shasta...I guess that is next?

Dale M.

Recent Finds

How about these recent finds.
All I received was this picture, no other information was provided.
Nice looking blue bottle in the center!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


More Than Meets Your Eye
The California gold rush produced some interesting and rare products that were contained in square glass bottles. Gin, various brands of schnapps and more than a handful of medicated, aromatic and other vague sounding alcohol based concoctions competed for their share of the California market.

Did the companies that produced and sold these products understand or care what words they had blown in the containers that held their products? I, for one, think they probably did. They chose carefully what they had embossed in their bottles to entice consumers, that could read, into buying their product. For those potential customers that couldn’t read, horses, jockeys, animals and other attractive objects were blown into their glass bottles. I’m not an expert on 1850-60s’ marketing, but I do know a little about the California gold rush. During the beginning of the gold rush you could sell anything you could get to California. Not so true during the mid to late 1850’s. By the late 1850’s every liquor distributor on the east coast was “riding the elephant” and the California market was flooded with goods from the east. Just take a look at any late 1850’s California newspaper and count the advertisements for cases of liquor products being auctioned right off of the wharf that the supply ship was moored to.

What this all boils down to is the competition was extremely fierce during the late 50s’ and early 60s’. Liquor distributors had to use their wits to compete in an over supplied market. “Medicated Gin”, “Aromatic Schnapps” and “Club House Gin” were but a few of the products that were being pushed on the buying public. The advertisements for these products claimed to cure as many ailments as the patent medicines of the period. Oh, and by the way, they tasted better and left you feeling tipsy if not downright comatose.

Ever wonder what these early gold rush squares contained? I certainly have. Two of the foremost products were Gin and Schnapps.

Gin - we all know that gin is a strong colorless alcoholic beverage made by distilling or redistilling rye or other grain spirits. There were dozens of varieties of gin and each agent claimed theirs was the best tasting, most medicinal or had the greatest healing properties.
London Gin is your basic run of the mill dry tasting gin and usually doesn’t have any flavorings or spices added. Old Tom Gin is a lightly sweetened gin that was very popular back in the day. Dutch or Holland gin was typically distilled from Juniper berries and had a distinctive aroma and flavor. And then there’s the medicated gin (containing some sort of medicine), Cordial Gin (a stimulating and invigorating concoction), Clubhouse (high class belonging to a club) kind of gin and it goes on and on.

Schnapps, on the other hand, is a Dutch spirit distilled from potatoes and sometimes other grains. Schnapps was possibly the first widely distributed liquor based product during the gold rush. We find scads of them in the early gold rush camps and towns here in California, and like the gins, there were dozens of different brands and types.

Udolpho Wolfe’s Aromatic Schnapps, the most common of schnapps found here in California, was a distilled spirit flavored with spices to give it a pleasing aroma and flavor. Voldner’s Aromatic Schiedam Schnapps was distilled from juniper berries, and as such, had a very different aromatic flavor.
The word Schiedam refers to not only to the city in Holland but to a particular type of schnapps. The recipe for Schiedam schnapps varied by manufacturer but almost always included the addition of honey, nutmeg and orange flower water to give it that “aromatic” flavor. Yummy! Schnapps was always advertised as a medicinal product and recommended for family consumption.

Next time you take a gander at one of various Clubhouse gins, aromatic schnapps, or one of the dozens of colorful embossed or un-embossed glass containers that made their way to California during the middle of the 19th century. Remember you're not just looking at a piece glass, you're looking at a GOLD RUSH SQUARE!

Thanks to Max Bell for the pictures and contributions to this post

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bryne & Castree

Here's another ad I found in the Daily Alta California. Seems Bryne & Castree (the dynamic duo) had a little run in with Henry Bryne and had their property sold at auction.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merchants or Scoundrels

Fraud or Politics as usual?

Dale’s post on the Salutaris Bitters got me to thinking about how little I knew about this western bitters and the merchants that bottled it. Dale states in his post “According to Wilson, Castree and Byrne opened a grocery store at 184 Kearney Street in San Francisco in 1863. Unlike many other bitters manufacturers, these two did not really have a tie in to any liquor distributer, or any large company backing them.”
Castree and Bryne advertised as early as 1854 in the Daily Alta California that they were importers of groceries, wines and liquors and located at the corner of Post and Kearny Streets in San Francisco.
One article I ran across rang so familiar that I just had to relate it:

In August of 1854 the San Francisco Grand Jury was considering payment of a bill for supplies furnished by Messrs. Bryne & Castree for the last session of the Grand Jury. The bill amounted to $145 and the Board of Supervisors ordered payment be made to Castree & Bryne.

The supplies furnished to the Grand Jury, according to Castree & Bryne, amounted to five baskets of champagne (the Grand Jury claims to have been furnished just two baskets of champagne. One basket for their expedition into the country for the examination of a county road – the other for their rooms- if more were furnished they did not see them)
Three thousand five hundred cigars (The Grand Jury claims that at the utmost extant they could not have smoked more than a thousand). The sherry wine and brandy charged by Castree & Bryne are at least double in quantity the amount brought to the jury rooms, and were so inferior in quality that but very little was used.
As regards prices, making all due allowance for the discount on script, they are so palpably exorbitant that a glance is only necessary. (Script was paper money, not gold, so was worth less and discounted)

The Grand Jury goes on to try and discredit Castree & Bryne stating that the brandy, wine and other supplies that were furnished were of inferior or common quality and at best could not have cost half of what was charged. The jury also denies having ordered the supplies; deny using them or having been provided with them. They further state that it is customary to furnish Grand Juries with refreshments, which is no doubt proper enough, but never ordered them.
The jury also states that the Grand Jury rooms are open to others and supplies provided to the jury may have been consumed by others.

Castree & Bryne were paid for the supplies that, according to a somewhat confused Grand Jury, were never ordered, used or provided to the Grand Jury. Does any of this sound familiar? One hundred and fifty six years have come and gone, but nothing has really changed. Or has it?

Monday, December 20, 2010

MR & D

Martin Rancich and Gaetano Deluchi

Martin Rancich started in the soda water business sometime in the early 1850's. Martin's soda works were located at different addresses close to J Street in Sacramento California from around 1852 to 1861.
Rancich's first soda bottle was embossed MR/ SACRAMENTO. There is a misspelled variant of the MR bottle that is embossed MR/ SACRIMENTO.
Sometime in 1863 Rancich took Gaetano Deluchi in as a partner in the soda works and had a soda bottle embossed with MR&D on the face of the bottle and UNION GLASS WORKS PHILADa on the reverse.
Although the MR&D is the later of the two Rancich bottles it is quite a bit rarer. Up here in the gold country we run across the MR soda every so often in both of the correct and incorrect spelling of Sacramento. I have never seen a piece of the MR&D in Sierra County.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas comes early for two Northern California guys.(digger & collector) The lucky digger, dug this unbelievable western soda one week before the Auburn Show, and changed hands shortly after to its new proud owner. This GREEN, that's right I said GREEN MR&D soda is probably the rarest soda on the planet, and it was dug in a small trash pit no more than 10" deep. Doesn't this soda get the heart rate up or what. This is what bottle digging is all about. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just Another IXL...

Here is one I was going to bring to the IXL "showdown" in Auburn, but unknown plans for the weekend caused me to leave it at home. This is another Nevada find from awhile back, and is a lighter lime than some I have seen, with a good dose of yellow. This one has that big top and no circle around the IXL indicating it is very early for a Henley's. These are just impossible for me to resist, and while still relatively affordable, are getting to a point where one might not be able to buy one in the near future. I have dug dozens of IXLs over the years, but they have ALL been broken. This is one which I have on my "want to dig" list, and it is still there...kind of like cathedral pickles in the larger sizes. Not even one intact example in decades of digging holes with these vessels in them. Someday...

California Wine Bitters- M. Keller

The recent IXL "showdown" in Auburn, and a recent American Bottle Auction offering got me to thinking about one of my favorite bitters. The California Wine Bitters brand was offered by at least three different company's and there were trademark infringement lawsuits flying all over the place for awhile in the 1860s. There is even a paper labeled lady's leg with the California Wine Bitters brand! I suppose this name for a bitters drew quite a demand, and several agents and proprietors just assumed the rights to it. The M.Keller continues to be a mysterious bottle even after 50 years of bitters research.
My theory is that in an effort to escape legal ramifications, Keller was one of the few Western concerns that actually exported their bitters to the East. This would definitely be in the minority of Western bitters manufacturers doing this, but of the 7 or 8 examples known, only a few have been found in the West. I am 100% convinced that this bottle is Western blown, and each one is a different color with two being a deeper olive with yellow tone. They are such pretty glass, and elaborate in design. As "bittery" as Nevada is, I would be interested to know if even a shard of a Keller has ever been found there. I have not heard of one. I do know that Matthew Keller had a depot in Philly to market these bitters from the Los Angeles vinyards. Regardless of where they were exported, they continue to be extremely rare. SO similar to the Henley's IXL, and with the pushed up base, and mold characteristice of the Western "seamed wines". They also come in the exact colors of these wines so coveted by Western collectors. Someday a Keller with a label will show up. I do have one, but the label does not indicate anything but the brand. Overall this is one of the most misunderstood, and vaguely researched bottles out there. I believe it is one of the most beautiful!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Auburn IXL Showdown

On Saturday December 4th the 49er Historical Bottle Club held their annual bottle and antique show.
After a brisk Friday afternoon dealer setup Saturday’s attendance was steady and most of the dealer's I talked with reported strong sales all day long.

It was great to see all the fellow bottle collectors and I visited with collectors from Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin and many other regions.

One of the highlights of Saturday’s show was the Dr. Henley’s Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters “showdown” that was conceived and overseen by western collector “The California Kid”. I am not positive, but I believe, there were over a dozen entries of IXL’s in the circle and non circle variants. The varied and stunning colors that the IXL is known to come in made for a very colorful display.

After the three judges conferred, they awarded first place in the non circle category to collector Richard Siri for beautiful amber colored IXL. Richard also received first place in the circle IXL category with a drop dead deep blue aqua Henley’s – a clean sweep of the showdown for the Santa Rosa collector.

Thanks to all that participated in the showdown and to the Auburn club for an entertaining and well run showdown. I have heard rumors that next year’s showdown will be Phoenix western fifths and flasks. Excellent!

49er Bottle Show

I would like to thank the 49er Bottle Club for a very well run show this last weekend.
The club had security folks walking the floor throughout the weekend and we were not bombarded with announcements all show long reminding us to take care of our own business.
I only heard of one bottle disappearing off of a sales table during the show, and hopefully that was the only incident of the weekend.
I will be posting more on the Auburn show real soon and would like to hear your comments and thought on this years show. Feel free to comment or post your Auburn experience.
More to come on this....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Byrne & Castree Salutaris Bitters

Here is one that may not be in the "top 20" of Western bitters, but for pure history, rarity, and crudity, this bottle is tough to beat. According to Wilson, Castree and Byrne opened a grocery store at 184 Kearney Street in San Francisco in 1863. Unlike many other bitters manufacturers, these two did not really have a tie in to any liquor distributer, or any large company backing them. It is interesting why they would find it necessary to actually go to the expense of making a bottle, and marketing a bitters. I guess everyone else was, so why not? In any case there are two versions of this extremely rare ladies leg bitters. One has the embossing only on the base, and the other has the prominent shoulder embossing "Byrne & Castree" along with "Salutaris Bitters, S.F." on the base. I believe this is the earlier bottle, though I have no proof. Ring / Ham lists all variants as extremely rare. Also of note is that half of the advertisements for these two grocers have Byrne listed first, and half have Castree listed first...
These bottles come in shades of puce, from cherry, to gasoline, as well as this dark yellow green. I believe they are Western made, and perhaps W.F. could shed some light on this. I have only seen 5 of the shoulder embossed version, and one of the base only version. I believe there are about 7 known in puce, and maybe 2 or 3 in green.
I would also date these bottles from 1863-1867 at the latest. There must have been several batches blown, as each one is a different color! Where are they? I would like to know where they have been found. I know of at least two being dug in the Bay area.


49er Bottle & Antique Show
Auburn California Dec. 3rd & 4th
Dec 3rd. Noon to 8pm
Dec 4th. 9am-3pm

I have been attending the Auburn Bottle Show for so long it seems like I have been doing it forever and it is at the top of my list of shows to attend. Auburn always boosts two buildings full of bottles, antiques, advertising and a place for old friends from the collecting hobby to get together to buy, sell or just enjoy each other’s company.

The amount of mid to high end bottles and collectables, in my opinion, available at Auburn out numbers any of the other "western" shows that I usually attend. For the last few years I have been purchasing a sales table at Auburn under the guise to sell a few things but in reality to enjoy the overall experience that Auburn seems to provide.

That "Auburn Experience" in the last two years has been diminished by what I consider an unacceptable problem, mainly the theft of dealers bottles. The last couple of years it seems like every other dealer I talked to lost one thing or another off of their table. I understand this is a "touchy" subject with the 49er Bottle Club and their attempt last year to correct the problem was also unacceptable. Announcing every five minutes for dealers to watch their tables, that something has been stolen or reminding dealers to not leave their tables is just plain bunk.

Heck, I was so jumpy about the theft problem, and constantly being reminded of it, that I had to darn near pay someone to watch my table while I went to the restroom. No one was leaving their table to visit or check out what other dealers had for sale. Dealers swapping or buying collectables from each other is a major part of every bottle show. It's hard to see what's available from other dealers when you are tied to a table.

I hope that the 49er club has discussed this problem and addressed the issue at their meetings. I don't expect an instant remedy to the problem but maybe the club can provide some security or even just some table sitters so us oldtimers can grab a cup of coffee or a restroom stop without wondering if our table will still be there when we get back.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dr. E.C. Balm

Dr. E Cooper ‘s Universal Magnetic Balm was first advertised, here in the west, sometime in the mid 1860’s. There is a bit of speculation on whether or not the E.C. Balm is a western manufactured product.
Advertisements from the Sacramento Daily Union during the 1867 time frame list W.R. Strong as the Proprietor of the product doing business at Nos. 5 and 9 J Street in Sacramento California. Later advertisements from 1868-69’ period list Redington & Co. from San Francisco as sole agents for the product.

Tim Higgins, in his book, “Early Medicine and Apothecary Bottles of the Old West” lists an E.C. Balm with W.R. Strong embossed on one side panel and Sacramento embossed on the other side panel and considers this bottle extremely rare. Tim also relates this bottle comes with the signature western curved “R”.

The two examples of the E.C. Balm in my collection are embossed only on the front panel “Dr. E.C. BALM” do not have curved “R’s” or embossing on the side panels. Each example is from a different mold and the tops on the bottles are completely different. Both of these bottles are fairly crude, have that deep aqua colored glass and quite possibly were blown here in a western glass house.

As with most of the medicines that were marketed early, the Dr. E.C. Balm claims to cure everything from Dysentery, burns and bruises to fever and Ague. And, of course, it was recommended for the entire family.

The E.C. Balm, in my opinion, is an interesting, fairly scarce western distributed medicine bottle that is still an affordable piece of western history

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral is another eastern manufactured product that found it’s way to the California gold fields. The California gold rush created an instant market for any product that could be freighted to the remote early camps and towns that were springing up in the gold country. Although most collectors consider the Cherry Pectoral a fairly common bottle, in my book, it’s a very desirable piece of gold rush history.

James Cook Ayer first started producing a line of home remedies as early as 1841. He bought the Robbins' Drug Store sometime in 1841 and began to concoct and sell his home grown remedies out of this newly acquired business. His Cherry Pectoral was, according to Ayer, a medicine aimed at relieving disorders of the chest or respiratory tract. His home grown family remedies were very popular and successful enough for Ayer to pay off the loan for the Robbins’ store in 3 years.

James Ayer manufactured and sold many different medicinal remedies and eventually became a very rich man. After he died in 1878, the business was run by family member Frederick Ayer for a while. The business stayed in the family until 1888, when it was finally bought out by Sterling Products Inc.

The Cherry Pectoral bottles that I have encountered here in the Northern part of California’s gold fields comes in two sizes, the small size is about 6 ¼ inch tall and the large about 7 ¼ inch tall. The earliest examples of the Cherry Pectoral sports an open pontil base, later examples have a smooth base.

Having spent most of my life here in these Sierra Nevada Canyons I can understand the need for something to cut through the damp winter chill that penetrates you to the bone. If three fingers of good old redeye didn’t open up that congested chest I guess it was time to reach for James Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral. Thousands of 49ers did!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone, Time for some serious eating and a Big Dose of Gratitude. Rick DB

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2012 expo

Who wants to do a seminar at the 2012 Reno expo ? Contact Marty Hall or Richard Siri .I don't know how many of you out there have seen the gazebo display used at the Santa Rosa show. It's a big dislay and could house many various Western Bottles I think we could get it hauled to Reno if there is enought interest . It would be a joint dislay not judged . I thnk it would be remembered like the Weaverville Window.
Another thing if western folks want to see western bottle articles in the FOHBC magazine they need to write some and submit them to the new editor .You don't have to go through June Lowry ,submit them direct to the editor . I don't think at this time other than Eric McGuire anyone has sent in anything western to be printed . You can't fault the Fohbc for not having anything western if nothing western gets submitted .RTS


I just received this correspondence from a fellow collector on a very interesting western liniment.

“As far as I am aware two specimens are in collections. I dug my example in Mountain View, California back in the late 1970s out of an old stage stop dump.
All the other bottles had been burned, except for the pocket of moist thick clay that held this bottle and two "black glass" ale/beer bottles. All of this not 6 or 7 feet from a major 6-lane boulevard.

Take a look at the pictures, and feel free to post them as a bit of "change of gears" on your Western Bitters blog. Noticed your Mexican Mustang Liniment trade card is imprinted "For Man & Beast"...
I know Eric McGuire knows something of William A. Clark although my own research through the online SF city directories came up with only ambiguous (and numerous) "William Clark"s. This example is filled with tiny seed bubbles, "no crack" small potstones and bits of black. Applied lip, and reblown with "ghost" lettering below the various lines of embossing on the wide panels.
Jason P.”

Thanks to Jason Parker for the pictures and information on this rare and interesting western bottle -rs


Here’s a bottle that gets little respect but is one of the earliest products distributed in California’s gold rush country. The Mexican Mustang Liniment bottle is generally found in every camp, settlement and town in the Mother Lode, Northern Mines and also in the early California cities. I have dug dozens of these bottles and I am sure the more prolific diggers have dug hundreds of them over the years.

The agents for this product claimed that it would relieve the pain associated with everyday hard work so common to the times. Not many occupations were more physical than digging for gold and a pain reliever, other than liquor, was an item that flew off of the merchant’s shelves.

The manufacturers of the liniment claimed not only did it work on men and women but was also recommended for children, horses and domestic animals.

These bottles were made for a long time and the earliest examples have an open pontil base and are fairly crude. Some of the earlier examples are embossed D.S. Barnes New York. (Hear that Dr. Barnes) Later examples have a smooth base and are neatly made.

Are you storing a few of these early bottles in your basement or garage? Well, get them out and take another look at that crude and early medicine bottle aimed at the gold rush market.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I just received my November – December issue of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors “Bottles and Extras” magazine. I always like to read the President’s Message first before wading into the articles and information contained in the magazine. For me the President’s message gives me a little insight into the mindset of the federation leadership and sets the tone for the whole issue.

Unfortunately this issue’s message starts off with an apology. First off -new president Gene Bradberry apologizes for the lateness of the previous issue (that, by the way, I never received) then informs us that former editor Jesse Sailor (the fellow hired by the former leadership to get the magazine back on track and current) has been replaced by the recently elected Midwest Region director. I don’t have a problem with changing magazine editors or even with the magazine being a little late. That being said, I do have a problem with trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

It’s been long enough now for the smoke to clear after the heated and ugly election that took place in the Federation earlier this year. We lost (in my opinion) three of the bottle collecting hobby’s biggest supporters and volunteers in the aftermath of that struggle for control of the Federation.

During the two years of the former administrations tenure we saw the magazine arrive on time and with content that included articles aimed at the western collector. This newest issue contains zero (minus the review of the Arcadia California show) content for the western collector. I hope that future issues will contain some articles or research that will be of interest to western collectors. The former administration also reviewed and revised the Federations by-laws along with getting the expo in Reno in 2012.

I know from conversations with several western collectors that this year’s election literally “took the wind” out of a lot of western folks sails. As a matter of fact, I know of quite a few western collectors that didn’t bother to renew their memberships after the results of the election. Even though I don’t agree with that approach I can respect their decision to not participate. I have even heard rumblings that some collectors are contemplating a break off from the Federation and starting a “Western Federation”

I don’t know where this is all headed but I will continue to give my support to the Federation, try and keep this bitters site current and support our local bottle shows out here in the west. It might be a drop in the bottle collecting bucket, but enough drops make for a full bucket.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The 49er HBC will have an IXL Bitters showdown at their Dec. show on Saturday December 4th starting at “HIGH NOON” There will be a table set up for the showdown, and three judges. The winning bottle will get a silver dollar coin with show info and date on it, as well as best in show 2010.

All entries are welcome so…. Come on over to this year’s Auburn Bottle show and bring your best Henley’s for the showdown.

For information on the showdown contact the “California Kid” Mike McKillop at
See ya at Auburn

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Western Bitters recently Dug

Here are two more photos of some nice Western bitters fresh from the ground. It just makes one want to get out there and dig a few! The Wonser's is mint, and so is the IXL.I do have a lot more photos posted on oregontrail antique So feel free to check them out. When I receive digging photos, or "fresh dug" photos, I will post them there, and a few here. Let's see some more dig photos!

Friday, October 29, 2010

American Bottle Auction # 51

American Bottle Auction #51 is slated to start on Thursday November 4th and end on Sunday November 14th. Auction 51 has 12 examples of bitters that should be of interest to the western collector.

Two Dr. Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters and a Henley's California IXL are being offered along with three examples of the sample size Lash's Bitters. If you are looking for a western square this November's auction has a milk glass German Balsam Bitters, a three line Turner's and a large size Rosenbaum's Bitters.

A damaged Stockton Port Wine Bitters, Dr. Wonser's USA Indian Root Bitters in dark amber and the big dog in auction 51, a beautiful pastel green M. Keller California Wine Bitters, round out the western bitters offered in this auction.

You can view the entire American Bottle Auction # 51 online at starting on November 2nd.

Good luck bidding!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Before, and After

Here is a photo of a nice grouping of medicines recently dug in a Western state. I really like the context of bottles still in the layer, or freshly dug next to the hole. Here are the exact specimens washed up and looking pretty.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Louis Lacour

Great comparison with the Coquille River Lighthouse in Bandon. Almost a scary resemblance.

Another equally scary resemblance is with Louis Lacquor's childhood residence and the glass vessel that we cherish.

Take a peek at the turrets.



Lacour's & The Lighthouse

Some say the Lacour's Bitters was fashioned to resemble a lighthouse....However, most bitters scholars maintain that all lighthouses are dedicated to L. Lacour and his prestigious bitters! Either way you look at it, it makes for a beautiful story, right? Here is a picture of a Var. 3 Lacour's I picked up at the Canyonville Show two weeks ago. I thought it would make for a picturesque setting if I held up a Lacour's next to the Coquille River Lighthouse in Bandon, OR (built in 1896).

Another Canyonville Show Acquisition

Here is the highlight of my Canyonville show finds...a gorgeous variant #1 Lacour's. It will join the line up of Lacour's shown in the "Pacific Coast Jewels" post. This run of Lacour's includes all variants of this beautiful bitters. There really are some significant differences in the three versions, and when placed together, these differences are very obvious. Now I just need the elusive aqua color! I do not believe there are more than two or three of them in collections, so maybe I will get lucky and dig one! I dug the bottom half of a deep aqua example in 1995 in Nevada...

Monday, October 25, 2010


This year’s Canyonville bottle show featured some great displays for the attendees of the show. As varied and interesting as the displays were, one sure caught my eye.

The display PACIFIC COAST JEWELS was indeed a display of jewels. There were no less than 6 Lacour’s Bitters in various colors and several other rare western bitters. I finally laid my eyes on the olive colored Dr. Wonser’s that was recovered from the Comstock area last year and what a magnificent bottle it is. Lacour's, Wonser's, Chalmers - WOW!

I managed to remember to bring my camera to this year’s show ………….
Enjoy the pictures

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Continued finds from old homestead.

Some of the more interesting bottles to have been unearthed during the past week.

(6 broken Voldner's Schnaaps were found, the Vonthofeu's Aromatic Schnaaps has an iron oxide pontil mark)
(the Lyon's Powder, N.Y. is a true puce color, the nicest medicine found was the Merchants Gargaling Oil / Lockport, NY)

Recent finds from old homestead.

Recently 4 bottle collector/diggers got together and dug 4 holes in an old ranch/homestead in Northern California.

(2 of the beers have S. F & PGW embossed on the base)
(4 bitters were found intact, 1 black glass Hostetters found broken)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Here is the BIG one! Just Dug...

Here are two great Western medicines fresh out of the ground from a Western state. The "smaller" of the two is still an impressive 8 1/2" tall with a rich turquoise aqua color. It has a knarly applied top, and is embossed "Dr. Warren's Botanic Cough Balsam, S.F. Cal." These are pretty rare in this size and with the applied top. I would estimate there are about 10-12 in collections. In the same pit was this "tanker" of a sarsaparilla. The diggers originally thought it was just a cool Eastern Bristols or Kennedy's, but the glass is sparkling western aqua and clean as can is embossed "Langley's Compound Sarsaparilla, San Francisco". What a giant bottle, and in perfect condition! It is hard to believe such a large bottle would come out whole, let alone in such pristine condition. I believe there are about 10 of these Langley's in collections, and they are not to be confused with the very scarce narrow medicine version. This example is a whopping 11 1/2" tall.These do come in green, and I have seen one example, though it was not crude. These are late 60s bottles, and are so rarely dug, it is an exciting find! Full of bubbles and character...this is what gets my blood pumping!