Saturday, January 30, 2010

And Speaking of Henley's...

There has really been a jump in the sale prices of IXL bitters in the past few years. The better colors have sold for thousands of dollars with the ice blue example (possibly unique) bring a record price for an IXL. The yellow olive, amber, turquoise, and even brillian aqua examples have all recently sold in the four figure range! These bottles are very early, being first produced in the late 1860s, with the "no circle" being the earliest. The colors for this version seem to be deep and rich when they stray from aqua. To me, there is just nothing that compares to any shade of green in Western glass, from yellow olive to emerald. Here is a deep olive example, and I do not recall one in this color selling at auction. If the going price for a deep fire aqua is $3800, I wonder what this one would bring today?:) I do not believe there are more than 8-10 in this color in collections...maybe fewer. The ambers are very tough, and have sold for $4000-$5000 recently. I think there are maybe 5-8 known in straight amber. These are such a stereotypical Western bottle it is no wonder they are so popular. I have not heard of any nice IXLs being dug lately...some beauties have come from Nevada, Oregon, and California. Any nice finds in other states?

Latest Cundurango to My Meager Collection

Here is a very whittled and crude Cundurango that I was fortunate to pick up recently. I don't know why I like these so much, but I do. I would like to see another Cundurango display similar to the Auburn event several years ago, or how about a "display" here? I know there are some beauties out there!

Dr. Henley's Son Missing !

Dr. Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters

Here's an interesting advertisement from L. Gross threatening all who are buying up his old Henley's bottles for use in counterfeiting his product. Seems like as soon as a product became popular and sales soared, back in the 19th century, someone tried to copy or counterfeit the successful product.

Kinda makes you wonder if that Henley's that went for four figures in auction 49 held the real Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters or some counterfeit product.

Times haven't changed much, have they.

Friday, January 29, 2010

January Review:

Rain, snow and wind were mostly what January was about up here in the foothills and Sierra high country. Heck, just a month or so ago we were complaining that the ground was so dry we couldn’t probe it, now if you dig a hole deeper than a couple of feet it fills with water. The high country is under snow and it probably will be till April or May sending us high elevation diggers down to the flatlands to try and get something going. The drawback to all this weather for us Sierra residents has been the ongoing power and internet outages. Sierra County has had sporadic electrical service and absolutely no internet service since the 23rd of January. Sure makes it difficult to keep fresh posts on this blog when you can’t get online.

Digging News:
A rare Dr. Furber’s Cordial of Mountain Balm was unearthed in the Bay Area not too long ago – nice extraction fellows, keep em’ coming. Rumors of a freshly dug Catawba Wine Bitters were being circulated throughout the bottle community lately; unfortunately there has not been any confirmation or denial of this rumor by the supposed digger.
I haven’t heard of anything being dug in Nevada lately but the Las Vegas show is coming up and a lot of the collectors – diggers like to combine a bottle show and digging trip to and from southern Nevada. Hopefully we will have some freshly dug items to report on after the Vegas show.

American Bottle Auction #49:
There were eight bottles in auction 49 that would have been of interest to the western bitters collector, here’s my take on where they finished and why:

Lot 106: 3 line Turner Brothers. Of the 7 (yes seven) variants of the Turner Bros. square this is the example that is most often found out here in the west. Described as “applied top with graphite pontil” This variant of the Turner’s, to my knowledge, has never been observed with a graphite pontil, or any other kind of pontil for that matter. Be that as it may this smooth base Turner’s brought $850, just about what they are selling for at shows but below the auction estimate of $1000 - $1500.

Lot 163: Pipifax. Considered a western bitters (even though not embossed as such) by some of the western collectors this bottle had an opening price of $100. After a few days of no opening bids the starting price was dropped to $50. It finished at $60. I have seen several examples of the Pipifax sitting on tables at bottle shows with an asking price of $100. If you were looking for a Pipifax this was a bargain.

Lot 294: Tool top Dr. Henley’s Wild Grape Root Bitters. Here’s a rare bottle. A couple of savvy western bitters collectors that I talked to at the Anderson show mentioned that in all their years of collecting they had probably seen maybe 5 examples of a tool top Henley’s. That’s pretty darn rare but it doesn’t seem to make the bottle very desirable or valuable as this example only realized a disappointing $210.

Lot 295: Dr. Henley’s. Here was the surprise of the auction for not only me but most of the western collectors that I have talked to. The catalog describes it as “this may be the finest example in so called “aqua” we have ever seen” “Many people would consider it a medium teal” I am not about to argue color with anyone, color is in the eye of the beholder. Take for example your basic western whiskey collector, the slightest hint of olive tone in a western fifth and they will be calling it green. As a bitters collector I would call this example of the Henley’s rich aqua. Whatever color you want to call it someone was willing to pay $3800 plus a 12% premium to become the new owner.

Lot 316: Clear Peruvian Bitters. Here’s another rare bitters bottle that graced this auction. For every 500 Peruvians that you see maybe one will be clear, that’s rare. But as most collectors know just because a bottle is rare doesn’t make it valuable. Just like the three L’s in real estate dictate value, the three C’s in bottle collecting are what bring the green. Color, condition and crudity set value in most cases, not always rarity. Don’t agree with me? Take a look at the thousands of Drakes Plantation Bitters; do you think rarity has anything to do with some examples busting 4 figures? I would consider $150 a bargain for this bottle.

Lot 317: Lacour’s Bitters. Here’s a bottle that not only appeals to western collectors but figural and colored bitters collectors also. A beautiful green this Lacour’s has a replaced top but it didn’t stop it from reaching $1700. If you believe in a certification and grading process for antique bottles (like stamps and coins) this would be a candidate. You can laser etch on the base REPLACED TOP before this bottle gets lost in the shuffle and re-surfaces in a few years as the “real deal”.

Lot 318: Bryant’s Stomach Bitters (leg) And yet another waterlogged Bryant’s surfaces from off the eastern coast of South America. Sand and water worn but polished to an acceptable appearance this world traveler brought a solid $3600

Lot 319: Chalmer’s Catawba Wine Bitters (Sutters Old Mill) at $17,500 this was the big dog in auction 49 for bitters collectors. Rare, beautiful color, crudity and dang near mint condition, everything an advanced bottle collector is looking for and then some. In the last year or so pricey bottles are being referred to by some “sellers” as “investment grade bottles”. At $17,500 I would imagine that the Chalmer’s would qualify as “investment grade” to these unnamed sellers, it’s pricey enough. The only problem with this “investment grade” baloney is this bottle sold a few years ago for $22,000. A poor investment for the previous owner. If you are not buying glass for the love of it, but as an investment, maybe it’s time to start thinking about throwing some of that disposable income at mutual funds or pork bellies.

Anderson Bottle Show:
This year’s Anderson show, in my opinion, was an interesting and fun event. First off, the ongoing theft problem that plagued the Auburn bottle show in December didn’t seem to be an issue in Anderson, making for a relaxed atmosphere and lots of visiting with other dealers. Part of the appeal of local bottle shows for me is the personal connection with other bottle collectors, being able to examine possible additions to my collection first hand and hang with folks that I have something in common. Your basic online auctions and the infamous ebay certainly can’t deliver any of the previously mentioned reasons for attending a local bottle show, or a not so local show for that matter.

Several nice western bitters were offered for sale at the show. A Chalmer’s Catawba Wine Bitters, aqua Dr. Wonser’s Wild Grape Root Bitters, Three line Turner Bros. square, a nice aqua Henley’s California IXL Bitters and a Gun Wa’s Chinese Remedy that an amigo from Oregon snatched off of a sales table were just some of the bitters available. If you didn’t make the Anderson show you missed a very pleasant western show
Upcoming Shows in February:
Don’t forget the upcoming 45th annual Las Vegas Antique Bottle & Collectables Club show and sale February 12th & 13th at the Palace Station Casino.
February 19th & 20th the Oregon Bottle Collectors Association’s winter 2010 show & sale will be held at the American Legion Hall in Aurora Oregon.

Support the hobby... Attend a local bottle show......
It’s good to be back

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anderson Show Report- First Impression

The Anderson show has always been a small show, but surprisingly, some amazing glass shows up there most years. This was one of those years. Western bitters were quite well represented with a Chalmer's Catawba Wine Bitters in a pretty bluish aqua, an aqua cylinder Wonser's, a nice Renz's, some pretty Henley's (maybe the huge price recently paid at auction will shake more of these loose), a couple colored Walkers,a Dr. Motts, and some black Hostetters. While not a bitters collection, the annual gathering at Ken Schwartz' home to view his spectacular whiskey "museum" was a treat. I was unable to acquire a good bitters at the show, however was able to bring home a pretty citron colored Gun Wa square. The Western whiskeys were plentiful, and some top 25 examples were available, but that will be for the whiskey blog. If you missed this show, you missed some nice glass! See you all at Chico! M.E.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pratt's New Life & Abolition Oil

Although the Pratt's New Life and Pratt's Abolition Oil are not bitters, they sure are early and interesting western bottles, and in my opinion, a very nice addition to a western collection.

American Bottle Auctions, in their latest auction # 49, had both of these Pratt's product bottles up for grabs, and grabbed they were. The New Life brought a respectable $475 with the Abolition Oil finishing at $425.

Both of the Pratt's products were manufactured and marketed by San Francisco druggists and chemists A. McBoyle & Co. McBoyle & Co. believed in the power of advertising and patronized local newspapers heavily and frequently.

The earliest mention of the Abolition Oil, that I have found, is in an April 1867 advertisement. Advertisements for the New Life start sometime in the early months of 1868.

Pratt's Abolition Oil for Abolishing Pain was advertised as a general pain reliever for all aches and pains, while the Pratt's New Life was a blood purifier and Liver Invigorator ( just like the bitters products claimed). Both products were very popular and some of the west's "best sellers" during the time period that they were marketed.
Even though the two Pratt's bottles are not big, square and have the word bitters embossed in the glass, they sure pack a lot of western history and are a "bargain" when it comes to purchasing western made glass.
Congratulations to the winning bidders.
Got Pratt's?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Catawba Wine Bitters

"A Western Distributed Product"
The Catawba Wine Bitters was manufactured by the Longworth and Grew Company of Cincinnati, Ohio and marketed on the west coast by sole agent George Grimes of San Francisco.
I believe, but can't be positive, that the Catawba product was bottled in Cincinnati and shipped to the west coast as case goods. Early western newspapers reported the ships that put into the port of San Francisco and listed the cargo they off loaded. I just haven't found a listing for the Catawba Wine Bitters yet.

The Catawba Wine Bitters comes in various shades of green and amber colors and the earliest examples have an iron pontil. These bottles are considered rare with possibly only twenty to thirty examples known in any color.

The Catawba was marketed up here in the northern mines area of the gold country and I, personally have dug several broken examples of this bottle. I found a beautiful iron pontiled medium green Catawba broken in place at the old settlement of Chaparral Hill. Another dark green iron pontiled example was crushed by a large champagne bottle at a cabin site above Indian Valley. Other broken examples of pontiled and smooth base Catawba's have been discovered at Morristown, Downieville and Monte Cristo..

To date I haven't scored an intact Catawba..... but there's always tomorrow!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I'll be the first to admit that I really don't know much about the African Stomach Bitters product. That's not saying that I am not willing to learn more about this product and its container. I have thought about collecting some examples of the African ever since I started collecting western bitters, but my lack of knowledge about the bottle and never even finding any pieces of them put them out of my reach. Pictured above is the advertisement for the claim to trademark for the African Stomach Bitters. This ad was taken from the March 1881 Sacramento Daily Union.
The very next month Wilcox, Powers & Co. of Sacramento are advertising that they are not only special agents for African Stomach Bitters but also "sole" agents.
If I am reading this advertisement correctly doesn't that mean that Wilcox, Powers & Co. are the only merchants to offer this product for sale? This product would have been sold in the round bottle without Spruance Stanley embossed in the glass and is the first embossed African product?.
What say you western collectors?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

American Bottle Auctions Lots 294 & 295


As most all of you know ABA auction # 49 is underway and closes on Monday January 18th at 7:00 pm Western time.

I noticed over on the whiskey site, soleagent is reviewing some of the western fifths up for auction. Not to be left behind, we are throwing in our 4 cents worth on two western bitters bottles.

Lot # 294 is an aqua Henley's with a tool top. This bottle shows the characteristics of an air vented mold with typical sharp embossing and lack of crudity. As a matter of fact I am not certain this is a western made bottle, it has the straight (kinda) legged "R's" and appears to be made of a clear colored glass. Its not what your western collector would call "western aqua". Last year at the Downieville show we raffled off a tool top Henley's that was almost identical to this bottle. Never the less the tool top Henley's are rare and a pretty tough bottle to acquire.
Right now the Henley's is sitting at $200, a bargain in my opinion if you need the tool top example to fill in your run.

Lot # 295 is a heavily whittled, deep western aqua ( boarding on a green coloration ) example of the Wild Grape Root Bitters. Although this bottle is listed as a tool top it sure looks like it has an applied top and is embossed with the characteristic western curved "R's". Loads of seed bubbles and a slightly out of round body make this example a keeper.
Estimated to auction between $400 - $800 it sits right in the middle at $650 at the present time.

Both of these examples of the Dr. Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters would make a great addition to your collection... Good Luck Bidding!

Mason's Improved with a Western R

Andrew sent this picture of a Mason's Improved fruit jar sporting one of those very distinctive western "R's". Andrew reports that the jar was dug from a mid 1880's pit in central California and came out of the ground without any staining (i.e. sparklematic). He was wondering if anyone has seen another Mason's Improved with the western R embossed on it.
I can't recall ever seeing a Mason with a curved R but the R on Andrew's Mason sure looks familiar.... doesn't it?

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I love a mystery.. well, let me qualify that statement. I love to solve a mystery. At any one time I have several mystery's running around inside this old noggin.

Some of these mystery's are major, some minor. Take for instance the "Western R". Now here's a major mystery. When did the Western curved "R" first appear on western bottles? Is this "R"unique to one particular glass house or did both the SFGW and PGW use the curved "R"? Is this "R" from just one mold maker or was it used by several different craftsmen over a span of years? And just when did they quit using this "Western R"? This, for sure, is a mystery that I have tried to solve for a long time. Every time I think I am getting close to a conclusion another piece of information sends me off in another direction and brings more questions than answers. Ever have that happen?

One of the minor mystery's that seems to be spinning around in perpetual motion is the N. Mills/ Fish's Infallible Hair Restorative. Here's a bottle that has collectors, and myself, debating if this bottle was blown in the west or is just another eastern made piece of glass used to market a western product. Take a look at that unique apostrophe shaped like a 7 and the funky R that seems to be curved in instead of out like the western "R". The only bottles that I can recall that share these qualities are all, I believe, eastern. The Fish's N. Mills, Fish's B.F. Fish, Risley's Buchu, and the Ghirardelli's Branch soda. Having said that, and now have scores of western collectors on the war path, lets move on to the reason for this post: THE WESTERN STAR.

Just when I was happy concentrating on one major, and the minor...small potato's Fish's mystery, Oregon collector Dale Mlasko throws down the gauntlet on "THE WESTERN STAR" Rat's !!!, another darn mystery. If I had any gumption I could let it go, but no, the seed has been planted and its already started to grow into a low rent, although interesting, mystery.

Dale claims that the square bottle with a star and TM embossed on it could quite possibly be a western blown bottle. ( see earlier post titled "Western Bitters Square Star of the Union" ) Dale's contention is that several western merchants have a star prominently displayed or embossed in the glass of their product.

Hmm... TM with star, J.F. Cutter Extra has a star in a shield, good ol' Jesse Moore has two stars in its logo and one is canted like the advertisement for the Star of the Union Bitters. The Bay City soda has a star, but its not pudgy like the J.F. or Jesse Moore star. If we are talking stars we had better look at the shape for clues as to whether its an eastern, military, shining, Carl's Jr. or western star, shouldn't we? Having dealt with a few mystery's over the years standard operating procedure dictates that, first off, you get as close to a subject as you can. If that doesn't help, then you get as far away as possible to get a different view of the whole situation. so.......

After a quick trip to Marysville (Hi Lou, finding anything?) for a Carls Jr. burger I noticed the star on the burger wrapper didn't look anything like our (so-called) western star, its points were rounded and it had a smiley face on it. We can eliminate Carl's Jr.'s star as being modeled after the Star of the Union Bitters star.

Military stars mean business, not bitters!

The Jesse Moore stars are a little more rounded in the web than the Star of the Union Star. The lower star in the Jesse logo is canted like the star in the advertisement for the (so-called western) bitters, but the similarity ends there. The J.F. Cutter star is way fatter and the web is a lot more rounded than the star embossed on the TM bottle.

What does all this information add up to? Basically, with the small amount of detective work that I have done, there doesn't seem to be any connection between the Star of the Union star and any of the stars embossed on known western bottles. Now if any of you have any theories or other evidence to link the TM star to a western product..........

Digging News: The Blue Soda Hole

Three "Old Time" diggers got together Saturday, here in Northern California, for a day of probing, and hopefully digging a few early privies or trash pits.

The property that we were working had already produced a fairly rare western fifth from an 1880's pit and some un-embossed utility bottles from a really early pontil pit.

The morning and early afternoon were spent probing the property without any results. Around 2 in the afternoon we hit a small pit up close to the original wagon road that ran through the settlement site. A test hole into the middle of the pit produced a really early hand forged axe head and the evidence to "open up" the pit.
Once the dimensions of the pit were established the dirt started flying. First bottle out of the hole was a Wm. Eagle's Superior Mineral Waters in cobalt blue with a red iron pontil. Boy did that ratchet up the excitement level! Lying next to the Wm. Eagle were 2 broken un-embossed blacks and just the top of another blob top blue soda showing.
After some root cutting (of course the pit was right next to a locust tree) and some careful digging, out pops a blue blob top soda embossed Mineral Waters with a red iron pontil on the base. Wow!... 2 pontiled soda's and we were just getting started into the hole.

After removing some loose soil and squaring up the hole two more bottles are showing. After cutting more roots out come two unembossed blacks and a broken Mineral Waters in light green.

With daylight leaving and the pit getting close to being finished another blue soda is showing along with an un-embossed black. After recovering the black out comes the soda: A deep blue Kimball & Co also sporting a red iron pontil.
While cleaning up the bottom of the pit we recover a silver coin embossed on the obverse Napoleon Empereon and on the reverse an 1808 date. Another great find!
After filling the hole back in we take stock of our spoils:
3 blue embossed soda's,
5 un-embossed blacks,
A silver 1808 French coin and what started it all, an early hand crafted axe head.

What an incredible day;
Old friends and some old bottles from a really old gold rush hole. It just doesn't get much better!

New Western Tool Top Whiskey Site

Long time bottle collector Bruce Silva has his new blog site Western Whiskey Tool Top Gazette up and running and looking good. Bruce is one of the more knowledgeable of the Western Whiskey collectors and his new site is sure to be not only informative but also entertaining.
This quote from the Western Whiskey Tool Top Gazette's first post, I believe sums up the direction that this site is headed;

"Here we are, 2010 at last! Out with the old and in with the new. Well, maybe not out with all the old, since and, both upstarts in 2009, are soaring along with ever increasing interest and support.

In the spirit of furthering the western collecting fraternity, I'm pleased to introduce the Western Whiskey Tooled Top Gazette. This site has been created with the intent of complimenting the aforementioned blogs. This site will serve to pick up the western whiskey saga where the glop top whiskies left off and to tie in the bitters products produced by the western liquor industry during the tooled top era. "

I, for one, am looking forward to this new whiskey site and highly recommend that all you collectors and diggers take a look at the latest "upstart" in the growing data base of western bottle collecting!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Western Bitters Square; Star of the Union

This beautiful square bitters bottle was recently acquired from the digger, who found it in Northern California several years ago. It is a gorgeous light yellow olive, and covered in whittle effect. The top is similar to the E.G. Lyon's square. The embossing consists of a large star, with the letters"T" and "M". Since the first example of this bottle turned up in Oakland 25 years ago, there has been much speculation as to the bottle's origin, contents, and exactly what the embossing indicates. Now with about 7 known examples(all dug in California, and Nevada), there is a growing sentiment that this is indeed a Western blown bottle, and that it dates to the later 1860s- early 1870s. The color is a dead match for some other Western squares, and other bottles blown in San Francisco.
Several Western bottles display the prominent star as a trade mark. The Star Shield Cutter whiskey, which began in 1869, the Pacific Glassworks pickle bottle, and this bitters. There is a strong indicator to lead one to believe that this product was for "Star of the Union" Bitters, and was distributed by the A.Fenkhausen Company. The advertisements for the brand are pretty clear, showing the star as the trademark (which I believe the TM indicates), and the age of the bottle in relation to the product distribution. This is a great bottle that is gaining in popularity. The value has risen with demand, however I believe it is still a solid value.
Being extremely rare, there are not enough to go around.Western bitters are growing in demand, and few are available for sale.
(This post was taken from Dale Mlasko's new western bottle site)
Thanks Dale!

"Western Barrel Bitters" in American Bottle Auction #49

American Bottle Auction # 49 is now up and running. Among all of the fine glass up for bidding are no less than 14 barrel shaped bitters bottles. Of particular interest are lots 297, 299, 301 and 307, all Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic's. The Old Sachem's were marketed very aggressively on the west coast by Park & White during the 1860's; Intact and broken examples of the Old Sachem's are found throughout California's gold rush country and the early Valley supply towns.

Some western collectors believe that "a bottle manufactured on the East Coast and distributed on the West Coast" is, indeed, a western bottle so.....

.........Auction 49 boasts 4 western Old Sachem's and an un-embossed barrel (lot 302) that was sold here in the west in the early 1860's.

How do I know that the un-embossed barrel was marketed and sold out west? Well, it just happens that I dug one along with an un-embossed Drakes Plantation shaped bitters at the old gold rush camp of Chaparral Hill.

So if your looking for that special "Western Barrel Bitters" Take a look at American Bottle Auctions auction # 49

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More on Ol' Doc Furber

This advertisement for the Dr. Furber's product was found in the 1870 Mining and Scientific Press. Thanks to soleagent for sending it along for all of us to enjoy. (click on the picture to enlarge it)
Tim Higgins relates this product also has a Vallejo "connection" Ol' Doc Furber kept an office in Vallejo California in the early 1870's.
Doc Furber claims his balm will help with irritated stomachs from bad liquor, alkali water and strong coffee. ( This bottle should be found in Nevada! )
The advertisement states that his Mountain Balm is for sale in San Francisco by R.H. McDonald & Co.
R.H. McDonald was a pioneer druggist in Sacramento and along with Dr. Levy was responsible for another rare (western?) bottle: the open pontil Drs. McDonald & Levy Compound Fluid Extract of Manzanita, from Sacramento City California.
Thanks guys for all the great information on this rare bottle.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Digging News 2010 Part 2

I just received word that this extremely rare Western Medicine was dug yesterday somewhere in the Bay Area.



What a great find!!!!

Dr. Furber patented this product sometime in 1870.
Furber claimed that his balm contained the sap of the Oregon grape root and another "secret" ingredient that grew around the base of Mt. Shasta. This product is believed to have been distributed for only one year. Yep... Its a rare one

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Digging News 2010

Here are some pictures sent to me by OldCutters from, what I believe is, the first privy dig of 2010... (Two Thousand & Ten, boy have we come a long way or what?)
The picture to the left is what the whiskey guys call a "layer shot"!

Out comes a Holden's GA soda.
Along with an amber Hostetter's with S. McKee on the base..........

.... and my favorite, a beautiful and rare 1851 NCO sword belt plate.

It isn't always about a rare bitters or whiskey....Its about getting out and enjoying our hobby.

Congratulations OldCutters !

Friday, January 1, 2010

What color? "It's just aqua"

I love Western glass for it's history, and pristine charactaristics. Typically sparkling clean right out of the ground, there is just nothing else like it. The brilliant colors, and shades of green, amber, yellow, and even blue really keep the quest for quality Western glass exciting to me. Whenever asked about the color of a particular find, one hears some creative descriptions, like yellow, olive, citron, with a touch of amber, and so on...the descriptions for the color of glass and the interpretation of such are a topic in themselves. One color that might be considered a bit mundane, is aqua. The Western aqua though, is just spectacular in it's many hues, and shades. Here are three different shades of "just aqua". Just need the "aqua" Wonsers in this grouping, but one does not currently reside in my collection...yet.

The London Jockey Clubhouse Gin

Lately there seems to be a lot of interest in the early gold rush era squares found out here in the west. Although not a bitters, one of these squares, the London Jockey Clubhouse Gin, is certainly capturing the limelight as one of the most desirable of these early western distributed squares.

The value of these bottles has escalated dramatically in the last two years. Several "western" collectors are aggressively seeking the Jockey Clubhouse and consequently have driven the price of these bottles literally "through the roof" In American Bottle Auctions auction # 47 a dark green example fetched a mid 4 figure price and in auction #48 a grass green Jockey ended at just under the mid 4 figures.

The earliest mention of the London Jockey Clubhouse, that I have found, comes from the April 1859 edition of the Sacramento Daily Union and was placed by the James Patrick Company, sole agents for California. According to the information I have gathered from early advertisements for the product the Jockey Clubhouse Gin was imported by A.C. and C.E. Tilton of New York City.

Wilson, in his book Spirit Bottles of the Old West eludes to this bottle being manufactured into the 1870's. I cannot find any reference to the Jockey Clubhouse after approximately 1866 when the Patrick Company had 1000 cases of the London Jockey Clubhouse Gin languishing in its San Francisco warehouse. A previous advertisement in the October 1862 edition of the Sacramento Daily Union lists 100 cases of the Clubhouse Gin being auctioned at 'agents rates"

Even though I don't have conclusive proof of the longevity of the London Jockey Clubhouse, auction price results and the scarcity of available examples of this bottle make it a very rare, desirable and pricey piece of early western gold rush history.