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!


  1. The tooled newer IXL kinda reminds me of the later Baja Damiana bottles. Same coloration, skinny embossing, etc.... As for the lack of curved "R"s, I dont think "Mr curved R" was around the glassworks anymore in the 1890s. These two bottles look like Holt or PCGW bottles, but they probably are a little too old to be.

  2. AP,
    In your opinion when did the curved "R" disappear from the embossing on western bottles?

  3. I don't know for sure, but it seems to be right around 1883 or so.........Andy

  4. I really have a problem with people that insist that if a bottle has curved "Rs" it is western in origin,especially sellers on Flea bay, which can pretty much be a crap shoot, unless you deal with a known seller. There is a Dr mc Brides King of Pain on flea bay right now, and IT is western in origin...S.F. and the bottle has nary a curved R on it looks to be aboyt 18 82-3-4-5 or so, which is why I came up with the aforementioned date in my last post.....Andy

  5. Rick

    I would guess around 1890.
    Also, most Western bottles in fact, do not have the curved "R". It is my opinion that only one of pattern/mold makers at the foundry dept of the San Francisco Glass Works and later at the SF & PGW formed his "R"s in that manner. I think he started around 1868 (ie: the non-circle IXL) and lasted to about 1890.
    As Andy pointed out the w/ Dr McBride's, many "Western blown" bottles do not have the curved "R". In my opinion, this is because those bottles are from molds that were not originated/cast by the curved R mold maker.