Thursday, May 27, 2010

Washington Bottle & Collectors Association

The Washington Bottle & Collectors Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1967 for the purpose of stimulating interest in the collecting and research of historical bottles.
We are a member in good standing of the National Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors. We encourage each individual member to join this national organization and help promote this great hobby.
Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Spring Show down in Chehalis, especially the guys from our partners, the Evergreen Insulator Club.

For more information on the Washington Bottle & Collectors Association check their site:
While you are visiting their site take a look at the photos in the gallery section.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Los Angeles Historical Bottle Club

50 West Duarte Road, Arcadia, California, 91007

Our club's purpose and pleasure.

To socially unite the bottle and fruit jar collectors of Los Angeles County and to promote, foster and encourage all legal activities toward the betterment of bottle collecting. We encourage the exchanging of information and the exhibiting, promoting and researching of bottles and related collectibles. The Los Angeles Historical Bottle Club is the Fifth Charter member of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors.

Check out the LAHBC site

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Western Bottle Clubs

I thought it was about time to become acquainted with some of the western bottle clubs that are at the forefront of the antique bottle collecting hobby. These clubs work tirelessly to organize bottle shows, share information and continue to promote our hobby. Let's start off with the ...

The GGHBS was formed in 1965 by a bunch of people who loved to dig and/or collect antique bottles. They realized the hobby needed an educational and social outlet for those of us who have been bitten by the bug. In 1966 we started putting on a bottle show and each year, though times change, we strive to make it better. This year we are going to have our 43rd show so come and celebrate with us. It will be a great show and with you there, it will be even better.
The GGHBS newsletter, "The CORKER", is the handy work of our most valuable player, Darla Antone. She tries to get it out about two weeks before each meeting. If you have any good articles, information, digging stories, ads for wanted or for sale, pass them on to Darla so she can publish them in the newsletter.

President: Gary Antone
752 Murdell Lane, Livermore, CA 94550
Phone 925-373-6758

Vice President: Rick Lindgren Email:

Treasurer: Jackie Lindgren Email:

Secretary: Ross Dileo Email:

Editor: Darla Antone 925-373-6758

For more information on the Golden Gate Historical Bottle Society take a look at:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Four Lighthouses

Here are four Lacour's in different colors and versions. Can you identify the mold variants?Also, can you name the "ghost town" in Nevada with a street named after Louis Lacour?

Upcoming Bottle Show


The Montana Bottle Collectors' Association plans its 9th Antique Bottle, Insulator, Collectable and Advertisng Show and Sale for June 4-5, 2010 at the Butte Civic Center Annex. 1340 Harrison Ave., Butte, Montana.
Friday, June 4 dealers in at 3 PM with early birds 4 to 8 PM.
Saturday, June 5 doors open from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Info: BILL HENNESS, P.O. Box 5301, Helena, MT. 59601. (406) 459-3038, email:
RAY THOMPSON (406) 273-7780, cell: (406) 529-2255

Friday, May 21, 2010


The firm of Wormser Bros. was located on the corner of California and Front Streets in San Francisco and listed as importers and jobbers of wines and liquors. Started sometime in 1856 Isaac Wormser, who was living in Germany, was the president of the company and his brother Lewis was the manager. In 1864 Lewis left San Francisco and his brother Simon took over management of the company. In October of 1867, during Simon’s management of the firm, they trademarked the “Golden Sheaf” brand of whiskey. By 1872 the Wormser Bros. business was sold to the firm of Braeg Frank and Dallemand.

It is believed the barrel shaped bottle with an applied tapered top and a smooth base embossed WORMSER BROS. SAN FRANCISCO was produced for a very short period of time, possibly in 1869 only. Although I could not find any advertisements to confirm what these bottles contained, Western collectors believe this container held a whiskey bitters product.

This barrel shaped bottle comes in various shades of amber from light yellow to darker brown amber. Most examples show very little crudity but a couple examples that I have observed have some pretty good whittle to the glass.

It is thought that there are between 25 and 30 of the Wormser Bros. barrel in collections at the present time. Most collectors that I have talked to don’t consider these bottles rare, but in my humble opinion are a very rare and collectible piece of Western glass.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

San Diego Antique Bottle Show

San Diego 2010 Antique Bottle & Collectibles Show & Sale!

Save The Date: Saturday June 12, 2010

Show Location: Al Bahr Shrine Temple
5440 Kearny Mesa Rd.
San Diego, CA 92111

Old Bottles, Antiques, Coins, Collectibles, Insulators, Paper, Glass, Marbles, and Much, much more....

Two Floors, 9,000 Sq. Ft. 100+ Tables
Come For The Day, Spend The Weekend

Close To Hotels, Beaches, Sea World & The Zoo

Dealer Set-up 7:30 AM
"Early Bird" 8:00 AM $10.00
General Admission 9:00AM - 3:00 PM $2.00
Kids under 12 free with adult

Mike Bryant Chairman
INFO: Jim Walker (858) 490-9019


Monday, May 17, 2010

Unembossed "Squares" from the Old West

I've been able to assemble the whole color run of these colored squares for less than a day's wages. Not too bad for some great colors with applied tops and great overall crudeness to boot. Chances are that they were all western blown or at the very least, blown for distribution in the Old West. I've been told by an avid western glass collector that the amber example and the yellow example are the Collins Valley Bitters from Red Bluff, CA. The lighter grass-green (far right) was reportedly dug in Wyoming.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Recent happenings

At a recent event of bottle diggers/collectors, a selection of some terrific bitters were on display. A comparison of the large variant Rosenbaums Bitters were assembled, with examples being contributed by 6 collectors displaying 10 bottles. Other collector/diggers brought 2 small Rosenbaums Bitters for display. Another collector brought a N. B. JACOBS / SAN FRANCISO square [just full of bubbles] for display. A small variant Rosenbaums bitters in grass green was found broken while digging, a portion of the shards were pieced together. A yellowish olive-green variant 3 Renz's bitters was also brought for showing.

Other incredible examples dug but broken were brought for show and tell. A deeper grass green variant 1 LACOUR'S BITTERS and a lighter green DR. BOERHAAVE'S STOMACH BITTERS; both just incredible examples!

A beautiful whittled example of the small lettered DR. RENZ'S HERB BITTERS was displayed by another digger, it was yellow-olive amber, along with some incredible pieces of a Old Valley Flask and Dr. Henley's Wild Grape Root IXL Bitters [a variant 1].

Probably the highlight for me was the incredible display of 2 E.G. LYONS squares in a medium amber and a darker green, both examples exhibiting a million seed bubbles.

Other very rare western square bitters were an example of the DR. HAUSEMAN'S GERMAN BITTERS and an OLD MAN'S STOMACH BITTERS / MARCUS SASS. Several collector/diggers have never before even laid eyes on these examples!

Other incredible glass brought for show/display were 2 Dr. Townsend's Sarsaparilla Albany, NY squares, 1 in a Prussian blue coloration with an extremely crude bare-iron pontil mark, the other in a beautiful medium emeral green with crude pontil mark! This was followed by a light yellow London Jockey Club Gin and an incredible Neptune Glass Works / Old Dominion / Mint Julip square.

Recenly dug by a western glass collector was a large size aqua open pontiled OLD SACHEM BITTERS/ AND / WIGWAM TONIC barrel.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't y'all be digging in my yard!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pioneer pit-one bottle

Not all privies are created equal. Today's mid-afternoon dig proved that, again. The pit we had permissionized never happened, perhaps due to our "crack of noon" start. Saturday mornings are for "honey-dos", so neither of us were in any sort of a hurry. Well, we snoozed so we losed. LOL
The resident had boogeyed by the time we rolled up, so off we went to find something, anything, to dig. Both of us were tired of endless driving around town, staring at properties, so we decided to probe under a thick slab that runs along an alley. Poke, poke, poke, "tink", the sound of something out of place. Further probing told us that a very small pit lay just under the slab. It had crunch and some larger items could be felt, maybe glasseous vessels. Chuck opened 'er up and sure enough, it was a privy, and early, too. Too bad that the "crunchies" were pieces of window glass, and the solid hits turned out to be the bottles digger's nemesis, ironstone and busted yellow ware. BAH!! The bottom was "seedy" and all, but devoid of the bottles that we had hoped for. The ONLY salvageable items in that pit were a funky fat lipped food and a powder/shot flask, which is actually in better shape than most we find. Nicely embossed copper, it should clean up well. That hole was TINY. Maybe 2'X3'X2' deep, it had only small(quail?) bird bones and a few larger, "non-bovine" ones. There was a draw file, the bottom of an OP French mustard, and the usual fragmented pottery. As usual, I took nothing home, but had an hour's fun playing in the dirt. Our hopes are always up, so something has to break open one of these days. Time to "get out of Dodge", though, and visit some new territory, if there is such a thing.

All Aboard!

An old time digging buddy (we’ll call him Joe) called me yesterday afternoon to touch base and fill me in on recent happening’s with his life. In the course of our conversation he casually asked “Are you digging with us tomorrow” I don’t think so, I replied, I wasn’t invited. “Well I’m inviting you now” he muttered in a kind of offhand matter.

Truth is, I didn’t know anything about the proposed dig that Joe was talking about and was interested in the what, where, who and why of the permission he had obtained. Earlier this year I had written a permission letter for Joe to send off to the owner of a prospective digging site and was wondering if Joe’s “proposed dig” was the fruit of the permission letter that I composed.

No such luck, come to find out another friend of mine (we’ll call him Evan) had obtained the permission that Joe was inviting me too. The permission was in a gold rush town down the road a piece from where I live. I asked Joe if it would be Evan, Joe and I digging the site. In my book, two’s company, three’s a crowd and a having a third digger is a pain in the butt for splitting the goodies. “Well, no, I invited Dick and he invited the detector dude and Mr. Detector dude invited a couple of kids from the bay to help us if we get into anything good”.

Wow what a dilemma! I really had to think pretty hard about whether or not I wanted to spend my Saturday on a postage stamp size lot (I spent a year digging in the town of the proposed dig site back in the 1990’s) that had probably already been dug, with 6 other diggers, 2 of whom I had never dug with before.

Now if the homeowner didn’t flat ass freak out and give us all the boot, (7 guys with probes, shovel’s, tarps and more than likely a cooler full of beer) and we did manage to find a hole that hadn’t been dug, and we did find some keepers, then we would have to split the finds 7 ways. Was this sounding more appealing the more I thought about it or what?

There's a reason I live up here in this little town of 200 people, and it isn't because I'm lonely, so.......Against my better judgment I decided to do a little spring cleaning around the house, maybe listen to a ball game while I cleaned the tool shed and let those other 6 disturbed individuals dig holes in some stranger’s yard.

Bottle Auction Slated for May 24th

American Bottle Auctions has another terrific auction coming your way on May 24th, 2010. We’ve been assembling some fine pieces with a solid variety including lots of different categories and price ranges that is sure to have something for everyone. Bitters, sodas, whiskeys, inks, pickles and a few surprises are in store. We’ll keep you updated through the website and continue to show pictures of upcoming bottles. So, keep your fires burning and your house toasty warm as spring approaches we’ll be ready for the melting snow and sound of bottles being sold (whatever that sound is). At any rate, we’ll keep you updated and if you haven’t emailed your email address to us, simply type it in and we’ll keep you updated on all our new stories, auctions, blogs and more. This is going to be our best year yet!
by Jeff Wichman
If you want more information on the upcoming auction take a look at the American Bottle Auction site:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Buckshutem Bitters

Late last week a friend of mine called about a bottle he had acquired from his son-in-laws grandmother. Got that? He was pretty excited about the bottle and described it to me in vivid detail over the phone. “Rick, it is a green color and has fluted shoulders with a bunch of writing around the bottle that says it’s a bitters with a pontil on the bottom” Whew... slow down and catch your breath buddy! After a few more minutes describing the bottle we agreed to meet the next morning to look at the bottle and start researching it.

As it turned out we both got busy and several days elapsed before we could meet to check this rare and desirable piece of glass out. When we did meet one look at the bottle pretty much told me it was a repo, but my buddy wanted me to contact the authority on bitters bottles and get a second opinion.

I took a few pictures of the bottle and emailed them to our bitters expert over in Lake County. The reply to my mail directed me to page 289 of the Bitters Bottle Supplement by Carlyn Ring and Bill Ham.

Doctor / Travis’s / Herb Biters / Water of Life / Guaranteed / To Cure Gout / Consumption / Dysentery / Ankylosis. And on the bottom Buckshutem, N.J. with a pontil mark.
"Supposedly this bottle was first made in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s in South Jersey as a joke for the Clevenger Brothers Glass Works owner Jim Travis, who was from Buckshutem, N.J, which was located just below Millville. Evidently the joke was on bitters bottle collectors, for when a few of these bottles showed up at bottle shows in the 1970’s, dealers bought and sold the olive green examples as antique bottles, with hefty price tags. Clevenger Brothers obtained the mold and later produced a small number of bottles in an aqua/Jersey green color, examples of which may be rarer than the initial olive green offering."

The mystery of the Buckshutem Bitters solved. Now my friend is claiming he owns the rarer variant of the bottle and wants to know what it’s worth. A rarer variant of a reproduction bottle? Come on now,
some people just won’t give it up!

Thanks to Bill Ham for the help in unraveling the history of this bottle

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How About Some Pictures!

Major William Downie’s Cabin

William Downie, for whom Downieville was named, and his company of prospectors arrived at the forks of the North Yuba River in late September or early October of 1849. His description of arriving at “The Forks” follows:

"The scene that burst upon us was one of marvelous beauty, and after these many years it still lies before me like a lovely panorama, in my recollection of the moment when I first saw it. The silence of the woods was broken only by the rushing of the meeting currents below and the soughing of the breeze through the foliage. The sun was in the western sky, causing a variation of light and shadow to fall upon the landscape, which was exceedingly pleasing. The hillsides were covered with oaks, bending their crooked branches in phantastic forms, while here and there a mighty pine towered above them, and tall willows waved their slender branches, as it were, nodding us a welcome.

They grew along the branch of the North Fork, where now stands the Craycroft building, and on the present site of the St. Charles Hotel stood a cluster of pines. Down on the very brink of the river grew a beautiful grove of fire trees, and as we approached, a frightened deer ran from the thicket and made for the woods. Near a little spring, which bubbled up and made the surroundings look fresh and verdant, stood a few pieces of bark on end - the only sign that human foot had ever trod this region, and further indicating that here at some previous time the Indians had camped.

Add to this the waters leaping over rock and bowlders, and the clear azure sky stretching like a canopy over the whole landscape, and you have the picture, as far as I can describe it, that I first beheld, when I approached the Forks."

Downie and company spent the exceptionally long pleasant fall prospecting and mining the area. As the winter weather approached Downie and crew set to work building a log structure to house them during the coming winter months. On the 10th of December, William Downie and his company moved into the cabin they had built at the Forks.

Even though Downie only spent one winter occupying his log structure the site of this historic cabin will always be remembered as the Major Downie cabin site.

A couple of years ago the most recent structure on this property was consumed by flames one cold winter night. Because of insurance delays, and other circumstances, rebuilding of the structure lost to fire was just started a couple of weeks ago by a local engineering contractor. Plans approved for the rebuilding project including removing a large quantity of “fill dirt” that was covering the original Downie cabin site......... local engineering contractor Matt Good peeled away the layers of fill dirt old bottles started to appear in his excavation. At first, depression era fruit jars and crown top beer bottles were being uncovered, but as the work progressed downward the layers of trash continued to get older.

Next came turn of the century blob top beers and un embossed medicine bottles. Finally 1880’s and 1870’s era glass was being uncovered with several more feet of fill to remove.

When Matt reached bedrock, at the bottom of the excavation site, a few open pontil bottles were recovered confirming that this site was occupied by prospectors and quite likely Major Downie during the gold rush.

Although nothing earth shattering was discovered at the Major Downie cabin site some nice early bottles and other collectibles were recovered by Downieville’s newest antique bottle collector.
authors note: The plaque that the ancient and honorable order of E Clampus Vitus placed on the Major Downie cabin site staes Downie arrived at The Forks in November of 1849. Downie was mining at the Forks by late September or early October.