Thursday, June 10, 2010

American Bottle Auction # 50

A Quick Review
HIBERNIA BITTERS. 1886-90 Tooled top. There are a couple variants of this western bottle. This one being the later of the two. This form is not uncommon to western glass. A light to medium amber, these are fairly scarce. Grade: 9.5. $ 200 Not as exciting or as rare as the two name variant Hibernia but still a decent price for a pretty hard to obtain western square.

DR. RENZ’S HERB BITTERS. Applied mouth. R-37. Looking at this bottle, I couldn’t help but think there was something a little different about it. It finally dawned on me that it is the large letter variant, however, the “R’s” are not curved. I then found in the Ring/Ham book, a variant that matches this bottle. Thank goodness for books! One can only guess why. Was it eastern made? At any rate, the bottle is very dark chocolate amber. It has a huge top and aside from a couple super tiny open bubbles, and I mean inconsequential bubbles, this one is a Grade: 9.7. This is a tough color and the rare variant to boot. It’d look great next to your green one. $ 500
This is the second variant of the Renz bitters and possibly as early as 1870. Yes, it has big letters and straight legged “Rs”. The last variant of the Renz has large letters and curved “Rs” Typical price for this bottle.

CASSIN,S GRAPE BRANDY BITTERS. Applied mouth, C-78. 1866-75. Here is a terrific example of the first variant of the highly acclaimed and very desirable Cassin’s Bitters. The confusion on which variant was made first in our opinion, arises from the fact that the apostrophe in the word “CASSIN,S” is used as a comma on this bottle. If this was the second variant and the improved design, how could they miss a flaw so obvious? There is a dime size bruise at the end of the word “brandy” it’s simply a pressure type ding with no missing glass. When one considers the rarity of not only this bottle. But the color variant and overall crudity, we would have to consider this certainly one of the finest bottles in this sale. Color does not get much better than this; we would call it a brilliant citron. The entire bottle itself is crooked and the top is extremely crude. This was sold by American Bottle Auctions in the Grapentine sale and is now being re-offered. Here is your chance to own what are arguably the most desirable western bitters. No Grade. $ 7,500
I looked at this bottle for quite a while before it went to auction and I believe the “pressure type ding” was an in-making flaw done at the factory. The longer I looked at this bottle the more I liked it. A great piece of glass blown and marketed right here in the west! This bottle sold in the earlier Grapentine auction for, basically, the same price. For someone that wanted a Cassin’s, I believe, it was a fair price.

DR. WONSER’S U.S.A. INDIAN ROOT BITTERS. Applied top, W-146. 1871-73. Here’s another favorite for collectors of bitters, whether you’re from the east or west. And why not? Who can’t resist a bottle with a name like this and a shape that is not only handsome, but unique in its category. This example is a solid Grade: 9.5 with good overall light crudity and a great strike. If one were to be picky, you could point out a rock the size of a pin, which is stuck in the side of the glass. We are talking the size of a germ. The overall bottle is as nice as they come in this color and if you don’t have a Wonser’s, this might be the one. This came from a longtime collection and is fresh to the market.
$ 10,000 Your basic Wonser’s for a pretty standard price.

MILLS BITTERS A.M. GILMAN SOLE PROPRIETOR. 11 1/2". 1874. We had the wrong estimate in the catalog and apologize for that. These bottles are unusual in that most are found in Arizona of all places and they are always in need of cleaning. We’ve seen none that didn’t have some reaction to the soil; this one is no exception. Recently cleaned by Lou Lambert. The Mills are one of the few western lady’s legs, if not the only one. You can’t really count the Bryant’s. Regardless,an exceptional western bottle. Because of the glass, I suppose there is some question as to where they were made. There is no reason they weren’t simply made in San Francisco, as Gilman is listed as a merchant there in 1876. These are a tough bottle to find, small lip chip. This example was found in the San Francisco Bay Area. Grade: 8.7 $ 800 This bottle did not meet reserve. Strange cause it’s a pretty rare bottle but I guess not as desirable as rare.

BRYANT’S STOMACH BITTERS. B-242. 14". 1857. If you’ve been following our website, you might have seen a story on a group of Bryant’s cones recently unearthed in Sacramento. Although most were simply bases or partial pieces of the bottle, this one in particular had the least amount of damage. We will be showing before and after photographs. Of the three or four whole specimens, none that we’ve seen are in this brilliant emerald green. Marty Hall did the work and without extremely close inspection, it’s very difficult to tell it has been repaired. Considered by many to be the top western bitters, it is no doubt one of the top few. These were made in the east and were primarily distributed in the west. Here is your chance to own a true classic in a unique color. No Grade. $ 36,000 Hmm... a lot of money for a broken bottle with an epoxy base.

LOUIS TAUSIG & CO SAN FRANCISCO CAL. Applied top. This bottle we are including in the bitters section, because we know it was a bitters. Tausig was actually a well-known liquor merchant, but like many wholesalers of his day, he dabbled in whatever made him money. This is a neat bottle with the applied top. There is a bit of a mold leak on the neck seam. Grade: 9.5. $ 230 A nice western square for a fairly reasonable price.

DR. HENLEY’S WILD GRAPE ROOT BITTERS IXL. Applied ring. Here we have another one of the favorite western bitters. Henley was a busy man and produced numerous products during his interesting life. The IXL bitters was by far his most successful product and sold for nearly forty years. This example is a nice medium aqua with lots of bubbles and light crudity. A solid example. Grade: 9.8. $ 220 An entry level Henley’s in a common color.


  1. Rick
    Thanks for the viewpoints and evaluations.

  2. I agree on the repaired Bryants, that is too much moolah for a fixed bottle.....Andy/djsoldstuf courtland, ca

  3. Wish I'd gone higher on the CASSIN,S... a great piece! The CONE BRYANTS was certainly a shocker price-wise, but then anyone else have a GORGEOUS, BUBBLY, EMERALD GREEN example with a perfect lip & embossing??
    While Not Western, you have to admit the FAVORITE is a very cool mold design and the price was not unexpected, considering the way THE BIG DOGS are tossing out mid-5to6 figures lately! Only a hand-full of these spiral-twist barrels around. But didya' notice it took over 1-1/2 hours for the 10-minute rule to play out!
    Yawn. Whatever-too rich for this retired frog in Wisconsin.
    Rick-hope you get this great blogsite
    fixed soon; sorry to hear of the crash.

    Jeff Burkhardt

  4. wow,cant believe the things ive heard about the bryant's bitter bottle that sold for 36,ooo. all the ones that have been found,and all have some degree of damage,except for 1 are all in olive green.restored or not this bottle is the only one ever found in this color.even your books tell you they come in olive green.would a rembrant painting with a tear in the canves that was restored be worth any less,i dont think so.the man who bought this bottle knew he was going to be the only person on this planet with a bryant's stomach bitters in this color.well worth having restored.

  5. that repared bryants should of went for more as far as im concerned wish i would of had the, thats the rarest cone ever dug.if any budy else has a cone in this color id like to see it. ive been digging for over 40 years now and admit ive gotton some piecies but there like the book says, they come in olive green. in my opinion it was eather specially made for some one or maybe the first batch of color made when they decided to go darker.who know's?all i know is if there was more made this color i think more piecies would of been found or even another one.any way i heard the buyer died and might be going on the market or maybe in one of those privite i wish i could be one of those bidders.all i know is who ever gets it this time will have the only cone in this beautiful color.