Friday, January 28, 2011

A recent "find"

Although not a particularly "old" bottle, this squatty little "J H Cutter" decanter was just added to my small collection of containers and advertising of the famous product. It is 5" tall and 3 1/2" in diameter and the first of it's type that I have been able to obtain.

It was soaked overnight in LimeAway to remove content stains from the interior and has just been rinsed out. That is why the beads of water are remaining inside the bottle.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


And a good goat it is indeed. I've handled a few of the early Western beers and this one is top dog in my book. It's definitely not a dug bottle and just whittled to death. Not only that but the color killer, the strike superb and the condition is unbelievable, it's soooo mint. The original wire bail doesn't even have any rust. The new owner can be quite proud of this spectacular bottle as it comes full circle after being away from home for more than 40 years.
The other shot is of the LP that was visiting here and recently. It went to the finest Western whiskey museum in the world where it rightly belongs. Many thanks to Ken S for allowing all of us to once again view his incredible collection during the Anderson show.
It was great seeing everyone there, I was amazed at the amount of good glass that showed up at this years show.

Picture Time

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Politics of Disposition

Dale’s post and report on this year’s Anderson bottle show gave the annual event a big thumbs up. Anderson has also always been on my list of shows to attend and I was really bummed that I couldn’t make this year’s festivities. I have had several reports of what a great show it was for both the buying and selling of bottles. Sometimes it doesn’t take a large venue to make a memorable show.

Old Cutters comment on Dale’s Anderson post: “Sadly, "my" labeled Rickity Rackety has now gone into a black hole. We talked of the trade before it happened and I said that it looked like a good deal for both of you. “ got me to thinking about how hard it is for bottle collectors to let things go.

I presume by OC’s comment that Dale acquired the “rickety rackety” from Old Cutters in a transaction for some consideration - be it cash, trade, Winchester’s or a player to be named at a later date. If indeed the transaction was completed then the “rickety rackety” was the property of Dale not Old Cutters. I also presume, from Old Cutters comment, that , "my" labeled Rickity Rackety was part of a trade for the black glass Cassin’s (I guess I am presuming a lot.. but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this post) and Old Cutters approved the trade.

I just have to laugh at the way collectors (and myself) continue to hang on to stuff even after they sell it to someone else. How many times has someone looked at your bottle collection and commented “Oh, you still have “my” bottle”. Your bottle? Didn’t I pay for that years ago. How about the “Hey where’s “my” blue soda, when did you sell that?..... Oh, about three years after I paid for it! Or, my favorite, “Wow, my bitters, sure makes that run of bottles look good”

And the really funny part of all this is it works both ways. Just the other day a buddy from Benicia called to let me know that he was selling off some bottles and asked me “What do you want to do with your Hostetter’s?” My Hostetter’s? I asked. ” Yep” ,he replied “the green one you dug in Downieville” I thought I sold that to you years ago, was my come back. “Yah, yah, you did so do you want to buy it back?” I’m a little short of cash right now can we work something out if I throw in your Drakes Plantation and a couple western meds, I offered.

Hey, Old Cutters, I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing with you. Oh, by the way, do you still have my Cundurango, or was that Warren’s?

And about those black holes……..

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The black glass Cassins shown was dug by Jim McKenny at Benica Cal in the 1960's .While all the bottles being dug there were always 4+ feet down this bottle was less than 2 feet below the surface . Jim wasn't expecting any bottles at that depth and probed a bruise on it . But still a great bottle and only one of two black glass ones known.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Anderson Show

The 2011 Anderson show was once again packed full of quality bottles. I think the time of year this show is held contributes to it's success, and surprisingly great glass! We are in the dead of winter, and collectors are itching to get out digging, and of course attend a show.This year the weather was sunny, and in the 70s, which NEVER happens at this show.

This year, I was able to handle one of the nicest pieces I have ever seen...the famous( but seldom seen) M. Kreiss, Redwood City beer with the embossed goat. What a bottle! Light amber, whittled, and crude...simply spectacular! It changed hands for an undisclosed amount.

I was impressed with the nice Western bitters this year. I was able to add the black Cassin's to my collection which made the show for me. This bottle is well known, and while not mint, is just amazing! I am very grateful to have it on the shelf. I also picked up a very nice, and crude Hierapicra Bitters, in a deeper than usual color, and mint condition. You rarely see these available these days. There was a beautiful "TM" square in light yellow green which went home with a lucky California collector. I saw a pretty Lacour's, ( there were two more making the rounds in a box, but not on a table), Two Wonser's, a nice IXL, an early Renz's Bitters with nice character, TWO green, iron pontil Jockey Club Gins, and a pretty ice blue Walker's VB, some great colored Hostetters rounded out the bitters offerings. The whiskeys available are very noteworthy, and will be posted on the whiskey blog. If you could not make it to Anderson this year, you missed some great glass. This is one show I never miss, and I look forward to next year!

Some Recent Finds

Here's a couple of pictures of some recent finds here in California's gold country. Appears the highlights of this dig include a Schnapps, western soda and some food and wine bottles.
Very nice.... Keep them bottles coming out of the ground boys!
That empty Coors light can behind the bucket might give you a clue to one of the diggers. rs

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Close up Pictures of "Blue"

I am not sure what feature, or group of features, triggers "WESTERN" in a collectors mind. Is it the top or the shape of the indented panels or maybe the color of the piece. How about the semi flared out base.

One thing is for sure. If more than one of these beauties have been recovered from the "left coast" they were more than likely distributed out here.

Interesting flared base with a dot in the center

Square collar top with a ton of spillover and what appears to be lipping tool marks on the spillover?

Not a very handsome top for such a regal looking bottle.

Western or Eastern? The jury's still out for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Western or Eastern?

The bottle pictured at left just closed on Ebay.
Described as:
"Up for sale here is an extremely rare version of a western blown piece of glass in the form of a bitters bottle. The color on this example is just stunning on this label only example. The shade is a vivid sapphire blue color, and the early ring banded top is heavily applied. The drip goes way down below the lip, and all the way around, (see pictures). Half of the drip acually curles outward! There is no embossing on this bitters bottle, and it has the three indented panels, with one being perfectly flat. There is a certain dot on the base, (so common to the early western bottles). The glass is definetely western made, and was probably blown at the San Francisco Glass Works in the late 1860's to early 1870's. The color is the same as on the early Dickey chemists medicine bottles. This bottle is in near mint condition, with a small open bubble made in the inmanufacturing process (where the neck meets the shoulder), and a small chip on the lower edge of the drip, (see pictures). This example was never pro cleaned, as there is a bit of patchy haze in the neck and shoulder area. These flaws are non detracting from this wonderful piece of western glass. The glass is sparkling clean overall. Bottle was found about 10 years ago in the San Francisco, California area on a construction site by a construction worker. It measures 9" tall, and 2 7/8" square across the base. This bottle has a very interesting and appealing shape to it, and it is quite heavy for its size, due to the thick glass. This is a bottle that I have not seen around before in my 35 years of bottle collecting. You will be extremely pleased with this top shelf example of a western made bottle! The pictures do not do this bottle much justice."

Western? Eastern? I don't know how you can prove one way or another just where this bottle was made. One thing is for certain, someone felt this bottle was desirable enough to pay over $600 for it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Around the Local Net

Late last week my trusty laptop melted down. I’m not talking about it losing all of my information or even catching the flu or a virus, I’m talking a literal meltdown. I was running low on battery and plugged the power cord into the laptop and FLASH! Everything went black.

After a 100 mile round trip to buy this new laptop I started to put my favorites list back together. As I started bookmarking the usual sites that I regularly visit I really started to take a good look at some of the bottle related websites that I quickly scan.

After checking the Western Bitters News for new posts and comments my first stop is the Western Glob top Whiskey site. Usually, with the amount of followers that the site garners, some new comments or posts appear almost daily and, after being offline for a few days, was pleasantly surprised to see the post on the W.S. Wright soda and the museum post.

Old West Bottles has been energized with a western bottle auction, a renewed trading post and 25 new digging pictures. Take a look at the new revitalized Old West Bottles and these great digging pictures.

Our friends “up north” have a couple of good western bottle sites to enjoy and the Western Whiskey Gazette is loaded with information on both tool and globby whiskies.

Looking for a nice western bottle to add to your shelf? Oregon Trail Antique Bottles always has in stock a nice selection of western fifths, flasks, bitters and medicines for your purchasing pleasure.

American Bottle Auctions site has some interesting commentary and plenty of pictures of all types of bottles, bottle people and other related subjects. At present they are advertising a new auction starting this spring. I sure hope Jeff’s planning a ”valley spring” and not a “mountain spring” auction. Spring up here in this high country canyon sometimes doesn’t start until June.

Yep, there’s lots of other bottle related sites, and they pack plenty of information and pictures, but next time you click on one of our “local” sites take a good look around. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lyon's Powder

Rick's thoughtful post about these beautiful little insect poison bottles urged me to show some of my small collection of them. Lyon's. Like Rick said, Lyon's Powders are found in nearly every city and town, but rarely in the gold camps of the Sierra. A few have been found along the Pony Express trail in upper El Dorado County, as well as in dumps from the many inns and toll stations that dotted the old road to Washoe. Vermin of all sorts were common to every place where the unwashed resided, but the rough and tumble residents of the high lonesome camps most likely took them in stride and were not likely to fork over hard won dust for a tiny bottle of supposed relief. In the more populated areas, where the locals were of a more fastidious nature, and cleanliness was next to Godliness, the product was in great demand. In the Valley, Sacramento and Marysville have produced these little gems in good numbers. Up country, you have Placerville, Auburn, Grass Valley, and Nevada City, all places that Lyon's turn up.

In the photo are examples of just a few of the many colors that open pontiled Lyon's Powders were blown in. The large size one is gasoline puce and was not dug in California. It came from Brooklyn, NY, a metropolis where many hundreds of these bottles were used and discarded. Thankfully, plenty of them survived to grace bottle collector's shelves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lyons Powder

I just happened to run across this 1851 ad for steamer passage to New York.
Among the amenities they offered to their passengers was free "bug powder".

Maybe some of today's motel chains should offer the same.

Lyon's Powder B&P N.Y.

Emanuel Lyon is reported to have started in business as early as the late 1840’s at 424 Broadway in New York City. His embossed bottle is believed to have been produced starting sometime in 1859. Embossed LYONS/POWDER on the front shoulder of the bottle and B&P N.Y. on the reverse shoulder. The B&P embossed on the reverse quite possibly stand’s for the wholesale drug firm of Barnes & Park who were also located in New York City.

Collectors believe Lyons Powder was used as a dusting powder to kill household bugs and insects. Redington & Co., San Francisco wholesale druggists, lists the Lyon’s product as a flea powder in several of their early advertisements.

This bottle comes in two sizes with the large size being the rarer of the two variants. The Lyons can be found in several different colors ranging from amber to yellow, puce, aqua and various shades of green. These bottles were made for a long period of time; the earliest variants come with an open pontil, and the later found with a smooth base.
The Lyons bottle is often found in the larger camps and towns in the California gold rush country. Here in Sierra County, in the smaller settlements and camps, we rarely find any Lyons bottles. Seems like the small camps didn't have bug problems, or if they did, Schnapps, Gin and bitters was the preferred remedy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How about some green Jakes?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter Blues?

Some of us cope differently. No white stuff for me, I'll take the warn sun of the Big Island. Breakfast, anyone? Starfruit, papayas and mangoes fresh picked in the yard.

Hiking is another part of life on Hawaii. Nothing is more than 4 hours away. The Kohala Coast is sparsely populated and has some great hikes. Steep, but doable in flip flops if you wish.

"The Crew" down in Pololu Valley.

Eating is also a big thing over there. We have a big kitchen so hardly ever go out to eat. Plenty shopping in Kona. Costco, Safeway, Walley World, etc. Sittin' down to dinner.

We share with out little friends, too. Geckos are everywhere, inside, outside, but they keep the bugs down.Photobucket

Winter Blues

Here are a couple of pictures that one of The Western Bitters News' favorite digger’s sent me.

I suspect some of you think its all sunshine and warm weather out here in the west and when we’re not digging bottles we might be surfing or playing golf.

Looks like old Cal49er has his hands full trying to keep us in power.
It might be a while before we get to do any digging up this way