Monday, July 18, 2011


I guess I don’t spend enough time following (or should I say monitoring) the Western Bitters News site. Yesterday afternoon I sat down and really read the comments posted under the blog “LETS GET READY FOR RENO” and was shocked at the accusations and innuendos thrown at two prominent western collectors and dealers.

I had not heard of the “token issue” that supposedly took place at the Auburn show back in December of 2010 so it took me a while to figure out who the two Redding bottle dealers were. I still haven’t figured out who the diggers (owners?) of the token are, and from the tone of the comments, don’t care to ever find out.

It’s one thing to have a disagreement over a purchase, or in this case an accusation of theft, at a show or in a private transaction, but it’s going way over the top to bring an issue like this on to a worldwide internet site dedicated to the advancement of the bottle collecting hobby. These disagreements should be settled between the parties involved and not in a public forum.

Like I said earlier I do not know the circumstances of the accusations or innuendos but I sure know the two dealers/collectors from Redding. Both of the Redding guys have been in the bottle collecting hobby for over forty years (that I know of) and I have bought and sold with them, have been on digging trips with them and they have stayed here at my house during the Downieville Bottle Show.
If I had any questions about their integrity I never would have bought collectables from them, let alone let them stay at my home. I can’t say the same for the diggers/owners because I don’t know who they are.

If you know these Redding guys then you know they don’t generally use computers and are not in the position to defend themselves here on the bitters site. I want to make it clear that I am not defending them (because I am not privy to the circumstances) but I will never allow a public lynching of a person’s reputation here on this site. I believe both parties are at fault. The accusers should never have brought this to a public forum and the accused should have settled the disagreement before it reached public knowledge.

I have always believed that the Western Bitters News was a place that folks interested in collecting western bottles could share their knowledge, passion and recent finds with other collectors interested in collecting antique bottles. I do not believe this site is a place to air your dirty laundry.

I have pretty much given the bottle community a free hand on this site to post information and make comments on what other collectors have posted. Early along we had a problem with foul language on the site but that seemed to clean itself up.
Lately the tone of the site is angry, vindictive and dangerous, all things that get my hackles up.
If this tone continues on the site then I will consider making some changes to who can submit comments to the posts. Maybe even something more drastic if need be…..

And to you anonymous pricks that helped with the rope – shame on you.


  1. Rick, your post is timely and warranted. No direct public accusations should be made against anyone without full, documented proof. We can talk all we want about the guy that was caught stealing at the Auburn Show and had his mug posted in the papers. He was caught, tried and convicted, so deserves a tongue lashing, as well as other punishments that Bubba may find excitingly necessary to inflict upon him in the confines of his cell. This other situation sounds vague and should not have taken the route that it did here.

    I have seen reputations completely destroyed based on unsubstantiated rumors—some that were simply misunderstandings, yet the damage was done permanently. I’m as passionate about exterminating thieves from this world as the next guy, but unless you have the barrel pointed in their face while the dastardly deed is being done, you best not pull the trigger.

    Looking forward to seeing many of you in Reno real soon…and hopefully many great bottle posts to follow.

  2. Hello Rick, Your comment about the subjects that are to be aired here are absolutely correct. I visit this site to see and read all the information re bottles that is posted here. If I wanted innuendo,accusations, and bu--sh--. I would watch The Jersey Shore. This type of posting is not what this site is about, and you are correct in calling them on it..........Andy Volkerts

  3. The owners of the site should remove the entire posting, i would never allow such unverified assumtions to be posted on my site. Posting such serious accusations without exacting proof is beyond irresponsible.Doing it as anonymous gives very little credit to the entire posting. My opinion only and does not in any way reflect the opinions of this fine site or its owners.

  4. The entire situation was blown far out of reality by the whiners in question who deemed it necessary to denigrate a well known and highly respected collector/dealer.

  5. No names were ever posted and people should be aware not to let someone walk off with an item from their table and not bring it back. Also to resolve issues before the show's end.
    Freedom of speech prevails in the end over censorship !

  6. I know both Redding dealers and have dealt with them for over 30 years and will continue to deal with them for many more years. They are honest and if they say they gave the token back that is the case period! I do not know the token digger, so I will not make any comments about him. My name is Alan Meeks and I have lived in Redding for over 40 years and have never heard a complaint about these dealers until this BS!