Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another "Mystery"...Star TM Square

  Here is a square which nobody seems to have an accurate handle on. This "bitters" has a great western color, and is crude...it looks 1868-72 to me. Years ago when an example was dug in Oakland, I did not really think much of it, however when I was able to handle it I was definitely impressed. The overall glass quality is incredible, and you just have to love that olive yellow western color! I have a small letter Renz in the exact same color.
  The collectors I have spoken to over the years are as mystified as I as to the company which distributed this product, and what the embossed "star" represents. The large "TM" also does not seem to be readily identifiable either. my theory has always been that this might have been the Star of the Union brand put out by Fenkhausen around the same time period this bottle was blown. I do feel it is 100% western in origin and manufacture although until some advertising shows up, it is speculation. These are pretty scarce with about 8-10 examples in collections. I have seen half of them, and they seem to all be about the same color, and are always crude. There was one specimen which changed hands at the Anderson show a couple of years ago which was more amber in color.

 Does anyone have any thoughts on this bottle? I do know they have been dug in the Bay Area, Nevada ( of course) , Oroville, and Placerville.


  1. Very nice bottle, that top reminds me of an E.G. Lyons.

  2. I don't believe that the bottle that was supposedly dug in "Placerville" actually was. It was dug further up the hill at a stage and relay station known as Champlain House, a site since obliterated by the widening of US 50 during the 1990s. Many good bottles, including both large sized N. B. Jacobs and Rosenbaum's Bitters were found at several mountain station and toll house sites along the old Johnson Pass road that paralleled 50 as it winds it's way to Echo Summit and down into the Tahoe Basin.