Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The cover of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors upcoming May / June issue of the Bottles and Extras magazine features a research article on the western hair bottle "TWIABA"

The Twiaba bottle is a very interesting bottle and one that I have been trying to aquire for quite awhile and I am looking forward to the upcoming issue!

The Bottles and Extras magazine is just one of the benefits of belonging to the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors. If you would like more information on joining the FOHBC - here's the link to the membership site.
Support your hobby...all of us here at the Western Bitters News and the Downieville Bottle Group belong and support the FOHBC

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Oregon bottle collector Dale Mlasko's passion is western bitters
Pictured below are some of his favorite western beauties
I would venture to say Dale is partial to the color green
What a fantastic lineup......Hey what's that dark amber thing on the left?

Now that's a green Rosenbaum's
Cassin's Grape Brandy Bitters in a frothy amber butterscotch?
Extremely rare Dr. Henley's OK Bitters in a blue aqua
I would like to thank Dale for sharing these pictures for all of us to enjoy
Just an incredible collection of western bitters - rs

Monday, April 15, 2013

Just a Few Pictures

Beautiful yellow green Lacour's bitters
Rare Dr. Boerhaave's in a stunning what looks like a dark ginger ale (?) color
The Wormser barrel in a greenish yellow color. I think this is the only Wormser barrel known in this color
Go here to see a review of the Golden Gate Bottle Club's April 12 & 13th Antioch bottle show by American Bottle Auctions Jeff Wichmann

Friday, April 12, 2013

PGW Square

Here is one from my collection of which I have not seen another. This is a smaller square ( about a pint), in a nice olive color. It has a crudely tooled top and indented panels on two sides. The label is intact indicating that this was a "Cherry Tonic" with lost of information...except the actual company or location. In and of itself it is a pretty little bottle, and gets interesting when one looks at the base. P.G.W. Any ideas of who prepared or sold this product?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yerba Santa

Here is a beautiful example of a medicine which I really know little about. These are fairly large bottles which come with a crudely applied top and I have seen one example with a tooled top. I have not heard of a Yerba Santa being dug for a long time, and they are pretty scarce medicines. I recall seeing an ad years ago which connected them to Oroville, California, though they are embossed "San Francisco" on one side panel and "California" on the other. I have also seen a couple specimens with a cross embossed on the reverse, and a few with a faintly embossed outline of the cross on the reverse panel. This one has no evidence of a cross ever being embossed there, and no "peened out" cross. It is otherwise boldly embossed so I wonder why the reverse cross on some? I estimate about 40 examples of the Yerba Santa in collections. I have never seen a true green Yerba, but a couple in a greenish aqua. This is another of the classic western medicines with "California" fully spelled out, and not a "mystery med" with known S.F. heritage, and

no city or state embossed...McBride, Dr. Perry's, Dr. Henry's, Pratt's Abolition Oil, etc.

thanks to Bruce Silva for the copy of the advertisment -I have been looking for a Yerba Santa for years...yes they are a tough one to aquire - rs

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nice Post from Bruce Silva over at the Western Whiskey tool top site on the San Gabriel Wine Company: Check it out!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

From Jeff Wichmann at American Bottle Auctions

The Wideman and Chappaz Dig

It was one of those rare situations back in the 1970’s, for us, that day luck was on our side. After walking behind some apartments, probing three holes, we needed permission to dig them. Elmer and I knocked on one of the rear doors and asked permission to dig. The occupant didn’t speak English but said yes anyway. It was obvious this was not the owner so we knew we could get kicked out at anytime. Even though we had “permission” we decided to park down the alley just in case there were any problems. We picked what we thought was the best hole to dig first and starting digging at a pretty fast rate. Elmer was the strongest so he did most of the digging.
As he got close to the bottom out came the first bottle of the hole, an eye opening apricot puce E. Wideman/ J. Chappaz! Before I started to take it to the car out came a second. I went to put then in the car and when I came back, there was third one lying there next to the hole and soon a fourth one was pulled out. Again I made a trip to the car only to find the fifth and sixth one sitting there next to the hole when I came back. Time to take another trip to the car!
I came back to a hole that was almost done when out came the seventh one. I waited as Elmer started to work on another. Ironically out of the bottom came the only green one. This was icing on the cake. Another trip to the car.
Within minutes I came back and was leaning over the hole looking down watching Elmer scraping the last part of the bottom. Soon I heard footsteps coming from behind me. The sound of jingling change in the pockets told me it was someone wearing slacks. I froze and as the person stopped behind me he said, “Hello, what are you doing?” I acted like I was doing nothing wrong, turned to answer him, said “Oh, Hi! We were just digging for old bottles.” and I turned my head down again, like nothing was wrong.
As it turned out, he said he owned the property, asked for our names, where we lived, and where our car was. We gave him fake names and said we had no ID. We told him we were from out of town but we didn’t have a car. He could tell we weren’t being honest and told us to fill the hole. He walked quickly straight into the building; probably to call the police. I can tell you that was the fastest I have ever seen a hole filled! We were out of there in about 3 minutes.
We knew quite a bit about bottles but these we had only seen broken and another we had dug earlier in the year. Not knowing anything about the Wideman/Chappaz bottles, we proceeded to go to the Marysville Library. We started the task of looking over years of microfilm of the local newspaper. Finally, we came across an ad that said “E. Wideman, Wholesale Liquor Dealers, corner of 3rd and B St. Marysville”. Imagine the feeling when we found out we dug these beautiful bottles next door to the E. Wideman Wholesale Liquor Warehouse! This was great news but still no mention of J. Chappaz. Now we were pretty sure they were from Marysville but what did they contain? After spending more time we found another advertisement saying E. Wideman proprietor of Alpine Stomach Bitters, but again no mention of J. Chappaz. Could it be these bottles were a bitters?
Finally we found an ad confirming our hopes; an ad with J. Chappaz, E. Widemann, and Alpine Stomach Bitters–all together. We felt like detectives who had just solved a case!
I kept the green one and the best of the apricot example. Years later, I sold both through American Bottle Auctions via Jeff Wichmann, an old friend from the beginning of my interest in digging and collecting old bottles. Not bad for one outhouse!

Editors Note: We sold the two bottles in our 44th auction in March of 2008. The E. Wideman and J. Chappaz bottles are still quite rare and come in only two colors as seen here. Notice the “Z,” in Chappaz, it is backwards and in the advertisement his name is spelled Chappas. Apparently the mold-maker had a tough time with the “S.” Elmer went back and dug the other two holes by himself. He found another green example in an adjoining hole. Marty has not spoken to him since

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Digging News

Just in from Cal49er
This rare soda was discovered  earlier this week in Nevada County
The Stevens & Jose from Virginia City Nevada either took a long wagon or train ride to land up (or rather down) in a Nevada County privy. Shown above in its as found glory
It was dug with 2 Deamer Grass Valley gravitaters, 2 Deamer gob tops, a broken Circle Cutter fifth, a mint E. Commins fifth, a broken E. Commins fifth, a nice pickle and the usual suspects in the hole. 
Great dig!! and thanks for the report - rs