Sunday, June 23, 2013

Reno 2013

Wow! I just noticed dealer setup starts on Friday at 8:00 am and early lookers at 9:00 am.........There is no way this old boy will be in Reno at 8:00...See you around 10:00 to 11:00...Stop by and say hello! - rs
50th Annual Reno Antique Bottle Show
June 28th and 29th (Friday & Saturday) at the Grand Sierra Resort
2500 East Second Street, Reno, Nevada
 Show Hours:
Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm,
Friday Early Lookers 9:00 am for $10
 Saturday General Admission 9:00 am $5,
Grand Sierra Resort 

 Reno Antique Bottle Club
Hope to see you and these two Utah boys



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From Jeff Wichmann

Auction 58 is Now Open for Viewing
American Bottle Auctions is open for viewing at If you have any questions please feel free to let us know.  We've redone the videos so everyone should be able to access them on You Tube.  Simply click on the Video button and it will start the video.  We have 165 lots available, we hope you find something you like.  And thanks' for checking us out.  We have the best customers in the world.
ABA's auction 58 features bottles from the Mike Dolcini collection. Take a Look!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just in from Peachridge Glass

Lots of scams circulating today. Here is the green OK Plantation (swiped from ebay)…

Velma Craft
[To Ed Gray] I recently acquired this at auction does it have any value? and do u know anyone interested in it
Velma Craft
Velma Craft
Velma Craft
[From Lucy Faulkner] Scam alert: We just got an email with a picture of a J. P. W. Seaton / Louisville, Ky. umbrella asking if it was worth anything and if we knew anyone who would want it. She supposely found it in an attic! Something didn’t look right, so I checked several websites. The picture was copied directly from Antique Bottles (Reggie’s site). I asked for more pictures. We will see what happens. Same Velma Craft

Wow! can't wait for these folks to start counterfeiting western meds so I can afford to buy some....NOT!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Repro update - a comparison

Repro update.

The first line in the prior post read; " It's not western, but it is a bitters - sort of."
In an effort to allow everyone an opportunity to form their own opinion about the current reproduction issue, I managed to place an order for one each of the cabins and barrels currently on the market. They got here yesterday.
Here's where the rubber meets the road. "It's not western", is an understatement. Although I have no way to prove it, I can safely conjecture, that these particular reproductions are, drum roll please, ................................. (you guessed it) - "Made in China"! The raunchy cardboard boxes with that unique and funky odor and haphazardly placed staples, that both bottles were packed in (most probably at the factory since they were a perfect fit), were the first clue.

 Reproduction Old Sachems barrel / Reproduction Drakes cabin

At first, I felt comfortable in stating that they were easy to spot as fakes because both the Drakes and the Old Sachems have tooled tops. That lasted all of about 2 minutes; until I pulled an original tooled top four log Drakes that I've had for close to thirty years off the shelf. Moving onto individual deviations from the originals...

St. Drakes / 1860 Plantation / X Bitters; The repro / fantasy piece that I purchased is a four log variant. The color is somewhat intriguing and or convincing, and could by some stretch of the imagination be confused with an original, but that's where the attraction stops. As stated, the top is tooled. I've seen a couple of tooled tooled top 4 logs in the years that I've been around the figural bitters block. Still, they are an exception to the rule and nearly all have applied tops, done with varying degrees of skill.
Fake tooled top

Original tooled top
Original applied top

Let's address the problems on the fake, line by line;

1) The embossing is a joke. Not even close. Amateurish at best. Refer to the side by side photos. "1860" is slanted upward from left to right. "Bitters" is slanted in the opposite direction. On the reverse "1862" is offset far to the left. As mentioned, all embossing is poorly rendered and notably weaker than on the original.



2) The bottle was severely under blown, resulting in notably "squashed in" side panels.

3) The bottom log is placed significantly up on the base, compared to the real deal. This in turn, results in a taper of over 1/2" from the base edge to the bottom of the first log.


4) Label; it's a mystery, but it's coming apart at the seams. It appears to be a thin transparent piece of film laid over a piece of white paper. Probably velum. The front label of this one has a tear through the middle of the top label, and the rear label is de-laminating and the top layer is peeling at the edges.

5) Measurements, the fake is 10 7/16" tall - 3 1/16" across at the widest part above the top log, and 2 5/16 across the base in both directions. The base diagonal measurement is 3" corner to corner.

6) Base mark; the X is pretty close to the original, but a large indented "dimple" is present adjacent to the X; possibly something to do with the production techniques employed. The original has diagonal base mold seams present, the fake does not.



Overall Impression - Close, but absolutely no cigar. The color is intriguing and could pass as a variant in a Drakes "rainbow of colors" display, but it's unlike any I recall seeing. The glass has a different "ring" than the original. It has an overly bright tone compared to an original when tapped with a metal object. I suppose a beginning collector could be fooled because it's glass and looks like a Drakes. It doesn't outright scream "fake", but it is still significantly different than the originals.


Old Sachem /  Bitters / and / Wigwam Tonic; The repro / fantasy piece that I purchased has a tooled top; a dead giveaway. The color can best be described as a smoky greenish amber. it's an odd duck.  As stated, the top is tooled. I only have two originals to compare against the fake, but both originals are nearly identical so am using them as a comparison. Feel free to chime in if you have an original that differs significantly from mine.

Fake on left / Original on right

Let's address the other problems on the fake, line by line;

1) The embossing is a joke. Not even close. Amateurish at best. It is chunky and sloppy. Refer to the side by side photos to compare the two. The bottom line of embossing intrudes into the barrel ring beneath it.



2) The top barrel band is bulkier than the originals. The neck is notably wider. The base is wider. These issues contribute to making the fake look "less delicate" than the slimmer original.


3) Measurements, both are 9 5/16" tall. The fake is 2 1/4 across the base, whereas the original is only 2 1/16". The original is 3 7/16" wide at the widest point in the center, the fake is 3 1/2". The fake is 1 7/8" across the top barrel band, whereas the original is 2".

4) Barrel bands; the fakes first band begins at the base. the originals first band begins over 1/4" up from the base. Both have 10 bands beneath and 10 bands above the embossing.

5) Base mark; the original has a straight line base seam across the center, the fake has none.

Overall Impression - Maybe "kinda close", if you use your imagination. The glass has a different "ring" than the original. Not "dead" like modern glass but a notably different sound when tapped with a metal object. Again, the color is intriguing but it's unlike any I recall seeing. And once again, I suppose a beginning collector could be fooled because it's glass and looks like a barrel bitters. It is significantly different than the originals. Unfortunately, unless compared side by side, the differences could be overlooked.

Additional thoughts and comments are encouraged~
A quick PS in response to questions posed; The fake bottles do not have a greasy or slick feel to them. Handled side by side with an original I can detect no tactile difference. Same goes for off odors. None detected once the fakes had a chance to air out after being pulled from the factory packaging.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Repros. A legitimate place in the hobby?

It's not western, but it is a bitters - sort of.

Recently, a discussion started over on the Peachridge site, regarding reproduction bottles.

Repros. It's an issue that needs to be taken seriously. Much like the 3D printed gun, technology is evolving to the point where just about anything can now be cloned into a fully functional duplicate.

Well, almost anything. Just maybe not an old bottle. However, accurate reproductions of classic American glass have been produced since the Clevenger Brothers first cranked out the GVII-3 E. G. Booz in the 1930's. And 80 years later some folks are trying to pass these off as the real deal.

A little over ten years ago, a company by the name of Dog River Glassworks contracted with a major motion picture company to produce some of the props for Gods and Generals.

Dog River got their start making reproduction bottles for Civil War Enactments. And they did a pretty good job of it. Their ad stated, "We are the only company in the world making a reproductions of Civil War Era Bottles, Table Ware and Other Home Furnishings".  Their forte, at that time, was the recreation of cathedral pickles, USA Hospital Dept. bottles, US Navy Pepper and US Navy Mustard, along with some pretty convincing period black glass that closely resembled early to mid 19th century vessels. To their credit, they worked very hard to make sure that their products could not be confused with, and hence resold as, the real deal.


According to an email that I received several years ago from the owners of the firm, their "old world craftsman", who had been responsible for their success, passed away and when the existing supply of bottles was exhausted, Dog River Glassworks ceased to exist.

Recently, a company with a very similar name, Dog River Glass Company appeared on the scene. They too, are offering reproduction bottles through a website.
And to their credit, the first email contact I received from them said "You are aware that these are reproductions, aren't you?" Unfortunately the web photos are of poor quality and one can't tell with any certainty how well their repros are executed. Emails to the firm, along with photos of an original Old Sachems and a pair of Drakes, posed the question, "How well executed are your repros compared to the original Drakes and Sachems?" I attached photos of a couple of originals off my shelf to make things easy for them.
This question was ignored time and again, despite being repeated three times. Why, I wondered? It's a simple question.

They did respond immediately when I inquired about stocking levels, cost etc. etc. But when I attempted to place an order through their website, the check out page locked up tight as a drum, stating "product is not available". I sent another email to them questioning whether the bottles were actually available. They replied, "They are in stock, so do not worry". Still no answer about the quality of the reproduction, only "The prices are too cheap as they are now." Ok, so they are evasive, somewhat unprofessional and their website doesn't work...  

The emergence of these reproduction cabins and barrels brings to memory the EC&M debacle of several years ago. Granted, the individuals who pulled off that disaster were scammers who defrauded even the most experienced insulator collectors. But let's say that they went about it in the "right way" and sold them for what they were, fantasy pieces. Fine you say. But what happens after the pieces have changed hands several times and twenty or so years have gone by, dulling memories.

The "new and improved" Dog River seems to be above the board, although they could use a course in business 101.

But, lets suppose their repros are good, really good. So good that you can't tell them from the real McCoy. If they are indeed "dead on", it brings up the question, where do repros fit into the grand scheme of collecting?

And what happens if someone decides to recreate a Dr. Wonsers USA Indian Root Bitters or say a Dr. Boerhaaves? Or worse yet, a green Dr. Renz's? Food for thought...


Let's hear some input!

Dog River U.S.A. Hospital reproductions
Various Dog River reproductions
(photos courtesy Peachridge Glass)

Dr. Renz's Bitters "Hat Trick"

The Dr. Renz's Herb Bitters are one of my favorite western square bitters. These historic bitters had quite a long production run from 1868 through most of the 1880's. While not rare, the challenge of putting a grouping together in the better colors can certainly be difficult. For quite some time, I set a goal of either acquiring, or digging green examples of each variant. This was not as easy as I thought it would be, but eventually the planet's aligned and there is now a green example of each version in my bitters collection. There have been numerous posts regarding history of  the Renz's so I will not duplicate it here.
It was fairly easy to add the earliest Renz...the small letter version, as these come in green tones more often than not. The dark ambers are probably the most rare colors for this bottle, though not as attractive. The "straight letter" second Renz, was fairly difficult to obtain in mint condition. It also seems that these typically come with a large blocky profile top, where the small letter comes in a wide array of lip treatments. The third, and "curved R" Renz was also pretty tough to find, although I believe the most difficult variant to find in green is the second type. Interesting to note, that the third Renz almost always comes with a more narrow applied top than the others.
Anyway, while it might not be a monumental feat in western bitters collecting, having all three Renz's in green makes me happy. It seems that I am a sucker for any western made bottle in any shade of green. DM

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Legendary Diamond Saloons

A very interesting and informative article on the Diamond Saloons in Hilt and Kennett California over at Bruce Silva's Western Whiskey Gazette

Take a look at!

Thanks Bruce for help  keeping the western blogs alive !

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

From Bruce Silva

Old Figment? Not!

Above dated 2/14/1875



Above dated 3/01/1875




Above from 1876 Langley's S. F. Directory~


According to John Thomas, Kirkpatrick removed himself from the liquor business due to his involvement in S.F. politics and his  appointment to the position as chief of police.
However, it was actually McCue who abrubtly departed from the wholesale liquor scene in 1875.

So where is an intact bottle?!!!

 And, could there be a variant with the mold slugged to read Kirkpatrick & Gentry?
PS: Refer to the following link
It documents the existence of at least pieces of the bottle
Hmm............ any comments on this allegation? - rs