Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Time to Start Getting Ready for Downieville
What: The Downieville Antique Bottles and Collectibles Show and Sale 
Where: Downieville California in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Forks of the Yuba and Downie Rivers


When: Saturday September 14th 2013  Early Lookers: 8am-10am~$10 Free Raffle Ticket Included! OPEN 10am-3pm FREE



Bottles, Insulators, Gold Rush Items, Advertising, Saloon, Mining, Western Related Artifacts & Go-Withs

Friday September 13th Dealers BBQ and Wine Tasting Event 5:00 pm til ?

This years display features bottles, back bars and collectibles from 
You won't want to miss this year's Downieville Show
For Show information:  
Rick & Cherry Simi (530) 289-3659 email:
Display info: Warren Friedrich (530) 265-5204

(We still have a few sales tables available)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Could it be?

My first impression when I  saw this bottle was that it bore a striking resemblance in form to the dome on  “Independence Hall” where the Constitution was signed.  Seems fitting that this company could of chose such a figural parody to fit their product.

Is it Figural or Fictional

Ferdinand Meyer with a figural? Constitution Bitters
I have been watching the discussion on the Peachridge Glass site on the subject of figural bitters. Seems that some of the more advanced collectors are not agreeing on what is a figural bottle or what is not.

One of the bottles in question is the Constitution Bitters. From what I can gather the bitters in question is shaped like a gazebo and not like an "object".

To quote Ferdinand of Peachridge "Jeff Burkhardt and I are having a healthy debate on whether this is a figural. He feels it is not as it is not a queen, pig, corn, or a cabin. He said a Gazebo is not an object I believe. He may have had me until he said cabin in his figural list. If a Drakes cabin is a figural, I feel a stylized gazebo should be too. Does it really matter? Probably not."

Well, this got me to thinking (and that is always a dangerous thing) and object or not an object does matter to me so I looked up object in the dictionary.  Object: "anything that is visible or tangible and is relatively stable in form".

I don't know what kind of gazebo's they have back east or in Wisconsin but the ones here in the west are pretty stable and sure as hell not invisible. 

In my mind a gazebo is an object and that there Constitution Bitters is a figural...just as sure as a tree or a  bird or a cabin is an object.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some Heavy Hitters for Sale Over at Oregon Trail Antique Bottles
If you are not visiting the Oregon Trail Antique Bottle Site you are missing some fantastic pieces of western glass available to anyone that wants to buy or make an offer on the bottles available for sale.
Here are just a few of the bottles that have been available:
Wow! when was the last time you had a chance to acquire an Angeli flask?
You might need some (or maybe all ) of what's in the picture below to swing a deal for the Angeli
The Sierra County Gold Collection with our late Sheriff Albert "Turk" Johnson in the background
and yes, Sierra County still owns this collection!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Look at the Mill's Bitters

From a previous post by Warren Friedrich:
"Another very scarce western bitters product is the Mills' Bitters / A. M. Gilman / Sole Proprietor [lady's leg fifth size] bottle. If this is a western manufactured bottle it would most likely be a product of the San Francisco & Pacific Glass Works".

"The only advertisement I've ever found for this product came from a August 14th, 1878 advertisement in the San Francisco Alta California paper, which ran for about a month"

Some of the comments from the previous post include:
"I seriously doubt this was a Western manufactured bottle. It is almost always stained, and etched when dug. The glass does not have the Western characteristics like hardness, and resistance to effects of minerals in the ground".
"I would be curious to know how it was determined to have been made in 1874 only as was written. The above ad is the only evidence I've found for this particular bitters product".

In his book Western Bitters  "Wilson says 1874 but I think they were produced about 1876-78. Like many of the rare bitters, they were primarily shipped to one this case, Tucson Az. I believe that is where they are almost all found, with one damaged example coming from the Bay area a couple years ago. Anyway, this leg is not often discussed", 
"We dug an example a few months ago, I'll send you a photo for this post. How many are known "
Well... this post is open for discussion - if you have any information on the Mill's bitters Let er' rip..........

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Following the post of western advertising by the California Kid, here is a photo (taken years ago and pretty fuzzy!) of a very rare, possibly unique, tin advertising sign that I used to own. I sent a photo of it to Bill Wilson, and he dated it to the 1870's, according to the San Francisco address. Tin, in it's original frame, it depicts images of Indians (one feather from head), Chinese (pigtails) and Spaniards (on horseback) working in a vineyard at the base of Southern California foothills. It states "Vineyards Anaheim & Cucamonga"! Since I live right next door to the city of Cucamonga, I just had to have this sign! Wish I still did, but sold it years ago to a collector of wine related items from San Francisco, a lawyer I think. Anyone ever seen a Dreyfus labeled wine or brandy bottle?

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Just wanted to get an early start at getting the word out about the 49er HBA new show location. We are moving  from Auburn to Roseville, Cal. At the Placer County Fairgrounds, 800 All America Blvd. Roseville, Cal. Its a 12 minute distant from each other. The show will be in one big building with a large display/ seating room and kitchen all under one roof. Parking and RV set-ups right by the building. Over 30 different restaurants and some 15 hotels in the Roseville area, with an AMTRAC station 4 blocks away. This is the most user friendly spot for a bottle show. We the 49er HBA take pride in putting on a quality show with quality dealers to keep the number of shoppers coming every year. Its the "Best of the West" for a reason. Our show is based on bottles FIRST, followed by Gold Rush items and Western related. "NO MORE FLEAMARKET STUFF"

I would like to say, the 49er HBA has been a big family of collectors for many years now, and yes, just like any family, we have our differences. But we always seem to come together and work them out. Its what's best for the club and hobby.....So come join our family show this year and help make it the "Best of the West"    Thank you to all collectors big & small, Mike McKillop 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Reno Find

The Henley's in this picture was sitting on a table at Reno and purchased by one of our western collectors

WOW! does it look great in this run of bottles.
Goes to show what you can find at the shows

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bottle Go-With's

Here is a small sample of my bottle advertisement, that I have been collecting for as long as I've been collecting bottles. These are some of my, one of a kind items. If I couldn't find the bottle I was looking for at a show, I would go and find a piece of bottle advertisement or go-with. "ENJOY"

Friday, July 5, 2013

Reno 2013

Well it has been a week since the Reno show, and I thought I would provide an overview of this fantastic event. Marty hall and crew did an outstanding job again this year and should be commended for the hard work which results in a show that does not disappoint.
 The action actually began on Thursday evening with several gatherings of collectors in several different locations...the bottles which came out were amazing! I saw a super Virginia N. fifth, some top western medicines in built in display cases which made me drool. I was able to acquire a crude "old amber" Cundurango, and almost pulled the trigger on some gorgeous Miller's flasks. Sitting around talking digging and glass is always enjoyable, and the setting of a restored victorian home just added to the fun.
  Friday morning saw dealers setting up from all over the west, though some "fixtures" of the western collector's community were not present this year. As I wandered around looking at the glass being placed on tables, I was excited to see some standouts...A Dr. Hauseman's German Bitters, a square Dr. Henley's IXL in a light golden amber, some great whiskey's and flasks too! A yellow green Blake's, Bear Grass in amber, several Cutter variants,two "Horse's" a square aqua Wonser's, a KILLER whittled GREEN Renz's Bitters, and lots of great western medicines. Many sold for very reasonable prices to happy collectors.
 I was able to finalize a group purchase of some early IXL's I did not have and a mint Alex Vonhumboldt's which will compliment my green example. I saw a spectacular "horizontal" Wormser flask go to a new home, and American Bottle Auction's display showcased several of the bottles which were currently at auction. The green "non crown" Hotaling made my heart pound...what a bottle!
 I was able to return home with some key pieces for my bitters collection, and four boxes of nice glass for sale on my website,  and I am excited to offer these bottles over the next few months.
 Overall it was a great show, though it seemed a bit less attended than in the past. The Grand Sierra is a nice venue for a bottle show, although the lighting was not perfect to check the color of glass...everything appeared greener than it actually was...a potential costly situation for some.
 I look forward to next year, and hangin' with bottle homies! DM

Monday, July 1, 2013


I thought I would post a photo( although a bit dark)
of some of my Dr. Henley's bitters as I was able to add a couple of colors recently. Hopefully everyone is not tired of looking at IXL's, but they are one of my favorite bottles.