Friday, November 29, 2013

Dr. A.E. Mintie

Dr A.E. Mintie was an interesting character to say the least. Although I have not had the time to do a detailed research on him I will present what little information that I have gathered.
The first mention I can find of Dr. Mintie  is this advertisement for his product Nephreticum in the Sacramento Daily Union 1878

Dr. Minties Nephreticum San Francisco
lignum nephriticum (Latin for "kidney wood") was a traditional diuretic derived from the wood of two tree species, the narra (Pterocarpus indicus) and the Mexican kidneywood (Eysenhardtia polystacha). The wood was capable of turning the color of water it comes in contact with into beautiful opalescent hues that changed depending on light and angle, the earliest known record of the phenomenon of fluorescence. Due to this strange property, it became well known in Europe from the 16th to the early 18th-century Europe. Cups made from lignum nephriticum were given as gifts to royalty. Water drunk from such cups, as well as imported powders and extracts from lignum nephriticum, were thought to have great medicinal properties.
The Nephreticum was, more than likely, playing second fiddle to the Great English Remedy in the above advertisement
 Dr. Mintie was arrested for distribution of handbills on the streets of San Francisco (now a days you can walk naked on the streets of San Francisco and not get arrested)
 Sometime in the 1890's Dr. Mintie moved to Los Angeles
this ad is from the 1896 L.A. Herald
 Dr. Mintie had been practicing medicine for over five years with out a license
The Dr. Minties Nephreticum bottle
The Dr. Minties Nephreticum bottle comes with both an applied and tooled top and was more than likely produced from the 1870's and into the 1880's.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Happy ( Aqua ) Thanksgiving

Hi Rick,
I would just like to say Happy Holidays to the bottle digging community! The recent rain here in Nor Cal signals the beginning of the digging season. Attached is a pic of some recent finds. Of coarse the SF glass works jar came out with a lip chip! I'm not familiar with the Farrell but it came out gem mint. Hopefully the start of a long and productive year.
Chris -
Happy Thanksgiving to you and congratulations on the great dig!
Keep those digging pictures coming... - rs -

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

To all our fellow collectors from the Western Bitters News
See you in Roseville for the 49er show
(first weekend in December)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Legendary Digger & Collector Passes

It is with great sadness I have to report that our hobby has lost another long time legendary digger/collector. Dave Acorne of Petaluma California passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 2nd earlier this month. Dave was an avid Petaluma historian and digger in is home town for most of his life. He dug many great bottles including a green “Wonser’s Indian Root Bitters” and an aqua “Wm. Goeppert & Son Steam Beer” the later of which was stolen from him and never recovered. Dave was a good guy & quite the character whom I dug with on numerous occasions over the years. His passion for digging, collecting and local history were unequaled. Rest in peace my friend, at least now a certain beer collector won’t have to look over his shoulder anymore for fear of you trying to get your stolen Goeppert’s back.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Old West Bottles

Beautiful run of the first variant Dr. Renz's Herb Bitters
Check out Old West Bottles for news, digging stories and the Trading Post

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ruffling the Bottle Show Feathers

I've been talking to a few western collectors lately regarding bottle shows and I thought I'd share what was discussed. The bigger picture is that many collectors don't make it to the shows for two simple reasons: they can't get off work Friday, and they don't go Saturday because the 'good deals' were already made the day before.  Since many of us collectors are not lucky enough to be retired, it is often difficult for us to get a day off for the Friday shows.  My question is this: why don't the shows run Saturday and Sunday ? Or perhaps just Saturday ?

Just a thought...............

Its Western Whiskey Week!

Interesting post on John Lutgen of Old Gilt Edge Whiskey fame by Bruce Silva over at Western Whiskey Tool Top Gazette. Go here to take a look.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Its Western Whiskey Week!

 Whiskey related advertising signs from the late Mike Dolcini collection
I sure miss Old Cutters - rs -

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Its Western Whiskey Week!

This picture was sent to my email inbox...How about these two Clubhouses!

Pictured below is the Clubhouse from the article on the American Bottle Auctions site


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Its Western Whiskey Week!

So Many Ex's - So Little Time
C.W. STUART’S EXTRA KENTUCKY WHISKY with K in circle on reverse shoulder. Applied top, Thomas-146 1875-83. According to Thomas the F & P.J. Cassin bottle mold was used to make the mold for this bottle. We have however discovered new evidence of it being a re-worked SHM. The indentation on the back of the SHM is more likely as the design fits better. Basically it was filled in with a slug plate. There is no definitive reason for the “K on back shoulder as to who it. Probably Kellogg as he was hardly a stranger to liquor wholesaling. Absolutely loaded with tiny bubbles, it almost has a puce look to it, as the amber is reddish. In addition, it is very heavily whittled and has a very strong strike. Once again, the best known specimen, quite possibly, as we have certainly never seen a better one. There are believed to be less than ten known. Dug by Tony Gospaliditch in either Gold Hill or Virginia City, NV. 1977. Ex Eastley, Mlasko collections.
OPS BOURBON WHISKEY FROM AP HOTALING’S OLD PRIVATE STOCK SAN FRANCISCO. Thomas-52, 1879-85. Fifth, applied top. Here is a bottle that is not only a popular one but is almost legendary in its place among western fifths. Anyone who has been remotely associated with collecting western whiskeys, is familiar with John and especially the bible of all western whiskey books, Whiskey Bottles of The Old West. John would talk for hours about various western whiskeys but it always seemed to come back to this particular one. The bottle itself is truly an amazing specimen with unsurpassed whittle, super strike, wonderful color, and perfect condition. In his book Thomas writes, “The best whiskey I ever owned was the O.P.S. that Dennis (Eastley) got from me. I really loved that bottle and wish I still had it.” Although John passed in 2000, his legacy will not be forgotten Ex-Thomas, Eastley
TRADEMARK BARKHOUSE BROS. & CO GOLD DUST KENTUCKY BOURBON N. VAN BERGEN & CO SOLE AGENTS. With embossed horse. Applied top. Few would disagree that the Gold Dust is right up there with the most popular of western fifths. With loads of embossing and an embossed horse, which happened to be a famous racehorse of its time, the Gold Dust remains a mainstay for those who can afford them. This example is a beautiful yellow olive with a ton of whittle and just about everything you’re looking for. We dare say this is one of the top specimens of this bottle known to exist. Ex-McClane, Virginia City, Nevada. .
JF CUTTER EXTRA TRADEMARK OLD BOURBON WITH STAR & SHIELD. Thomas-46, 1870-85, probably variant 2 or 4, 1871-75, as all the A’s have flat tops and there is a star on the base. Here is a wonderful example of the Star & Shield fifth, this would go very nicely with the flask in this sale. A beautiful yellow green, this has some nice whittle and good strong strike. We would lean more towards variant 4 with the star despite the flat A’s as the bottle is fairly thinner than some we’ve seen. A sparkling and very beautiful piece, this one will truly light up your life. Ex. Eastley and Mlasko.

WM. H SPEARS & CO OLD PIONEER WHISKEY FENKHAUSEN & BRAUNSCHWEIGER SOLE AGENTS. SF with embossed WALKING BEAR. Applied top. Thomas-4, 1878-81. Here is a terrific example of the two-name bear and in fact this would certainly qualify as at least one of the top specimens known. Once again we see the Braunschweiger name but the real excitement of this bottle is the overall patina and handsome demeanor of the bottle. Not only is the strike exceptionally strong, but there is whittle and a wonderful variance in hues. Perfectly played out with the central area being a light golden amber. There is a little stain on the back exterior, which we are frankly, happy to see as this bottle has never been cleaned. A classic container, they don’t get much better than this. Ex-M. Boone, Eastley and Mlasko. 
JOCKEY CLUB WHISKEY GW CHESLEY & CO. SF. Thomas-19, 1873-78. These sixth-sized whiskeys are often quite early, as the first western containers were a little smaller than what we are used to today. Most of the Jockey Clubs are amber to orange amber, we’ve also seen the dark almost tobacco but rarely have we seen an example as pristine and beautiful as this. This was dug by Jeff Rosen and Ken Salazar, child actor and fluent in Portuguese, in Oakland, CA in 1975 and was obtained by Mlasko through Dennis Eastley. Once again we raise the question, top specimen? This has loads of bubbles and just a flurry of whittle that when combined with its olive amber hue, provides some real fireworks. Since Dale refused to own anything but the best, we can assure you that this is a bottle he prized quite highly. Never cleaned, there may be a spot or two of very light stain, however it is inconsequential to the overall presentation of this bottle. This is really one for the books.
J. MOORE OLD BOURBON E CHIELOVICH & CO SOLE AGENTS with embossed ANTLERS and TRADEMARK. Thomas-90, circa mid 1870’s. Here’s a bottle that remains very popular even though there are as many as three dozen known. Why so popular? There’s just something about the antlers and the name along with the overall design of the bottle that is very appealing. It’s an early fifth and they usually come with lots of crudity. In this case, that is an understatement. In the many years we have been selling western fifths, very rarely have we come across anything as whittled as this. This is not simply whittled, it is whittle on top of whittle and to top it off the embossing is as bold as any we’ve seen. There is even whittle on the antlers! If the OPS in this sale was prized by Thomas as the best, this J. Moore stands right beside it as being one of the most beautiful examples of western whiskey bottles we’ve ever seen. Pictures will tell the story but this is definitely one for the books. Ex- Doc Ritz, Eastley, Mlasko.
Boy do I wish some of my Ex's looked that good! - rs -

A special thanks to Jeff Wichmann for the incredible pictures and text
Thanks Jeff!

Its Western Whiskey Week!

J. Moore and Jesse Moore Bourbon Whiskey Bottles

Westfall Collection
Photo from Western Glop Top Whiskeys
Photo from American Bottle Auctions
Left to right Denny Bray, L Westfall and Denny Bray collection

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's Here it for the TEAKETTLE!

TeaKettle Old Bourbon

I believe that one of the best whiskey bottles which typifies the old west is the Teakettle. When one considers all that these bottles have going for them, ie: Fantastic full face embossing, a picture, and often crudity, and nice color, these bottles simply have it all...except for rarity.
When compared to other collectibles, they really are "rare". If one goes by the examples available, they are also "rare". Other than the Gold Dust fifths, the Teakettle is a bottle which seems designed to have everything a collector, 130 plus years later, would find attractive. There are whiskey collectors who have a "run" of these, and even those who have moved their whiskey collections along - typically hang on to a teakettle or two. I am one of them as even though the western bitters are a strong passion for me, I cannot ignore the beauty of the Teakettle.

  Can you imagine the early days of digging in Nevada where these appeared to be everywhere? Were it not for Virginia City, the epicenter of these fifths, the Teakettle might be in the top 10 or even top 5 of western whiskeys. It is only the numbers known keeping them from the top of the list. They are definitely in my personal top 5. Let's hear it for the Teakettle! Dale M.
Thanks to Dale M and Old West bottles for the pictures and text - rs -
How about this smokin' Teakettle that was found under a house in Virginia City
This beauty has just about everything going for it - including the original label!
Thanks Bruce for the fantastic pictures
From Lou Lambert over at Old West Bottles
Without any question the Tea Kettle Bourbon bottle is one of the most beautiful, highly sought after Western 5ths there is among collectors. These bottles come in a wide variety of shades of amber colors ranging from yellow to chocolate. Their also known in shades of old amber/olive,  green and even pale steel blue aqua. Their primarily found with an applied top but the latest version made comes with a tooled top. The tooled top bottles are very rare and most have annealing flashes/cracks due to the poor annealing character of the glass used to make these later bottles
 The wholesale liquor firm of Shea, Boqueraz & McKee were the West Coast agents for the Kentucky distilled brand. They were located at the s/w corner of Front & Jackson St. in San Francisco California from 1871 to 1887. The bourbon was imported from the distillery in barrels and bottled in S.F. The West Coast liquor firm had a special 5th size bottle and mold made by the  San Francisco Glass Works to contain their product for the trade. You can bet the quality of this bourbon was good because of the high cost of having a private mold bottle produced opposed to a lesser expensive more available generic version. It's believed that the cost of such a bottle often exceeded the cost of producing the liquor it contained
 The period between 1870 to about 1885 saw the most beautiful graphic hand blown glass whiskey 5th bottles ever produced anywhere in the world by this glass works. It were almost as if the liquor dealers in the city at that time were all trying to out do each other to see who could produce the nicest looking bottle for their product with the glass works only being a very short distance. Ways to advertise in those days were limited with one of the most effective being to have an embossing bottle bearing the dealers name. The picture below is of a 1870s barrel tag from the distillery.
This was a very popular brand among miners and lumbermen in certain regions of Northern California & Nevada as evidenced by the number of intact and broken bottles that have come from those areas over the years. This was high quality, expensive drinking whiskey for those who could afford it. The cost for a bottle of this whiskey was equal to a days wages for the average working man.
 I can only imagine some of the comments that must of been made when this liquid gold bearing the logo of a mountain tea-kettle was being consumed. Virginia City Nevada was especially popular for this brand as most known examples have come from this area. A bottle book claim that hundreds of these were found in the VC area is over exaggerated as there's likely less than 200 intact specimens known in any condition.
 Years ago a saloon privy on the divide between Virginia City and Gold Hill was dug that contained twenty seven whole examples and dozens of broken ones. I remember attending  the Reno bottle show in 1972 and seeing the majority of them on display all lined up on a table, what a line-up !

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11th

Armistice / Veterans  Day 

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 was designated as the "official" cessation of hostilities (or Armistice ) on the western front of the War to end all Wars - World War One.

The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. Most countries changed the name of the holiday after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts, while the United States chose All Veterans Day (later shortened to 'Veterans Day') to explicitly honor military veterans.

I want to thank all of the veterans that have served our country including my Father and Mother both U.S. Army veterans of World War II.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Here’s a bottle that gets little respect but is one of the earliest products distributed in California’s gold rush country. The Mexican Mustang Liniment bottle is generally found in every camp, settlement and town in the Mother Lode, Northern Mines and also in the early California cities. I have dug dozens of these bottles and I am sure the more prolific diggers have dug hundreds of them over the years.

The agents for this product claimed that it would relieve the pain associated with everyday hard work so common to the times. Not many occupations were more physical than digging for gold and a pain reliever, other than liquor, was an item that flew off of the merchant’s shelves.

The manufacturers of the liniment claimed not only did it work on men and women but was also recommended for children, horses and domestic animals.

These bottles were made for a long time and the earliest examples have an open pontil base and are fairly crude. Some of the earlier examples are embossed D.S. Barnes New York. Later examples have a smooth base and are neatly made.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Getting Ready for the 49er Show

Gold Rush Doctors McDonald & Levy

While we all are waiting for the 49er Bottle Show thought I would try to get you folks into the western medicine spirit by re-posting some of the earlier posts related to the display at this year's show...........

In 1849, a year after gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill; Richard McDonald opened a drug store at 143 J Street in Sacramento California. McDonald’s first drug store was operated from a wood and tent structure and sometime in 1852 he took as a partner a Mr. Levy.

Sometime in 1853 the partners started a traveling drug store to supply remote mining camps with medicinal supplies. McDonald and Levy’s idea of taking a wagon load of medicine and drugs to the miners was not revolutionary but their timing was perfect, few if any early mining camps at that time had a drug store or a place to buy medicine.

It is believed that Levy ran the medicine show (or traveling drug store) while Mc Donald was in charge of the store on J Street in Sacramento. Levy took his wagon from the placer diggings in the Mother Lode foothills all the way up into the northern mines area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains peddling the wagons nostrums’.

The traveling drug store was a huge success and by 1853 The Miners Drug Store of Sacramento was firmly established. Levy left the partnership around 1854 and quite possibly the embossed bottle that they are responsible for was made for only one year

By early 1860 the R.H. McDonald Co. was primarily a wholesale drug business with a branch office in San Francisco and an agent for William T. Cutter Whisky. One of McDonald’s best selling products was J. Walker’s Vinegar Bitters and was responsible for the great success of his company. McDonald continued in the wholesale drug business until his death in Montreal Canada in 1903.

The Compound Fluid Extract of Manzanita bottle produced by McDonald and Levy is believed to have contained a remedy for the rash from poison oak or ivy. I have no concrete proof that the Manzanita product was a cure for poison oak.

Back in 1993 two undamaged examples of the Manzanita bottle were recovered from the early gold rush settlement of American Hill. Another example of the Extract of Manzanita was discovered in the Forest City area in the late 1990’s and later sold at a Glassworks Auction.

Both American Hill and Forest City are located near the Henness Pass Road, an early wagon road used to reach the gold rush camps in western and southern Sierra County. The discovery of these bottles near a major gold rush road and the abundance of poison oak in that vicinity lead me to speculate that old Doc Levy’s traveling medicine show quite possibly visited the Southern Sierra County area during gold rush times.


Just in from Eric McGuire:

No poison oak cure but it did a lot of other good things - especially in the realm of diarrhea and dysentery. Highly recommended for travelers, everyone knows how troublesome those afflictions can be - especially when you are on the road, with no outhouse nearby.
Great piece of information on the Manzanita product...for the last 40+ years I thought this was a poison oak remedy. Although the Manzanita compound appears not to be a poison oak remedy I still would like to believe that Doc Levy traveled the roads in southern Sierra County, during the gold rush, that I travel today.
Thanks Eric - see you in Roseville - rs -

Monday, November 4, 2013

Interesting post over at Bruce Silva's Western Whiskey Tool Top Gazette
on the Newman's College