Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anderson Bottle Show Pictures

Friday afternoon sun

The biggest hock wine I have ever seen

Early Saturday morning

Gary and Darla
Richard, Ted and Bruce
Some of the bottles I saw change hands included a deep green Dr. Henley's IXL Bitters, a blue Lynde & Putnam iron pontil soda in a pristine un-cleaned condition, a rare Mack's Sarsaparilla Bitters San Francisco, a light green Pratt's Abolition Oil, a cobalt blue Wakelee's citrate and several scarce western beers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And We Wonder Why Bottle Shows are Declining

I had an interesting phone call this morning. It was from the California State Board of Equalization. For those of you that are not familiar with the state BOE its the California Franchise Tax Board, you know, the folks that collect your sales tax if you have a legitimate business here in California.

The nice lady from the BOE asked me if I was selling at the Anderson Bottle Show this weekend. I replied yes, I am going to try and sell something at the show, but the possibility of making a sale is always in question. This reply sort of set her back for a moment but she recovered while I was wondering how in the heck did she know I had purchased a sales table at the Anderson Bottle Show.
It seems that since my business location is here in Downieville, and I am now going to sell in Anderson for the weekend, I will have to register the Fairgrounds in Anderson as a second location for my business. And to add icing to the cake every other bottle show in California that I sell at will have to be listed as another location for my business. Hell, my little chicken shit business is now becoming a multi location major red flag for the State Board of Equalization to zero in on.
The increasing pressure the State BOE is putting on small organized collectible shows is not a California only issue. If you sell at the Reno Bottle Show you will need a City of Reno sellers permit to the tune of $15.00 and as a seller you are supplied with a tax form that you fill out, and based on the sales you have claimed to have made, pay the tax right there and then at the show.
Do you think that the State BOE, the City of Reno or any other entity that is collecting taxes is going to get the sales tax on a mint green Drakes Plantation Bitters that sells at a bottle show? If you believe that the tax on that transaction is claimed I have a bridge you might be interested in.
I will be selling at Anderson this weekend right after I re-price my bottles to include the 7.5% sales tax the city of Anderson is asking for.
- rs -
Don't forget to pay your sales tax this weekend!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Digging News!

Hi Rick,
 My phone is not transferring photos to my photo library on my computer so I was hoping that I could ask you to post this little story for me included in this email and I will send you the photos.
Cramped Quarters
 “The west has been plagued by freezing temperatures but little if any actual precipitation this Winter. Usually I have a dozen holes dug by this point, but this weekend marked the first opportunity I have had to get out and find some glass. Yesterday, January 19th was my 51st birthday and what better way to spend the day than getting out with my son and knocking on some doors? Drew is a college student and sleeps until 11 AM on most days, Yesterday, he was to meet me at 11:00 am which is pretty late in the day to begin a digging adventure. At 11:15 he finally showed up and we were on the road to seek permission at a house which was built in 1865 and was a commercial property until about 1910 when it became a primary residence. The house has not been dug as the previous owner had denied permission to explore the lot for decades. I knocked, gave my dog and pony show, and we were in!
I have studied the Sanborns and photos of this lot and the actual lot lines are inconsistent to the lines today, and Drew and I began systematically probing the yard. Drew is a novice at probing so I was in constant communication with him for any signs of an outhouse. He worked the back line, and I was focused on the side yard. I probed what felt like an intact bottle at 3 1/2 feet and backed off the probe feeling this was a spot worth investigating. Of course the pit was between a full hot tub and a fence…wonderful, the 13” of room we had to dig was not ideal, and there was virtually no place to throw dirt, but thought it would be worth a try. The hole “felt” early as it was sparse, and not full of rust or ash…these holes usually indicate an early pit in my experience, but I did not know if it was 1850s, or 1920s at this point.
We took turns in the extremely cramped quarters trying our best to open up the hole. Very little sign emerged and though I was confident it was indeed a pit, the going was very slow. At the 30” level Drew said he was working on a bottle, and I was anxious to see what it was. I was happy to see him extract a beautiful light lime green 1860s snuff! This was a good start, and soon he was working on a stack of early 1860s flared lip, flat base medical cylinders. While not embossed, they indicated this hole had some decent age. He next pulled out an olive amber pontil era utility, and a black glass polish. It was my turn to root around, and I extracted a gorgeous monster top Pratts Abolition Oil, and another example with the neck broken. After clearing the hole to go to the next layer, I felt a “clunk” with my paddle, and was happy to find a monster top, whittled, and pontiled Dr. Jayne’s Alterative. A super nice early medicine.
Then a broken in half Drakes Plantation Bitters, and then another one. Several early eastern meds, and then something western and pretty revealed itself. I could tell it was another nice western medicine, but could not tell exactly what it was or if it was intact. After carefully working it out of the compacted clay, I was thrilled to be holding a deep colored Dr. Perry’s Last Chance Liniment. Not just any Perry’s,  and in mint condition. So far this had been a great birthday with my son, and being in an early hole with some nice glass just made this day about as good as it gets for me. I did not think it could get any better…........
 I will fill everyone in on the rest of the hole in part 2!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Northwest Bottle Collectors (Santa Rosa Show)

NEW DATES and; A New Kind of Show
 May 31 and June 1, 2014 (Saturday and Sunday)
Santa Rosa, California
 48th annual “Northwestern Bottle Collectors Association” Show and Sale...
 at the Veterans Memorial Hall.
This year’s show is going to be better than ever for both dealers and shoppers. There will be two other well attended events going on at the same time, the “Famers Market” on Sat. and “Collectors Flea Market” on Sunday all at the same location.  Appreciation Pizza Party Saturday night at the “Union Hotel” for all dealers!

SHOW HOURS: Saturday: 10:00 a.m to 5:00 pm,  Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
General admission only $3
Sales table or show info Contact: Lou or Leisa Lambert (707)823-8845 or e-mail:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Interesting post over on Bruce Silva's Western Whiskey Gazette about item #33 in the current American Bottle Auction #59

Go HERE to visit the WWG and join the discussion.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


The Canyon Creek Area

Craig’s Flat
Located between Big Canyon and Little Canyon Creeks this gold rush settlement was discovered and worked in the spring of 1850 by the Buchannon Company, but because of the lack of water during the summer months they discontinued working the claims in the fall of that year. The ground
was then re-located in January of 1851 by the Craig Brothers who worked the gravel with sluices and rockers until July and again the shortage of water stopped the mining at what was to become Craig’s Flat. In 1852 the construction of water ditches to the diggings allowed the miners to wash the ancient river channel through their sluices and this camp literally took off. This settlement continued to grow and develop and by the fall of 1853 several hundred miners and a handful of merchants were occupying the town and surrounding area. Through the 1850’s steady gold production from the ancient placer gravel continued to keep this settlement from becoming another “two year town”. Starting in 1858, as with the majority of gold rush camps in Sierra County Craig’s Flat was adversely affected by the “rushes” to the Fraser River, Virginia City and the Reese River and by the mid 1860’s the bloom was off of this camp.
Field research indicates that sometime during the 1860’s Chinese miners re-worked the tailing piles left from early day sluicing operations. Mining continued at Craig’s Flat into the 1880’s and today acres of boulders and a small tailing pond remain of this once thriving gold rush camp. Gold rush era bottles and several examples of gold rush belt buckles have been recovered from the Craig's Flat area



This gold rush town located on Morristown Ridge and one mile north of Craig’s Flat was started in early 1851 and by 1853 had surpassed Craig’s Flat in population and gold production. Three hundred citizens and a dozen merchants were in residence during the “flush times” of this remote mining town that was totally dependent on the winter snow pack and the water ditches to the diggings. As has been mentioned earlier any mining camp or settlement that wasn’t located directly on a year round river or stream was held hostage by the whims of the weather.  A winter with little snowfall held a short spring and summer mining season and a winter with heavy snows assured a long and prosperous season of mining. The water ditches that were constructed to the “dry diggings” of Morristown and Craig’s Flat from Big and Little Canyon Creeks furnished water to these camps but the amount of water available was always dependent on the winter’s snowfall. Through the 1850’s gold production was steady and the town boasted a hotel, three saloons, four stores, a blacksmith shop, butcher shop and livery stables.

            In 1862 the town was almost completely destroyed by a great fire that started at the Inca’s boarding house in the commercial district that leveled eighteen businesses and almost as many residences.

            “This place is rising from the ashes of the late fire, and several buildings on the street are about to be occupied. Tom Smith has a new fire-proof store, one of the best of its size in the mountains. Mr. Smith has also a fine hotel nearly completed, and will give his friends and the public a “warming ball” next Friday evening, on opening his house to custom. James Alexander has a fine saloon nearly finished and will open it in a few days. Wm. Walker has got into his new office with the express business, and an assortment of fruit, cigars and confectionery. A new butcher shop is approaching completion. The scarcity of lumber has retarded building this season, and the construction of a number of houses has been deferred to next year”. The Mountain Messenger – June 21, 1862.

            The re-building of Morristown continued in the spring of 1863 but the town never reached its former size and population. Mining continued into the late 1870’s and by the 1880’s Morristown was all but finished.

            Old hydraulic pipe, mountains of boulders and two small ponds remain on the outskirts of the town site. The commercial district of town still has one stone building partially standing and several structure sites can still been seen despite a half crazed bottle digger removing  the top 18 inches of soil from the townsite with a loader sometime in the 1990’s.



Deadwood or Deadwood diggings was located about a mile west of the site of Little Grizzly on Deadwood Creek. The use of the word Deadwood is said to have originated during the California gold rush and was the miners slang for “sure thing”.

After researching this small camp I believe it was started sometime in the spring of 1855 when several claim location notices were reported in the Sierra Democrat newspaper in September of that year. A small settlement of six to eight structures was present in the summer of 1863 but this camp was of little consequence during the Sierra County gold rush. During the 1980’s two circa 1930’s cabins were still standing at Deadwood. Field research has revealed that this area was re-mined during the depression era and quite possibly any remains of gold rush activity has been erased.

Little Grizzly
This small camp or settlement had its start sometime in the late 1850’s and was later renamed Empire City as the camp grew. The little bit of information that was available on this camp prompted the author and a friend to hike into this gold rush camp for a hands on approach to historical investigation of the site. Located about two miles south of Poker Flat on the then called Golden Scepter Trail Little Grizzly sits on the bank of Little Grizzly Creek. At the height of Little Grizzly’s growth about twenty five structures dotted the sides of the creek and between thirty five to forty men were working the drift mines and placer gravel. Pontil and smooth base bottles from the late 1850’s to late 1860’s were discovered along with rubbish and trash from the depression era miners documenting the age of this small camp. Among the bottles recovered were examples of the Adolpho Wolfe Aromatic Schnapps, Lockport Gargling Oil, Patent whiskey fifths and pontiled Mexican Mustang Liniment. Small level flats that once held cabin sites are all that remain of this early placer mining settlement. The old Golden Scepter Trail is totally overgrown and the walk into this camp is very physical and demanding.
Monte Carlo
The very small remote camp of Monte Carlo was located in Clark’s Canyon about one half mile north of where it meets Rattlesnake Creek. It is generally believed that Major Downie discovered rich diggings at or near this site but the lack of water prohibited mining the area. Little information is available on this site and during a field trip to the area the author discovered a few cabin sites along the banks of the creek and broken bottles and shards of gold rush era glass scattered about the area. Of interest was the abundance of Udolpho Wolfe’s Aromatic Schnapps and Booth and Sedgwick’s London Cordial Gin pieces in various colors. This site has been continually mined from the mid 1850’s through the depression era and into the 1970’s by independent miners and little remains of the original camp site today.
Gold rush camps of the Canyon Creek area


Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Ron Jeremy of 1970s Bottle Digging

Puffy P roasts Ned "Bongo" Clarke at his birthday bash.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bennet's Wild Cherry Stomach Bitters

Here is a crude square which is actually pretty rare. This is the first version of the Bennet's and was made from 1870 or so, through the late 1870s.
Joseph Souther apparently worked in the U.S. Branch Mint in San Francisco starting in 1862. He worked his way up into the treasurer's position. He partnered with Richard Chenery  who had a Naval background in San Francisco starting in the 1850s. and became a Navy agent in the 1860s. This partnership began in 1869 and the two purchased the rights to a bitters product from Henry Bennet. Bennet had been in the syrups, cordial, and medicinal bizz in San Francisco since the early 1850s Apparently Chenery and Souther did not pay very much for this brand, as Bennet died broke and his wife made a living as an artist which was not likely very lucrative. I believe even his young son had to find employment to make ends meet.
The embossed Wild Cherry Bitters is thought to have begun in 1870 or 71, and was produced until Chenery decided to go in to real estate in 1880, and the company became Joseph N. Souther & Co. At this point, the later "Celebrated Stomach Bitters" was produced in another amber square.
Wilson had the two variants of this bottle mixed up in "Western Bitters". The Wild Cherry was listed as "very scarce" while the later Celebrated version was listed as "very rare". it should have been the other way around as the earlier Wild Cherry is quite rare with maybe 20 in collections. There are likely 30-40 of the Celebrated Stomach Bitters in collections in my opinion.
The "Bennet's Wild Cherry Stomach Bitters" is beautifully embossed for a square. The arching pattern on both sides, as well as "sole agents" is extremely attractive. I have seen these in an "old" amber with some olive, through the gold tones, to a reddish amber. These do not become available very often and I cannot recall one being dug in good condition for a long time. Dale M.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

American Bottle Auctions

American Bottle LOGO
American Bottle Auctions auction #59 opens January 10, 2014
Lots of western bottles for your consideration
Online catalog available January 8th

Catalog for Auction # 59
Closing Sunday January 19th, 2014 at 7:00 PM PDT / 10:00 PM EST

Catalog for Auction # 59
Closing Sunday January 19th, 2014 at 7:00 PM PDT / 10:00 PM EST