Tuesday, June 24, 2014


27 & 28 June 2014
(Friday & Saturday)

Reno, Nevada
Reno Antique Bottle & Collectibles Club

51st Annual Show & Sale

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
2500 East Second Street, Reno, NV 89595

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Pair of Puce and Green. Rosenbaum's Bitters

Here is a pair of early western squares in shades of puce and green. The "large" size Rosenbaum's Bitters, N.B. Jacobs & Co. San Francisco. This size is listed as R-93 in Ring/Ham and is considered rare. I believe there are about 30 of this variant of the Rosenbaum's in collections although I am not certain of their condition. These two are is a light yellow olive green, and a cherry puce with pink tone which did not photograph very well today. It is believed that this version of the large Rosenbaum's may have been blown in the East, and the examples with the tapered collar with ring were blown in S.F. The base characteristics are also different with one having a dot in the center and the other not. I believe these are mid 1860's bitters and come in many colors from amber, to olive amber, light yellow olive, to more green, and occasionally puce and even a pastel blue green as well as a true wine or claret. I would be interested in dividing them up as to color "rarity" similar to the Lacour's. These are historically significant and early western bitters. DM

Sacramento Daily Union March 1860  Advertisement


Friday, June 13, 2014

What dreams are made of.

Found this while perusing the 1880 Langeley S. F. Business Directory.
A couple of interesting brands listed that I'm not acquainted with.
Same goes for names and partnerships. The unknowns were probably paper label only, but think of the possibilities~ 
Hope springs eternal.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Double Dose of Salutaris

I have really focused heavily on western bitters blown between 1864 and 1874. This is a fairly narrow range for exclusively western bitters as bitters from the west are not very numerous in the first place when compared to the thousands of brands from the rest of the U.S. My personal collecting philosophy has always been the earliest brands, whether they be medicines, whiskey's or the western flasks. They just please me.
 Here is another brand from the "early period" of western bitters manufacture, dating from 1864-65. The Byrne and Castree Salutaris Bitters, S.F.  This pair consists of puce and green in shoulder and base embossed versions. To me, these little gems pack quite a punch being very early, crude, and beautifully colored. DM

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Three Squares a Day"

A few years ago I posted a photo of three green squares. Quite a few people have commented on them since that time. They consisted of a green Cundurango, E.G. Lyon's, and a green Renz. here is another version of the "three squares". This time with a small letter Renz, crude Cundurango, and green small Rosenbaum's. The Lyon's  is still on the shelf and was a bit jealous it was not included this time, and the Cundurango is a different example this time around. The recent post of the wild pastel apple green broken Rosenbaum's shows what killer colors they were made. Maybe next post I will show three puce beauties. Any other colors of
"trios" out there?Enjoy! DM

Monday, June 9, 2014

From Bruce Silva at WWG

Cleanliness. It's not all bad~
A while ago there was some pretty heated debate about cleaning bottles.
The discussions took place on Western Bitters News, Peachridge, the WWG (here) as well as on another website which shall remain un-named. The anonymous website had some extremely harsh (bordering on fanatical) words to say about the morality or, (according to them), lack thereof, involved in cleaning bottles.

It seemed that everyone had their own slant on bottle cleaning; self included. By far and away though, most supported the procedure, assuming that, if and when the bottle was to change hands, both parties were aware of said cleaning.

I stated the following;
"Thanks to what I've recently learned, I think that it's a travesty to leave a good (but stained) bottle stuffed away when it can be restored to as new appearance and be proudly displayed for all to enjoy."

One of the bottles pictured in the WWG article of 10/28/12 was a badly stained open pontil Dr. Hooflands German Bitters. It was an Oregon dug gold rush era bottle, but such a dog that it sat in a box here, both before and after the article. (hint, if you click your mouse on the photos, they'll open in a separate and enlarged window for a real eye opener)
Recently, a good friend of mine got into the good stuff. The mailman arrived with a gift from him a couple of days after we chatted about the dig. It was a Rosedale OK "German connection" glop top. Neat bottle, I guessed, beneath an eighth of an inch of stain and crud. Odd, the stain was pretty much a dead ringer for the Hoofland's "case of leprosy".

To clean, or not to clean... I bit the bullet and took a chance. The stain had to go and the Hooflands would be the guinea pig. I was stunned after the "Ol Bottle Doc." had worked his magic on it.



With that dilema put to bed, I made the decision to take a chance on the German Rosie. Check out the before and the after.





And so I pose the question; Is the practice of cleaning deserving of tar and feathering, drawing and quartering or jail time as another author so pointedly espoused?

You be the judge. Amoral, immoral, or the right thing to do? Which would you rather have in your collection; the before or the after

Friday, June 6, 2014

A loving dose of heartbreak

This being my first post I thought maybe I would post a little something to gain your sympathy, and take you for a ride you might not soon forget.  Like any digger I have a list, a collection in my mind of those all but unattainable but must have bottles that if they became available to buy I probably could not afford, and even if I could I would rather dig myself.  Then there are the bottles that I could possibly buy, but again I would rather dig.  Setting goals to dig a particular bottle can be rewarding, it can also lead to disappointment as the years go by and the empty space on the shelf retained for that special dig remains empty, or maybe filled with a stand by which will quickly find a new place to rest once that dig finally comes home!  One such bottle for me is a large black glass Hosetter's Bitters.  Now it certainly isn't far fetched to hope to dig one of these big ol crude and common tankers here in the heart of Gold Rush California, I dig 5-10 broken examples every year.  As of yet the space remains empty, my hopes dashed but not broken, I know there is one waiting for me out there still.  Another bottle I will dig, (not to sound conceited or cocky but to me faith goes a long way), is a Catawba Wine Bitters.  For some reason I cant get enough of those Catawba bottles!  There is just something appealing for me in those squares.  The list goes all over the place from there, from yes I probably could to "come back down to earth there buddy!"  One of those head in the clouds bottles would be a "G. A. Simon's Medicated Aromatic Bitters", fat chance, right?  Well lets get on to the digging...

At an undisclosed location somewhere in the foothills of California where once men scrambled over the mountains and creeks for gold I am now prospecting for the refuse they left behind.  This particular camp sure did like their squares, and something different every time.  Its as if someone buried a bottle collection and I stumbled across it!  Well at least I stumbled across the pieces left behind by a careless construction worker 30 years ago.  I wish it had been another bottle collector rather then whoever shoveled their way through this horde because there within lies the real heart break, this little collection shows all the signs of having been moved, and destroyed in the process.  At this point the dig is winding down and I will share with you a visual presentation of what I have found.  It all started with a broken panel from a G.A. Simon's Bitters and through a subsequent 10 days of digging the site has been a roller coaster ride not for the faint of heart!

This was enough to keep me up at night, but soon my thoughts were no where else!  The collection grew...

There's my Catawba!  A Dr Townsend's, a huge Gothic Pickle base, a couple slick squares, a beautiful Western Blown Case bottle, a Rosenbaum's!  And yes, two G. A. Simon's now...

A glued back Catawba to hold the seat for a while... (how long?  I dont know)

That base is broken but if you look close there are two whole bottle in the dirt!

One of them is a Morning Call!

It did this after I cleaned it...

The other whole bottle is a Dr J Hosetter's in amber...  dont worry, besides being a little sick its in pretty good shape...

Then this guy popped out, nice metallic pontil, the initials "I R" on one panel.  A big crack in the lip and neck

not to be out done was this "Old London Dock", my favorite bottle from the dig, it does have a chipped lip and a ding with a small crack in the base.  There is also a little cement in neck.  It survived being dug up, tossed aside and then thrown in the fill while getting cement poured into it during the construction!

and the dig goes on, A Black Glass Hoss, two Rosenbaum's!

These would have been beautiful, slightly different mold variants also...  Is the olive yellow example the Jacob's bottle without Rosenbaum's embossed on it?

To cap it off yesterday a third G. A. Simon's surfaced...

That about wraps it up folks...  I'm about done with this area of the dig.  So far I have not found any sign of glass of this caliber anywhere else on the site.  The evidence points to this having been a wooden barrel loaded with killer glass of which the remains were dug through and scattered around a small area of the site.  The only undamaged bottle from this 1860-70 period was the amber Hossetter's!  lol  you got to love what you get and love what you do, I sure had fun on this dig but I wonder, is there any other hobby that can take you so high and so low all in the same experience?  I think I stumbled, fell raised up and towered above the earth all in a fleeting moment, only to come back down to the reality of what I really had in the end, the fulfillment of doing what I love and dreaming of what could be, a couple nice glue backs for the collection and the hope that I am one step closer to that spectacular find, or maybe just that special bottle for the empty spot on the shelf...

Matt L.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Swan Brewery

Here's a western beer that has always interested me. I did some research and found a few ads for the Swan Brewery but didn't find as much information that I wanted to present in this post. Anyone have anything to add.

Swan Brewery bottle with embossed picture of a swan
First ad I could find for the Swan March 1871.
Interesting they are selling the stock and fixtures of a company that may have just started in business
Reverse of the Swan bottle.
Take a look at the curved R's on this beauty
Swan ad from the February 1874 Los Angeles Herald
Looks like there might be some Swans down in So cal
Swan bottle in a yellow olive
Swan Brewery partnership in December of 1874
The Swan Brewery incorporates in August of 1875
Swan Trademark February 1879
Soda man Phil Caduc is selling the Swan product in  March of 1879
After spending some time looking at the Swan Brewery I am more confused than before I started. I guess ignorance is bliss.

Monday, June 2, 2014

B.B. Thayer Revisited

From Jason P.

I don't have lids for either of these. I believe I have four different examples, some with "acceptable"  damage. One of the finest collections of potlids including American and Western examples resides in Australia. The fellow goes by "TROG" on the Antique Bottle Forum used to be "blue pages". I sent him a PM with a head's up to your Thayer post. Here are three photos for your consideration from my own tiny potlid collection. The first two pics are of the same pot

Kudo's for Santa Rosa

I have only seen Thayer cosmetic pots with stenciling on the side and of course the potlid you have on the post. I have never seen an embossed bottle with Thayer's name. He was contemporary with Wm. H. Keith and W.H. Wood both of whom have early embossed glass cylindrical bottles in varying sizes.

The Santa Rosa show was the best show I've been to in many years. Dennis brought out his soda collection having decided to get rid of his hutches and concentrate on tooled crowns. Picked up four nice hutches from Dennis and his daughter who was helping him set-up and sell. For the experienced but low-to-medium end collector there was much to see.

Also picked up two SF Bay Area druggists one of which I had never seen before - although it is listed in Miller's book revision #5. Had to be "budget conscious" and leave a few things behind. Interesting posts you've put up on westernbitters. Have to go back and finish reading.


I have to agree with Jason. I think the Santa Rosa Show was well done. Lots of traffic on Saturday for the  50 some dealers, Pizza party Saturday night and a fair amount of buyers on Sunday.
Thanks to the Northwest bottle club for an enjoyable weekend
- rs -
Green Fish spotted at Santa Rosa
Holy Moly their multiplying ....and mutating!