Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Santa Cruz Medicine

Anyone have any info on this Santa Cruz bottle
The date of the bottle, number known, rarity, western blown - Got anything?

Monday, July 28, 2014

John Joseph Spieker

Sometime last evening I ran across an interesting connection to a Sacramento bottle while reading Ferdinand Meyer's post, over at Peachridge Glass, on the history of Lash's Bitters
 J.J. Spieker Bottle
John Joseph Spieker or J. J. Spieker in most historical documents, was born on 26 February 1855 in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. His parents were John G. Spieker and Marie Theresa Niehoff. Both were from Germany though some records say the father was born in Ohio and his mother in New York. John Joseph moved to Sacramento, California in 1875 and was married in San Francisco in 1879 to Cornelia Ackley, who was also from Sacramento. She would later run the business after his death.
Sacramento embossed on side panel

In 1876, at the early age of 20 or so, J. J. Spieker became a druggist in Sacramento and by 1878 he was a partner in Tufts & Spieker (A. C. Tufts and J. J. Spieker) who were druggists and apothecaries. They produced a medicine called Yerba Santa Cough Balsam. In February 1884, John Spieker formed a new partnership with Tito M. Lash, and named the company T. M. Lash & Co.  The 1880 United States Federal Census also lists Spieker as a druggist in Sacramento while a city directory at that time notes a J. J. Spieker, druggist and apothecary, on the northwest corner of 6th and K. He is living above the shop. In 1881, he moves to a house in Sacramento keeping the shop address. As late as 1900, the United States Federal Census lists him as a druggist in San Francisco.
6th and K Street embossed on other side panel

Later, John Joseph Spieker would be regarded as a pioneer in the Bay Area and was identified with the high social, philanthropic and culture of San Francisco. In the 1900s, at some point, he would become the president of the Eureka Land and Lumber Company in Ross Valley near San Francisco. To support this, the 1910 Federal Census, lists Spieker as a manufacturer of lumber products in San Francisco. John Joseph Spieker died in 1912 in San Francisco.
Applied single collar top
Ferdinand's pinpointing of the start date of Spieker's business in 1876 and taking in partner Tuft's in 1878 could possibly date the J.J. Spieker Druggist bottle to a two year only production. I will bet you that Spieker didn't have a mold made for the bottle the first year he was in business. That possibly puts the Spieker Druggist bottle as a one year only bottle.
The example in my collection is 5  7/8 inches high, has an applied top, medium whittle and a bunch of garbage in the glass.  It is a light yellow green in color. I was lucky enough to acquire this bottle from fellow western collector Ken Edward. 

 Pratt's Abolition Oil and J.J. Spieker Druggist bottles
Thanks to Ferdinand Meyer for finding the connection.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Name these Western Bottles

And what do they have in common?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Its a Cundurango Morning


Wake Up - Its Cundurango Time!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More High Country Digging

When the weather gets warm and the ground gets hard, in the flatlands, the high country is the place to be if your looking to dig some bottles.

Even though taxpayer funded non profit entities like the Nature Conservatory are gobbling up huge tracts of land in the Sierra Nevada mountains and closing them to public access there is still plenty of private property to dig in the Sierra's - not all of the ground is public domain and off limits to diggers.

A nice early eastern spice bottle 

Two examples of high country digging. Even though these are early eastern blown bottles they come out of the ground as clean as the mountain air.

Old Cutter's was famous for saying " just give em' a good blast with the garden hose and they will come out clean as a whistle"

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Rarely Seen Trio

Here's a rarely seen trio ( or maybe pair ) of bitters dug here in the west
Left to right : Chinese or Japanese quart size cylinder dug by Don Dwyer in Oroville California in 1970, a Dr. Millers Ratafia and a  Chalmers Catawba Wine Bitters.
Anyone have any information on this unusual bottle with a sunburst motif ? 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Whiskies, Whiskies, Whiskies Everywhere

Looking online at what's available for sale in the western whiskey category has certainly opened this old collectors eyes 

Ebay's offering of 13 western whiskies ( ) range from low end common fifths to a couple of mid range cylinders.

Nice J.F. Cutter fifth offered on ebay

Crown Shoulder Cutter featured on ebay
American Bottle Auction #60 ( ) has no less than 30, yes thirty, embossed western fifths and more than 14 western flasks. 
Rare Pepper Tree Saloon flask offered  by American bottle Auctions
Cutter fifth from American Bottle Auction #60
has six upper end western fifths available to purchase on their "buy it now or best offer" format.
Cutter fifth for sale at Oregon Trail Bottles
If you are looking to add a western whiskey or two or three to your collection opportunity is certainly knocking at your door
- rs - 

Friday, July 11, 2014

American Bottle Auction 60 is now Open!


Jeff Wichmann has a nice assortment of antique bottles and collectables from the late Mike Dolcini collection in his American Bottle Auction # 60 which opened earlier this morning. Click for Catalog for Auction #60. Closing Sunday July 20th, 2014 at 7:00 pm PDT 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Its a Rosenbaums Kinda' Day

Here are some western bitters emerging from the shadows.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Back to Your Roots!

Hey Rick. 
I am out of town and off the grid but I would like to post on the blog an experience I had this week. I will send you some pics for the post. 
"Back to my Roots"
While I have seriously collected bottles for 40 years, it is very rewarding to have an experience that reminds me WHY I love bottles so much. 
The title of this post has a double meaning. First the amazing history of bottles that I extracted from the ground, and the massive tree roots I had to deal with for this dig.
Got Roots?
While these pontiled bottles are not valuable in dollars, the incredible Gold Rush history is priceless. 
While exploring an historic 1850s -60s area of heavy mining activity this week, I located a few square nails in the absolute middle if nowhere with my Garrett AT Pro. Not a building for 50 miles but this area at 6500 feet elevation is well known for it's history and importance in the early days. After determining the perimeter of the site, I gently probed the area in a grid pattern and determined the hard pan and strata. One spot was a bit softer and the probe sank 3 ft vs the 18" everywhere else. I began to dig the spot and almost immediately found small shards of a cathedral pickle, pottery and a few square nails........
 A glovely little ink!
 Then a green panel from a square as well as an aqua medicine top. Then a crude open pontil umbrella ink popped out! It is whittled and pristine glass! I was stunned to be holding this piece of history. After cutting, chopping and hacking more roots, I saw a huge topped spice sticking out. It came out perfect and undamaged. Next a free blown pontiled wine in perfect condition. The shallow pit was sparse but a nice china bowl came out also in perfect condition as well! As darkness and oppressive heat took their toll on me, I decided to finish the pit next time I go back which will be in a few weeks........... 
 Now the gloves come off!
I love to collect the heavy glass but this little group of 1850s glass was more rewarding than any of the "mega bottles" I have handled. 
Dale M.
 Whittle, Whittle, Whittle!
Ahhh....The Spoils
Great dig Dale. Its tough to find em' up in the High Country - rs -