Friday, November 20, 2015

Diggers Hall Of Fame



A friend and I were discussing what could be some of the most famous western digs of all time. It would be interesting to make a list of the top 10.

* Virginia City mine vent dig - 18 Wormser barrels, 14 Teakettles, 12 Millers flasks, 3 AAA flasks, 1 JF Cutter flask, 8 JF Cutter 5ths, 12 circle Cutters, 6 shoulder crown E Martin 5ths, 2 shoulder crown Hotaling 5ths, 6 mid crown E Martin 5ths,  5 Lacours, 2 Renzs, 5 Cundurangos.

* Comstock TK Whiskey Hole - 27 Teakettles (3 green), 8 Millers flasks (4 green) and a yellow John Van Bergen.

* Nevada City Lumber Yard owner whiskey pits - GO Blakes 5th, Pedro 5th, Nabobs, Choice Old Cabinet, Jesse Moore 5ths,Castle 5th, Old Judge 5th, 2 Kane O'Leary 5ths, two name bear, OPS 5th, Star & Shield flask, Millers flask.

* 18 Embossed 5ths from Oregon - Portland Hotaling 5th, Olive Circle Cutter, Olive OK Cutter, United We Stand 5th, various Cutters.

* Portland Area Hole - Olive Choice Old Cabinet, yellow O.P.S,, amber O.P.S., green circle Cutter, chocolate circle Cutter.

* San Jose J Moore Dig -  green J Moore, yellow J Moore, chocolate J Moore and several cathedral pickles.

* The Barber Dig - 24 embossed whiskies. Grass green JF, olive castle 5th, various full face, JF, and circle Cutters.

* Marysville Wideman & Chappaz dig - 6 whole examples in green and puce.

* Marysville AAA Hole - 14 AAA flasks and an amber Renz's.

* North Bay Whiskey Hole - over 30 embossed whiskeys. Millers flasks, JF flask, Nabobs, Lilienthals, Jesse Moores, Cutters, etc.

* Wine Country Judge pit - Horses, SHM, Cutters, etc.

* Santa Cruz loggers Cutter flask pit - 6 JFs, 6 Shoulder Crowns, a few colored Gaslights.

* Oakland whiskey pit - 30 Cutters and a Gold Dust (including a green Circle Cutter).

* Grass Valley Bitters hole - Rosenbaums, and 2 epic small letter Renz's.

* Sacramento Renz's hole - 6 Renz's bitters.

* Sacramento Picture Hole - 13 Picture Nabob's Sac Valley farmhouse pit.

* San Diego Millers Hole - 13 Millers flasks.

* Austin Nevada - 14 GO Blakes 5ths.

* Gold Country Saratoga Hole - 14 colored Pacific Congress Waters

* San Jose Clubhouse hole - amber Clubhouse 5th and aqua Wonsers square.

Any epic San Francisco privies ?

Anyone have any photos of these digs ?




38 comments:

  1. I think the Jerry O'Doan Teakettle pit in VC would be right up there. Would the "big dig" in S.F. in 1998 count? Not really one pit of course, but geez...Cassin's, Lacour's, Parker's, Pacific Congress, Rosenbaum's, potlids, barrel bitters...oh, and a Bryant's cone or two.

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  2. Also, Rowler's, Henly's Royal Balsam, Shriver's, colored jakes, maybe a whacked G.A. Somon's which was supposedly whacked during extraction...

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  3. Sorry...forgot about the Yuba City monster.

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  4. Fun subject to talk about this stuff! A Top 10 is no small task. I'm sure there were some epics days back in the 1960's-70's where entire bottle clubs were digging places like Cerro Gordo, Belmont, Columbus, Candelaria,and the V.C. dump! It would be tough enough to narrow it all down to the Top 10 Outhouse digs!!!

    I would think most of what you mentioned is worthy of being there, especially the Tommy Walker/Lane P. Whiskey dig, the 27 Tea Kettle hole, 13 Miller's S.D. hole, and famous Cutter Flask dig (pictured above).

    Any outhouse that produced a CCH, Cassin,s, Wonser's, or Bryant's Cone might also be a good starting point. I beleive 5 One Name Bears came out of one Portland hole, 6-7 Full Face Phoenix Hole in the Bay area, 7 Gold Dusts & Circle Cutter hole, Gold Hill Barrel pit (with Lili Cognacs and Miller's flasks), etc.

    The BIG DIG is the obvious clear cut winner for overall digging prominence and early HEAVY glass, but it was such a ridiculous scenario that it's almost too good to be on the list. Which again is why I think it's fun to consider all digs (dumps, ravines, layers, outhouses, trenches, construction site finds, etc.) BUT it's an easier task to try and subjectively pick the TOP 10 privy digs.

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  5. Funny no one mentioned the Benicia Arsenal, maybe it was before their time.
    rs

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  6. Let's not forget the National Nevada dig of 1980. It was a chop house / saloon pit; it was at least a 4 holer! 4' x 8' and 13' deep. Solid bottles after the first two feet of desert overburden. The sheer quantity of slick AB tooled crown beers, slick early ABM whiskies, ketchups and other mind blowing treasures was nothing short of epic.

    Heh, leave no outer left undug~

    But, we hit the "duck pond dump" the next morning. Dug it for four days straight. A Thos McGriff Saloon / National Nevada token and three Seven Troughs Owls, along with anything else that could get chucked in 1910 saw the light of day out of that dig.

    You gotta take the bad with the good.

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  7. I need to go dig right now...it is a bit dark..

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  8. Your 2nd listing of digs is incorrect. It was two privies dug at the Dan Marsh home in Nevada City. This consisted of two holes 4x6x6 and 4x6x8, with over 400 bottles dug. The holes started out with a pint clear Clinch flask, followed by 15 clear tool top fifths from Sacramento and San Francisco, 9 embossed pumpkin seeds, Miller's Extra flask, 2 Hildebrandt & Posner fifths, OK Old Castle Bourbon and Hall Luhrs Snowfake fifths. Next were a Gruenberg Old Judge fifth, 2 Kane & O'Leary slug plate fifths, another Hall Luhrs Snowflake whiskey, a Fenkhausen & Braunschweiger Old Pioneer whiskey, followed by a Cutter Star & Shield flask and a Hotaling OPS fifth.

    The second hole produced a Pedro fifth, another Old Pioneer Whiskey fifth, a green Nabob, a picture Nabob, G. O. Blake's Kentucky Bourbon, 2 Jesse Moore's fifths, another Kane & O'Leary fifth, a yellow green Choice Old Cabinet, California Club House, a Bear Grass Bourbon and Cassin' s Golden Plantation fifths. 3 more Kabobs and 4 or 5 Tea kettle fifths, another Choice Old Cabinet. There was approximately 40 embossed glob fifths out of the 400 bottles from these holes in Nevada City.

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  9. Yep you are right Warren and a bunch got broken

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  10. In the early 1970's Dennis and Tom Lehr dug the California Hotel in El Dorado, Cal. One hole had over 30 Star Bitters in it. Also the Hangtown Bottle Necks Club of the 1970's dug the post office site in Placerville, Cal. where several hundred bottles were dug and an underground opium den. Also the two hundred Owl Drug bottles dug in one hole in Oak Park (Sac) or the 150+ pontiled meds dug in one hole in West Sac. by Rick Nelson. There is a lot of great digs.

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  11. Ok, so I remember seeing the Jerry O' Doan bottles in 1972. They were dug in 1971, and many had been sold when I visited with Jerry at the Reno Show. There was much more than the Teakettles. Here's what I remember:

    He still had 15-20 Teakettles, he said that 27 perfect ones came out. 3 green ones. Thomas got one, Blackie got one, don't know where the 3rd one went.
    8 Large circle Miller's. 4 in green. I think Joe Morrison bought one of these from Jerry for $200.
    4 or 5 Cutter fifths, don't remember which Cutter.
    1 smoking yellow amber, whittled Gold Dust John. I remember it, because it was the first Gold Dust I ever held.
    Maybe others, he had been selling bottles from this pit for a full 12 months and he still had 3 full boxes in Reno 1972.


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  12. Lets reach back to 1968/69.... I think. Willie Mancini of Austin, Nevada
    He found a privy that had 14 intact G.O. Blakes fifths, both More, Reynolds and Pond, Reynolds. G.O. Blakes are to Austin like Teakettles are to V.C.
    Willie related the dig story to me in the early 1980's when I stopped in to visit. Willie was a digger, and knew how to find holes. He and a couple of friends were digging Austin all through the 1960's. Best part of Willie's famous pit is that he found it when he was doing an addition to a garage. His own garage.

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  13. The Santa Cruz boys with all the Cutter flasks. I remember that picture, bottle digging porn for sure. I remember that story in the Old Bottle Magazine.
    You can see all the gaslight ammonia bottles that they found as well, quite a variety of colors.
    One of those boys is still very active in bottles, lives out in the Islands. Just sold him a bottle a couple of months ago.

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  14. Nice to hear from the soleagent
    rs

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  15. I did not think a California Club House fifth was dug at the Marsh site...

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  16. I didn't recall the CCH either but I have the full article in front of me titled, "Dig of the Century."
    Pg. 11 states,....and some BROKEN stuff that was just incredible; a green Choice Old Cabinet, California Club House, Calif. Bear Grass Bourbon, Cassins Golden Plantation Whiskey, and four or five broken teakettles."

    Even without those aforementioned bottles being whole, it's probably the best liquor dig west of the Rockies, especially in terms of age range and variety. The Jerry O'Doan dig and Marty's Barrel pit dig are way up there too! And of course the Santa Cruz Cutter Flask extravaganza.

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  17. I believe that may have been part of the casualty that fateful day of photographing the cache. I was there.

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  18. Yep, I remember the "ring of fire" catastrophe. A highly intoxicated Tommy W. knocking over the table full of whiskies that had been dug from the Marsh House. Its a wonder any of them survived.
    rs

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  19. Anyone know more details about the dig by Bob Shaw discussed by Jeff in the last ABA auction, under lot 55? Not sure which bottles were dug but sounds like a Wonser's, CCH, Parker's, cobalt H&G soda, etc were all found in one hole???

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  20. I believe the H&G was dug by a friend from Nevada in 1989 sold it in 1996

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  21. That's correct plus a Phoenix flask. Quite a cache in that dig.

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  22. A few killer bottles came out of a dump in San Francisco, not outhouse. I believe the Parkers and Clubhouse came out of the same dump and were dug by construction workers. Knowing the city, I highly doubt the Wonsers also came from that dump. Eric or Kenny can correct me, but I've never heard of a fragment of either square of cylindrical Wonsers ever being found in SF. The only western bitters that I have seen or heard of being dug in SF are EG Lyons and Cassins. Has anyone heard of Lacours, Rosenbaums, Borhaaves, Renz's etc being found in SF ?
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  23. I know it was certainly not an outhouse, but the big dig in S.F. produced Lacour's and a Rosenbaums. Being a recycling plant, it shows these bottles were obviously returned which might be why they are not found in pits in the City.

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  24. It's more plausible that all of those bottles in the auction were dug outside of S.F., than to trust the story that they all came from one hole, or even a block-wide dump layer. If I had to place a bet, it would be that all or most of those bottles were dug in Nevada.

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  26. I dug a hole at the Big Dig that produced three broken Dr. Wonser cylinders. There were also several Lacours both busted & whole found at this dig. A few years prior we excavated a basement in the City that had three broken Lacours in some killer light green shades, all were different. The Shaw bottles in the auction were mostly all found at the Masconi Center in a two block area and purchased from a construction worker by Shaw. They didn't all come from the same pit either. The H&G wasn't dug in Nevada that's a different bottle and the Phoenix flask was dug by Shaw in Petaluma. It's funny how stories get more glamorous every time their told......

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  27. I have heard for years that the Club House, Parker's and H&G were found in S.F. at a construction site. They were supposedly purchased by Bob Shaw directly from the construction worker. Never heard a Wonser's was included in that purchase, and I believe the H&G recently sold is darker blue than the previously sold example which was dug in Carson City by John S. Maybe just photography difference though. You really never know with this stuff though...

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  28. If you look closely at the two cobalt H&Gs in discussion you'll notice their both different molds. One has the grass under the bear and the other doesn't. The savvy winner was one of the few who noticed this extremely rare variant. This was the only blue one I've ever seen or heard of without the grass.

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  29. Good catch on the mold difference on the H&G. Apparently at least two people noticed this difference as the hammer price of almost $18k indicates. I think this may be a record price for a western smooth based soda. Congrats to the winner!

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  30. What surprises me is the California Club House and the Parker's Tla-Quillaugh went for the same amount. Not sure which bottle was a bargain
    rs

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  31. I would have thought that CCH was going to go for 30-35k and the Parkers 8-12k. Crazy that they ended up the same. If all the western bottles from that auction were part of a post dig split, I'm taking the CCH first every time. Then the old-Amber with olive Dr. Wonser's (with ultra rare whiskey base), followed by the Dr. Parkers. That H&G is so nice it's right there too as a third-fifth pick. Then the nice Jesse flask and super example JF. A few other nice bottles, but it seems to fall off quite a bit from there...

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  32. A couple of more digs .Tom Dagler and I dug 7 Brickwedel flasks in one hole in Santa Rosa and in another 3 footed Durhams all mint
    My brother and and a friend dug the H&G Springs in Hopland ,Cal. I think they got something like 35 sodas, aquas a few light green ones and a few blues along with a a quart or two.. One hole I dug in S.R. with two long neck blue Dickeys and a aqua one the crier in the hole was an amber Baker & Cutting

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    1. Sorry I accidently deleted this comment
      rs

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  34. A couple of more digs .Tom Dagler and I dug 7 Brickwedel flasks in one hole in Santa Rosa and in another 3 footed Durhams all mint
    My brother and and a friend dug the H&G Springs in Hopland ,Cal. I think they got something like 35 sodas, aquas a few light green ones and a few blues along with a a quart or two.. One hole I dug in S.R. with two long neck blue Dickeys and a aqua one the crier in the hole was an amber Baker & Cutting

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  35. It's good too hear from RT on this discussion.I was never aware that TS was in on the locally famous H&G dig,with the afore mentioned friend and his brother.I makes a great deal of sense though,as they dug a lot back in that time period.I dug there pretty hard myself back in 75,all that i could come up with was the shards that they through back,and their trade mark shasta soda cans that were always left in there holes.I metal detected the area for a half a mile in all directions for 20 years,and surfaced picked two aqua common variant sodas,and found what was left of a killer quart that was used for target practice,on and around an old stump.How about some Navarro stories RT.

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  36. Dug a lot of bottles at Navarro by the sea .The property belonged to a friend of my fathers . He let us dig with a back hoe .One hole had 37 whole whiskeys , all tooled included 15 or so Davy Crockett's.Also hand dug my first applied top Cutters their got an OK bottled by and a sole agent.Still could be bottles their but now it's a state park property.

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  37. Thanks Richard.I know for a fact that paul T,found a 20 dollar gold piece in a hole that he dug.Ive head the story told probably a hundred times about how Doc Ritz drove in one day,got out of his car dressed in a suit walked out amongst all of the other diggers with probe and shovel in hand,and within 10 minutes located and dug a jesse moore flask then got back in the car and drove off.sounds like a WHOPPER! or who knows maybe he salted it.

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