Friday, November 18, 2016

Western Bitters Inventory

Here are my rough guesses on the number of known examples of Western Bitters. I may be way off on many of these numbers and colors so please comment and add your knowledge. It would be great to further break down the numbers by color and variant.

  • IXL - Over 100, green, amber, yellow, teal, aqua
  • Lacour's - Over 40, green, amber, yellow, clear, aqua
  • Renz's - Over 40, green, amber, yellow, teal
  • Cylindrical Wonser's - Less than 15 aqua, Over 30 in other colors, green, amber, yellow
  • Rosenbaum's - Over 30, green, amber, puce (small size vs large size ?)
  • Square Wonser's - Less than 20, aqua
  • EG Lyon's - Around 20, green,amber, yellow, teal
  • Cassin's - Around 10, green, amber, yellow, black, aqua
  • Alex Von Humboldt's - Around 13 known, green, amber, yellow
  • Boerhaave's - less than 10, green, amber
  • M. Keller - less than 10, green, amber, teal ???
  • Salutaris - less than 10, green, puce
  • Wideman & Chappas - less than 10, green,puce
  • GA Simon's - less than 3, green, amber, yellow
  • Dr. Hausman's - less than 3 (two may be damaged), amber

Has anyone ever found pieces of puce Renz's, Boerhaaves, Alex Von Humbodlts, or Lyons??


  1. While I am certainly not the western bitters "authority", here are my thoughts on the known examples. Also, it would probably be good to outline exactly what an "example" is...cracked, repaired, part resin, a shard?
    Lacour's- I believe there are over 35 in decent condition in collections. Some do not separate the variants and some like variant 2 are pretty rare with maybe 10 or so known Of course color plays a role too.
    Renz- Small letter, straight and curved "R"? I think the 40 number is probably pretty close.
    Wonsers- I believe maybe 15-20 aqua and 35-40 amber, olive, yellow and green.
    Rosenbaum's- 30 plus large size, and maybe 15 of the small.
    Square Wonser's- 20-25 is about right.These also seem to typically have issues.
    Cassin's- A little tougher as mint or near mint examples would still be considered extremely rare. maybe 6-8 of variant 2 and one variant 1. All the rest have issues...most serious issues. A super fragile mold and almost never survives. Again, what is an "example"?
    Alex Von Humboldt's- 12-15 mint or near.
    Boerhaave's- I would still consider this bottle extremely rare. It has been said there are 13-15 "examples" but for some reason, most have issues. I believe maybe 6 in mint or near mint condition...maybe less.
    Salutaris- Shoulder and base embossed- maybe 6 known. Base embossed only- 4 or 5. Such an early bottle, they usually have issues.
    Widemann/ Chappaz- maybe 12 -20 known. They have all been found in Marysville, and are never offered. Hidden away by diggers and never see the light of day. Still super early and tough to find.
    G.A. Simon's- One perfect example and three or so with serious damage. I believe one or two have been dug in recent years that nobody knows about.
    Just my humble thoughts, and we all know there are never less than the known examples, there are always more.
    Dale M.

  2. How about (Henley's) Ok Bitters? And the Oregon Chittum Bitters?

  3. I think the number of Renz examples may be near 60 when including all variants It would be fun to pick those bitters 1 at a time and see who is willing to post photos of the known examples. MAX

  4. How many aqua/teal variant one Renz's ? Any input on the EG Lyons count?

  5. Only 2 or maybe 3 aqua variant 1 renz's bitters that I know about I saw one come out of the ground in an alley in Georgetown Ca and the one on Lou's page are it. MAX

  6. I know most of you are into the older stuff but how many Ayala !Mexican Bitter either variant. Bailey's either variant , Baker High Life , Dr. Harvey's , DR Hausman's , Dr Henley's California bitters rectangle shape , Jewel Bitters either variant , Old Man's Stomach and the list goes on.

  7. There are a lot of great bitters bottles for sure. For me It's not just the early ones but color and crudity equal desirability. The rarity is another factor like eye appeal .The Henleys IXL is not particularly rare but a crude colored one still brings a strong price. The next good auction featuring some western bitters will be interesting to watch MAX

  8. I believe there are 7 M. Keller's. Interestingly, each seems to be a different color except for the two yellow/ olive green examples. I also am on the same page as Max...I love the 60s bitters but there are some amazingly colored and crude 70s-80's western bitters that are RARE. My light yellow Jewel Fortlouis is solid foam and super crude...looks like an 1860s bottle although it is late 80s. One of my favorites.

  9. As for the E.G. Lyon's, I believe there are around 20 known in collections. These are also very prone to damage for some reason, and near or mint examples are likely in the 10-12 range. Funny that there are two or three in each color with the amber being the toughest.