SOLOMONS’ STRENGTHENING BITTERS
*Post updated 18 December 2012
Sometimes I have posts that take a longer range approach such as the Fancy Square Series and the Figural Barrel Series etc. Other posts just announce antique glass related topics or deal with current events. This type of post today occurs because of a request or inspiration from a fellow collector. In this case, it is Charles Aprill, again. Charles and Jane Aprill are the King and Queen of Blues in Crescent City. Read more: The Charles & Jane Aprill Blue Gallery.
Anyway, I did a post yesterday on Swift’s Syphilitic Specific and anchored the post with two great examples from the Aprill collection. I had included a picture of a trio of blue bottles (see above) that included a Swift’s Syphilitic Specific (SSS). Sitting to the left of the Swifts were examples of a Solomon’s Strengthening Bitters (center) and a Wynkoop’s Sarsaparilla (left). Well, Charles saw this picture and suggested a post on each, the Wynkoop’s and Solomon’s, discussing the variants for each. So here we go. Let’s do the Solomon’s first.
Any bitters collector who is worth his salt, will own a Solomon’s. Why you ask? Because they are usually cobalt blue and are from the South! A near perfect one, with no issues will usually sell for around a grand. Lately these costs have been rising due to the resurgence of collecting squares and of course, color. You have to watch out though, and try to avoid an example that has been dug and overly cleaned. For some reason, the soil in the South is not agreeable to this bottle.
There are two examples or variants as noted by Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham in Bitters Bottles and Bitters Bottles Supplement. The difference is the placement of the apostrophe. The S 139 has the apostrophe before the ‘S’ in SOLOMON’S while the S 140 has the apostrophe after the ‘S’ in SOLOMONS’.
SOLOMON’S STRENGTHENING BITTERS
S 139 SOLOMON’S STRENGTHENING BITTERS, Circa 1870 – 1885
SOLOMON’S STRENGTHENING & / INVIGORATING BITTERS // sp // SAVANNAH / GEORGIA // f //
9 5/8 x 2 11/16 (7) 3/8
Square, Cobalt blue, LTC, Applied mouth, 3 sp. Very scarce
This bottle and the following (S 140 bottle) are often confused due to the placement of the apostrophe.
S 140 SOLOMONS’ STRENGTHENING BITTERS, Circa 1870 – 1885
SOLOMONS’ STRENGTHENING & / INVIGORATING BITTERS // sp // SAVANNAH / GEORGIA // f //
9 5/8 x 2 11/16 (7) 3/8
Square, Cobalt Blue, LTC, Applied mouth, 3 sp. Very scarce
This bottle and the preceding (S 139 bottle) are often confused due to the placement of the apostrophe.
“Please prepare for me the enclosed prescriptions and return them with the medicine and oblige, Yours, Robert E. Lee.”
Note: A. A. Solomon Drug Co, knows no accurate date for the manufacture of these bitters. There were listed in a book for formulas and dated May 1880. It is estimated that they were put up between 1850 and 1890. A.A. Solomons Drug Co. was founded around 1845 and was located in Savannah, Georgia. Abraham Alexander Solomon started the company and was in the drug business with his younger brother Joseph. Some reports state another brother.
I was able to pick up a great example for my collection of the S 140 variant in 2002 in a private purchase from a fellow with the handle of MedFlask on eBay. This bottle did not sell for the reserve so I contacted him and bought, I believe, three bitters bottles. This was the tear I started collecting Bitters.
Pictured below you will find two great examples from the Aprill Collection (both variants), an example from my collection and some related collateral material I was able to pull together. As usual, this is a living post and I welcome additional information and images.