Daily Dose | April • June 2 0 1 7

April  June  |  2 0 1 7

25 May 2017

Good morning, Ferd, The attached trade card is my latest acquisition. I see that you have written a very entertaining post on these unlisted bitters. Perhaps you would like to add this image to it? The name La Ree has special meaning to me. It is my wife Edith’s middle name. She is indeed “A beautiful woman that is loved by all”

Have a great day………….Joe (Gourd)

Read: Goodwin’s Laree Bitters – Baltimore

Zee famous blue fish bitters. Working on some image shadow clean-up. Thirty-six (36) rotational photos by Alan DeMaison when he was in Denver a few weeks ago doing 3-D imaging for the FOHBC Virtual Museum. Example from the Sandor P. Fuss collection.

24 May 2017

A beautiful amber Simon’s Centennial Bitters (figural bust of George Washington). Working on some image shadow clean-up. Very nice coloration. Thirty-six (36) rotational photos by Alan DeMaison when he was in Houston a few weeks ago doing 3-D imaging for the FOHBC Virtual Museum project. Read: Simon’s Centennial Bitters and the 4th of July

23 May 2017

Working on some image shadow clean-up on this really nice figural Horse Shoe Bitters (Horse Shoe Medicine Co.) from Collinsville, Illinois. Ex: Grapentine. Very nice coloration. Photos by Alan DeMaison when he was in Houston a few weeks ago doing 3-D imaging for the FOHBC Virtual Museum. Read: The wonderful Horse Shoe Bitters from Collinsville, Illinois

22 May 2017

Working on some image shadow clean-up on this super-fine W & C NY Pineapple Bitters from the Sandor P. Fuss collection. Only example in this color that I am aware of. Photo (1 of 36 rotations) by Alan DeMaison when we were out in Denver a few weeks ago doing 3-D imaging for the FOHBC Virtual Museum project. Read: Pineapple Bitters – The Different Variants

17 May 2017

Just Luvs this extremely rare Dr. Calvary’s Ague Bitters from Ottawa, Illinois currently on eBay. Look at that small “s” they squeezed in for “Bitters”. Thanks to Bill Ham for the tip-off.

Help Please: I am trying to find a bottle for a person that says, “Catawba Wine” on it. Does not have to say Bitters. If you have one call or email Gary Beatty  941.276.1546 or tropicalbreezes@verizon.net.

05 May 2017

Received these Lash’s Bitters images (fully labeled and with original contents) from a fellow up north. Found them when cleaning out an estate. Was wondering about rarity and value. Said the Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of American History had an example on their web site. Anyway, I told him it was a very late 1920s bottle that was more interesting than valuable. He was going to have his lab analyze the contents. Usually alcohol 18% (drug active ingredients).

Read: Lash’s Bitters | San Francisco – Chicago – New York

04 May 2017

Ferd – I just had someone send me a bunch of bottles and in them were these master inks. I guess they spent a lot of time making their product as visually inviting as possible. The Carter’s cathedral shaped inks we all see and collect is a good indicator of that. Anyway, I thought I would send you a picture as it dawned on me that the idea of collecting labeled master inks isn’t the worst thing a person could go after.

Best Regards,
Jeff (Wichmann)

19 April 2017

Cool ad posted by Lou Holis for Peckham’s Calisaya Tonic Bitters (formally Pendleton’s Tonic). I don’t believe there is a surviving bottle out there?

17 April 2017

King B Bitters advertisement – August 1884

Looks to be reference to an unlisted “King B Bitters” put out by the Hall Brothers in San Francisco. Certainly am aware of those guys.

King B Bitters advertisement – San Francisco Chronicle, Thu, Nov 12 1885

King B Bitters advertisement – San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, Nov 19 1885.jpg

16 April 2017

Brad Seigler submits this image for Dr. Russell’s Pepsin Calisaya Bitters. Read: Augauer Bitters and the Gauer Family – Chicago

15 April 2017

Someone got a great deal on this one. Went to your Yerba Buena Bitters – A San Francisco Strap Flask page on your site. The picture was not there representing an aqua one. This was on the American Bottle Auctions For Sale page last year. – Lou Holis

All: There is a super yellow/green tone example on eBay now. Superb Colored Western Bitters- Yerba Buena

14 April 2017

Love this framed advertising piece for Dr. Miller’s Celebrated Root Bitters. W. D. Miller, Saint Paul, Minn. Posted by Steve Ketcham.

13 April 2017

Today a very nice Dr. Gregory’s Scotch Bitters advertising trade card submitted by Joe Gourd. I was able to pick up an example bottle at the recent Baltimore Antique Bottle Show this past March.

Read: Gregory’s Scotch Bitters – Minneapolis

12 April 2017



I hope all is well with you.

Thought you might like to see the attached photos…dug this yesterday in Texas and have never seen this variation of the Home Bitters bottles (St. Louis, Missouri) before…dug plenty of (broken) examples of the amber squares but not this one. Haven’t washed it up yet. Not a very exciting bottle but pretty early…was digging a barrel privy (which was sadly empty) and this showed up in a small trash pit along one outside wall of the privy.

Best Regards,

Brandon DeWolfe, P.E.
Houston, Texas

Read More: The Home Bitters – St. Louis

Read More: An unlisted Home Bitters?

Read More: Home Bitters Company | Prepared Black Berry Brandy

Read More: Another Home Bitters Variant

11 April 2017


Here are some more bitters dug in the same privy in North Dakota as The Mikado
Tonic. The “DOCTOR GREGORY SCOTCH BITTERS ” is G 113 in Bitters Bottles by Ring & Ham and is extremely rare. The “BERLINER MAGEN BITTERS” is B 86
rated scarce from Duluth MN. The N.W. Med. Co. Bitters (NORTH WEST MEDICINE
CO.) is from St. Paul MN. Listed as N 1-L, extremely rare. It would seem
this home owner in South Dakota traveled to Minnesota. I wonder if the Dr. Gregory
Bitters is from Minnesota? Best Regards,

Gary (Beatty)

Read: Gregory’s Scotch Bitters – Minneapolis

10 April 2017


Can you use these photos for Daily Dose or FaceBook? “THE MICADO TONIC”
is embossed on back side “JAPANESE REMEDY” it is definitely an American
bottle. It Is olive yellow. The name MICADO in Japanese is “Emperor or
Honorable Gate.” It was dug in N. Dakota and I cleaned it. I think it is
like other bitters with exotic names trying to capture the thought something
better. The Millville fruit jar I found in a junk shop. The clamp & rubber
look original to me.

Best Regards, Gary (Beatty)

05 April 2017

Crazy Recent Digging Finds. Look for an article in an upcoming issue of Bottles and Extras:

Sorry it has been so long since I have written a bottle digging article. We have been digging almost every weekend.

We have a three person Tri-State digging crew, since we have one person from Ohio, one from West Virginia, and I’m here in Pennsylvania. We have been hitting it hard the last year or so, with many cool and historic finds… Recently, we have dug some pretty great bottles and thought it may make a nice additional to the New Finds column.

In about a 30-day period (31 to be exact), we dug a Rough and Ready Zachary Taylor Quart flask, then followed that up with a colored pint Louisville double eagle, then a couple weeks ago we dug a quart green scroll flask… all in excellent condition! I can’t believe that the quart flasks were not damaged, as all these flasks were at the bottom of 8 to 10 footers. 

Lots of bad holes in between and seems like most of the holes we dig (when there is a good bottle) only have one good bottle… but we will take it! Hard work and perseverance pays off for sure!

I’ve attached pictures of these finds… I’ll make sure to follow up soon with some bottle digging articles! 

Jeff Mihalik

04 April 2017

The May June 2017 issue of BOTTLES and EXTRAS is at the printer! Looks who has the feature article space “On the Cover of the Rolling Stone”!

Inside this issue.. Bottles and Extras, Vol. 28 No. 3 | May – June 2017 | No. 231 (Coming Soon!)

Features: Historical Look at Springfield Jim Bender 14 Maddox Park: Diggers’ Delight Down in Dixie Bill Baab 22 He dug in the park for 51 weekends Dave Swetmon 25 Jack Ryan, His Flask, and “The Wild Bunch” Jack Sullivan 29 Warner’s Safe Cure “No City” Michael Seeliger 34 Collecting Club Bottles: Glimpses into the Past of Our Great Hobby Bill Baab 38 My Visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see its cross-swirled Pitkin Dana Charlton-Zarro 52

Vignettes: Shards of Wisdom 4 History’s Corner 5 Lost & Found 61 Member Photo Gallery 64

Departments: FOHBC Officer Listing 2014-2016 2 President’s Message 3 FOHBC News, From and For Our Members 6 Classified Ads & Ad Rate Info 66 Membership Directory 67 FOHBC Show-Biz, Show Calendar Listings 68 Membership Application 72

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Best Pit ever dug in Mississippi

Best Pit ever dug in Mississippi

04 March 2017

Hi Ferdinand!

Just checking in to say hello and to send you some pics from the best pit of Hutch sodas ever dug in Mississippi.

We found a brick lined cistern in Gulfport and when we got into it, it was full of hutch sodas! The list of sodas were amazing. Double Biloxi Barq’s, Gulfport Barq’s, CH Hudson Scranton Miss, F Frank Smith Gulfport, Hattiesburg Bottling Works, just to name a few.

There were over 300 hutch sodas in this four-foot deep cistern. I’ve dug many cisterns and never have I found one like this. It has to be some kind of record. It was a great day and all of us were elated. We will be bringing some of the sodas that we haven’t sold yet to the Daphne Bottle Show on the 25th.

Hope you enjoy the pics! Your Friend,

Mike Burkett——–
Long Beach, Mississippi

Read More: Oliver O. Woodman’s Sarsaparilla – Vicksburg, Mississippi

Read More: An Unlisted German Bitters dug in Vicksburg, Mississippi

Read More: Some Extremely Rare Mississippi Bitters

Posted in Bottle Shows, Digging and Finding, Hutches, News, Soda Bottles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A labeled Gordon’s Dry Gin, Gordon’s Pale Orange Bitters and a Tanqueray Fine Gin bottle

A labeled Gordon’s Dry Gin, Gordon’s Pale Orange Bitters and a Tanqueray Fine Gin bottle

06 February 2017

I really like to see complete packages when it comes to antique bottles. This means a great looking original label attached to old glass with character. In this case, we will look at a labeled Gordon’s Dry Gin, Gordon’s Pale Orange Bitters and a Tanqueray Gin bottle. All were bottled in New York and are London, England products.

Gordon’s is a world-famous brand of London dry gin that was first produced in 1769. The product was developed by Alexander Gordon, a Londoner of Scots descent. He opened a distillery in the Southwark area in 1769, later moving in 1786 to Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day. Its popularity with the Royal Navy saw bottles of the product distributed all over the world. In 1898, Gordon & Co. amalgamated with Charles Tanqueray & Co. to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. All production moved to the Gordon’s Goswell Road site. In 1899, Charles Gordon died, ending the family association with the company.

In 1904, the distinctive square-faced, green bottle for the home market was introduced.

The incoming email with attached images came from Robert Biro. Love the base embossed boar’s head.

Ferdinand…. Some photo’s of some cool labeled bottles that I have collected over the years. All bottles were made by the same company and are from the turn of the century. I thought you would like to see that Bitters even through it is not american.

Robert Biro

Gordon’s Dry Gin | London, England – The Gordon’s Dry Gin Co. Ltd. – New York

Gordon’s Pale Orange Bitters – London, England – Gordon & Co.

Tanqueray Fine Gin – Charlers Tanqueray & Co. – London, England

Posted in Bitters, Gin, liquor, Liquor Merchant, Spirits | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

X-Rare Backwards ‘N’ Peruvian Bark Bitters

X-Rare Backwards ‘N’ Peruvian Bark Bitters

14 January 2017

Some nice incoming information and material on a bottle that seems to be the only unbroken example out there. Pretty darn exciting! Let’s look at the material. Make sure you track back to the original post that is noted below.

I came across your article, “Could this be the same Dr. M. Perl from New Orleans?” while trying to find info on my Dr. M. Perl bitters which I acquired in New Orleans about 20 years ago. Mine is similar to the one in the referenced article, center image with indented panels. Mine is clear (light aqua) and the interesting thing about my bottle is that the “N” in PERUVIAN is backwards/reversed. The few references I have found do not show a backwards “N”. Is this anomaly unusual or rare?

I am a long-time (old) digger and collector who lived in Algiers Point across the river from New Orleans city and have a number of bottles with embossed “Algiers” (instead of New Orleans). I would be pleased if you could shed any light on my DR PERL with reversed “N”- – can provide a photo if necessary.


Steve Hickman

Read: Could this be the same Dr. M. Perl from New Orleans?

[PRG] Sounds like this might be the P 70.2 example which will be newly listed in the upcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2. You seem to possess the only known completely intact example. Yes, please send pics!

Square Aqua, top missing, 3 sp, Extremely rare
N is PERUVIAN is backwards
Neck broken off at shoulder on example that was dug in New Orleans. Complete example exists.

[Steve Hickman follow-up]

Ferdinand – Thanks for your response.  Attached are several images for the subject bitters bottle, including my Collection Record page (see below) I note that I left out the “LA” after “NEW ORLEANS” on the record.

The record page was done back in the early 1990s and the “lip chip” was hard for me to find today. No one in the NOLA Bottle Club had seen one at that time. The bottle was obviously dug (not by me) and has never been cleaned.

I lived in Algiers (across the river from New Orleans) and did lots of digging (mostly post Civil War brick liners) with my friend Bobby. Made a return trip last year at age 73 and we dug a mint THEO J. LALA  jug (unlisted ? no references) and a few other good ones. If the Record page doesn’t show well I can resend it.  Thanks for your interest and will look forward to any new information.


Steve Hickman

Bottle Collection Record page – Steve Hickman Collection

P 70.2 PERUVIAN BARK / BITTERS // NEW ORLEANS LA // f // DR M. PEARL – Steve Hickman Collection

Posted in Bitters, Digging and Finding, Questions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peachridge Glass: 2017 Select Mailbox Letters


Apple-Touch-IconAPlease feel free to send any antique bottle or glass questions to ferdinand@peachridgeglass.com. The information will be posted if relevant or of interest to the readers. I will try to answer or wait for another reader to respond. Quality images are very important. Thanks! If you want to see previous questions,go to “Mailbox Letters” in “Categories” on the right column of each page.

Mailbox Letters | 2017

Natural Brand Orange bottle

Good afternoon Ferdinand, once again I come to you with somewhat of a mystery. I have had this bottle for roughly four years, and STILL cannot find any information about it other than what’s embossed on the bottle.

It is made in the art deco style and resembles the antique Schweppes beaker shaped ginger ale bottles. To my knowledge, there isn’t another one out there. Supposedly, a person who saw this on eBay, (I previously had this listed for sale) claimed to have owned a few, but was unable to provide any photos to substantiate his claim. I unearthed this unique bottle in a dump I have been digging in for the past four years and have not come across another, whole or broken. This is embossed with the words “Natural Brand” on the front and back with what seems to be a cluster of oranges embossed on each side where the seam runs up along the bottle. I’m not looking to sell this either way, but have been offered a substantial amount of money for it which leads me to believe it is quite scarce. Any information on the history and rarity of this would be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully ,
Edward DeBlock

[PRG] Edward, pretty cool bottle. I have not seen before. I will put the images out there and maybe we can get a strike!

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Daily Dose | January • March 2 0 1 7

January  March  |  2 0 1 7

20 March 2017

Cool Ardon Bitters wallet picked up by Robert Cohen. “I got this exceptionally rare Antique Leather Bitters Advertising Wallet, from Saint Louis.”

Joe Gourd followed up with the paper piece below.

19 March 2017

Wicked Old Sachems Bitters and Wigwam Tonic figural barrel picked up by Jerry Forbes at the at the San Luis Obispo Bottle Society’s 49th Annual Antique Bottle Show and Sale this weekend in Morro Bay, California. Check out that pontil!

Read More: Barrel Series – Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic

18 March 2017

Picked up this cool framed Old Homestead Wild Cherry Bitters advertising piece at the San Luis Obispo Bottle Society’s 49th Annual Antique Bottle Show and Sale yesterday in Morro Bay, California.

Read: Log Cabin Series – Old Homestead Wild Cherry Bitters

17 March 2017

Sitting in a house in the mountains in California near Monterey. Big change weather-wise from Baltimore. Working up some energy for a run thru the hills. Everything is so green with all the rain. Speaking of green, arranging some of Gerald Forbes bottles now as I enjoy my coffee. Off to the Morro Bay Show in a few hours.

16 March 2017

Pretty interesting Dr. Rattinger’s Root and Herb Bitters label on a repurposed Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters bottle submitted by Tim and Angie Ebarb up Arkansas way. Corked with contents.

Read: Dr. Rattinger’s Herb & Root Bitters – St. Louis

14 March 2017

Hunkered down in my hotel room on the 25th floor of the inner harbor Baltimore Marriott Waterside. Really cool view. Messy day. Dodged a bullet here but most everyone stayed home downtown. City desolate with a couple inches of snow and ice. Flight to San Francisco tomorrow AM. Connection to San Luis Obispo to meet Jerry Forbes. Looking forward to more agreeable weather, great bottles and fun!

Ben Swanson showed me a pic of this cool Stoudt’s Dandelion Bitters marker. Am holding some images of matches for the same brand. I believe from the Joe Gourd collection. Those two are the best in bitters paper in my mind. Irwin S. Stoudt from Reading, PA.

06 March 2017

New Orleans Open pontil pits ** Hey Ferdinand. I’m digging in New Orleans and hitting open pontil bottles today. Here’s some pics. – Michael Burkett

Reads More: Stock up with Dr. Blake’s Aromatic Bitters

18 February 2017

Hi Ferd, I have an example of the Mishler’s in the same apricot / topaz color as the one in your collection. I know very little about eastern bitters and was hoping you could shed some light on the rarity and value of a Mishler’s in this color. Thanks! – Dale M.

Wow, that sure is a beauty. Tough to find color. Looks lighter than mine but hard to tell. Super character. I would not sell for anything less than $xx.

Read: Mishler’s Herb Bitters and The Mishler Family

15 February 2017

In from Reggie Shoeman: Ferd, ran across this ad for Cutter’s Bourbon Bitters in the Amador Dispatch, Jackson, California paper, dated December 23, 1865. Ad appears to have first appeared on July 15, 1865 as that date appears at the bottom of ad…..That date is missing from the collection of Dispatch paper. Was made with W. T. Cutter Jr. “Fine Old Bourbon Whiskey” and “other ingredients”. Have no other info on this bottle…any background on the product is appreciated.

Thanks, Reg & James

[FM5] Reggie: Here is a picture of the bottle and label that appeared in a recent BOTTLES and EXTRAS article.


In response to my “I don’t have a red bitters” comment below on Valentines Day, ginger authority Ken Previtali sent me the following image for Cupid Club Ginger Ale which I posted on the Facebooks site with lots off likes. Pretty cool! Thanks Ken!

14 February 2017

Valentines day. I don’t have any red bitters. Posted some of my green Drakes on Facebook yesterday. Very kind responses.

09 February 2017

As a color run specialist, I have quite a few “Trade Mark Lightning” fruit jars. They come in great Life Saver candy colors. The picture above is a pint with matching original glass lid and original metal clamp assembly. It is in the current North American Glass auction. Described as whittly and sparkling glass throughout with a strong embossing, base embossed “PUTNAM 11”. Rare pint in this outstanding color.

06 February 2017

Ferdinand…. Some photo’s of some cool labeled bottles that I have collected over the years. All bottles were made by the same company and are from the turn of the century. I thought you would like to see that Bitters even through it is not american.

Robert Biro

Read: A labeled Gordon’s Dry Gin, Gordon’s Pale Orange Bitters and a Tanqueray Fine Gin bottle

04 February 2017

Some of my OS barrels see the light of day, albeit misty, post epic floods. [Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic figural barrels]

03 February 2017

03 February 2017

A very nice labeled Shasta Bitters on eBay. See Listing. Shasta Bitters Company was located in Sacramento, California. Listed as S 95.5 in Bitters Bottles. The second picture I found online from a previous Bonham Auction. A much later bitters product. Mount Shasta is a potentially active volcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California.

01 February 2017

Cool shipping crate I picked up on eBay yesterday for Union Bitters. F.S. Amidon, in Hartford, Connecticut, eventually took over the rather well-known Hopkins Union Stomach Bitters from Dr. A.S. Hopkins. The other side of the crate was used to promote Amidon’s Union Ginger Brandy.

The U 9.5 and U 10 listings probably want to be cleaned up within the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2. This is an Amidon product. There is also a shot glass reading Amidon’s Union Bitters.

Read: Fully labeled Dr. A. S. Hopkins Union Stomach Bitters

Also on eBay now is this cool risqué ‘peeping-tom’ advertising trade card promoting both of Amidon’s products. See listing.

31 January 2017

Hi Ferdinand, Jack Klotz here in Missouri.I happened upon your article about the Augauer Bitters company yesterday and the trade token caught my eye. I have never found any other reference to the “Vital Drops” after I dug this example about 5 years ago in a dump. I have dug what I believe to be a later label only varient as it is identical in shape and size. They are both 6 3/4″ tall and 1 7/8″ square. They also sport fluted neck with petals at the shoulder, both numbering 14 each. The embossed one has the unusual embossing reading to the right as opposed to the more common reading to the left.

Read: Augauer Bitters and the Gauer Family – Chicago

Also, “Augauer” is embossed on the shoulder of the rear or label side. I have so far only seen one other unembossed example like mine and no other embossed ones. The lip sides appear chipped at first glance, but I believe due to their glassy and smooth texture, it was made that way. I originally believed it was done to accept a shaker top, thinking “drops” as in Angostura drops for flavoring. Oddly, the unembossed example doesn’t have these modifications(?) to the lip sides, which tends to thwart my original thought on why this is. If I had not dug it myself, I would have thought it was a poor job of someone trying to buff out some chips. Wondering if you may have seen another example or an advertisement with an illustration showing the top? Also, since Augauer seem to be solely in the bitters business, would this be considered a bitters even though not embossed as such in your opinion? Thanks for any info or thoughts on this one. It has bugged me for awhile now.


Morning Jack: No, I have not seen this bottle before. Cute fellow. I like the typography. Reminds me of the Loew’s bottles with the swirled neck. Will put it out there and add to post. Not a bitters though.


30 January 2017

Hi Ferd, I am still going through my friends 50 year collection of labeled bottles and came across this one. I saw you did an article on this bitters. 

Read: Chief Two Moon Meridas and his Bitter Oil

As you can imagine, I found a dozen or so labels that were obviously applied to the bottle in the last couple of decades but found hundreds that are no doubt original to the bottle. I also had a few with original labels on them but the label had been reproduced so it would be hard to convince someone it was original to the bottle. Anyway, this one looks like it has been on the bottle a long time but so hard to tell. Thought I would send you a picture for kicks.  

Mark Newton

14 January 2017

Working with the 2018 Cleveland National team headed up by Matt Lacy & Louis Fifer (Co-Chairs) to develop an early show flyer to pass out at the upcoming Baltimore Antique Bottle Show in March. Here are two draft layouts. The logo was approved last year. The top layout seems to be preferred.

13 January 2017

Hi Ferdinand, Sharing a picture of a unlisted variant of a lady’s leg Schroeder’s Bitters bottle. It’s a Ring & Ham S 67. The book lists sizes from 5 1/4 – 8 1/2 – 9 1/8 in height. The one I have is topping out at 11 1/2 inch’s in height. The smaller Schroeder’s is a 9 inch S-65 for comparison. Have a great day.

Frank (Wicker)

[PRG] Frank, not noted in the planned BBS2. I’m sure Bill Ham will pick it up. Thanks for sharing.

Read More: Thrilled to pick up a light amber Schroeder’s Bitters

12 January 2017

I came across your article, “Could this be the same Dr. M. Perl from New Orleans?” while trying to find info on my Dr. M. Perl bitters which I acquired in New Orleans about 20 years ago. Mine is similar to the one in the referenced article, center image with indented panels. Mine is clear (light aqua) and the interesting thing about my bottle is that the “N” in PERUVIAN is backwards/reversed. The few references I have found do not show a backwards “N”. Is this anomaly unusual or rare?I am a long-time (old) digger and collector who lived in Algiers Point across the river from New Orleans city and have a number of bottles with embossed “Algiers” (instead of New Orleans). I would be pleased if you could shed any light on my DR PERL with reversed “N”- – can provide a photo if necessary. Thanks, Steve Hickman

[PRG] Steve, Putting your question up on PRG. Did you ever send the bottle pic? Sounds like this might be the P 70.2 example which will be newly listed in the upcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2.

Read More: X-Rare Backwards ‘N’ Peruvian Bark Bitters

Square Aqua, top missing, 3 sp, Extremely rare
N is PERUVIAN is backwards
Neck broken off at shoulder on example that was dug in New Orleans

10 January 2017

The great People’s Favorite Bitters from the equally great Bob Ferraro Collection, Session III (Glass Works Auctions) which closed on Monday evening, 09 January. Read: Barrel Series – Favorite Bitters & Peoples Favorite Bitters

03 January 2017

Congratulations to Eric McGuire for his Edward Roome – Tobacconist article making the cover of the upcoming BOTTLES and EXTRAS for March April 2017.

02 January 2017

Hi Ferd. Got this out of a 50 year collection of labeled bottles but have never seen or heard of this Bitters . Wonder if you can help me . Thanks – Mark Newton

[PRG] Congratulations. A spectacular example! R 4 in Bitters Bottles. Could be the example found near Peru, New York. Update: Well, it seems like I was fooled again by this dazzling beauty of a label which apparently was printed in mass and applied to different bitters shaped bottles. Seen this puppy before in Reno in 2012 (see pic below).


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Stage Actress Beauties – Looking at some Damiana Bitters Advertising Trade Cards


Stage Actress Beauties -Looking at some Damiana Bitters Advertising Trade Cards

15 October 2016

Apple-Touch-IconAAs we posted on an odd Damiana Bitters the other day, I thought it would be nice to round this off with some Damiana Bitters advertising trade card images from bitters ephemera authority Joe Gourd up Chicago way. This series is called Stage Actress Beauties and focuses on the wonder women who took to stage before motion pictures were developed. Joe adds,

“Ferd, Here are the images you requested. Glad to help out. I thought that we had used a number of them previously but I could not find them in any of your posts. All of these ladies were stage stars in the late 19th century. They lent their celebrity to the promotion of these bitters much as celebrities are doing today. Each are worthy of separate posts in their own right. I have done some research and have limited biographies on each of them. I look forward to reading your Damiana Bitters post. Regards, Joe”


Damiana Bitters – Meyer Collection


Damiana Bitters – Maud Allan

Maud Allan (27 August 1873 – 07 October 1956) is looking sweet and innocent on this Damiana Bitters piece. Maud was a pianist-turned-actor, dancer and choreographer who is remembered for her “famously impressionistic mood settings”. Allan was born as Beulah Maude Durrant in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Maud Allan as Salome with the head of John the Baptist, c. 1906–10.

Miss Allan spent her early years in San Francisco, California, moving to Germany in 1895 to study piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. She later changed her name, prompted in part by the scandal surrounding her brother Theodore Durrant, who was hanged in 1898 for the sensational murder of two women in San Francisco. Allan never recuperated from the trauma of this event which had an effect on her for the rest of her life. The execution was immediately followed by her abandonment of piano-playing and the development of a new means of self-expression in dance.


Damiana Bitters – Lotta Crabtree

Lotta Crabtree (November 7, 1847 – September 25, 1924) is seen peeking through some drapery on this Damiana Bitters trade card. Miss Crabtree was an American actress, entertainer and comedian. She was also a philanthropist.


Lotta Crabtree, 1868 (Library of Congress)

Born Charlotte Mignon Crabtree in New York City to English parents and raised in the gold mining hills outside San Francisco (where she first rose to fame), Lotta Crabtree would go on to become one of the wealthiest and most beloved American entertainers of the late 19th century. From her beginnings as a 6-year-old until her retirement at the age of 45, she entertained and was named “The Nation’s Darling”. Her life story was filmed as Golden Girl (1951), starring Mitzi Gaynor.


Damiana Bitters – Kate Gerard

Kate Gerard was an American stage actress who had a leading part in New York and other cities in “The Two Orphans” in 1876. The cast included many of the actors and actresses who appeared in the play when it was first produced in New York including Charles R. Thorne, Jr., J. B. Studley, H. S. Murdoch, Claude Burroughs. H. F. Daly, and Miss Kate Claxton, Miss Maude Harrison, Miss Fanny Morant, Miss Ida Vernon, Miss Kate Gerard, and Mrs. Farren took the principal parts.


I’m not certain but Kate Gerard and Kate Claxton both may have been performing in The Two Orphans in 1876 at the Brooklyn Theater when a fire occurred with up to 300 lives lost. Certainly Kate Claxton was there. Part of me wonders if this is the same person?


A.G. Goodenough Fine art – Kate Gerard

Note: I believe this is another Gerard who was a stage actress in London below.


Miss Gerard – 1880

Miss Gerard For a long time it has been a widespread complaint that good actresses are scarce, and promising actresses in a lamentable minority. Miss Gerard, whose picture in the character of Ophelia adorns our frontispiece this month, comes forward at exactly the right time when leading ladies are at a discount. This very clever lady is comparatively young at her art, and has made her rank in an astonishingly short space of time. She made her first appearance at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, in 1877, as Lydia, in “The Love Chase.” Afterwards engaged at the Olympic, she quickly attracted the attention of connoisseurs, and worked both hard and successfully. She played Cecilia Moonshine, in “Boots at The Swan;” Gianina, in Mr. Henry Neville’s “Violin Makor of Cremona;” Phoebe Marks, in “Lady Audley’s Secret;” Nan, in “Good for Nothing” – a most admirable performance, natural, thorough, and sincere; Margery, in “The Rough Diamond;” Lady Betty Noel, in “Lady Clancarty;” Jessie O’Hara, in ” The Vagabond” – I never shall forget a pathetic exit in the first act that moved the whole house to enthusiasm; and Stella, in “Jealousy.”

All this was hard but profitable work, for the style of the young actress ripened at every new effort. London then lost Miss Gerard for a while; for in 1878 she took an engagement with the “Caste ” company, and played Esther Eccles (“Caste“), Mrs. Pinchbeck (“Home“), Bella (” School“), Blanche Hay (“Ours“), and Ruth Deybrook (“M.P.“). In 1879, Miss Gerard was engaged by Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft to play an important character in “Duty,” but ill-health kept her away from the Prince of Wale’s; and she next appeared, in 1880, at the Haymarket Theatre, as Fanny Tarbox, in Mr. Dion Boucicault’s “Bridal Tour,” and from all accounts made the hit of the evening by some charming acting. I regret that I was out-of-town and never saw it.

Then came the Ophelia – a performance strange and uncertain at first, but so true in the mad scene that the whole audience was won over to the young actress. It was in perfect time and tune, and the pathetic scream made all who listened shiver. I have seen many good Ophelia’s, Kate Terry I think the best, Ellen Terry admirable and unapproachable in the love scene with Hamlet, and an Italian lady, who played when Salvini was over here, made a veritable triumph; but I have not been so touched in the mad scene as by Miss Gerard, who conquered every prejudice against her by the sincerity of her art. If this lady continues to study, she will be of the greatest value to the stage, for MISS GERARD AS OPHELIA. If this lady continues to study, she will be of the greatest value to the stage, for she has everything in her favor – youth, good looks, variety of expression, and very marked intelligence. Everyone will be anxious to see how she gets on, for this clever young lady will have much to do during this important and varied engagement of Edwin Booth. – C. S.  – The Theater: A Monthly Review and Magazine, 1880


Damiana Bitters – Maud Branscombe

Maud Branscombe was an American stage celebrity and celebrated beauty having the “look” in style in the era than her performing skills, though accounts say she gave pleasant stage performances in light musical productions. She was stunningly beautiful and she was photographed by the New York theatrical and celebrity photographer Jose Maria Mora. As her images caught on with the general public, she became an international celebrity, and images of here were in demand for advertising as she is pictured an scores of advertising trade cards. She was basically the “it” girl in popular culture for a brief time. The peak of her popularity was in the late 1870s and very early 1880s. Biographical information is rather scant for Maud Branscombe, but she apparently made her first appearance on the New York stage in 1876.


Maud Branscombe


Damiana Bitters – Miss May Fortescue

May Fortescue (09 February 1859 – 02 September 1950) was an actress, singer and actor-manager of the Victorian era and a protégée of playwright W. S. Gilbert. She was a member of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1881 to 1883, when she left the company following her engagement to a nobleman, young Arthur William Cairns, Lord Garmoyle (later the 2nd Earl Cairns). Cairns soon broke off the engagement under pressure from his friends, and Fortescue returned to the stage in leading roles.


May Fortescue in an 1886 Carte de visite

With the £10,000 that she received in her breach of promise lawsuit, Fortescue started her own touring theatre company, often performing the plays of W. S. Gilbert. Coincidentally, Gilbert visited Fortescue on the day he died. Her acting career continued until 1926.


Damiana Bitters – Rose Massey

Rose Massey (c.1851 – July 23, 1883) was a 19th-century stage actress. Massey first appeared at the Haymarket Theatre in London in July 1867, playing the role of Mary Meredith in Our American Cousin, but later gained attention in her 1871 performance as Fatima in Blue Beard at the Covent Garden Theatre. Her New York debut was in February 1869, in The Field of the Cloth of Gold at Wood’s Museum.


Photograph of Rose Massey, 19th century stage actress, circa 1870.

Massey played a number of roles opposite actor Henry James Montague, who she followed to the United States and later sued in 1875 for breach of promise to marry. She claimed to have a son fathered by Montague, and it made a stir when Massey also released “sappy” letters to her from Montague. That case ended, however, when Montague died in 1878. In addition to her liaison with Montague, Massey also had a relationship with Alex Henderson (1828-1886) (spouse of burlesque producer Lydia Thompson). That relationship produced a daughter, Helen Massey. Massey was also the mother of actress Blanche Massey (born circa 1878). Massey died of consumption in New York on July 23, 1883.


Damiana Bitters – Minnie Hauck

Amalia Mignon “Minnie” Hauck (November 16, 1851 – February 06, 1929) was an American operatic soprano.


Minnie Hauk in a Sarony cabinet card photograph, ca. 1880

Miss Hauch was born in New York City, the only child of James Hauck, a German carpenter, and his American wife. Soon after Minnie’s birth the Haucks moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and then to Sumner, Kansas in 1857. It was later rumoured that Hauk was the daughter of the financier Leonard Jerome, who was a devotee of the opera. Jerome’s daughter, Jennie, to whom some have suggested Hauk bore a resemblance, married the British politician Lord Randolph Churchill and was the mother of the great British war leader Winston Churchill.

In 1862, Hauk began vocal studies with Achille Errani, who secured her a spot with the Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company. At age fourteen she made her debut in Brooklyn as Amina in La sonnambula, and a month later, in November, 1866, her New York City debut as Prascovia in L’étoile du nord. In the American premiere of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (1867) she sang Juliette. Hauk sang at Covent Garden, London, on 26 October 1868, and debuted in Paris in 1869. The soprano then appeared in Italian and German opera at the Grand Opera in Vienna and other venues throughout Europe. Hauk performed the role Carmen at the opera’s British and American premieres in 1878, and Manon at its American premiere in 1885. Her voice became a mezzo-soprano of great strength and depth. Hauk’s enormous repertory included approximately one hundred roles, and she sang Carmen in four languages.

In 1881 she married Ernst von Hesse-Wartegg, the Austrian writer and traveller. Much of Hauk’s fortune was lost during World War I. By 1918 she was impoverished and nearly blind. Hauk died at her home near Lucerne, Switzerland in 1929.


Damiana Bitters – Adelaide Neilsen

Lilian Adelaide Neilson (03 March 1847 – 15 August 1880), born Elizabeth Ann Brown, was a British stage actress.


Image of Neilson created by Napoleon Sarony.

By 1872, she was hugely popular and, after making a successful tour of British cities and giving a series of farewell performances in London, she came to America, where her agent was Edwin F. De Nyse. She made her first American appearance on 18 November 1872, at Booth’s Theatre, New York City, as Juliet. She was praised by American critics who echoed the acclaim she had received from London theatrical audiences.

She made subsequent American tours throughout the 1870s. She played Amy Robsart, heroine of Sir Walter Scott, in May 1873. She is noted for a fine engagement staged in Brooklyn, New York the same year. Her farewell at Booth’s Theatre came on 2 May 1874. Neilson accepted an engagement at the Lyceum in the autumn that year. She performed in Cymbeline by William Shakespeare at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York on 14 May 1877. She not only achieved distinction on the American stage, but accumulated a considerable fortune. The parts that she acted in America included Juliet, Rosalind, Viola, Beatrice, Imogen and Isabella, from Shakespeare and Amy Robsart, Julia, Pauline and Lady Teazle, from other authors.

Note: Wikipedia primary source for information.
Posted in Advertising, Art & Architecture, Bitters, Collectors & Collections, Ephemera, History, Medicines & Cures, Trade Cards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Early Damiana Bitters or is something wrong here?


Early Damiana Bitters or is something wrong here?

The New, Wonderful & Only Certain Aphrodisiac

14 October 2016 (R•102516)


Apple-Touch-IconAGary Beatty snagged this interesting Baja California Damiana Bitters with a label (pictured above) and wonders if it is a variant of the more common Damiana Bitters most of us are familiar with (pictured below). He also wonders about the authenticity of the label. His email to me is represented below.

Hi Ferd, I’m sending you three pictures of bitters D 4 in the Ring & Ham Bitters Bottles book. I believe it is an unlisted variant. Bill Ham has D4 & D4.5 & D5. I have sent this to Bill for his examination and input. I have studied the label very close and do not think it is a marriage. It is aqua flask shape with oval body. Open pontil, 6 ½ inches tall, 3 inches wide with seed bubbles and a medicine flange top. I thought you might put it on Facebook and also give me your opinion. Best regards, Gary Beatty

Read: Fleckenstein & Mayer, Damiana Bitters & Persian Sherbet


Damiana Bitters – photo Ed Gray


Here is a Damiana Bitters that closed on eBay last night. Look at that cool embossed star on the base.

san-francisco-bitters-damianaTo me the label looks very much like it has been applied to another bottle. I was interested in the label though and like the “The New, Wonderful & Only Certain Aphrodisiac” copy. First I wanted to find out who Winder & Shearer were in San Francisco. The label lists them as Sole Proprietors and Manufacturers.

Usually you see the name Lewis Hess, Lips, Craigue & Company, Michel Levy or Naber, Alfs & Brune associated with the brand. A search tells us that Winder and Shearer, in 1876, were the originators of the bitters that would survive two or three decades is various forms with various proprietors across the United States all the way to New York. Actually you can even buy Damiana Bitters today as you can see an example to the left.

I talked to Gary last night and said he probably still has an interesting piece. He paid less than $10 so that’s good. I really need to find the original art that this label came from. Further below you will see the paper added to another rectangular form of bottle. If you look close, you can read “This is an Authentic Reproduction” on the bottom of the label. That’s kinda funny isn’t it?


Looks like someone took scissors or an X-acto knife and cut the graphics area into a tall oval. Notice that the snake on top and the bottom rule are cut off.


Here is another example where someone has put the same art on another bottle and sold on eBay as “Auténtica reproducción Winder & rozadora Bitters AFRODISIACO Botella de San Francisco” *Note that “This is an authentic Reproduction” is on the bottom of the label.


Yet an another example in a sexier setting. Same label on the bottle type as above. No need to cut label with a rectangular face.

We can confirm that William A. Winder and Melville M. Shearer applied and received a patent in San Diego and San Francisco for their bitters on 09 May 1876. This was the origins of the Baja California Damiana Bitters. Notices were filed in various newspapers in California so these guys must have had some big plans.


Patent filing for Baja California Damiana Bitters by Winder & Shearer, San Francisco, California, May 9, 1876

Winder and Shearer’s path probably crossed in the military, most likely in San Diego or the Presidio in San Francisco. Maybe it was Fort Alcatraz. They would file a patent in 1876 for their Baja California Damiana Bitters and in short order, sell out and move on.

William Andrew Winder

Captain William A. Winder was born on September 1823 and was a U.S. Army Commanding Officer of Fort Alcatraz (1861–64). A native of Maryland, he served in the Army for eighteen years, having been promoted to lieutenant in the Mexican–American War, serving continuously until 1866. He was appointed second lieutenant, Third Artillery, March 24, 1848; first lieutenant, Third Artillery, August 22, 1853; and captain, Third Artillery, May 14, 1861.


Fort Alcatraz – circa 1890

Dr. Winder was the son of General William Henry Winder who was “one of Baltimore’s brilliant lights.” and one of the most eminent lawyers in the city. At the time of his death Gen. Winder had the largest practice of any man at the bar in Baltimore, and one of the largest in the United States Supreme Court.

Gen. William Henry Winder and Gertrude, his wife, had ten children. Of these, five died in infancy. Those who gained maturity were John Henry Winder, born Feb. 21. 1800. William Henry Winder, born 1807, Charles Henry Winder, born 1818, Gertrude Winder, Aurelia Winder. William Henry Winder and Gertrude Winder never married. John Henry Winder, son of Gen. William Henry Winder, and Gertrude, his wife, was born in Somerset County in 1800. He graduated at West Point; entered the military; resigned in 1861; entered the Confederate States army as Brigadier General and died at Florence, South Carolina on February 6, 1865. He was twice married. First wife. Elizabeth Shepherd; second wife. Caroline Cox.

By his first marriage, with Elizabeth Shepherd, he had one son, William A. Winder, Dr. of Marine, in charge of Marine Hospital, San Diego. Cal.; Captain in the United States army. Appointed, 1894. United States Special Agent for settlement of Indians at Covelo, Round Valley Agency, North California. He married Abby R. Goodwin and had one son, William Winder, Lieutenant in the United States Navy.  [American Historical Magazine, Volume 1, University Press, 1896]

Melville M. Shearer


Dr. Melville MvVitty Shearer was born on 22 September 1842 in Savannah, Ohio. He graduated from the Medical Department of Iowa University in 1863 and served in the 48th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, ranked as Major of Cavalry and made the famous “March to the Sea” under General Sherman. He also served for 8 years with Generals Miles, Custer, Oaks and Ward and spent two years at the Presidio and then came to San Francisco 35 years ago. Dr. Shearer was a Knight Templar, and was for several years a county physician. He died on 28 May 1905 and is buried in the Santa Rosa (California) Rural Cemetery.

Early Newspaper Notices


New patent for trademark bitters in San Francisco by Winder & Shearer, two cases. Probably the Baja Damiana Bitters – Oakland Tribune Monday, June 12, 1876


William A. Winder and Melville M. Shearer apply for a patent in San Diego for a composition beverage. Probably the origins of the Baja Damiana Bitters. – The Arizonan Sentinel, Saturday, August 19, 1876.


Damiana Bitters – Lips, Craigue & Co., Agents, Los Angeles, Cal. – Los Angeles Herald, Wednesday, March 19, 1879.


Damiana Bitters transferred to the house of Michael Levy from Lips, Craigue & Co. – Los Angeles Herald Saturday, March 22, 1879.


Damiana Bitters – Michel Levy, Agent – Los Angeles Herald, Tuesday, April 8, 1879


Baja Damiana Bitters, Depot #12 Montgomery Avenue, S.F. – San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, February 13, 1880


Baja California Damiana Bitters – Naber, Alfs & Brune, Agents, 222 Market Street, S.F. – The San Francisco Call, Monday, August 28, 1899

25 October 2016

[Bruce Silva] Ferd; Thought that the following may be of interest in light of current threads.


It’s an interesting bottle from several standpoints. It’s late; the darn side mold seam nearly runs through the lip. The address dates it to ca. early 1911, when the Alfs brothers took over control of Naber, Alfs and Brune, and moved the concern over to Howard St. See the following chronology of addresses and ownership.

Here’s the 1909 S. F. directory listing below. Note the Mission St. address;


Here’s the S. F. directory listing for January 1910 below. William Alfs was sole proprietor at this time. Again, Mission St.


In 1911, William’s brother Carl joined him as a partner this year. By then, they had moved to Howard St.; the address on the label.


1912 directory clip below; first year that they moved next door from 631 St. Howard to their final location at 635 Howard St.


The last listing for the firm is present in the 1917 directory. William Alfs had returned to sole proprietor status.


And so, the window of time for this label is ca. 1911 – 1917. I’d most probably date this bottle to the earlier part of this time period, as ABM bottle production was in full swing by the mid teens.

Good thing it’s so late as the label held up. Bottle is attic perfect, body label is pretty good, just a trace of wear around the edges. And it’s nice to see one with at least a partial neck label. Something I’d never run across before, even in the books.

Take care, Bruce

Select Notes:

1876: New Patent for trademark bitters in San Francisco by Winder & Shearer, two cases. Probably the origins of Baja Damiana Bitters – Oakland Tribune, Monday, June 12, 1876
1876: William A Winder and Melville M. Shearer apply for a patent in San Diego for a composition beverage. Probably Baja Damiana Bitters. – The Arizonan Sentinel, Saturday, August 19, 1876.
1876: William A. Winder, Physician or Surgeon, San Diego, California, 12 October 1876 – California, Occupational Licenses, Registers, and Directories, 1876-1969
1879: Damiana Bitters – Lips, Craigue & Co., Agents, Los Angeles, Cal. – Los Angeles Herald, Wednesday, March 19, 1879.
1879: Damiana Bitters transferred to the house of Michael Levy from Lips, Craigue & Co. – Los Angeles Herald, Saturday, March 22, 1879.
1880: William Andrew Winder, Physician, San Diego, born about 1826 – California Voter Registers
1880: Melville M. Shearer, Physician, age: 37, Birth Year: abt 1843, Birthplace: Ohio, Home in 1880: Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California, Married: Isabella Shearer, Father’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Mother’s Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Occupation: Physician – US Federal Census
1881: William A Winder, Post Name: Yuma, Fort, Post Location: California, Post Commander: Walla Mosh, Military Place: Fort Yuma, California, Return Period: Nov 1881 – U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916
1894: Dr. Wm. A. Winder, physician and surgeon at marine hospital – San Diego City Directory
Posted in Advertising, Bitters, History, Medicines & Cures, Questions, Scams & Frauds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Daily Dose | October • December 2 0 1 6

October  December  |  2 0 1 6

29 December 2016

I have a bottle my Dad dug in Denver in the late 70’s. His name was Jim Bryan. The bottle is Hartwigs Alpine Stomach Bitters. It is the one listed in the Ring and Ham book, and my Mom actually drew the scale drawing for the book. I can’t find any info on the bottle anywhere other than the book. My Dad had a fairly large Bitters collection, some rare, some common. I am not in the position to keep them all due to lack of storage and secure display space (I have a five year old Autistic son). Enclosed are pictures. Any info you could provide including worth would be so appreciated. I am trying to figure out which bottles to keep and which to sell. Thank you for any info you can provide.

Have a wonderful day,

[FM5] Yes this appears to be the example noted in Bitters Bottles as H 63, which notes being dug in Denver. Extremely rare. This is a keeper or one to sell. Please refer to History of Kantorowicz Family and their Factory.

27 November 2016


Nice example of a labeled Cocktail Bitters (L 185) from Cincinnati. See listing on eBay.


Here is a really cool label from another label only Cocktail Bitters. This one from San Francisco (C 184). Have not seen a bottle before. I believe this is from Eric McGuires Western label collection.

26 November 2016


Crazy colored Drake’s on eBay. Incoming communication:

See Listing on Ebay

Hi there Ferd. This is Clayton Johnson. I am from Reno, Nevada. I’ve met you a few times over the years at bottle shows, but never really talked. I want to show you this amazing colored Drakes bottle I’ve got, and get your advice or opinion on it. I just listed it on the bay to see if it got any interest and it did just that to say the least.

I’ve been answering questions every hour for the last couple days. Some told me the price was way low on it, so I adjusted it from a buy it now $8,500 or best offer to an auction style listing with a starting bid of $8,500. Some are saying too high now, others think it’ll go for much more. Who knows? All I know is, it’s a super rare color and possibly one of a kind. What are your thoughts? And thank you for your time.

[PRG] What about the bottle history

Not much history that I know of. I bought it on eBay for a buy it now from an antique seller that doesn’t know bottles very well. I talked to her about it and she said she got it at an old estate sale in Santa Monica, California. Was in the family for many years sitting on the mantle. After the old man passed the kids sold everything. That’s all she knew about it.

[PRG] How accurate are your photographs?

They are pretty darn close to actual color. I was gonna swing by Fred Holabirds place and try to get a couple of photos of it using his light box set up that he uses for his auctions. These pics I enclosed are probably the best.

25 November 2016


Looking for information for a western collector on Roberts & Co / Royal Schiedam / Schnapps. Here is a pic and clipping. There is also an archaeological report indicating another variant of this bottle being found broken at a cabin site in Oregon.


24 November 2016


Happy Thanksgiving all! Very pleased to have added this Warner’s Tippecanoe Tonic marketing piece to my collection. Unknown to collectors of this type of ephemera. Came from McMurray Antiques & Auctions.


21 November 2016


Hard to type. Broke my right-wing falling off a ladder last night hanging a carved Indian MerAngle. Broke her wing too. Not sure who hurts more.


From bitters authority Frank Wicker. Hi Ferdinand, Hope all is well. I was lucky enough to win lot #161 in John Pastors Auction 17. You see quite a few two-tones in color of the Brown’s Queens. I was wondering if you have seen any with a marked “dividing line of color.” I have attached a few my pics. John pics are much better (PRG: John’s pic above). Also I picked from a local shop a screaming yellow Normandy Herb Bitters. I will send you a pic when the tumble is complete. Have a good one… Frank

Read: Looking closer at the Brown’s Celebrated Indian Herb Bitters

16 November 2016


Ferd, we have two bitters that I know of named after presidents! The figural bust of General Washington, and the “Old Hickory” Bitters named after President Andrew Jackson.

Jackson received his nickname “Old Hickory” at the “Battle of New Orleans.” He was a strict officer but his men loved him. They said he was as tough as “Old Hickory Wood” on the battle field. He acquired the nickname at the Battle of “New Orleans” on January 8th, 1815. Jackson and his 5000 troops defeated British Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General Edward Pohenhain and their 7500 troops.

In 1959 Country Western singer Johnny Horton recorded his biggest hit song, “Battle of New Orleans.” For it he received a Gold Record. Song writer Jimmy Driftwood received the Song of the Year award for 1959. I remember the song well, here is a portion of it, “Old Hickory said we can take em by surprise if we do not fire our muskets till we look em in the eyes; we held our fire till we seen their faces well then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave em “Well” I think every Bitters collector ought to have both of these bitters.

I advertised in John Pastors magazine for two years for the Old Hickory. I received a call two weeks ago from a Utah collector and here is a picture.

Best Regards,

Gary Beatty

PRG: Congrats Gary! Actually posted about this brand before. Read… An unlisted Old Hickory Celebrated Stomach Bitters – New Orleans

13 November 2016


Hi Ferdinand, how are you? I was on your site reading up a bit on the Mishler’s and was just wondering if you have ever come across (or already have) this particular (no S in Bitters) variant before? Not that I’ve seen hundreds of them, but the others I’ve seen like this one all have an S at the end of BITTER and I don’t recall seeing any with a period after HERB and BITTER. So I have to believe that this one I have on ebay now (See listing) is VERY scarce. What do you think? Thanks and have a great day. Regards, Chris (Eib)

[FM5] Chris, this looks like a killer example of M 101.1 listed in Bitters Bottles Supplement.

Read: Mishler’s Herb Bitters and The Mishler Family

06 November 2016

Here is another interesting bitters that appeared in the American Glass Gallery Auction #17. Extreme variation of a Dr. Stewart’s Bitters from Columbus, Ohio. Closed at $1,200 w/0 premium.


“STEWART BROS. / SWAMP = ROOT / AND / WILD CHERRY / BITTERS / COLUMBUS, O.”, America, 1885 – 1895. Orange-amber shading to golden, and light honey coloration near the corners, rectangular, tooled sloping collar – smooth base, ht. 7 5/8″; (just a bit of light exterior dullness; some light interior stain or residue, but no other form of damage, and otherwise near mint). Extremely rare, one of only two known examples! There are several variations of the Stewart’s Bitters in the Ring / Ham book, but nothing that is even remotely close to this example. An exciting new find!

Bill Ham notes that he has provided the following new listing in the planned Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:


S 193.5  STEWART BROS (au) / SWAMP ROOT (au) / AND / WILD CHERRY (ad) / BITTERS (ad) COLUMBUS. O. // sp // sp // sp //
7 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 3/8 (5 ½)
Rectangular, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip, 4 sp, Extremely rare
Example found in Ohio

It reminded me of another Swamp Root Bitters in my collection which appears to be unlisted. Bill Ham notes that he has provided the following new listing in the planned Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

S 228.7 L…The Worlds Renown Swamp Root Bitters // b // 335 on bottom)
8 x 2 3/4 x 3 (6)
Rectangular, Amber, NSC, Tooled lip


04 November 2016

Here’s an odd duck bitters. Bill (Ham), how do you handle this? [05 November update from Bill]

B 112.5 L . . . BITTERS (Label-Under-Glass)
// b // PATD APRIL 11TH 1871
11 ½
Figural Duck Back Bar, White milk glass, Shear and ground lip
From the Atterbury & Co. Glass Works, Pittsburg, Pa


American Glass Gallery Auction #17:

“BITTERS” (Label-Under-Glass), Figural Duck Back Bar Bottle, Atterbury & Co. Glass Works, Pittsburgh, PA, 1871 – 1880. Opaque milkglass figural duck with gold, red, and black lettering on label-under-glass, factory ground mouth – “PATD APRIL 11TH 1871″ (on smooth base), ht. 11 ½”; (1/8″ flake off side of ground mouth, possibly in-manufacture, otherwise absolutely attic mint!) A choice, desirable figural, especially rare with the virtually pristine, “BITTERS” label. See item

01 November 2016


Love this Thos. A. Hurley – Louisville bubble monster above that closed last night (still call-backs) in the Glass Works Auctions | Auction #113. This is the same Hurley related to the Hurley’s Stomach Bitters. My example is pictured below.


31 October 2016


There is a pretty cool amber Tip Top Bitters closing in Glass Works Auctions | Auction #113 tonight. Check it out. My example is on the right.


29 October 2016


I guess it must be labeled bitters week. Brad Seigler who has an incredible propensity to find great bottles whether it be visiting collections, picking thru yard sales, or going to antique shops and bottle shows sends in this cool labeled Ochsen Blut Oxblood Bitters from the Oxblood Bitters Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. This would be O 6 in Bitters Bottles.

28 October 2016


Interesting that this unlisted and labeled Spring Bitters, now on Ebay, uses the same ‘Queen’ art as the unlisted and labeled Dr. Bridges’ Celebrated Indian Bitters that I posted about on the 26th of October. – thanks to Bill Ham for Ebay tip.

The new listing by Bill Ham for the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

S 167.5 L . . . Spring Bitters, an Elegant Bitter,Manufactured by W. D. Shedd, Jamestown, N. Y.
9 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Tooled lip


26 October 2016

briggsindianbittersclipxsLooks like a hitherto yet unknown labeled bitters submitted by Gregg Mazurek. His email and picture that I cropped:

I am not sure you answer questions on bottles but I saw your website and thought I would take a chance. I have had a bitters bottle for many years and cannot find any information on the bottle. Often times that leads to me to believe it is not real. It is Dr. Bridges’ Celebrated Indian Bitters with label showing an Indian women and a women kneeling in front of her. At the bottom of the label the initials ZBB appear over Chicago Ill. If you don’t know of the bottle I can email a picture. Thank you for your help. – Gregg Mazurek

25 October 2016

Nice to see that the FOHBC board came thru and authorized $2,500 to support the Mt. Vernon Glassworks Project.

Post Update from Bruce Silva. Early Damiana Bitters or is something wrong here?


14 October 2016

In a recent conversation, Gary Beatty mentioned that there was a super rare Louisville, Kentucky bitters on eBay. A quick search reveals an A. Hoffelds Liver Bitters. I’m always glad to see that I have an example. Here is mine below.

Read: Top 25 Kentucky’s Rarest Bitters Bottles


11 October 2016


Hi Ferd, I’m sending you three pictures of bitters D 4 in the Ring & Ham Bitters Bottles book. I believe it is an unlisted variant. Bill Ham has D4 & D4.5 & D5.  I have sent this to Bill for his examination and input. I have studied the label very close and do not think it is a marriage. It is aqua flask shape with oval body. Open pontil, 6 ½ inches tall, 3 inches wide with seed bubbles and a medicine flange top. I thought you might put it on Facebook and also give me your opinion. Best regards, Gary Beatty

Read: Early Damiana Bitters or is something wrong here?


Designed 32 pages + pics of Sacramento National coverage in the next issue of BOTTLES and EXTRAS. You will not want to miss.  A really cool cover too.

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Nevada Backbar Letter


Nevada Backbar Letter

01 October 2016

This letter is in response to the “Unicorns and Rainbows” opinion that certain bottles mentioned in an article entitled “Nevada Backbar Bottle Bonanza” (FOHBC magazine “Bottles and Extras, September-October 2016 edition, page 33) are not genuine, legitimate Nevada bottles. I include my personal research on a select handful.

Columbia Club Rye – C. Thomas

This bottle came from the Columbia Club in Pioneer, Nevada. That the Columbia Club existed is evidenced by a rare Columbia Club, Pioneer, Nevada, 12 ½ cent trade token. Additionally, an article printed in the May 7, 1909 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal mentions a “disastrous fire in Pioneer, Nevada” in which the Columbia Club was among businesses suffering loss. Charles Thomas is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census living in Pioneer (Springdale district), Nevada as the manager of a department store, which makes sense because the fire in 1909 destroyed the saloon.

The final, and most compelling evidence, is a photo (found in the UNLV digital library on line) from the Charles Thomas and Perry photo collection showing Charles Thomas standing in front of the Columbia Club in Pioneer with the handwritten notation “He is always the same.” This bottle has been examined thoroughly by many collectors and has been deemed to be genuine.

Manhattan XXXX – J. E. Connor

The author left out one distinctive marking on this bottle that helps greatly in its identification. The name “J. E. Connor” is enameled below the “Manhattan XXXX” on this backbar. Joseph E. Connor was a hotel and saloon owner in Manhattan, Nevada, as evidenced by RL Polk’s Nevada State Gazeteer and Business Directory, First Edition (1907-1908) and further supported by the 1910 U.S. Federal Census.

He continued to reside in Manhattan through 1920, as evidenced by the U.S. Federal Census, and is still in the hotel business in addition to being co-owner of the Manhattan Water Company (documented in the Appendix to Journals of Senate and Assembly of the State of Nevada and Report of the Railroad and Public Service Commissions of Nevada). This bottle has been examined thoroughly by many collectors and has been deemed to be genuine.

International Hotel

This particular bottle was found in Austin, Nevada in the burned out ruins of the International Hotel. When the hotel burned local resident Gail Williams, then a young girl, recovered it from the site and asked the owner if she could have it. He replied “Yes, if you promise never to bring it back.”

Many years later a bottle show was being held in Austin and although the International was not on display, show goers heard of its existence there in town. Gail was subsequently pressured by so many collectors that she put the bottle in a closet in her home and refused to answer the door when they knocked. The bottle was however, ultimately sold. Her nephew is a close friend of mine and I was permitted to view the bottle several years before it was sold. The story of the bottle’s discovery was relayed to me directly by Gail Williams, the then-owner. Its provenance is impeccable and is well-known among Nevada collectors.

Belmont W. B.

There are actually two Belmont backbars: Belmont W. B. and Belmont W. B. & S. My research documents the second bottle. W. B. & S. stands for (Thomas) Warburton, (Frank) Brotherton and (Carl) Schaefer. These merchants are well-known to Nye County, Nevada researchers. Warburton was a hotel owner in Belmont as well as a deputy sheriff, the county assessor and treasurer, a school trustee, deputy postmaster, and a member of the IOOF Nevada grand lodge. Brotherton served as Belmont’s postmaster, was the county clerk, a clerk in the judicial district court, and was also a member of the IOOF Nevada grand lodge. Schaefer, Brotherton’s brother-in-law, was a general merchant in Belmont.

There are many, many billheads, receipts and ephemera that document the trio’s partnerships. They were brother Masons and active in both the IOOF and Silver Party and Republican groups. At one time, Thomas Warburton owned a hotel. This bottle, however, is from the period when the trio dealt in general merchandise. In a shrewd business move, when Brotherton served as Belmont’s postmaster he moved the post office into the general merchandise store.

That they dealt in whiskey and bottled spirits is evidenced by a letter from a resident of Jefferson, Nevada requesting “a bottle of good whiskey be sent by stage”. Over-the-counter drink sales are proven by an extremely rare “Frank Brotherton, Belmont, Nevada 12 ½ cent drink or cigar” token. The W. B. & S. bottle was found in the 1950s in Belmont by a person who lived in both Belmont and Tonopah. It was subsequently purchased by Willie Manzini of Austin, Nevada. This Belmont, Nevada backbar bottle’s provenance is impeccable and certainly has not been faked.

In conclusion, it is always good to chronicle the ownership, custody or location of any historical object, including bottles. Establishing that history, whenever possible, through contextual and circumstantial evidence helps authenticate the item. We’re fortunate that we have so many research aids at our fingertips through the internet. I hope my comments above have alleviated any concerns about the authenticity of four important Nevada backbars.

Dennis Eastley
Tonopah, Nevada

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