German Tonic Bitters – Boggs, Cottman & Co.
B.B.B. – Boggs Balt Bitters
30 July 2011 (R•090418) (R•052319)
Earlier this morning, I posted some pictures and information from Baltimore collector, Chris Rowell (click here). Specifically speaking it was…
“When I finally got hooked on bottles in 2002 (read story), I had the pleasure of quickly meeting a fellow named Chris Rowell who is a stand-out member of the Baltimore Club and an experienced digger. He actually sold me one of my favorite bitters which is a perfect example of a killer, pontiled, Boggs, Cottman & Co. German Tonic Bitters (R/H G 28).
That got me thinking about my Boggs, Cottman & Co. German Tonic Bitters. It’s dark outside so I can’t check on my baby so I thought I would post a few pictures. PS: This is a BALTIMORE bottle! Earlier writings inferred that this was a western bitters. That is incorrect.
The updated Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 is as follows:
G 28 GERMAN // TONIC BITTERS // f // BOGGS, COTTMAN & CO //
9 3/4 x 3 (7 1/2) 1/2
Square, Aqua, LTCR, Applied mouth, With and without Metallic pontil mark, Very rare
BAR p48, UMB 42, WAT 131
Boggs, Cottman & Co., (William A. Boggs & James S. Cottman) Importer and Dealers in Wines, Liquors &c. and Commission Merchants, Baltimore, Maryland.
Advertisements: German Tonic Bitters being sold by Erney & Bro. – Gettysburg Compiler, June 24 1850, Boggs, Cottman & Co., Nos. 44 and 46 Lombard Street, selling German Tonic Bitters – The Daily Exchange, March 9 1859, Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters, Boggs Cottman & Co., No. 46 Lombard Street, Notes ‘in use’ more than 20 years – The Baltimore Sun, June 25 1864, B.B.B., Boggs Balt Bitters, Bogg’s German Tonic Bitters, Wade, Boykin & Co., Wholesale Druggists, No. 3 North Liberty St. – The Tarborough Southerner, February 24, 1870
Example dug at Jacob’s Wells, Nevada, which is now Carson City.
My example was purchased from Chris Rowell in October 2002 and has a metallic pontil. It is full of whittle and bubbles and has a few light olive striation streaks. I believe it to be the best example of the three or four bottles that are known to exist. I have seen three of them.
B.B.B. Boggs Balt Bitters
German Tonic Bitters was noted in advertising to have first been used in 1844. We can not confirm this but there was probably some labeled concoction that was the predecessor to Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters in the embossed square aqua bottle. This bitters product was made and sold from around 1859 to 1871. The bottles were probably produced around 1865 and were made at the Baltimore Glass Works. Boggs’ German Tonic Bitters was sold by the case and for $1 a quart bottle. Yes, some examples did make it out west. By 1870, advertising was in full swing and the brand advertised itself as “B.B.B. Boggs Balt Bitters”
Boggs, Cottman & Co. was first listed in 1847 or so selling liquors and wines in Baltimore at 46 W. Lombard St. The partners were William A. Boggs and James S. Cottman. Prior to Cottman joining, it was Boggs & Son as noted in advertising in 1842. This would have been Harmanus Boggs and his son William. Cottman would marry into the family when he married Elizabeth McEldery Boggs, of Pennsylvania ancestry, on April 25, 1844. James Stuart Cottman was the son of Lazarus and Elizabeth Morris (Bishop) Cottman. They were the parents of two sons, James Hough Cottman and Clarence Cottman. James Stuart Cottman died on June 9, 1863.