This show in Auburn, California is called “The Best of the West” and I can truly say, it is a bottle and antique show that really fits the bill. Old Town Auburn is as charming of a place that could be and was decked out for the holiday season. The people are wonderful and the town is quaint and charming. What a great place to hold a bottle show. This is our third straight year to attend and is an essential, must attend show for us.
Out trip started out in Houston early Thursday morning. We landed in Sacramento around noon right in the middle of the Santa Ana winds which were the worst in 10 years we understand. It was all over the news. Fortunately, it did not affect our day as we quickly headed to Auburn to meet up with bottle friends and discussed, surprise…bottles! We eventually had a great dinner in town with more friends and discussed bottles though this time most of us were drinking margaritas too.
Great weather provided for an incredibly robust turnout on Friday (02 December) for the 49er Historical Bottle Club set-up which lasted from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm. Like Baltimore, this is a MAJOR period of excitement prior to the general show. As usual, people were greeting trucks and vans as they were pulling in to the property. Like most of you know, many deals start before a show. Being in the right place at the right time is essential.
Saturday (03 December) was even more crowded with record breaking crowds that kept the dealers and tables busy. It was hard to navigate sometimes but this is fun. You can ‘get lost’ in a crowd and be very discreet and go look at the tables and goods if you keep your head low. I found two (2) great bottles that don’t really fit in my collection but I couldn’t resist purchasing. Elizabeth also found some cool items, which seemed to be everywhere and on every table.
This show is very organized and was spearheaded by Mike McKillop who runs a tight ship. No early set-up prior to noon and NO early departures for dealers near the end of the show. This is important so everyone gets as fair of a chance as possible to see and make deals on bottles. The food was great and there was even a cart circulating with food that you could buy at your table!
One of the highlights of the show was the two (2) displays. One was for London Jockey Clubhouse Gins (with embossed horse) while the other was for Wisters Clubhouse Gins. It was fantastic to see all of these bottles together. I was really impressed, especially with the amber Jockey Club.
By coincidence, Bob Kaiser recently dug a hole of primarily London Jockey Clubhouse and Wisters Clubhouse Gins. These bottles showed up in whole and in shards. The talk of the show! Wow did this generate excitement. Way to go Bob. Read further: Monster 1850′s – 1860′s Privy Dig in the Gold Country
Both the upper and lower buildings were loaded with bottles. While Whiskies seemed to dominate, there was a strong representation of Bitters, Insulators, Gins, Sodas and small antiques.
Elizabeth and I, along with Jerry Forbes and Steve Bird, concluded our day Saturday at the Annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade in Auburn. We love this parade. Even the animals including goats have lights on them!