Russ’ Stomach Bitters – A New York Lady’s Leg


Russ’ Stomach Bitters

A New York Lady’s Leg

31 January 2013 (Updated 21 September 2013) (R•052814) (R•112417)


Are these Russ Products Related?

Apple-Touch-IconAThe Russ’ Stomach Bitters is an interesting lady’s leg bitters that is fairly old, from New York, is iron pontiled and smaller at 10 1/4″ +/- than the typical legs we are familiar with.

This bottle hardly ever shows up as I am only aware of three examples (2 examples were noted by Glass Works Auctions when I purchased my example back in 2006).

My example has an issue that is noted below but at the time, and even now, seems minimal compared to the example that sold from the Dr. Sam Greer Collection for $16,500, at that time a record price for a bitters bottle sold at auction. That bottle was again sold at a later Heckler Auction (pictured below), and was purchased by a prominent bitters collector from up north and returned because of a problem that was well concealed within the glass.


A New York Russ’ Stomach Bitters ladies leg bitters bottle in golden amber with applied mouth and iron pontil mark; image courtesy of Norman C. Heckler & Company. This is the example that has the ‘history’ as noted above.

Ah… problems. Interesting that we are so focused on issues with rare pieces but it really does affect the cost in the buyers mind, especially with the dollar amounts we are discussing.




RUSS’ STOMACH BITTERS – 10 1/8” h, iron pontil, applied ring mouth. A tiny potstone in the bulge of the neck has 1 3/16” cooling crack across it. Thought to be one of only two known (PRG: 3) examples. In 1989 an identical bottle sold in the Dr. Sam Greer Collection for $16,500, at that time a record price for a bitters bottle sold at auction. – Meyer Collection

Russ’ Stomach Bitters: November 2017. This rare and beautiful “lady’s leg” bitters bottle was discovered just a couple of months ago, in an old barn north of Portland, along the coast of Maine. The barn and attached house were purchased recently and were undergoing renovations at the time. Workers were putting new roof boards on the barn when the bottle was discovered hiding under an eve. The homeowners nearly gave the bottle to the roofer! – John Pastor, American Glass Gallery

Unfortunately, I can find little information regarding the Russ’ Stomach Bitters which is cataloged as a R 126 in Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham’s Bitters Bottles Supplement.

R 126  RUSS’ STOMACH BITTERS, Circa 1860 – 1865
9 7/8 x 2 3/4 (4)
Round lady’s leg, Amber and Dark olive amber, ARM, Applied mouth, Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare
* Example at top of post from Bitters Bottles Supplement

What is interesting, is that there are a few other New York ‘RUSS’ bottles that I have pictured below. One is a RUSS’S AROMATIC SCHNAPPS / NEW YORK and the other a RUSS’ ST. DOMINGO BITTERS / NEW YORK. I would bet that there is some relationship here though that is purely conjecture. This letterhead in Bitters Bottles Supplement certainly ties the Russ’ Stomach Bitters and Russ’ Aromatic Schnapps together.


Letterhead: Bought of Russ & Hinman, No. 94 Pearl Street, New York, Sept 23, 1857, Also agents for Russ’ Improved Aromatic Schnapps and RUSS’ STOMACH BITTERS (for Steamer South America)

Now can we link it to John A. Russ and his Russ’ St. Domingo Bitters? Read: Russ’ St. Domingo Bitters – New York

The “St. Domingo” addition to the later bitters is interesting because Saint Domingo Fever was a yellow fever from St. Domingo in the West Indies.


RUSS’ STOMACH BITTERS embossing detail – Meyer Collection



R 125 (Russ St Domingo_X)

RUSS’ ST. DOMINGO BITTERS / NEW YORK, St. Domingo Manufacturing Co., 34 Dey Street, New York, Circa 1865 – 1880 – Meyer Collection

R 125 Boy_Trade_Card

RUSS’ ST. DOMINGO BITTERS Trade Card – Meyer Collection



(From Rick Simi) Even though this recent acquisition is not a western bitters, it sure is a beautiful bottle with a wonderful story. A friend of mine was out deer hunting last week here in Northern California, when he stopped to take a quick breather, and spotted a piece of amber colored glass sticking out of the duff near an old pine tree. Upon closer inspection (he kicked the piece of glass and it didn’t move) he noticed that it was more than a piece of glass. Bending down and scratching away the pine needles, laying on the original ground, was the bottle pictured at left. Embossed on three panels are: RUSS’S AROMATIC / SCHNAPPS / NEW-YORK. The base has an iron pontil. He put the bottle in his pack and after finishing his hunt brought it home. Later in the week he stopped by where I was working and told me the story and offered the bottle to me. The pictures show the bottle exactly as I received it, un-washed and in original as found condition. Hundred’s of seed bubbles, a crudely applied top and a smokin’ shade of amber make this a magnificent piece of gold rush era glass. I guess its about time I started “deer hunting” again !!!!!!! Rick Simi – Western Bitters News


Read More: Lady’s Leg Series – Weis Bros Knickerbocker Stomach Bitters

Read More: The old but sexy, Brown & Drake Catawba Bitters lady’s leg

Read More: Labeled Theller’s Bitters Lady’s Leg – New York

Read More: Lady’s Leg Series – Zingari Bitters

Read More: Holloway’s Bitters from Syracuse

Read More: The best Lady’s Leg in the Galaxy – Universe Bitters

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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2 Responses to Russ’ Stomach Bitters – A New York Lady’s Leg

  1. Froggy says:

    The Russ’ “leg” is as rare as the proverbial “hen’s tooth”, there being four(4) known examples. Your example is super- nice Ferdinand.. As to the returned Heckler- sold example of the lady’s leg, it is pristine…but for the significant crack across the center of the base. In thick, dark glass, obscured by the pontil’s oxide, the Heckler boys missed it and I have a hunch that even the consignor may not have known it was there…all the way back to the Greer sale. Bill Ham’s example is perfect as far as I know and John Feldmann’s example was a dug bottle with related issues. I think it now resides in a Connecticut collection, but am not sure.

    I always figured the later Russ’ squares were connected to the early “leg”. I’m sure some savvy New York collector may have some hard information.

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