Dr. Sherman’s Prickley Ash Bitters from Kansas City?


Dr. Sherman’s Prickley Ash Bitters from Kansas City?

28 March 2013 (R•030516)

It appears that Dr. Sherman went into a drug store to get a drink of whiskey, and being familiar with the place went behind the prescription case and helped himself, but by mistake took from the wrong bottle something of a poisonous nature from which he died in a few hours.

Hi Ferdinand,

Thought you might find this story interesting. I started digging when I was 12 years old. In one of my first privy’s dug on the West Side in K.C., Missouri, I found two bitters. One broken and one whole. Citron in color, square, unlisted, and embossed DR. SHERMAN’S / COMPOUND / PRICKLY ASH BITTERS / KANSAS CITY, MO. Yes, embossed Kansas City, Mo.

I took it to the St. Louis show in 74′ or 75′ and sold it for $100. I know Meyer Drugs owned this bottle and rights to the product starting I believe 83″? But, check out this trade card and you will find a different lineage of ownership than what you expected. The bottle and the bitters were distributed in K.C. well before St. Louis. I would guess the bottle I dug to be 1870’s time period. Never seen another one before or since……. Wish I had it back! I dug one an amber one in St. Joseph, Mo. but no K.C. embossing on it.

Anyway check out the trade card. (You have to able to read upside down.) It’s on the third page of the card. J.W. WOODS must have been a druggist? So, let’s re-think that St. Louis origination, OK?

Sam Lawson



Apple-Touch-IconANice to hear from you Sam. Quite a bit of evidence showing Dr. B. F. Sherman’s Prickley Ash Bitters was before Prickly Ash Bitters. Meyer & Co. purchased the brand. Dr. Sherman is also showing up in Missouri.

I have a pretty decent example of the Dr. Sherman’s. Maybe it is the one you dug?


Excerpt from Meyer Brothers Druggist, Volume 22 – 1901

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

S 100.5  DR. SHERMAN’S PRICKLEY ASH BITTERS, Circa 1870 – 1880
9 1/4 x 2 7/8 (7)
Square, Yellow olive, LTC, Applied mouth, Extremely rare
The Prickly Ash Bitters Company of St. Louis and Kansas City.

* Note spelling of PRICKLEY

Read More: Prickly Ash Bitters – Meyer Brothers Drug Company


S 100.5 – SHERMAN’S PRICKLY ASH BITTERS, Ex. Carlyn Ring and Dr. James Carter Collection. Note spelling of Prickly on bottle. – Meyer Collection


Excerpt from Nostrums and quackery: articles on the nostrum evil and quackery …, Volume 2
By American Medical Association


Dr. B. F. Sherman’s Prickly Ash Bitters framed advertisement – McMurray Antiques & Auctions

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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