Unlisted M. S. James Family Bitters – a Flea Market Find

Apple-Touch-IconAThis may be one of the shortest posts yet for a bitters bottle, but in my book it doesn’t matter. This is an important find and a post needs to be developed. Hopefully more information and pictures will be added.

Updated with pictures from Ron Tetrault on 29 April 2013.

Updated with two advertisements from Brian Wolff on 30 April 2013.


Hi Bill,

I often refer to your two volumes on bitters, and I’ve found that they’re invaluable sources of reference. I’m writing to let you know of an unlisted bitters I just found at a local flea market. I’ve never seen nor heard of this one in all 46 years I’ve been in the hobby, nor has anyone else I’ve asked. It’s aqua, rectangular, 7 1/4″ by 1 3/4″, indented panels all around, except for backside which is flat, smooth base, round prescription lip, and embossed in block letter on front panel: M. S. JAMES FAMILY BITTERS BROOKLYN N.Y. This would be a nice addition to Volume 3.


Ron Tetrault

From Bill Ham: Ferdinand: It is amazing how many undocumented bitters there are. Here is a new listing that will appear in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2

J 17.5  M. S. James’ Family Bitters
M. S. JAMES’ / FAMILY BITTERS / BROOKLYN N.Y. // sp // f // sp
7 1/4 x 3 x 1 3/4
Rectangular, Aqua, FM, 3 sp, Applied mouth, Extremely rare

PRG: To get the ball rolling I did find a listing for a Moses S. James, Physician in Brooklyn, NY around the period this bottle may have been made and the product sold.

Read about a similar Bitters:

Standing Proud – Poor Man’s Family Bitters – Oswego, NY


Listing for a Moses S. James, Physician – 1875 Brooklyn City Directory. Also found in an 1880 Directory with a different address.


Advertisement for M.S. James Family Bitters – Republican Watchman, Monticello, NY. 1875-1877


Advertisement for M.S. James Family Bitters – Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, NY 1868






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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