Drake’s Plantation Bitters and other Reproductions out in the market


"They are excellent repros and would easily pass to the unsuspecting as original bottles. The dealer had 10 or 15 of each type. And, guess the price of each… only $24.00.




I was very interested in your response to my earlier inquiry regarding some excellent, hand made BIMAL, reproductions that I encountered recently.

I am new to your website and am very impressed with your exhibits and passionate knowledge of glass! Thank you for efforts with it!

I have not seen this before on the Internet but I wanted to ask you about it. Check the enclosed pictures of a light olive St Drakes Plantation Bitters and a tall cathedral pickle….which are definitely hand made, BIMAL beautiful bottles..that are both REPRODUCTIONS!

Were you aware of these being made and in the bottle market? These, along with a number of other reproductions, including scroll flasks, were recently acquired by me at a Civil War sutler’s booth in Spotsylvania, VA. They are excellent repros and would easily pass to the unsuspecting as original bottles. The dealer had 10 or 15 of each type. And, guess the price of each… only $24.00. I was very surprised to say the least…I do not know if the antique bottle collecting community is aware of these reproductions, but they are definitely out there. Please let me know what you may know about this!

I am a part time archaeologist with 40 years worth experience in the field and also have collected bottles for the same period. I am sure of what I am saying regarding these reproductions and their excellence in craftsmanship. If there is no interest in people being unscrupulous with passing these reproductions off as originals to an unsuspecting bottle collecting community, I would sincerely appreciate your forwarding this message to any of your bottle collecting friends that may know of or have interest in this timely topic.

Thank you for your time.


Terry (Ludlow) 🙂

Apple-Touch-IconATerry: This quite frankly, concerns me and many others in the hobby greatly. I am getting all kinds of reports of repros being sold on ebay and even baked bottles of late showing up and selling for good money. It seems like the original sellers are noting that they are repros. I am worried about next generation sales down the line. Would you please purchase me a Drakes and send it to me? I will pay for the cost and shipping etc. I need to see one of these bottles first-hand. Thanks!

Does anyone have any thoughts on the reproduction Drake’s Plantation, and Hostetter’s labels being sold on ebay?

Brian Shultis (on facebook Bottle Collectors)


Read More: More on Reproductions from Jim Bender and Bruce Silva

Read More: Dog River Glass Company

Read More: Repros. A legitimate place in the hobby?


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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7 Responses to Drake’s Plantation Bitters and other Reproductions out in the market

  1. BittersCollector says:

    I would also like to see one of these Drake’s first hand
    This is the first I have heard about the bottles being
    Reproduced. If true , what a blow to collectors ! That is if they are
    good repro’s. Even if they aren’t , it could sour the taste of
    Bottle collecting in the NEW collectors mouth.

  2. Froggy says:

    Yes, someone get an example into the hands of an experienced Bitters collector. I’m sure there are lots of tell-tale differences.

  3. Hey Ferd,

    I just saw on your web site about the repro Drakes. This guy has made repro Pickles, USA Hosp. Bottles, US Navy, clear umbrella inks, black glass ales and Pontiled Mustard bottles for some time now. I bought my first bottles he made about 8 or 9 years ago. I ran into a nice looking Olive green pint Pickle bottle bottle at the Brimfield Mass flea market. I new it was not old but it sure is nice. I then got a teal one and aqua one. He claims to have made cobalt blue ones but I have yet to find one. The USA Hospital bottles come in Amber, Aqua, Teal and Cobalt. I have one of each. You can tell they are not old. However I see them on ebay along with the other bottles they produce being sold as old. The clear umbrella ink is so good it can be pasted as old. It has a smooth base, the other bottles are all pontiled. The US Navy bottles are all over the shows here in the Northeast. I have even seen people put dirt in them as if they are dug. The Black Glass ales are great repros and are very hard to tell from old unless you are a blackglass guy. I heard a few weeks back he was making Drakes and Robacks barrells but I had not seen one surface until now. I have the guys name and number here somewhere and I will see if I can find it. I have not spoke to him in years. They make them in Virgina somewhere at a glass house if I remember right. He puts a solid glass pontil rod on them not a tube which he claims marks it as a fake. He told me years ago he was making the stuff for Civil War actors and not to fake collectors out. I believed it at the time because I offered to buy at a good price a Cobalt Blue Pickle if he would put a tube pontll on it and he would not. He did tell me he had made a few Cabin bottles in Blue. I have never seen or heard of one showing up yet. I collect fakes and repros and have for years. I have a pair of Washington Taylors pints in Amber and Cobalt which I know are not old but can not find out where they came from. Maybe him ??? I am sure if he wants to he can make killer fakes.

    Jim Bender

  4. trellcott says:

    I posted the original reproduction alert to Ferdinand. As noted, I found both the olive St Drakes and the repro aqua cathedral pickle at a recent Civil War reenactment in Spotsylvania County, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. One of the sutlers was selling these and some other repros, including pint aqua scroll flasks and some others which I don’t really remember. When I questioned the sutler about the bottles , he said that he had a glass blower that made these for him especially. Dummie me! I should have asked him more about the bottles and the exact maker, or at least get his trading card.
    I would guess that he does other Civil War events. These years are the sesquecentennial of the war and my bet is that he would be easy to find at one of these events.
    Setting the repro St. Drakes beside a bonafide, original one, I see some very subtle differences. Most obvious are the sizes of the label spaces; the repro has smaller space, about 2/3 the size of the original. The repro has indented, or concave sides along with the logs on all 4 sides. The embossings are very similar on both bottles.

    I do not own an original cathedral pickle, so I can’t compare it easily. My repro is 12″ high and 3 1/2″ square. Without question, both are definitely BIMAL, and super clean.
    I paid $24 each for them and was shocked at such low prices.
    I guess that I could send Ferdinand some other pix of the St Drakes, with an original next to it, so you all could assess the differences in more detail.

  5. BittersCollector says:

    I sent an email to the site Feed has listed
    It says the Drake’s are ” out of stock ” on the site.
    I will post an answer to my email here when I receive.

  6. Station2 says:

    Hi Ferd, My son tried to buy me a Drakes and Sachems repro from Dog River for a birthday present for me last March. The guy from Dog River said he would only sell his repros to Civil War reenactors and that you needed to be a member in a valid reenactor group in order to purchase anything from him. At that time he said he had sold 6 of the Drakes and he knew who had each one. He also said that he did not put any identifying marks on his repros and that all of them were made in old molds. Also, he only had amber ones for sales in March. Hopefully, you can get these repros and hopefully, there will be identifying marks on them so people will easily be able to tell the repros apart from old ones. I’m sure you will keep us posted. Thanks for all the great info. Marty

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