In honor of and in preparation for the upcoming FOHBC 2014 National Antique Bottle Show in Lexington, Kentucky, I thought it would be nice to look at the Top 25 Kentucky’s Rarest Bitters Bottles. I will try to add pictures if I have actual examples, file pictures or if I can obtain pictures. Please help if you have images of any of these great bottles. We can only hope that some of these examples will make an appearance in the regional display exhibit at the Lexington National Show. Info
Kentucky’s Top 25 Rarest Bitters Bottles
Compiled by Paul Van Vactor, Sheldon Baugh and Steve Keith
20 May 2014 (R•011719)
Compiling top 25 lists is a favorite with sports fans, but there’s no rule against doing the same for a state’s antique bottles. So we got together and the following lists are what we came up with. Not all of them are bottles. Enjoy.
TOP 25 of Kentucky’s Rarest Bitters Bottles:
See list for Top 25 Kentucky Rarest Bottles
1. Large olive green lady’s leg, measuring approximately 12 by 3.5 inches and embossed Universe Bitters / Manufactured by / Aug. Horstmann / Sole Agent / F.J. Schaefer / 231 Market St. / Louisville, Ky.
2. Amber triangular-shaped bitters bottle with embossed ribs on the sides. Embossed PASQUIER’S / FRENCH BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. Read: F. Pasquier’s French Hygienic Bitters – Louisville
3. Amber octagonal lady’s leg bitters bottle embossed RIVAUD’S / COCKTAIL / BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. Smooth base.
4. Amber square bitters embossed RIVAUD’S IMPERIAL BITTERS / VICTOR RIVAUD / LOUISVILLE, KY. Smooth base. Read: Victor Rivaud’s Imperial Bitters | Louisville
5. Amber square bottle with roofed shoulder embossed DR. M. SMITH’S / STOMACH / BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. Smooth base.
6. Round amber seal bottle embossed on seal BERNHEIM BROS. / & URI / LOUISVILLE / KY. Embossed horizontally below seal ULBRIGHT / RELIABLE / IMPORT CO. / TINCTURE / OF / CENTAURY / BITTERS. Also, embossed vertically on sides: BLOOD PURIFIER / STOMACH TONIC.
7. Green rectangular bottle with smooth base approximately 9.5 x 3 3/8 x 2 3/8 inches. Embossed O’MARRAS / FENIAN BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. / J.B. WILDER & CO.
8. Rectangular aqua bottle embossed DR. J.L. FLEECE’S / FEMALE BITTERS / LEBANON, KY. Smooth base.
9. Square amber bottle embossed COURTNEY’S / DIXIANA BITTERS / COURTNEY MEDICINE CO. / OWENSBORO, KY. Smooth base. (see below)
10. Square amber bottle embossed HAVIS’ IRON BITTERS / THE WILLIAMSBURG DRUG CO. / WILLIAMSBURG, KY. Smooth base.
11. Square clear bottle with hobnail corners embossed WILDER’S BOURBON BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. Roofed shoulders.
12. Amber lady’s leg bottle approximately 11 5/16 by 3 3/8 inches and embossed SCHROEDER’S / SPICE BITTERS. Approximately 70 bottles were found in the wreck of the steamboat Bertrand.
13. Green square bottle with label: SCHROEDER’S STOMACH BITTERS. Bottle is embossed J.H. SCHROEDER / 28 WALL STREET / LOUISVILLE, KY. Measures approximately 10 x 3.25 inches, found on the wreck of the steamboat Bertrand.
14. Square bottle (green and amber examples) embossed DR. JOHN BULL’S / COMPOUND / CEDRON BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below, 2 variants)
15. Square amber bottle 10.5 x 2 3/4 inches embossed R.L. EGERTON’S / STOMACH BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below)
16. Aqua to very light green E. CAMPBELL’S / STOMACH BITTERS / CREELSBORO, KY.
17. Amber DR. JAS. FOLEY’S TONIC BITTERS / J.T.S. BROWN / LOUISVILLE, KY.
18. Square aqua bottle with roofed shoulders embossed DR. JAS. GRAVES / TONIC BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below)
19. Square aqua bottle with roofed shoulders embossed GRAVES & SON / TONIC BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. Probably has an embossed star.
20. Square amber bottle with roofed shoulders embossed A. HOFFELD’S / LIVER BITTERS / LOUISVILLE CHEMICAL / MANUFACTURING CO. / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below)
21. Square amber bottle embossed THOMAS A. HURLEY’S / STOMACH BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below two different examples)
22. Clear rectangular bottle measuring approximately 8 by 2 7/8 by 1.25 inches and embossed QUININE / TONIC BITTERS / MANF. BY / Q.T.B. CHEMICAL CO. / LEXINGTON, KY. / U.S.A. Has initials Q.T.B. on side panels. Bottle also comes in a smaller size with the same embossing.
23. Like No. 22, but shorter in size.
24. Amber sample-sized bottle with lady’s leg measuring approximately 4 inches in height and embossed SCHROEDER’S / BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. / AND CINCINNATI. Embossed rooster on bottle.
25. Amber bottle with bulged neck and four smooth sides embossed E. BULL’S / LUXURY BITTERS / LOUISVILLE, KY. (see below)