Herzberg’s Bitters & Botanic Bitters by Herzberg Brothers


Herzberg’s Bitters & Botanic Bitters by Herzberg Brothers

04 November 2014


Apple-Touch-IconAI haven’t thought about my Botanic Bitters (pictured on right above) until I received the below e-mail from a fellow with a Herzberg’s Bitters cylinder (pictured on left above). The name “Herzberg” is common on both bottles. I wonder if they are related? The e-mail:

Dear Mr. Ferdinand Meyer V,

My name is Harry and I am a novice antique bottle collector. If you could be so kind, I would like to know some information on this 11.5 in tall, amber fifth whiskey style bottle embossed Herzberg’s Bitters. I have been trying to find information on this bottle for some time but have not had any luck. The only thing that I can come up with this that a there is another bottle embossed Botanic Bitters Herzberg Bros. New York but that bottle is completely different from this one. I have been told that this bitters is in the Carlyn Ring & W.C. Ham Bitters Bottle book but I do not have a copy of it. Is this an uncommon bitters bottle? I do not know if this helps but I bought this in southeast PA.

Thank you


Botanic Bitters (motif of Sphinx) – Meyer Collection


“BOTANIC” / (motif of the Sphinx) / “BITTERS – HERZBERG BROS – NEW YORK”, (B-165), New York, ca. 1865 – 1875, medium amber, 9 3/4″h, smooth base, applied tapered double collar mouth. A pinhead size bruise exists on the top of the lip another is on a back panel edge. An unusual form, with unusual embossing! – Glass Works Auctions

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles for the Herzberg’s Bitters is as follows:

H 104Herzberg's

11 1/2 x 3 1/4 (5 3/4)
Round, Amber and Yellow, LTCR, Applied mouth, Very rare

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

B 165Sketch

BOTANIC ( au ) / motif-sphinx / BITTERS / HERZBERG BROS. // f //
10 x 3 1/2 x 2 3/4 (6) 1
Rectangular, Amber, LTCR, Applied mouth, Rare
New York Directory 1877-8 Herzberg Bros. 46 Vesey Street called Botanic Sphinx Bitters. This brand unknown with paper label.
Drug Catalog: 1894 M&R
Trade Mark issued August 1875 to Moritz Hertzberg of New York City for Botanic Aromatic Bitters. As Herzberg name first appeared in the New York City directory in 1877 as producer of Botanic Sphinx Bitters, it is assumed that he produced a bitters with a paper label identity and then switched names adding a sphinx motif by 1877.

Stereoscopic card of the Great Sphinx and Ruins of Temple, Egypt – New York address

Herzberg Family

From the best that I can tell, the father, Heiman Herzberg was born in Germany around 1810 and came to America in the late 1850s with his family, settling in New York City. He was listed as selling “bitters” in 1866 at 72 Broome Street. He had four or five sons, Joseph (1835-), Aaron, (1842-1919), Moritz (1847-) and Leo (1855-). These guys were the Herzberg Brothers and they ran various wholesale and retail liquor stores in New York City from 1869 to 1889 or so. I have a feeling that Emanuel Herzberg (born 1812 in Prussia) was Heiman’s brother. He was a physician in New York City.

Their big seller was Botanic Bitters that had an odd “Sphinx” embossed on the face of the bottle. Moritz Herzberg received a patent in 1875 and they sold the product in New York and surrounding areas from then until 1877 or 1878. The Herzberg’s Bitters cylinder can not be directly tied to the family but I strongly suspect it was a predecessor to the embossed Botanic “Sphinx” Bitters bottle. Note that Harry found the bottle in southeast Pennsylvania which puts it in the area. I have asked for more pictures as I wonder if the bottle is pontiled. There is also a yellow example out there according to Ring & Ham.


Base of Hertberg Bitters – It does not appear to be pontiled as far as I can tell. The grayish substance on the base in one photo seems to just be mineralization. – Harry

Select Listings:

1810: Heiman Herzberg born in Prussia.

1848: Moritz Herzberg, born in Germany about 1848.

1862: Heiman Herzberg Naturalization on January 2, 1862

1862: Heiman (Heiman, Heisman) Herzberg, liquor, 311 Wash’n, h. 72 Broome – Trow’s New York City Directory also Emanuel Herzberg, physician, h 1 Amity – Trow’s New York City Directory *Are they related? *Probably brothers

1864: Heyman (Heiman, Heisman) Herzberg, bitters, h. 72 Broome – Trow’s New York City Directory also Emanuel Herzberg, physician, h 1 Amity – Trow’s New York City Directory

1867: Hyman Herzberg, h 104 Broome, Emanuel Herzberg, physician, h 1 Amity NYC – New York City Directory

1869-1872: Herzberg Brothers, liquor, (Moritz, Joseph and Aaron Herzberg), 70 E. Broadway – New York City Directory

1872: Herzberg Brothers, liquor, (Moritz and Aaron Herzberg), 70 E. Broadway – New York City Directory

1873: Herzberg Brothers, liquors, 207 Hudson, 209 Third and 70 E. Broadway – Goulding’s Business Directory of New York

1873: Moritz Herzberg, wines, 181 Water – Goulding’s Business Directory of New York

1874: Heyman Herzberg, broker, Aaron Herzberg & Erlend Herzberg, liquors, 209 Third and 207 Hudson, Emanuel Herzberg, physician, Moritz Herzberg, wines, 181 Water – New York City Directory

1875: Patent 2,868 for Botanic Aromatic Bitters (see below) by Moritz Herzberg – Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, July 9, 1875


1876: Moritz Herzberg, liquors, 46 Vesey, Aaron Herzberg, liquors, 6 Riverton *Erland Herzberg not listed- New York City Directory

1877: Advertisement for Botanic Bitters (see below), Herzberg Brothers, New York – Lowell, Mass Courier, 1877


Advertisement for Botanic Bitters, Hewrzberg Brothers, New York – Lowell, Mass Courier, 1877

1880: Moritz Herzberg, wholesale liquor dealer, New York City – United States Federal Census

1889: Herzberg & Co. Liquors, 41 Bowery, 11 Delancey and 44 Division (Aaron Herzberg, B Herzberg, wid Heiman, Leo Herzberg, Moritz Herzberg (also M & L Liquors)

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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One Response to Herzberg’s Bitters & Botanic Bitters by Herzberg Brothers

  1. Brandon DeWolfe says:

    We dug one of the Botanic Sphinx Bitters bottles right here in Texas, so Herzberg distributed pretty widely.

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