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Auction # 67 Part 1

Auction Ended: Sunday December 8th, 2019 at 8:00 PM PST / 11:00 PM EST
Each Lot Closes Separately when a bid is not entered for 10 minutes

Auction Local Time: Mar 26, 2023 02:37:40 PDT
Mar 26, 2023 05:37:40 EDT

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Catalog Lots 1 to 15

Final Bid
 DR. HENLEY’S WILD GRAPE ROOT BITTERS IXL Applied top, amber square. 1880-81 Tiny roughness on back lip. W.F. & SONS on base. 9” One of a number of products that Henley and his entrepreneur partners Epstein and marketed in the early 1880’s. This bottle was made by William Frank in Pittsburgh. It’s not unusual that Henley had more than one bottle made outside of the west coast. This one has a pressure type ding on the back lip, as pictured. Without the ding it would grade a solid 9.  
$ 600
 EXCELSIOR BITTERS Amber pint with applied tapered top. 1888-92 Here’s a bottle we don’t see often and also comes with a tooled top. There is another variant with the name misspelled, which we have not seen for some time. This bottle is listed as coming only with the tooled top, however, the evidence is clear they also certainly come with an applied tapered top. This one has some nice light overall crudity and like most of the Ken Fee bottles, was not cleaned. As nice an example as we’ve seen, which are not many. Grades a 9.5  
$ 250
 STOCKTON’S PORT WINE BITTERS Applied top, 1884-86. On first glance, a Californian (and people aware of our geography) would think these boldly embossed bottles were made for the town of Stockton, an important city during the gold rush. The bitters was actually made for a San Jose, Ca. company. The proprietor was named Stockton. For some reason, they are often stained and this one seems to be in great condition. A scarce western bitters and another bottle that was never cleaned. You’re bidding on the boldest monogram around. Grades a 9.2  
$ 1,300
 PIPIFAX Applied top amber square fifth. Pipifax was a very well-known beverage and enjoyed success for a dozen years. We were told that they distributed their product in barrels accompanied by labels, with which the retailer could use with any bottle of their choice. And then of course, there are bottles with the Pipifax name, as seen here. The name Pipifax in German means nonsense. A picture of the label attests to the non-sensical approach they took in their advertising and promotion. The bottles are supposedly rare, but we have seen a few. Another great condition example that grades a 9.  
$ 60
 BGB Tooled top amber case bottle. Late 1880’s It is thought the initials on this bottle stand for “Blue Gum Bitters,” made for Basil A. Hester of Stockton. This product was also sold in a paper label only, milk glass gin shaped bottled, one is pictured in the Wilson Bitters book page 67. Although we are not familiar, this product was made from the leaves of the blue gum tree, a tree indigenous to Australia. This product was believed to have been distributed throughout the world, with the bottles generally thought of as being made in San Francisco. These also come with an applied top. It is known that Hester lived in Stockton so it makes sense. He also owned an asylum in Stockton—he was apparently a full-time employee and owner. At any rate, somewhere along the line he sprung for an embossed amber bottle, not too unlike the milk glass bottles he used previously. The label said, Blue-Gum Bitters, The Stomach's Friend. Let its Use Be Witness. A very rare bottle, this is one of the first we have seen since photographing the bitters book and using the example in the Richard Siri collection. Grades a 9.  
$ 200
 HIERAPICRA BITTERS EXTRACT OF FIGS BOTANICAL SOCIETY CALIFORNIA with FIG on base. Applied top 1878-81. These are a scarce and often beautiful bottle in a nice deep western aqua color. These bitters began in the mining town of Angel’s Camp where they formed a society investigating the potential of figs as a medicinal remedy. Their efforts appeared to have been rewarded, as they eventually changed to bigger bottles after early success. This has some wear and a small scrape on the reverse panel with some scratching near the shoulder. Sounds horrible but check the pictures. The rest of the bottle is generally in superior shape. Nice color, light crudity, and grades an 8.  
$ 850
 CALIFORNIA FIG BITTERS CALIFORNIA EXTRACT OF FIG CO SAN FRANCISCO CAL. Tooled top 1900. As the fig contingent in Angel’s Camp grew, they decided to change containers and opted for these square amber examples. They must have been very successful, as these bottles are hardly considered rare. There is a variant where they added the word, “HERB,” and those are also seen neatly made, as they are turn of the century. Grades a 9.8  
$ 90
 DAMIANA BITTERS BAJA CALIFORNIA 1877-1910 Applied top. These bottles are also quite prevalent, as they were made for over 20 years. This is an earlier applied top variant with good bubbles and crudity, in addition, it has a star on the base. Just another western bitters that became a very popular product. Nice green streaks in the top. Grades an 8.5  
$ 120
 LASH’S KIDNEY & LIVER BITTERS THE BEST CATHARTIC & BLOOD PURIFIER. Tooled top. And yet another prevalent western bitters, next to the Hostetter’s this may be the most often seen by collectors today. The Lash’s Company put out a number of products, none of them were particularly good for you as they contained ethanol, methanol and lead. Please refer to the highly informative 3-part article in the Sept-November 2019 Antique Bottle and Glass Collector magazine, written by John Panella and Joe Widman. It's a bit of a wake-up call on what was being sold to the public before the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. This is a nice light bright yellow which would be a good addition to any western bitters collection. Some light crudity grades a 9.  
$ 250
 HIBERNIA BITTERS. Applied top, 1886-90. Here’s a bottle that comes in two variants and was produced for Hermann Braunschweiger and Edward Bumstead. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they were partners on the well-known Bear Grass whiskey bottle, which is a highly sought-after bottle today. There are two different variants of the square fifth and both are rare. This example is the second variant and as mentioned comes only with a tooled top. The labels on these were quite something. This one grades a 9.2.  
$ 230
 BOTANIC STOMACH BITTERS with same on reverse, 1885-89. Tooled top. Here is another bottle that comes in two different variants. Although it is thought this product was made for four years, it was apparently, not very successful, as examples are very hard to find. It is believed this variant always has the tooled top. Botanic, by the way, means the science of plants. A scarce bottle with extremely bold embossing on both sides, in a vibrant amber. Grades a 9.5  
$ 425
 PRUNE STOMACH & LIVER BITTERS THE BEST CATHARTIC & BLOOD PURIFIER. Tooled top. Here’s a bottle that looks so much like the Lash’s bitters, it’s a wonder they weren’t sued although they may have had a hand in producing the bitters. There is another variant of the Prune Bitters that is a much different bottle, which tells us it was probably a well-known bitters. These are about as late a produced bottle as they come before the automatic bottling machine. For those wanting to collect all the western bitters, here’s a nice example that grades a 9.5.  
$ 110
 MACK’S SARSAPARILLA BITTERS / MACK & CO PROP’RS SAN FRANCISCO on reverse. Applied tapered top, 1884-87. These bottles have an unusual shape and are a tough one to find, especially with the applied top. In addition to bitters collectors, these bottles also appeal to the sarsaparilla collectors. You might think there would be more of these around, as they were made for 6 years, but it’s possible they used an unembossed bottle for some of that time. The company burned down in 1906 because of the earthquake and Julius Mack later became president of the Imperial Oil Company. The bottle has some light crudity and would be a great addition to any bitters collection. Grades a 9.  
$ 500
 GERMAN BALSAM BITTERS W.M. WATSON & CO SOLE AGENTS FOR U.S. Applied top, 1880’s. Here’s an applied top variant of this rare bottle, we have only sold a couple, including this one. There was very little information on this guy, although we do know he sold his product to the Winedale Company, who retained the brand name but changed to an unembossed bottle. These are only one of two milk glass bottles made in the west, so in that regard, we can’t even say that it was made in the west. Regardless, it has only been found out here and is generally regarded as a western bottle, a label says it was from Oakland, CA. Whether milk glass was made in the west is a good question. We don’t see any in the known pictures of glass houses exhibits. Notice the variation in the color of the glass being much lighter in the upper third of the bottle. This one is about as perfect as they come and grades a 9.5. Thanks to Bruce Silva for sending the information on this interesting man.  
$ 1,200
 MOHICA BITTERS / ROTH & CO SAN FRANCISCO on reverse. Applied top. Flake off bottom corner base. 1879 Another nice and rarely seen western bitters. For more information on the Mohican Indians, please click on the link below. The Mohica name was no doubt something the Roth Company thought simply sounded good since the Mohica tribe was primarily on the Atlantic coast. Regardless, a great name, this has a small ding on the corner base and an in-making flake that goes under the applied ring, as pictured. Overall a terrific example and although we don’t know how many exist, it can’t be many. This one would grade in the 9+ if not for the corner base flake.  
$ 425
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