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Auction # 67 Part 2

Auction Ended: Sunday February 23rd, 2020 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: May 29, 2024 05:03:08 PDT
May 29, 2024 08:03:08 EDT

We thank everyone who participated in the Ken Fee Collection. We considered it a real privilege to be able to bring such a great collection to the auction block. As I write this there are still some bids being settled and once again we are delighted at the pace and strength of the bottle hobby. Invoices are going out via email right away. If you want to get an invoice mailed to you please give us a call. Thank You!
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An Asterisk '*' next to the current bid amount indicates no bid has been accepted
That price is the Minimum Bid

Catalog Lots 1 to 15

Final Bid
 CLIMAX BITTERS SAN FRANCISCO CAL. Tooled top. 1887-90. C 174. Ken Fee was obviously tuned into the western bitters market early on. That’s not only exemplified with bottles like this Climax Bitters but the myriad of other amber squares and other bottles in this sale. Here’s a bitters with a slightly odd shape made for Justin Gates out of Sacramento. Gates died in 1888 and the product was not sold much after that. These are quite rare, and this is a very nice one. A light amber example with some pretty decent crudity, especially on the side panels. A few scratches and minor interior haze but generally a grade 8.8.  
$ 700
 ALPINE HERB BITTERS A 36 Applied top 9”. We believe that this bottle was the predecessor to the next lot and either that is true, or this was another product with the same name. We are pretty sure it is the same company, as Ring/Ham describes the advertising as being the same as the following lot. If it’s Taylor’s product this is the first one, we’ve seen. There is another bitters named the Swiss Alpine Bitters and we know that Thomas Taylor got into some hot water after coming out with his own Alpine Bitters. This bottle has a new top, it's unfortunate but not all of the Ken Fee bottles were perfect. Still a bottle we've never seen that is most likely extremely rare. Has some light crudity in a medium amber. No grade because of the repair.  
$ 100
 ALPINE HERB BITTERS with T.T. & CO MONOGRAM on reverse. A 37. Ex. Rare. APPLIED TOP 1888-96. The initials on the reverse of this bottle stand for “Thomas Taylor,” who worked in both San Francisco and Virginia City, at first primarily as a bookkeeper for J.G. Frisch. Taylor has another bottle with his name on it which is the Virginia N. whiskey. Unfortunately for Taylor, deciding on the Alpine Bitters was quickly determined to be an infringement on the Swiss Alpine Herb Bitters and they changed the name to “Champion Cocktail Bitters.” As it turns out, this bottle was made for a period of about 6 months and is quite rare. A nice light to medium amber with some decent overall crudity. Never cleaned. There is a sticker on the bottom that says it came from an antique store named, “Iron & Antiques.” A terrific specimen that grades a 9  
$ 850
 JEWEL BITTERS JOHN S. BOWMAN & CO. 1866, J 34. Applied top. Here’s another western bitters that has two variants. This example was created while Bowman was in charge, which was only for one year. He also produced a couple of rare and desirable whiskey flasks by the name Old Jewel. In addition to the Bowman example, there is also one that reads, “A. Fortlouis & CO.” Fortlouis was Bowman’s partner and somehow ended up with his name on the bottle. While both bottles are extremely rare, it is thought that there are only a couple of the Fortlouis examples. Here’s another nice bitters in great condition with some bubbles and light crudity. Grades a 9.4.  
$ 800
 OREGON GRAPE ROOT BITTERS. 0 78 Tooled top 1885 only. Here is an example of this western bitters named after the root of the Oregon Grape, the state flower. It is known that the Wolters Bros Co. financed the production of this product. A nice condition example, which was professionally cleaned. The top has a repair albeit minor, barely visible with the naked eye and slightly detected with a black light. Otherwise would grade an 8.5.  
$ 120
 KING SOLOMON’S BITTERS SEATTLE WASH. K 50, 7 ¼”, tooled top. This is the little brother to the larger variant we sold in Part 1. These are a later bottle and although they are recognized as being scarce, we believe that both sizes are rarely offered for sale and therefore probably rarer than previously thought. At any rate, here’s a bottle with a great name and this one is in perfect condition. Grades a 9.3.  
$ 80
 PRUNE BITTERS GIVES STRENGTH QUICKLY. Tooled top, circa 1900, P 150. These bottles got straight to the point of what a bitters was all about; a diuretic and a little something added to calm you down. There are two variants of the Prune Bitters in completely different bottles, this one being much harder to find and listed as extremely rare. There is a flake of the lip but is otherwise in perfect condition. It might be some time before another one of these is offered. Grades a 9.5 except for the lip flake, see photo.  
$ 110
 BENNET’S CELEBRATED STOMACH BITTERS with JOS. N. SOUTHER SOLE PROPRIETORS SAN FRANCISCO. Applied top, 9”, B 73. The first variant of the Bennet’s Bitters, this has as much writing as the next lot but blown in a more conventional embossing pattern with the letters in straight lines. We daresay Bennet got his money’s worth when you consider the number of letters and words, he managed to have the mold maker put on his bottles. This example is a beautiful lighter amber and is in great condition overall. The world is a better place having Mr. Bennet and all the other bitters makers being a part of it for over 160 years. Another nice bitters purchased years ago for the Ken Fee Collection. Grades a 9.5.  
$ 650
 BENNET’S WILD CHERRY STOMACH BITTERS with CHENREY, SOUTHER & CO. SOLE AGENTS SAN FRANCISO, CAL on reverse. Applied top, 9”, B 74. Here is the second variant put out for the Bennet Bitters Company. Luckily, we have an example of each variant in this sale. These second examples are a little fancier bottle than the previous lot. This has the writing in a distinctive oval pattern and is quite an appealing design. A close look at this bottle reveals the writing on each sides goes the opposite direction, an interesting point that we don’t remember seeing on another bottle. Although this example is a slightly medium orange amber, we’ve seen these in a cherry red to match the contents. This one has some nice light crudity and is overall a great condition example. A grade 9.5 looker.  
$ 950
 DOYLE’S HOP BITTERS 1872 with embossed hop plant. Ring D-93. Applied top, smooth base. A nice-looking bottle. Here’s a common bitters that is found mostly in similar amber colors. While, we might not include this bottle in other auctions, we wanted to make sure we included everything from the Fee collection in decent condition. There are different variants of this bottle with about twenty different variants with varying hops and leaves. This one grades about a 9.5  
$ 50
 DR. SOULE’S HOP BITTERS with embossed monogram. S-145. Applied top, 9 ½”. Here is a popular bottle in very dark amber. When looked at through the top, we can see it is a very dark, almost black amber. This one grades about a 9.5.  
$ 210
 HAMBURGER LEBENS TROPFEN JOHN CARL MITAU with fancy monogram in clear glass. H 16 Tooled top 1890’s. The story of this bottle is an unusual one. As it turns out, William Hoelscher worked with John Wieland, a well-known brewer, for 14 years until he decided to start his own business in 1874. It is not known how many or even what brands he sold, but a labeled variant of this bottle has his name front and center. The brand only lasted a few years and was most likely sold in unembossed bottles for some time. This example has a 1/2” wide lip repair and was cleaned. It is thought that there are only a couple of these case gin bottles known. Aside from the repair, this one displays beautifully.  
$ 40
 HAMBURGER LEBENS TROPFEN JOHN CARL MITAU with fancy monogram in aqua. H 16. Tooled top 1890’s. It’s interesting that Ken Fee had both the clear and aqua variants of this bottle, as the only other examples we’ve seen, were photographed for the Wichmann bitters book from the Siri collection. Hoelscher went for an unusual presentation in his choice of containers. If you didn’t know better, you might think these were possibly made for a foreign concern, but they are pure San Francisco. This example is in overall nice condition and despite the cleaning displays beautifully and would qualify for a grade 9.  
$ 180
 LOUIS TAUSSIG & CO SAN FRANCISCO CAL. Applied top. Most collectors of western bottles are very familiar with the Taussig name. It comes on several different whiskey bottles. That being said, we also know from an advertisement in a San Francisco newspaper, according to Ring/Ham, that they produced a bitters. It’s also possible this bottle has been found with a label and of course, we also know that square amber fifths were generally reserved for bitters. This bottle is a later product with a somewhat unusual flat embossing. Grades a 9.5  
$ 325
 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 with an applied top. The labels on these were quite something. This example is overall in great shape with the smallest of flakes on the lip, please check the picture  
$ 150
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