We are proud and happy to be presenting the Don Dwyer Collection of Soda and Bitters bottles for auction 70. Don began collecting antique bottles in the 1960’s when he was checking out some old Chinese camps near his home in Oroville, CA. Owner and founder of a lumber business, Don found some old bottles and other items years back and became hooked. Working in the forest gave him the opportunity to enjoy his time outside and visit old lumber camps while he also kept his eyes peeled for bottles and other artifacts. He also has a keen interest in mining placer gold. Back then he collected various types of bottles, but he said when the Wichmann Bitters book came out in 1999, Antique Western Bitters Bottles, he decided to concentrate his collection solely on bitters. His goal was to try and get every specimen in the book and he came very close.
The bottles Don accumulated often came in different variants, applied top or tooled top of the same bottle, color runs and at the top of his list were squares. Among the many bottles we are selling are his run of Renz’s Bitters and Rosenbaum’s. From the very rare and valuable to the grouping of Lash’s Bitters in every shape and size, Don knew what a collector must do when trying to put together every specimen, and he did it.
His desire to collect sodas and mineral waters was a valiant one. Where most western collectors go after either just the examples made in San Francisco, Don had a varying number of pontiled examples that were made in the east and brought out west for a western company. Once again color runs were another exciting part of his soda collection as he has different colored examples of the same bottle.
Don will still maintain his vast collection of Marysville bottles. His home is located directly in the forest and with the fires that have occurred over the last number of years, he won’t miss what seemed a yearly evacuation to save his bottle collection. He looks forward to taking it easy and doing some hunting and fishing and maybe find some gold. He has three sons he’d like to spend more time with and although collecting is in his blood, he will still maintain his local collection and enjoy the free time he will have. We have to say we were excited to hear from Don when he first called our office and said he had made his decision. I asked him at least a few times, “are you sur you want to sell your collection,” and each time came the same answer, “Yes.” We hope you are excited as we are, and we look forward to presenting this part 1 of the Don Dwyer Collection.