Bottle collecting is a rapidly burgeoning genre, often making the top ten lists of the “most searched” categories of collectible on the Internet. This sale will have something for just about every collector in the field: rare “territory”
One bottle is expected to soar to $20,000-$30,000, maybe more. It’s an exceedingly rare Justus Perry early blown glass Masonic/eagle flask (GIV-1), made circa 1822-1840 by the Keene-Marlboro Street Glass Works. What makes the bottle so special is its fabulous purple and blue coloration. If the same bottle was being offered in its usual aqua, it might bring just $500.
But at past auctions, such a bottle has fetched tens of thousands of dollars. This example does have a small chip on the inside of the Masonic side lip, its only flaw. “We will be happy to have the lip fixed to perfection at no charge to the buyer,” Wichmann volunteered. “Without the lip chip, the bottle grades at 9.9. How much of a distraction the chip is – that’s up to the buyer.”
Soda bottles will span two key eras of manufacture. The so-called “blob”-style sodas, the first generation of sodas, were made from 1850-1890. The auction will have examples from the East and West coasts. The “territory hutch” sodas (made between 1890-1920) will also be in the sale, from Idaho, Utah, Hawaii, Oklahoma, the Northwest Territory and other pre-state regions.
While the sale boasts many rare and beautiful hutches, one stands out from the rest for its gorgeous olive-yellow coloration (hutches are almost always aqua). The T. Burkhardt Braddock bottle, with a tooled mouth and on a reverse base, is expected to hit $300-$600. Its condition is generally good, graded 8.5, with some typical light scratches, but the green color is the big draw.
Two bitters are worth singling out for their importance and desirability. The first is a Dr. Wonser’s U.S.A. Indian Root Bitters bottle, with an applied top (est. $7,000-$12,000)
The other is a Pineapple Bitters (one of two in the sale), made by W. & Co. (N.Y.) and graded a robust, near-mint 9.8 (est. $3,000-$6,000)
Western whiskey bottles were also known as “fifths” as they held a fifth of a gallon. But whiskeys also came out of the East, too. The sale will feature a very rare Mohawk whiskey and Pharazyyn bitters in the shape of Indian queens. Both are from the East Coast. The best of the West promises to be an Old Pioneer Whiskey bottle with an embossed bear (est. $3,000-$6,000)
The Old Pioneer bottle, graded a tip-top 10, has loads of whittle and a beautiful texture to the glass, which has a lovely yellowish amber hue. It is listed as Thomas-5 variant A, and was made by Wm. H. Spears & Co. (A. Fenkhausen, Sole Agents). The interesting nature of this bottle, combined with its overall beauty and mint-on-the-
Medicines will be well-represented and include a Wynkoop’s sasparilla in blue, a Morse’s Celebrated Syrup in green and many other rare and early pieces. The Morse’s medicine (est. $1,000-$2,000)
From the gins comes a London Jockey Clubhouse bottle with embossed horse and rider, graded 9.6 (est. $2,000-$3,000)
American Bottle Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single bottle or an entire collection, you may call them toll-free, at 1-800-806-7722;
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.