American Bottle Auctions will offer Part 1 of the Mel Hammer collection, online-only, December 10-19

Bidders can bid online at the American Bottle Auctions website: Offerings include schnapps and gin bottles, bitters bottles and inkwells, many having 9.5 grades, 137 lots in all. Part 2 will be offered sometime in March.
By: American Bottle Auctions
Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters (est. $8,000).
Greeley’s Bourbon Whiskey Bitters (est. $8,000).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Dec. 4, 2021 - PRLog -- Part 1 of the Mel Hammer bottle collection – an incredible hoard gathered over a 50-year span by a man who dedicated much of his adult life to the acquisition and study of antique glass – will be sold in online Auction #72 that begins on Friday, December 10th and ends on Sunday, December 19th at 8 pm Pacific time, by American Bottle Auctions.

The full catalog, showing all 137 lots, will be posted on December 10th, on the American Bottle Auctions website (, where people can also register and bid. The offerings will feature Mr. Hammer's favorites, to include schnapps and gin bottles, bitters bottles and inkwells, many boasting 9.5 grades. Mr. Hammer died on Thanksgiving Day.

"Mel was a true collector of bottles," said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. "I didn't know him as well as I would have liked, but I did see him when he made the drive down from his home in Redding to our shop in 2019. He'd purchased one of the nicer bottles in Auction #69. No surprise, it was a square, red amber whittled Turner Brothers bottle, as nice as we'd seen."

That very bottle is lot #124 in the auction. It boasts an applied top with graphite pontil and shows both Turner Brothers locations (Buffalo, New York and San Francisco). The bottle enjoys every attribute a bottle collector is looking for; the color, crudity, rarity and condition are all exemplar. Its one minor flaw – a small flake on the lip – gives it a grade of 9.2. It should realize $4,000.

Every other bottle in this report has a grade of 9.5, starting with lot #71: the Brown's Celebrated Indian Herb figural bitters bottle (patented Feb. 11, 1868) with rolled lip. Every bottle collection needs to have an Indian Queen in it, and for Mel Hammer he chose this light amber example. He understood the beauty in the Eastern-made figural bitters like this one (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

The Dr. Renz's Herb Bitters bottle (San Francisco, circa 1868-1881) with an applied tapered top, light lime green in color, 9 ¾ inches tall, is believed to be one of only four known, with a unique style tapered top. They're all in a green hue and exhibit crudity consistent with the era. One has never been sold at auction. This one will be the first, and it has an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

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