Dr. Renz's Herb Bitters bottle, circa 1868-1881, brings a record $24,150 at American Bottle Auctions
It was online-only sale #72, Part 1 of the Mel Hammer bottle collection, which ran from Dec. 10-19. Offerings included schnapps and gin bottles, bitters bottles and inkwells, most with 9.5 grades. Online bidding was driven through the ABA website.
By: American Bottle Auctions
The Mel Hammer collection is 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. Part 1 featured many of Mr. Hammer's favorites, such as schnapps and gin bottles, bitters bottles and inkwells, many boasting 9.5 grades.
The Dr. Renz's Herb Bitters was easily the top achiever in the 137-bottle auction and the price was a new auction record. A winner at the 1869 California State Fair, the bottle is one of just a handful known with the unique style tapered top. It was undoubtedly the first embossed bottle made for this bitters. All known examples have a green hue, with crudity consistent with the era.
"The bitters stole the show, but there were some very respectful bids in all categories,"
That was lot #64, a bright medium green Wister's Clubhouse gin bottle having an applied top with the earlier sticky ball type pontil. These bottles are very popular with collectors, as they come in a multitude of colors. In addition, they are typically very crude, with lots of character. This one was no exception. The condition was exceptional, except for small, minor scratches.
Lot #124 – a square, red amber whittled Turner Brothers bottle – was one that Mr. Hammer had purchased in one of Mr. Wichmann's auctions. It boasted an applied top with graphite pontil and showed both Turner Brothers locations (Buffalo, New York and San Francisco). The bottle checked every box: the color, crudity, rarity and condition were all exemplar. It brought $3,910.
Part 2 of the Mel Hammer bottle collection will be held sometime in March 2022 (dates and times to be announced; watch the website for details). To learn more, please visit www.americanbottle.com.