Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Atlas Bourbon - New variant surfaces - The Hits keep Comin'~

A couple of weeks ago we had an Atlas Bourbon, (#29 in the 4th edition), arrive on consignment. It had over an inch of what appeared to be petrified linseed oil in the bottom, and generous amounts of the same stuff stuck to the sides of the interior as well. It was yellow, stunk to high heaven, and all but impossible to break down. It was, to say the least, tenacious... Acetone, nope. Carb cleaner, nope. Gunk Degreaser, nope. Geez, what is this stuff?! Finally, my old standby, Tri Sodium Phosphate (tsp), came to the rescue.  After two weeks to the day of soaking in concentrated TSP, it gave in.

Once cleaned of the contents, it became immediately evident that it was much different than the few Atlas Bourbons that I'd seen before. Atlas is in a slightly different pose, the world is egg shaped, (instead of round), the North Pole looks to have melted, (climate change I guess), and the spacing on the lettering is notably different. The base and kick-up is also different and there is no base mark on it.


Compare the "new one" above to the previously documented mold. The differences are easy to spot.



We knew of a variant without the "29 Market" embossed on it, but it's odd that a brand which never really took off, had two very similar molds made. Wishful thinking that the brand would sell better than it did?
The bottle is not mint; it retains some stain both inside and out, has some rust transfer on the right side of the embossing pattern, and has some scratching. It has a slight imperfection on the base with what appears to be a small (1/8" - 3/16") surface annealing check (slight partial thickness only); these appear to be in manufacture when viewed through a loop.

The bottle (it's the one on the left) has a nice sun colored amethyst hue, and would most probably respond well to a professional cleaning. We've only had one other available, and that was over ten years ago. This one is available for purchase at an extremely attractive price.

Feel free to touch base if it's of interest. I'll be happy to forward more photos or answer any questions.
Just received an email from a friend down in California. It seems that there is at least one more of the "new" (now not so new) variant known. He's had his for over twenty years. Here's a photo of the entire run of three variants; side by side.
 The reason for the variant without the address just became apparent. Wilson stated that the firm dates ca. 1895 - 1900 located at 29 Market St., and Barnett listed dates as ca. 1895 - 1901.

I've just located a listing for 1894. They were located at 319 California.

Both molds on the right appear to be identical.

 My guess is that they were anticipating the move, had the mold initially cut, sans the address, and then had the 29 Market St. added after the relocation of the business.

They were also sole agents for the Eagle Glen brand.

 The firm did indeed last through 1901, and became Mohn and Mohns in 1902. The new firm continued to push the Eagle Glen brand, but dropped the Atlas brand, no doubt due to meager sales.


One of the great things about this website is the ability to share. Show and tell, so to speak.

This evening we got yet another email and photo from a well respected collector. He emailed,

"Hey Bruce here is a totally different Atlas it is shorter the embossing is different and it is very crude much like the Henry Campe"

Yep, another undocumented variant of the Atlas. A squattier version of the other three.

The owner went on to say that "the top is crude lots of glass but no drip or orange peel the glass is selenium".

And then there were four. The input from one and all is much appreciated!

Who's on deck next?


Sunday, March 22, 2015

When East meets West

An ongoing discussion seems to rear it's head at Western Bitters News on a pretty regular basis. You know the one, (is it a western, or an eastern bottle?).

The same thing could also apply to whiskies and advertising shot glasses.  

A shot came in the other day that had me scratching my head. It's got a bold gutsy etch that reads "Keystone Monogram". Eastern, or western?
The "Monogram" name and the logo both struck me as being somewhat familiar. I looked in Wilson first, hoping to see a photo of the bottle, as well as some provenance about the brand. Nothing there under Keystone but sure enough, under Monogram appeared a listing. It read Monogram Pure Rye Whiskey / Rosskam, Gerstley & Co. / Sherwood & Sherwood / Sole Agents. Bill dated it ca 1893 - 1905 (probably once again, up to the date of the '06 Earthquake and Fire). Bob Barnett also listed it in the same time frame and went on to add that the bottle is an amber squat quart, and has been documented with both tooled and applied tops.

Although the bottle is not embossed with either S. F. or Cal., a quick check of Rosskam, Gerstley & Co. showed that they exported the bulk of their product to the west coast.

The name "Sherwood & Sherwood" rang a bell. Sure enough, on one of my shelves was a labeled whiskey that once contained J. H. Cutter A No. 1 Bourbon. Front and center at the bottom of the label was the name of Sherwood & Sherwood / Distributors / San Francisco - Los Angeles. It's tooled, and appears ca. 1900.
A quick look at the 1900 Crocker / Langley S. F. Directory hit pay dirt. Sure enough, in bold type in Sherwood and Sherwood's advertisement is "Pacific Coast Agents for Keystone Monogram".

The brand may have originated in the east, as did Jesse Moore, but I think that this also qualifies the glass to be as Western as it gets.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Days of 49" (revisited)

About five years ago, we published an article on the brand. Here's a link to it;


Last weekend, a friend of mine acquired the " Meyerfeld, Mitchell & Co. / logo – Days of 49 / Trade Mark / Cincinnati & San Francisco", which was on the Winter 2015 list. It's #552 in Western Whiskey Bottles 4th edition.

It was described as "tooled, clear with that hue in the glass that says it'll turn deep amethyst, bold strike, bulge neck, slight content residue, nice example, (you should see their saloon sign!), last one we had was 2005."
During the course of conversation, we got to discussing the comparative rarity of this variant vs. the similar Days of 49 embossed  "Meyerfeld, Mitchell & Siebenhauer". He asked which I thought was the tougher of the two. My knee jerk response was that we've always thought they were about equal in scarcity. After all, Wilson had them pretty close to even in Spirits Bottles of the Old West, and Bob also had them neck and neck in the Western Whiskey Bottles book series.

I got to looking at my records and I stand corrected. I've had well over a dozen of the "M&M" variants over the years, and only one of the "MM&S" variants; all tooled as noted in the books.

Looking strictly at the facts... "Meyerfeld, Mitchell & Siebenhauer" was only in partnership for three years; 1890 - 1893. This compared to Meyerfeld, Mitchell & Co., who were in business from 1894 - 1905 (perhaps, even through April 1906). Three years vs. a potential 12 year stretch. And the real push for the Days of 49 brand started well after the dissolution of the partnership with Siebenhauer. As such, I'd have to say that we've been well off base and the Siebenhauer is indeed a tough bottle.

Tough, just got tougher!

A new, and previously undocumented, "Days of 49" variant just surfaced. A glop top! Yep, you read it right, an applied top variant! It's a German Connection clear globby, very similar to the E. A. Fargo that floated to the surface last year.




Just when you think you've seen it all!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

2016 Shootout Categories?

Time to start thinking about 2016 shootout

The two IXL's pictured above were the winners at the Auburn 2010 IXL Shootout.
I've proposed the inclusion of a western whiskey, specifically the Jesse Moore / Sole Agent glop top, as one of the three 2016 categories.
As mentioned previously, "They've got everything going for them! Both RTS and I have lined up dozens at a time on a counter, like soldiers in formation. Regardless of whether they are shoulder vented or not, the variations in terms of molds employed, color, and crudity are endless. "
What do you think?

Looks like public opinion is swinging in the direction of Shea, Bocqueraz & McKee

(Feel free to comment - In fact we encourage it. All you've got to do is click on "comments" below)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A word to the wise.

A word to the wise.

Not everyone's interpretation of the English language is the same. Take the word "FAIR" for instance.

We get a pretty constant stream of emails from collectors and non-collectors in the WWG inbox every week. Most from non-collectors are the typical "I got such and such bottle - how much is it worth?" Most of the novices out there could care less about the history of a bottle, they just want to know if they can make a buck on it. And most of the inquiries are answered with "since it has Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reuse of This Bottle, there's little to no demand at this time", it's pretty cut and dry.

Once in a while though, one really takes the cake. We got an email a while back from an old guy. Years ago, he'd picked a AAA flask up out of the sage brush while hunting.  He was trying to find a value online. The WWG popped up in his search, and he contacted us, hoping that he'd get an unbiased opinion. He asked what his AAA OldValley flask was worth. It was mint, crude, and a very good example. He wasn't interested in selling it but wanted it's value for estate purposes. I gave him the history about the bottle and provided the figures quoted in Thomas, as well as what they'd been selling for recently at shows.

He also told me that a Craigslist ad also appeared in his online search from someone wanting to buy old bottles. What caught his eye was the photo of a clear flask embossed AAA in the ad. It read; "I will buy your antique bottles for cash - $100 (norcal)". He sent me a link to the ad. 


I pulled up the ad that he'd mentioned. It had pictures of a few bottles that popped up in the main window when you clicked on them. One line in the ad caught my interest. " Fair prices, quick response." I wondered, what exactly is a FAIR price? And what would this person base his idea of a fair price on?

And so, we shot him off an inquiry. It read; "Hi. I saw your wanted ad on craigslist. I've got an old bottle (the Rosedale OK in the photo) that says the same thing as the purple one on the right side of your pictures.

Only its brown instead of purple. It is clean and shiny and there's no cracks or chips. I'm sending along a picture of it. What can you tell me about it?"

His response was somewhat generic; "Your bottle is a bit different, but from the same distributors. The one you have is scarcer than the one I have in my ad. It is from San Francisco , probably 1890's or so. Very nice bottle. I would like to buy it, if you are interested. Let me know."

We replied " Thank you for the information. If I were to think about selling it, what do you think that it would be worth?"

This is his reply; "I would pay you $200 for it.

Keep in mind that Thomas quotes a mid book figure of $2000.00. My experience with this bottle is in line with Johns.

We opted not to reply. Sure enough, along comes another email from "SAM". "Any interest? Counteroffer?

When questioned about his offer, and why he asked for a counter, he replied in part, "Well, a couple hundred dollars, ... , is considered quite good in the bottle world. Very few are worth much more and they are very scarce. Also, condition and color are everything in glass and bottles are no exception. The whiskey bottle, if absolutely perfect, with little or no surface scratches would be worth more.

Fair?       Really?
Your thoughts?

(Feel free to comment - In fact we encourage it. All you've got to do is click on "comments" below)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

News Flash - Dig of the decade!

This just in from Rick's "Western Bitters News";

"Just received this picture of a recently found cache of bottles by some mystery digger.
I don't have any information on the dig or the digger but thought I would share the picture"
(heh - a picture's worth a thousand words!)
Check out this stable full of horses!
Most probably the best dig of western fifths since  Lane and Tommy's "John Marsh dig" in the Gold Country many years ago......
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