He said "Attached are photos of the two bottles of liquor. Both bottles were discovered in the wall while I was remodeling my home in San Francisco. They were behind the lathe and plaster. Of course no one knows why someone left them there because there was no access to them."
At first glance, I had a hard time getting excited about them. Neat, but just not "up my alley"~
The first bottle was absinthe.
I recalled having handled a couple of Rathjen Mercantile amber cylinders over the years, but Rathjen Bros. Inc. didn't strike a familiar chord. Were they one in the same, or different entity's with owners sharing a common last name?
And so, off to a couple of my go-to sites I marched. One site that I rely heavily on when researching is an archive of San Francisco Business Directory's. The other provides access to early newspapers. Both have proved invaluable.
A couple of days later, here's what I ended up gleaning;
Schenley Import Corporation of NY was a large conglomerate. They acquired numerous domestic brand names during prohibition, but the firm dates well pre 1900.
They advertised as grocers but, as was often the case, sold wines, liquors and other wet goods in addition to food and household items. This the first advertising of record that I could find. It dates to 1892. Note the specialized liquers;
Here's a Rathjen Bros. advertising booklet dated 1895.
The Rathjen Bros. S.F. directory listing in 1907 notes a change of address.
The firms locations were;
21 Stockton St. S.F. 1890 - 1906,
39-41 Stockton (1907-1908),
272 O'Farrell (1909-1917)
It has an address embossed on it as well as just "Stockton St.."; only problem is, it's wrong (49 not 39)...
The owner inevitably then asked the big question, "what are they worth".
I suggested that rather than sell them, he display them in his home since they'd patiently awaited rediscovery from their hiding place in his wall for well over a century.