Monday, August 26, 2013

Real? Repro? Fantasy or Fakes?

Update 8/28

Poof; and they were gone~

Looks to me like enough collectors banded together and got involved; and made a difference. As of this AM,  "stoneware-and-photos" (aka "kycollectibles12") eBay feedback has gone private and all listings have been terminated.

GOOD JOB to one and all for making a difference.

Hopefully the bidders who were defrauded will be reimbursed and the seller will get their just deserts.

Update 8/27

Yesterday, I was pointed in the direction of antique advertising tokens that are associated with the Az. Nv. and S.F. jugs .

Sure enough;

Based on what I see, the person / persons that "created" these jugs, simply copied the information present on the original and authentic tokens.

Oddly (or perhaps not)

The recent bitters scam alert posted on the Peachridge site was for

The seller on ebay was kycollectibles12.

As of today; the seller ID on the listing for the mini jug listings had changed to

 Less than 1 Month
 IN,United States

But, if you run an ebay seller search under stoneware-and-photos it links back kycollectibles12


"The box below contains the User IDs that this member has used on eBay. "

User ID
Effective Date
End Date


The seller has already closed four sales of these suspect jugs, for as much as $473.68 a pop. 

I just noticed that one of his listings had the description revised and although he still claims that these were his grandfathers, he now states that they may be "older reproductions". Duh, reproductions? Ya think?
Regardless, based on the user ID monkey business and all the red flags, I'D make a wide berth of these offerings.

This morning I spotted three fresh listings on eBay. They are for "Mini Stoneware Scratch Jug".

One is incised "Compliments Of The Ruby Saloon Yuma Ariz 1900". It is listing number 111151276386.

The next one is incised "Compliments Of Sioux Saloon 901 Buchanan St S.F Cal".  It is listing number 111151283228.

The third is incised "Compliments Of Gold Dust Saloon Goldfield Nev". It is listing number 111151278923.

Seller states; I acquired this collection from my grandfather and don't know anything about them so i am selling with NO GUARANTEES!!!!!!!!.

Hmm, red flag.
And then I got to looking at the word "OF".
More than just a casual similarity?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dejavu - BLM flexes it's muscles again...

Oregon Trail damaged in south-central Idaho

According to the Associated Press; The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is investigating damage to a portion of the Oregon Trail in south-central Idaho near Burley. It was allegedly damaged by people using metal detectors and shovels to illegally search for artifacts.
The BLM stated that  they recently found about 400 holes over several miles of the trail. This area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and protected under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act of 1979.
The holes were dug alongside "pristine wagon ruts" made in the 1800s through the dirt and sagebrush by thousands of immigrants heading to Oregon, officials said.
"It is the BLM's responsibility to protect and preserve any sections of the Oregon National Historic Trail under its jurisdiction," said BLM Burley Field Office Archaeologist Suzann Hendrikson. "The recent damage to the trail near Burley has resulted in a significant loss of history for the American public."
The following photo shows Ms. Hendrikson inspecting some of the "damage".
Suzann Henrikson, archaeologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, looks at a boulder that was displaced (ie: to move physically out of position - as if BLM permitted range cattle don't) from the Oregon Trail.

“I haven’t seen the magnitude of this kind of damage ever,”Henrikson discovered the damage Aug. 13 while visiting the site with a group of volunteers interested in grooming the trail. ("grooming"? - exactly what is grooming and how does it impact the "pristine nature" of the trails archeological context?)

"Although owning a metal detector is not illegal, be aware that using this device on lands under federal management may result in a crime," Henrikson said. "If you sink a shovel in an archaeological site on public land, you could be convicted of a felony."

"A BLM special agent is investigating the incident as a criminal case." (our tax dollars at work once again...)
"People convicted of ARPA violations can be fined up to $20,000 and jailed for one year for a first offense. Second-time offenders may be fined $100,000 and receive up to five years in prison. (and convicted drug dealers, rapists, and 2nd degree murderers get what?) Federal and state laws also prohibit selling, buying and trafficking artifacts removed from public land."

And so, the witch hunt is on by the BLM to locate and prosecute those who did the digging.
The Oregon Trail generally followed level ground along the Snake River in Idaho before entering northeastern Oregon, where immigrants crossed the Blue Mountains north-west of what is now Boise.

Boy, I dunno...
I think that the diggers were irresponsible if they left their holes open, but why not recover whatever is laying out there in the sage before time and the elements destroy it for all eternity.
This seems to me to be like a case of "the dog in the manger".
I (BLM) doesn't want it, but you can't have it either~
If you get the urge to touch base with Ms. Henrikson, just to let her know what a "great job" that she and the BLM are doing with your hard earned tax dollars, she can be reached at;

Suzann Henrikson
Burley Field Office 15 East 200 South Burley, ID 83318
(208) 677-6663
Oh, and her boss is
Mike CourtneyField Manager
15 East 200 South
Burley, ID. 83318

(208) 677-6663
(no email listed)


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Top Tens - Semi Finals

To date, here are the winners of the "top tens"

categories (picture and non-picture) tool tops. Based on

the numbers, these are infinitely rarer than most of the

glop tops listed in John Thomas's survey. But, alas,

they're "just tooled tops"~


Columbian (right face) = 2 known

Old Joe Tracy = 2 known (1 repaired) The other listed on Ebay for $125K...

Non Pareil 1/5 = 2 known
Correction 3 known

RCL said;

"I had 2 non pariel 5ths and sold one that was repaired. It was a variant mold. The bottle was taller and the
embossing was the same but arranged a bit different."

Kuhls Schwarke Log Cabin = 2 known

Phoenix (clear) = 2 known

 Eagle Glen 16 base = 1 known
Correction 2 known

H J Grauerholz = 2 known

Belle of Mason = 2 known

 Royal Stag JP Schardin = 1 known

Choice Old Cabinet = 3 known
Correction 7 known

A Tie
Gilt Edge (clear) = 6 or 7 known


Copper Distilled = 3 known
Correction 7 known

 Hilbert Bros = 3 known
Correction 4 known
Chenoweth & Tobin The 49er = 2 known
Correction 3 known

D. H. Hillen = 2 known

 OPS = 3 known
Correction 6 known
Merchant's Inn - Ranzulo = 2 known
(correction new find 3 - photo soon)

ABC House (Fergusson) = 1 known

Laurel Crown = 2 known
Correction 4 known

J.D. Heise Grocers = 1 known

T.M. Ferguson 719 Market S.F. = 2 known

If you know of additional examples, let's hear it. If

you disagree with these somewhat unscientific counts

(educated guesses actually), or think that

we should consider other candidates, let's hear it.
We need photos of many of these to round this out. If

you've got an example, feel free to forward a picture and

we'll include it in the post.

Golden Plantation just posted some information on the prior article so I've corrected the numbers based on his input, as well as my own knowledge.

The plot thickens.

  3 more nominees~

 And yet another I didn't know existed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The top Tens - Updated Friday 8/09

A while back, there was a discussion on the Western Bitters site about the top ten in terms of rarity within that collecting arena.

I'd like to offer up the same question in regards to San Francisco tool top whiskey fifths. I'd further propose to break it down into two segments; pictures and those without.

As most know, a number of bottles were blown in the old molds with both tooled and applied tops. Later, nearing the turn of the century, new molds were made that resembled the old molds, but with much crisper embossing due to advanced manufacturing and glass blowing techniques. I propose that we limit this poll to only the new molds.

I'd welcome hearing from one and all about your thoughts on the subject including numbers in collections at this time. And if I missed the boat on any, let's hear your nominations. And please, send me your photos.

Here's my nominations (not necessarily in any order).

Gold Dust Rye
Columbian (right face / Sole Agt)
Choice Old Cabinet
Laurel Crown
Tea Cup
Rothenburg (chicken)
Ahrens Bullwinkle
Old Joe Tracy
Golden Bourbon - Pony (Shea B &Co.)


Without Pictures:
Hilbert Bros
Copper Distilled
Pepper (in circle)
Kellogg's (W&Co only)
D. H. Hillen
Exposition Brand
H. J. Grauerholz
ABC House (Fergusson)
Tobin (49er)
Tobin (Behind the Barrel)
Rich Luchessi just agreed to lend a hand with his thoughts. Here's what Rich had to say;
Clear Phoenix
Pacific Club (Indian paddling canoe) (disqualified - Seattle)
Non Pariel Clear (pict deer head)
Log Cabin Kuhls & Schwarke
H.J. Grauerholz
Eagle Glen (Amber) Mohns & Kaltenbach (16 base)
Belle of Mason
Old Joe Tracy
Columbian Sole Agent
Gold Dust Rye
Just remembered the variant Royal Stag (Rich Siri)
No Picture:
Chenoweth & Tobin The 49er
Cables & Bailey
Crowley & Jennings
Copper Distilled
T.M. Ferguson 719 Market S.F.
J.D. Heise Grocers
McCoy Nesbitt Grocers
Oriental Cafe
Merchant's Inn Tony Ranzulo
Wm. Spreen Amber& Aqua
Got an email from Bill, down in No. Cal. this AM with another nomination. He said, clear / tooled, one known to his knowledge. I'd have to agree that it belongs in the picture top ten. Thanks for the email and photo!
Tom Q. emailed this AM with some great info regarding actual numbers known. Here's what his data states;
"These numbers include damaged or repaired examples but do not include glued together or shards.

Here's what I have as far as numbers known for the picture bottles you and Rich nominated:"
Gold Dust Rye = 3 known
Columbian (right face) = 2 known 
Choice Old Cabinet = more than a dozen
OPS = I didnt count those
Laurel Crown = I didnt count those
Tea Cup = 20
Rothenberg chicken = 26
Ahrens Bullwinkle = 17
Old Joe Tracy = 1 (repaired)
Golden Bourbon Pony = 10
Non Pareil 1/5 = I didnt count any
Kuhls Schwarke Log Cabin = 2
Phoenix (clear) = 2
Eagle GLen 16 base = didnt count any
H Grauerholz = 2
Belle of Mason = didnt count any
Royal Stag JP Schardin = 1

Bill, down in No. Cal. nominated another hitter; the clear picture Nabob. I've never had one.Yep, that's up there in my book.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's not just about bottles.

Back in the 70's, before diggers were considered the modern day equivalent of grave robbers by Big Brother, we scheduled a ghost town trip to the Silver State on a yearly basis.

Dirt bikes were the preferred mode of transportation over the vast expanses of dessert. They were two strokes back then and were loud and fast. They also didn't perform well at the mile high altitude that a lot of remote Nevada ghost towns were tucked away at. But, for covering distances in a hurry, they beat the heck out of hiking.

Lewis Nevada is located southeast of Battle Mountain, a few miles off of what was then the Nevada Central Railway.  


 It was connected to the main line at Lewis Junction by a narrow gauge railroad appropriately named, the "BML"  (Battle Mountain and Lewis).

Lewis's claim to fame was silver, lots of it. Although not highly populated compared to say VC or Austin, the age was right; mid 1870's - 1880's! Located in a narrow canyon, building sights were limited. The main part of town, appropriately named Lower Town, was on a flat at the mouth of the canyon. Later, as the town grew, Middle Town sprung up a mile or so up the canyon, followed by Upper Town (also known as Dean) at the head of the canyon where the terrain goes nearly vertical to the peak of Mount Lewis.

And so, in the cold dreary winter months preceding the trip, I poured over USGS topo maps, Metskers and Freese maps, and a stack of ghost town books. The more I studied, the more convinced I became that this was a home run waiting to happen. The right age plus silver mines and railroads, there just had to be "a pony in the closet". Visions of glop top whiskies, great western bitters, killer sodas, and EC&M insulators danced in my head.

Mid June finally arrived and off we went. A large cottonwood on a flat next to the stream at the entrance to the canyon seemed to be a perfect spot to set up camp. Once the trailer was leveled, and things were "just so", we fired up the bikes and began a systematic search. An arroyo fanned out into the dessert floor downstream of camp. Root cellars and dugouts were everywhere on the sides of the arroyo. The flats above were littered with cans and glass amidst the tall sage brush. One spot had a mountain of slick busted blob beers glittering away in the sun. It turned out to have been the sight of the Lewis Brewery. Remains of three mills, the Eagle, Star Grove and one other were perched on the sides of the canyon, crumbling into oblivion.

I walked the right of way of the BML railroad and Mr. Metal Detector gave me a two thumbs up signal not too far "down the tracks" from Lower Town. About a foot down, under ballast and flash flood overburden, a switch lock made it's appearance. Now that's the way to start a weeks dig!


Outers were many, and nearly all had been hammered. One lucky un-dug pit yielded a few bottles, including a green ladies leg bitters, an early aqua Ayers Hair Vigor, a bunch of slicks and... a rust encrusted sawed off ten gauge shotgun and an equally "weathered" pepper box pistol. I doubt that they ended up there by accident~

A couple of days after we arrived, a freak late spring blizzard snowed us in. Stuck in the trailer, I poured over the topo map once again. A concentration of mine shaft symbols several miles up the canyon, and on top of a remote ridge caught my attention. Odd, I didn't recall seeing a road leading to it when we explored Upper Town the day before.

The snow melted rapidly, thanks to bright sunshine and warm temps and the following day, we fired up the bikes and blasted our way through the Slurpee like slop that still remained in drifts in the shade. Once at Upper Town, we located a washed out trail that had once been a road. A road that led up the canyon and toward the mine shaft symbols.

The bike was gasping for air when we hit the 7,000 foot level and I was obliged to lay it down like a dying horse and hoof it the rest of the way. At a mile and a half above sea level, there's not much oxygen and the hike was brutal. And worth it.

As I rounded the last bend before the summit, a wooden cyanide tank came into view. To the right were collapsed cabins. Another couple of hundred yards further, the head frames (gallows), still standing watch above the yawning chasms of mine shafts that their cages had visited time and again, revealed themselves to me. Cabins, flattened by a hundred years of snow slides and baked by as many high desert summers, were everywhere. And so was garbage. Garbage laying where it had been tossed a century prior. No chewing gum wrappers, pop tabs, or other sign of modern visitations could be found. This was it, every diggers dream. "Our own" ghost town. A ghost town that saw it's last visitor around 1900, when the final shovel of dirt was turned and the last wagon rumbled down the trail that I'd just trekked up the mountain on.

To the right, up the ridge another hundred yards or so, was a huge rock. Glass sparkled in the noonday sun and drew me to it. Henry Busch / Minnemucca (sic) Nev. hutches were splattered on top of and littered the ground beneath it. Target practice. And those guys were crack shots. Why couldn't they have missed, just once?

Over the ridge, and downhill a bit, were more remains of hovels. Brass opium tins littered the ground amongst tin cans and bottles. Ahhh, Chinatown... And that was where I decided to park myself for the rest of the day. One particular shanty hadn't fully collapsed (darned near though) and a glance inside revealed a cast iron small bed, a small cook stove made of sheet tin, cast iron pots, pans and lots of opium tins; many with the original brilliant orange label adorned with black Chinese characters and San Francisco tax stamps still intact amidst the rubble on the dirt floor.

A small gully just downhill was packed with solder seam cans, more glass and other discarded remnants of life in the 1890's. The dugouts that were once cabin sites, slowly parted with their treasures. It was here in Chinatown, on a windswept ridge isolated from the white miners stretch of town, that I gained a new appreciation for something other than bottles.

The following items surfaced over the rest of the day;

small ornamental cups (saki?),

a decorated / glazed bowl (rice or soup?), an ornate spoon - minus the handle,

A tall ceramic bottle resembling a ladies leg bitters,

a familiar tiger whiskey, a ceramic green and brown glazed round - uh, maybe a cap to a container? The obligatory marble rolled out to make my acquaintance.


A couple of opium bowls popped out; Neat stuff!
A mysterious clear glass round cut glass object appeared next; it was unlike anything I'd seen. A heavy glass funnel shaped item that was open on both ends, but broken neatly in half. I set it next to the keepers on top of a pile of dirt. Next a clear glass tulip shaped "small goblet" without the foot appeared. It had cherry blossoms painstakingly etched into a pattern that encircled the body. A little blue handle that looked like "willow ware" soon surfaced, followed by a flat round disc.
(Later research revealed that the round glass object, glass funnel, tulip "small goblet", and flat round disc, were all componenets of an opium burner and the little blue handle that looked like "willow ware" was actually the porcelain part of an opium dipper - the metal stem and dipper long since rusting away) (and like a dummy, I left the two halves of the chimney on the side of the hole...)
A brown ceramic (inkwell?) came up next.

Things were beginning to get sparse but the ground gave up one last gem, a cobalt blue bottle with Chinese character embossed on the face.

As the sun ducked behind the peak of Mount Lewis, I gathered up the fruits of the day, carefully packaged them and began the long steep trip back to camp.

Looking back on that afternoon, a few decades later, and gazing up at the shelf where those treasures are now displayed, I can't help but appreciate that, at least for me, it's not just about bottles.

Fast forward several years later - 1980's; we decided to revisit the site. Sadly, a "four lane hi way" had replaced the washed out trail that had lead to the town when I first discovered it. A Canadian mining firm had obliterated the site. The entire top of the mountain had been trucked to a cyanide gold recovery site outside of Battle Mountain...
Henry Busch photo courtesy of American Bottle Auctions, BML RR and Mt. Lewis photos courtesy of Google photo search.
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