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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

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