Sunday, August 9, 2009


Here is a quick mention of an interesting fifth in American Bottle Auctions upcoming auction.

Lot #92 is a bottle that blog readers have commented on several times, the "fat boy" J.F. Cutter or as it is identified in Thomas as the 'variant 1' J.F. Star in Shield.

This appears to be a good example of this variant, with that monster barrel top and overall crudeness you could expect on a very early fifth. I had hoped to get a good look at the bottle in Pomona, but it was not part of the group that was there to be viewed. Look at the video at the auction site (see link in Our Favorite Sites) to see if the damage near the lip is significant in your collecting viewpoint. I think the written and verbal description from the auction house gives you a good idea of the basic desirability of the var. 1 J.F.'s. They are sometimes very crudely made, and even to someone that handles many whiskey bottles each year, the overall look of this bottle makes it appear to be much older (60's)? than other applied top fifths.
Darker amber is typical for this fifth, recently I have seen at least one in a bit lighter shade of old amber. Green examples are known, but are extremely rare.

Attached a couple of pages of patent information, the J.F. Cutter Star in Shield design was registered in California in Apr. of 1870. The application to the U.S. Patent Office was submitted in Jan. of 1871 and claims the trademark had been in use for 6 months.


  1. Speaking of 'fat boys', would you consider this example a true stove-pipe ???

    The embossing is not as bold as a classic stovepipe and the top is smaller than most stovepipes, but it certainly is not a classic whiskey top.

  2. In my estimation, it could very well be the "missing link" between the true Stove Pipe (Variant 1) and Variant 3 (which is nearly identical to Variant 1, minus the Stove-Pipe Top).

    I think J. Thomas should have flip-flopped Variants 2 & 3, which would account for a more natural progression.

    For example, Variant 1 has the pointed A, thus Variant 2 should also have the pointed A (essentially the same bottle, minus the larger top).

    Because Variant 4 has the flat A, it would seem to make more sense for Variant 3 to be the one that also has the Flat A?!?!

    Food for thought.

    Who has dug a True Stove-Pipe example along with a non-Stove-Pipe pointed A example? And how about digging a True Stove-Pipe example with a Flat A example? It seems from what I've seen and read, that these examples were all in use concurrently and therefore, group finds only go to really prove that they are more or less, contemporaries....

  3. JF: I have dug both pointed A's together (stovepipe & non). Also have dug the flat A together w/ the stovepipe. Havent dug the X-base w/ a stovepipe though... but have dug x-bases w/ pointed A non-stovepipes. Tough to tell, seems like you said, they are on many occassions contemporaries


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