Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Two of this year's green additions that qualified to be on my 'wailing wall'...

I dug the broken greenish var 4 JF last wknd not realizing there was a JF frenzy going on at same time here on the blog. Reading all the JF posts on Mon. I thought I'd post some pics of this wild light olive-amber "super crier" var. 4 star-base JF CUTTER. Anyone that collects Cutters knows how hard it is to find this 'last of the JF run' in any good colors. The majority are usually an orange amber coloration, with a few seen in old amber or dark olive amber.
The Three Horsemen: Star-base/curved R (crier) ; Flat-top A (mint); Fat-boy, (mint)

Someone call the bottle Dr. ..... the patient needs saving !

After a little gluing here and there, I thru it up on my shelf with a flat-A and a Fat-boy to see how it would've held-up in a roll-call line-up of JF's. As you can see, it would've smoked them all !! Bad-boy didnt stand a chance of surviving though.... The neck was in the privy, and when it came out was the topic of much oohing and awing and was agreed by all to be from a Cutter, most likely an earlier Circle Cutter ...and that was that. Well, two hours and a filled-in hole later, I open-up a little 2' trash pit 8 feet in front of where the privy was, and low and behold out from the trash pit rolls the body of the bottle the killer neck goes on. Turned-out we were half right , it was a Cutter, but not a Circle ! That's two broken killer greenish Cutters for me this yr. The 'wailing wall' is lookin good, but I'm due to dig one that's not gonna play Humpy Dumpy with me, as I'm startin to run low on glue !

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Clusters of Cutters....

I've really enjoyed the recent postings on Cutters, so I thought I'd add a few more pictures to the frenzy!

A diamond-whittled Mid Crown Cutter. One of my most memorable finds from the ground...

J.F. Cutter Pairing....

A few of the earlier crude ones....

Here's to Cutters!


J.F. Mania Continued

In the spirit of jumping aboard the J.F. Cutter bandwagon, I thought I would post a flask (what a surprise, I know). You can sure see why J.F. fifths and flasks are so popular. Great heritage, color, crudity, and enough to go around, where almost anyone can have not only an example or two, but a NICE example or two. That cannot be said for many other early whiskies. Here is a very well struck TF-9 pint flask. There are likely about 40+ of these known total, in various condition. They range from a dark amber to old amber, all the way to yellow with a tinge of green. It is difficult to get one with color, character, and strike. The values on these keep climbing, and today will set you back between $1200 and $3000. You sure do not see them at shows, or available anywhere else for that matter. I have actually seen more Crown shoulder flasks available in the past year than J. F.s. Not sure why. Also, when was the last mint example dug? Maybe I am out of the loop, but very few early flasks seem to be dug anymore.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

MIA JF Cutters

Found these in the closet today, trying to make room for more stuff, trying to find the stuff I stuffed in there last time, its a black hole. Had a box full of pieces somewhere around here? Dr.Barnes

Friday, September 25, 2009

How Times Have Changed

There has been alot of discussion as to how this blog might be affecting the prices of certain whiskeys, and that there have been peaks in the whiskey market at times, and adjustments to prices as supply meets demand. That is after all the real factor for determining the value of anything. Supply and demand. Every generation of collector it seems relates stories of the prices back in the day, and how crazy the prices seem to be today...you know the deal. Just when a bottle sells at a mega price it sends a shock wave through the hobby, until the next monster bottle sells at a super high price. I remember reading the Old Bottle Magazine in the 70s where it was predicted that some day soon a bottle will sell for $10,000!!! I could not afford a $50 whiskey at the time, and some houses were selling for not much more than that back then. In updating my insurance coverage recently, I was in the process of listing some stuff on my policy, and going through notes which showed what I paid for something, or what I sold it for etc. I was photographing one of my Wormser flasks and smiled when I noticed a long forgotten sticker on the base with a price tag of $125! It sure makes one wonder what crazy prices will be paid for good glass in the future. Here is a photo of the flask. Has a bit of olive in it and one of those "half a second" and walk away tops. Not sure what it would sell for today, but likely a tad more than the sticker price...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unexpected Surprise

I have referred to this flask in a comment somewhere in this blog, however did not post a photo. This glob Brickwedel was discovered in a china cabinet in Siskiyou County Cal. in 2007. The elderly lady was digging a drainage ditch in her basement(?) when she uncovered this flask. This was in the 1970s. It was placed in her china cabinet along with some blob sodas (aqua Jacksons) and some 80s druggists. On my wedding anniversary in 2007, my wife presented this flask to me and related the story of it's purchase after lengthy negotiations. I still do not know the details, but it sure gives one hope that there are some nice examples out there undiscovered until by chance someone with an appreciation for good glass (or a husband hopelessly addicted), somehow stumbles upon it. The memories, and stories that surround these discoveries would make a book in themselves.

These 1880s flasks are fairly scarce when they have a tooled top. I only know of 3 applied top pints, and 2 half pints. Of course there are more out there, but the glob top Brick is one tough flask to find. This example has incredible whittle effect, and is in mint condition. It seems like the majority of slug plate flasks have little character. This one means alot to me...


Here are a few more pictures that have found their way into my email box. If you have anything that you would like to share send it on to me. If you have a story to go with it and want to sign up as an author even better.
Keep the stuff coming, we love it.

Dave S. of the Salt Lake area has only been collecting for couple of years. He has been ghosttowning for longer. The influence of seeing shards of all that early S.F. blown glass scattered around the hills is evident on the top shelf.
The bottom shelf is starting to include a few globs. Now we've done it! Sorry Dave.

How would you like to stumble on this while hiking around the hills. Kelly P. an Arizona
collector and now digger sent me this photo.

This is what I mean by digger. WOW! What a color.
Found a broken Miller's fifth in the general area also.
Kelly, if that list of new, best friends hasn't gotten too long can I be on it??
Way to go!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Here are a few photos from L. Westfall that show a portion of his fine collection.
He has been at it for just a few years, has built some nice groupings... buying / selling / swapping / digging.... however you can add a bottle or upgrade an example. Just keep at it.

Cutter barrels:
A pair of O.K.'s (t-41)
Super nice Bird (t-42)
Classic A No 1 (t-40)

Jesse Moores:
Vented and Non vented Jesse (t-94)
Red amber glob Jesse (t-94 var)
Big and tall Serbian -- Mr. Chielovich to you, if you don't mind! (t-90)

Teakettle run (t-136)

A few more:
Jesse, O.K. and a very pretty Lilienthal (t-104)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lilienthal Flasks

I will quit posting for awhile, but I just wanted to get caught up. Please bear with me.

I cannot recall any Lilienthal flasks (or even fifths for that matter), being featured on this site. While I do not claim to be an expert on this company, there is a wide array of early glass that comes wonderfully colored and crude.

Here are two examples of some of the earliest flasks from Lilienthal. The green example is the "high S.F." in a larger than pint size. It was recovered from the Comstock years ago. There are only a handful in this strong green coloration, and a few in a light yellow olive, ranging to old amber and even yellow amber. They remain a relatively available flask, but are becoming tougher to find.

The smaller example is referred to the Lilienthal "cognac". They are smaller than a pint in capacity. These are actually considered a very scarce flask with perhaps 12-15 examples in collections. The typical color for these is a dark chocolate with very few being a regular amber. Several years ago, a few in a light yellowish color were dug from the same hole in Nevada. Each had something different going for it, though they were the same color. One is super whittled, one has a monster strike, and one has a huge top, and swirls ( the example pictured).

Friday, September 18, 2009

An Oregon Flask

Here is an excellent example of the earliest Fleckenstein & Mayer pint flask from Portland. This is the knife edge with the horizontal embossing. This is a relatively scarce flask with about 25 examples known. They have been dug in Oregon, Washington, and California. These are the earliest flasks from this company that had more embossed amber flasks than any other Western concern except perhaps Lilienthal and Co. These are very tough to find with strong embossing throughout the pattern. They date from the late 1870s, through the early 1880s. This example was dug at a well known stage stop several years ago. It was found with another example, as well as two pontiled umbrella inks, a Bininger Night Cap flask, some cathedral peppersauce bottles, and misc. utilities. I have not seen one with a single roll collar, or in a light yellow coloration. There are a few known in an old amber, however most are in a medium to chocolate.

Portland Hotaling (Rick Rack)

In the 35 plus years I have chased Oregon glass (Hey, someone has to!), I have had an opportunity to examine, and own some very beautiful whiskey fifths, and flasks. Oregon has comparitively few early whiskies than California, and all are very scarce to rare. One particularly beautiful fifth to me at least is the Portland Hotaling "rick rack". These bottles were produced in the early 1880s, and are a great reminder of making one's mark in the marketplace. This bottle comes complete with crossed swords, a large crown, and that unique zig zag design around the full face embossing. There are two versions of this bottle, one with bold, and thick embossing, commonly called the earlier variant ( T-56) these come by and large in the same medium amber coloration, and skinny applied glob top. I have not seen this unique lipping treatment on any other fifth, and the charactaristics, as well as the consistency in color of these scarce bottles, indicate extreme quality control in their manufacture. These fifths have been dug in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. I am not aware of an example being dug in California, but would be interested to know if this is true. One version that you do not see very often is the "light rick rack". This variant is extremely rare with maybe 6 known in any condition ( T-57). Since John Thomas's first book on whiskies, this was considered a later bottle (1884-90). I have doubts about this. I have never seen a tooled top example as claimed in the book (have you?), also this bottle is much more tradional in profile, lip treatment, and extreme crudity to indicate it is actually earlier than the more commonly seen rick rack. Interesting that the heavily embossed version is much more common with perhaps 30 or so known, and more elaborate, and widely distributed. Why change the mold, top, and embossing to a much less fancy bottle when the one type was selling so well? Why so rare? I have compared the T-57 with many T- 56s and the T-57 blows it away in every aesthetic area except detail of embossing. To find a T-57 with a strong strike is super tough, since there are not a bunch to go around as it is. If you are fortunate enough to own one of each, compare them, and see which one looks more like an early whiskey to you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Label Under Glass Castle Whiskey Found

Last Sunday morning at the alemany flea market in san francisco a label under glass castle whiskey with castle on the label was found and exchanged hands for $100. cash, it was flipped about an hour later for $850. cash and turned again after that....but after that trail goes dark. Anyone want to claim ownership? Supposedly the owner had listed it on e-bay but later cancelled the auction when he had only one watcher........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not your average glob top........

Here is a beautiful crier that recently came out of an early privy. I've always loved these early western bottles but have not heard many collectors speak of them.

How many examples of this variant and the other variant without the star are believed to exist ? What colors have they been seen in ? Do they come in both a 5th and 6th size ?

How about some photos of member's examples........

Andrew, here is the dark green shard found in Nevada City..

maybe a bit darker green than your piece.

Puce sixth found in an 1860's area. Didn't find the base to see if there was a star. I have owned puce western sixths with the star, but I haven't seen an embossed base sixth in any color but dark green. Green and puce cylinders, hmm, sounds like a couple of early western bitters. Wait, I might know someone that has some information on this.........

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Cutters have always been some of my favorites, but I have parted with most of them over the years. However, with all the blogging recently about Cutters, makes me wish I had many of them back now! The only "bottled by" that I kept was this one with most of the label in tact. How about some bloggers posting more Cutters with labels, J.H and J.F.'s. I know that they are out there in collections, most probably being found many years ago. I know Richard has some, probably Mike D., and surely others! Look forward to seeing some.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"I don't get no respect"

J. H Cutter Old Bourbon / Bottled by A.P. Hotaling: The Rodney Dangerfield of glop tops.

Face it, ya gotta start somewhere. Not all collectors can break the ice of western whiskey globby collecting with a Clubhouse... Sure, some of us were lucky enough to have gotten in on the ground floor before stuff went goofy. My first glop, a Tea Kettle the color of Herseys dark chocolate, cost me a whopping hundred dollar bill back in the early seventies. It was hammered to death with whittle and ranks as one of the most attractive TK's that I've had the privilege to care take. Trouble is, earning power is down and prices for prime examples of western whiskies are up, way up. I've had that same Tea Kettle on four different occasions; each time the price of admission went up and up. It last sold in 2005 for $1500~.

Which brings me back to the J. H. Cutter / Bottled By which, in my opinion, is one of the best values out there in globby land. Sure they're common as chicken beaks compared to most glops and yet they possess loads of character in many cases and are available in a myriad of colors. We've recently seen a surge in interest with the JHC / Sole Agents and maybe it's time for the "Bottled By" to come into it's own. I've got around a dozen Bottled By glops right now and, at the risk of being laughed at, thought it would be fun to do a blurb on the bottle.

Sole Agents, up until a few months ago, could be had for comparative peanuts. Their value had held pretty much status quo for years. We've sold ten Sole Agents in the past three years with an average price of $145~, including one on the April list for $165~, which was the highest price ever. So what happened? The supply hasn't differed, (there are just about as many around now as there were 10 years ago) nor has the quality of the bottles offered. Simply, it was demand. All of a sudden, collectors discovered what a buy the Sole Agents was; crude, early and with lots going for them. And prices rose according to the demand with the non
(A No. 1) examples now bringing crazy dollars and the A No. 1 variants becoming a close runner up.

Hotaling first introduced the Bottled By variant in the mid 80's. The glassworks that produced the bottle employed the latest techniques, including air venting, and as a result, they are generally not as crude as it's predecessor, the Sole Agent. Still, there is plenty of eye appeal to go around and I've seen a myriad of them with whittle to die for and spillover that slops nearly 1/2" down the neck; just the things we look for. And then there's colors; everything from root beer brown to lollipop yellow and from deep red to brilliant orange ambers. Ok, so there's probably a few hundred to go around. Supply and demand dictates price, but not necessarily value. And that's where I stop to ponder. How come these critters are still selling in the $50~ - $75~ range? That's one heckuva value!

I shot photos of a bakers half dozen. Oddly enough, when I compared each bottle, they appeared to me to be from the same mold. Obviously from different batches of glass, and the tops were applied and finished with different tools and by different craftsmen, but yet the embossing is eerily identical. Spacing, font, letter placement and alignment, all apparently an exact clone. Maybe some of you folks out there with a better trained eye than I can spot the differences. One thing that we all can agree on though, is that the J. H Cutter Old Bourbon / Bottled by A.P. Hotaling glop top is a great starter piece that is still affordable and can also be a key item in rounding out a line up of Cutters; even if
"It don't get no respect".

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Now that's what I'm talkin about Kentucky Gem, "stellar"!!! What a friggin Nice J.F.!!! It looks whittled as all heck too. I've seen more nice Star Shields on this blog lately than I have in many years of collecting. Seeing bottles like these on a monitor is one thing but to actually see some of them up close in person would be just awesome. Hey all you J.F. Star Shield guys that are coming to Downieville, we might want to have a J.F. "Shootout" or a least see some of that stuff. Or better yet since some of the top guns from the West can't make D-ville but will be in Auburn, lets shoot it out there. Take your best shot son, anyone up for a showdown???

"To be, or not to be" (a fat boy that is)

Dug September 1971; area of Bridgeport, Ca. It came in a collection a few years ago along with a lot of other pretty strong western glops.

Funny thing; the collection was in the home of heavy smokers. The bottle shelves were next to the kitchen, where a steady diet of fried foods was constantly being prepared. Adjacent to the displays was a wood stove that belched soot into the room. My hands literally stuck to the bottles as I picked them up and judging color was a crapshoot at best. I assumed that the bottle was a standard run of the mill amber. Imagine my delight when it emerged from its warm water bath of sudsey ammonia. Best described as loads of green at the shoulder and a strong transformation to old amber at the base. It's got a smooth base, a big top and the tip of the A in Extra is pointy.

But the big question is... fat boy or not?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Morrison stuff.... sailing the high seas with barrels of his favorite bourbons !

Here are a few ads I located about 15 yrs ago when I started really getting into the whiskey research. They are most likely the same ads Thomas refers to in his books, but comingled or confused them in the text. I thought it would be cool for everyone to see the actual ads without editing as they appeared in the day. These ads are from the Wine Dealer's Gazette and are interesting because they put a few things a little more into perspective, especially re the Clubhouse bottle date and Blue Grass Whiskey. Morrison's Sept 1872 ad for "Blue Grass whiskey", which originated from the Blue Grass region of Ky, was sold by other S.F. liquor dealers as well. The J.M Gowey & Co. ad next to Morrison's helps clarify this, where you can see in the ad that more than one dealer was importing it to the West. Morrison's angle was to cite the names of the ships that his barrel lots arrived on, as sometimes ships had a rocky voyage around the horn, and their cargo's survival was much appreciated. It was also thought it kept the whiskey in the barrels further aged and agitated by having endured a lengthy journey in rough seas.
Note: Contrary to the Thomas book, there is no mention in the above Sept 1872 ad of California Clubhouse bourbon arriving on the Kingfisher or Moonbeam ships. The Thomas book seems to have combined the above ad, the other guy's Blue Grass Whiskey ad (EJ Curley) sold by JM Gowey of S.F. , and the Aug 1874 Crop of 1870-71 ad... and mixed them all together like reading one ad. I think it is critical to note this, because knowing this puts the date of the Clubhouse bottles more into where I feel they should be... 1874-5. The first mention of Cal Clubhouse bourbon I could find in any of Morrison's ads was in the Aug 1874 ad shown below. It states that all the bourbons in the ad are from the crop of 1870-71. For whiskey to be classified as a bourbon, it should be four yrs old and must be at least three yrs old minimum. In my opinion, Clubhouse bourbon had just attained that minimum mark, and 1874 was the first time it was introduced to be sold on the market
~ ~

Another interesting ad appears in Aug 1874 Wine Dealer's Gazette (it wasnt clear enough to scan, so I will transcribe it) that also refers to a ship voyage and lists what Morrison calls his favorite brands of three and 4 yr old bourbon whiskies that he sells. Note that the Clubhouse product was part of this 1874 shipment and had an eight month voyage. In my opinion, this was the maiden voyage for Cal Clubhouse bourbon. The ad is transcribed below exactly as it appeared in the Gazette....



CROP 1870-71


Fire Copper Hand-Made and Sour



The following favorite brands:

Turf Congress
California Clubhouse,
and Stag C. D.

Direct from the Nelson Distillery Jefferson County
Kentucky, with the benefit of an eight month voyage,
now landing and for sale in lots to suit purchasers,
from ship or wharf with the government original
certificate of gauges, proofs, and capacity of barrels;
also regauged by the City Gauger.


Agent and Proprietor,

316 Sacramento and 321 Commercial Sts.

San Francisco


Stag C.D. (which I believe the "C.D." represents "Copper Distilled") appears to have been his biggest seller. Judging by ads, it also had the longest run. Can you guys imagine what an embossed bottle for this would've looked like ! I can see a giant full-face Stag pictured on the bottle. Too bad Morrison didnt order a bottle for this one ! I think he had the California Clubhouse bottle made and no other embossed bottles for his other brands because he felt that bourbon was going to be a very special product for the West and was made special and exclusive for him to sell in California. He was the only importer of it.

Below is an original Stag C.D. billhead from my collection, dated Sept 5, 1873, that also has Morrison's autograph on the reverse side where he signed the invoice as being paid in full. I found it unusual that the billhead doesnt mention any of his other brands. Most billheads list the dealer's principal product line. Was Stag CD such a big seller that it had its own billheads? Then why no embossed bottle ??

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Check out the link we just put up for Collectors Weekly. I hate to guide you away from this site, but you might get a kick out those 'ol boys. It might even get you in the mood to do a little digging.

Scroll down to the videos on the left. I watched a couple of them. I'm sure I'll watch them all soon enough.

I can't say that I agree with all their techniques???? Unscrewing a bottle from the hole? We have all done it, but about the time you tear a big chunk off the top of a nice bottle... that's the last time.

Rubbing the gritty dirt off your find, with those gritty gloves. Keeps Lou busy!

What the heck, we all get excited.


---well not quite, certainly not just your avg. "fatty".
"Castle" sent me this photo of his green var-1 J.F. Cutter(t-46). This infamous bottle is the one that was dug in Austin, Nv. in the mid 1990's. "Infamous" only to me, I missed out on it and have wanted a green fat boy ever since. Have not seen another.


Here are a couple of items that go with the Jesse Moore bottles we have been posting about.
Barrel ends, boxes, etc. are pretty cool go withs for your collection.
Then it gets into trays and signs and it's 2'nd mortgage time!!