Friday, April 30, 2010

San Francisco Token Dug. Any info?

Here is a larger 1 1/2" diameter coin I recently dug. It is basically trashed condition wise, but the closer I looked at it, the more interesting it became. I cannot find any information on this club, but perhaps someone in whiskeyland could? The front is embossed "Ben G. Winter" (cougar head or bear?) San Francisco, Cal." Reverse ; "Metropole Club Rooms 773 Market St. adjoining Billiard Parlor" Most tokens I see have a monetary value of some kind embossed, but this does not. Any information that could be provided would be appreciated. The condition has something to be desired, and most of you may have chucked it, but it is cool to me.

Thanks! M.E.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Da' Judge returns

Why change a good thing? Here's a couple of photos of a rare box; same "old judge" but with a different sponsor; S.B. Rothenburg & Co.; ca. 1899 - 1915.

Looks like the Judge went on a little diet though. Maybe a New Years resolution to ring in the 20th century.

Thanks Gary, for sharing your new treasure!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some Fun Memories in Picture....

Since the Summer is almost here, I figured I'd try and recapture just a few things that remind me of the past year.

Just for Fun....

Part of the current Cutter core:

Here's to the Glob Top!


I've been too busy lately to blog, talk, and dig much....But I knew in advance, that working on my MBA would slow down the quest of finding great old whiskies in my free time. In any event, the few digs I have been on lately have produced nothing more than poop-seeds in the bottom layer, literally!?!? I'm going to try and get out digging this weekend.....And I'm already looking forward to two upcoming shows (San Diego and Reno) where some good whiskies tend to make an appearance. In the meanwhile, here's an inspirational photo for our blog:

Any guesses what embossed fifth this is? I know they have been found from SoCal all the way up into WA, not for sure about NV, but would certainly guess they've shown up there too! Not the rarest of old bourbons, but it ain't as common as a Cutter....if you're even luckier, you may one day dig it's rarer, little brother!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Had these old copies of trademark registrations by Loewe Brothers on Dec. 10, 1894.   Ties in with Dennis' post on the Loewe Bros. letterhead. 

C.W. Stuarts was originally a Wilmerding brand.

Got around to finalizing the purchase a few weeks after stating it in D. R.'s letterhead.

S.H.M.  brand purchased from Wilmerding by Loewe Bros.   Back page is ditto wording as the C.W. Stuarts.  Same date.... Dec 10, 94

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another McKenna's

Here is one of two examples of the McKenna's fifth that was dug last month in a Western state. This has been quite a year for nice fifths coming out of the ground. I would be thrilled to pull two of these out of one hole! Both examples are virtually twins being a nice light yellow, shading to a lighter yellow amber towards the base. This example has strong whittle effect, and a nice crisp strike. I have not heard of a Gold Dust being dug this year, but the Cheilovich, and Cassin fifths, along with the Chevalier Whiskey Merchants make for some heavy stuff in my book. Is there a somewhat accurate count of non C & I McKenna's? I am guessing 50 or so...These are just a classic Western whiskey, and I can see why they have been considered for "top 25" status in the past.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Recent Acquisition- T-44

I recently picked up this very crude "Circle Cutter"T-44.It was recently dug in a Western state. While not the rarest Western glob top whiskey, this example has tons of whittle, bubbles, and a super strike with jewels all the way around the crown. The color is actually shaded nicely in backlighting, although it is a darker amber. The mold lines exhibit the crudity that I have seen on many of these. For a mid to late 1870s whiskey it sure has some nice characteristics. Now I just need a yellow, or greenish example with this quality.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


This Kellogg's fifth was dug in Pomona many years ago. The privy was not too old, circa. 1890's. My previous post showed a letterhead from Loewe Brothers Liquor Dealers that was dated Nov. 24, 1894. At the end of this letter, the writer stated that "we have bought the business of Wilmerding Co. and about Jan. 1st will move to 216 California St.". There was no mention of this purchase in earlier letters from early Nov., Oct., Sept., Aug., etc., so I assume that this transaction was done in November 1894. Therefore, these red amber, whittled, applied top Kellogg's fifths should start to show up in early 1895. Anyone have any idea how long this applied top version would have been produced? The idea that these red amber whiskies were blown in Germany makes sense to me. Other than the other brands found in this same type bottle, how many applied top Western fifths could have been produced in this country as late as 1895? As these red amber, applied top fifths seem to be fairly scarce, I think that they may have been made for a very short time, possibly a year or two?

Notice on the Wilmerding-Loewe letterhead that they are hoping for an order for "Hard to Beat" and "Kellogg's" whiskies. Unless there is an embossed W.L. Hard to Beat fifth out there, I assume these were all labeled only bottles.

Monday, April 12, 2010



It was November of 1971 and we were driving home after one of our visits to hang out and scrounge with our buddy Mike McMcoy of Coloma (Discovery House Antiques). We spotted the sign for Plymouth, off of Hwy. 49, and decided to check it out. At the entrance to town, we spotted an old building that was vacant and calling out to us! Looking thru the front windows, it appeared that this "mercantile" store had been vacant for many years, and was just full of "stuff", as if someone had just walked out and left everything there. As we walked around the building, we discovered a cellar door on the street side, and closer examination found it to be readily accessible and not locked. After entering the basement, we managed to find a number of old bottles that had been thrown into the crawl space and retrieved as many as we could reach. Nothing great, mostly pottery beers, medicines, pickles, etc. Then, we discovered a stairway that led up to the store, and it was open! After poking around in the store for some time, we came upon boxes full of old paper items; billheads, letterheads, documents, etc. Most of this paper was dated from the 1880's to around 1910. Soon after, we discovered more paper items in another room, but most seemed to date after 1910, so we left it, thinking that it just was not old enough! We loaded up the older paper items and headed for home. After inspecting our "find", we discovered some documents for the incorporation of the mercantile business of "Coblentz, Levy, Rosenwald and Kahn". I don't remember the dates, but among the paper was also documents that showed that this partnership dissolved a year later, with Coblentz and Levy leaving, and Rosenwald and Kahn forming a new corporation. A "Coblentz and Levy" appeared shortly after this time in Portland, Oregon and were listed as whiskey merchants. Could this be the same 2 guys from Plymouth?

My buddies and I split up the items from the find, and I had disposed of all my paper items over the years. Just recently, I was able to acquire one friends share of the find. The bill head from Hall Luhrs was from the 1880's and really colorful. There were a few of the Loewe Bros. letterheads , and they were dated 1894. These were mostly hand written letters, and hard to decipher. The one pictured here states at the bottom "we have bought the business of Wilmerding Co. and about Jan 1st will move to 216 California St.". It appears to be dated Nov. 24, 1894. If there are any other billheads or letterheads floating around out there from "Rosenwald and Kahn", chances are they are part of this original find back in 1971.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


My seemingly never ending quest to trace the life and activities of  John C. Morrison Jr. has received a boost the past week.   Rick S. of the Bitters Blog tracked  him hawking playing cards in Sac. City  Dec. of  1850.    There is a British registered Caroline in service at this time,  she's getting some age on her by 1850.   Has an Australian connection, which is interesting.  There was a 'new ship' Caroline  launched in Boston, but not until late 1851.   Maybe this is just a river steamer from San Francisco to Sac. City.  

He landed in San Francisco on June 4, 1849.   According to his obituary he traveled to the North Fork of the American River and tried mining for a short time.    Living by his wits early on...

This sounds like our boy,  selling chances on a diamond watch.   From this to mining stocks.. not a big jump.  Ha!

March of 1851.

Still looking for that picture of him...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oregon's Rarest Druggist Bottle?

I know it is not a glob top whiskey, but in the persuit of Western whiskey bottles, most diggers extract pharmacy bottles from their pits. Most hardly garner a second look, as most are pretty common. Occasionally one comes across a "pharm" that is special. Here is a unique ( to my knowledge) 1870s-early 1880s Oregon City druggist which was dug years ago. I have never seen a "beker" embossed on a druggist bottle before, and believe this is one of Oregon's best drugstore bottles in this cornflower blue. This druggist was in business from the late 1870s in Oregon City, until the teens. All of Hardings bottles are at least very scarce, but this one is about as good as a pharmacy bottle gets. If you Google this druggist, you will find a rich history of his Civil War career, and Oregon pioneer history.

I would love to see some other killer druggist bottles!