Thursday, January 13, 2011


I really enjoy visiting with Ken S. and seeing his incredible collection of whiskey bottles and advertising.   It is truly amazing to see the quality and shear number of items in his collection.   A lifelong pursuit,  it takes determination and patience and 'adequate financing' to put together a collection of this magnitude.   When we admiringly call it the "whiskey museum",   that's in part because Ken lets us come and visit these bottles pretty much anytime he is around.

Now I'm not sure what to think about museums in general.  At least the public kind.   We have a dusty little museum in just about every town in Utah.  Walk through,  smile,  deposit a buck in the donation can.   Anything that was really rare or valuable has long since been stolen, sold off to pay expenses, or possibly even sent to the mother ship in SLC.   Probably not what the original owners had in mind for their beloved items.   There are plenty of stories rattling around about super rare and valuable bottles being removed from museums in Nevada and California.   Curators being duped into trading away a super rare item for a local item that is junk.  Bottles being outright stolen.   Makes for interesting stories I guess.

I still pop into the county museums across Nevada from time to time.   Elko, Nevada  has a nice, pretty modern,  museum in the heart of town.  They are helpful with research,  lots of photos,  a few bottles to look at.   That's where it is with me.. bottles..   The Elko museum has a hodge podge of bottles,  most of them look like they were picked up out of the brush by ranchers.   They have a J.T. Elko soda!  How many times can a person get excited about a J.T. Elko soda?   Ok then,  lets drive on to the Humboldt County museum in Winnemucca, Nevada.

I may be a 'persona non grata' with the employees at the Humboldt museum.    I toured this nice facility for the first and last time about 15 years ago.   Nothing much in the way of bottles,  if fact I don't remember any bottles.   Native American items,  some mining items,  tribute to the traveler's of the California Trail.    What's this?  I know about the California Trail.   I cozied up to a nice blue haired lady that worked at the facility and asked her if she had any information on Fremont or better still Mr. Humboldt. 
"We have a little booklet on John C. Fremont in the front lobby" she says.  "Humboldt?    I'm not familiar with that name"  ....   "It's the name on the front of your building"  I offered without even a tinge of sarcasm.   "Humboldt - Humboldt!  I thought that was an Indian name"  she offered back. 
"Let me have you speak to Mr. Dipshit"(can't remember his name).    Sorry,  I'm not wound nearly as tight now as I was 15 years ago,  but Mr. Dip and I had a problem from the get-go.   I asked if he would like my information on Alexander von Humboldt and why his name is plastered all over Northern Nevada.   Thought maybe he would like to do a little flyer or display on the subject... 
"NOPE!  Not interested,  we don't have time for that.  We focus on our part of the state,  items and information that are personal to our area"  
His lack of excitement for my proposal was somewhat disappointing to me, and was a complete polar opposite from my passion in getting more folks to recognize the famous old Humboldt.   
That's ok, I decided to try and meet Mr. D in the middle...

WTF is more personal than your name.. Dip----!    

Someone will have to tell me if they do finally have some recognition for Humboldt in the Humboldt Museum.   I don't dare go back.    No bottles in there anyway.

But, I know where there are some bottles to look at in a museum.   The Churchill County Museum in Fallon, Nevada.    Here are a few images from my last visit.    It's been 3 years so I can't vouch for the bottles still being there....  but I don't think the curators will fall for a fast talker with a sweet deal... I'm sure they have just about heard it all over the past 30 years.   The employees just smile when you ask if you can take a few photos,  "just turn your flash off please".     When you kneel down to pay homage to the two (var.1)lighthouses on the lower shelf,  it's always the same.....    "Everyone really likes those two bottles"

The Native American Collections in this museum are unbelievable.  

Feel free to comment on "her collecting was done when it was legal".   

One left,  of a handful of Doc. Wonser's that Mrs. Drumm used to own.

The swirly Lacours,  the massive color swirl throughout the body of this example changes the overall color from green to some sort of smokey greenish gray.  Except for the top... bright green.    Like a beacon from a lighthouse.   Stunning!!

 Here is another V.1 Lacours.   This one is a leaner.

 The irony of it all,    there is a monument to Humboldt in the Churchill County Museum.

      More than a few very nice bottles in this collection.   Bitters, fifths, flasks...    


  1. I can't believe that 'ol A.W. hasn't cherry picked that poor museum. They have some outstanding bottles in that place.

  2. Everbody & "his brother" have tried to Dick Smith those bottles. I always enjoyed looking at em' on my way to Columbus, Belleville and Teals during our winter sojurns.

  3. Yeah Mike, I bet those Bitters red-lined the Blinkometer !
    On a more serious note, I think it's interesting how some of those Bitters were barely 50 yrs old when Mrs Drumm started picking them up. Great intuition on her part !

    Boy, those must've been "the days", back when any man or woman with a passion for saving old glass could go out and pick'em up off the top of the ground or scratch a few out just under the surface with a potato fork.

    Wasnt a need back then nor now for the libs and all their over encompassing laws, veiled under the guise of protecting the environment, while redistributing your and my tax dollars to their crooked, tree-hugging govt hired arkies to play on GOVT sanctioned digs in the high desert.


  4. HAR!! Blinkometer! "Ya GOT it, Tom. I "sanction" my own arrowhead and bottle digs in NV. Had a few "up close and personal" encounters with the overbearing wanna-be Po-lice known as BLeMmers. They don't know the REAL laws, just the one's they are taught in their socialist Gummint run schools. I made them aware that we were on privately owned land and that they had no business harassing us. Tails curled between their legs, they rolled away into the distance.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.