Saturday, September 3, 2011

Four Stars

Here is my run of what I believe to be all early versions of the ever popular Star in Shield Cutter.

The first is the earliest "Barrel Top" , and next to it is the "Pointed A" which I believe is the second variant. Third is the "Flat Topped A" and finally the "Curved R" " X Base" type. Sorry for the technical terms...I am not totally up on my Thomas numbers...

Am I missing any in the family tree?

Dale M.


  1. That's a fearsome 4 of a kind! I agree that makes up the mainstay of the 4 distinct J.F. Cutter variants. From there its a matter of slight variations. The Barrel Top would seem to be Variant 1a. But there is also the slightly smaller Stove-Pipe Top, which is like the Barrel Top minus steroids. It's still a larger & fatter top than most any other whiskey, I'd call it Variant 1b. In addition to the Barrel Top & Stove-Pipe Top, the Variant 1 can also be found with a very scaled-down Stove-Pipe, Variant 1c. This looks like the normal size of almost any other applied top fifth, but it it doesn't have a tapered shape at all, thus still goes vertical like the larger Stove-pipe & Barrel variants.

  2. Richard has one with a weird open pontil type of mark on the base. And Lou mentioned a similar example that resides in a redding collection. I saw the one Richard had at the Reno Star & Shield Shootout two years ago. I'm not sure if that is the same bottle being talked about, or if there are several with the open pontil kind of mark on the base?
    There is also some differentiation on the base styles of the Flat A Variant. Call them Variant 3a. & 3c. (I believe the Thomas book needs to flip flop Variant 2 with Variant 3). On some of the Flat A's the base a a defined bevel near the edge of the cylinder, & on others it is less distinct, perhaps not there at all (similar to the early bases on the Variant 1 JF's, as well as the Hotaling non-crown fifths. I will post pictures when I return from vacation. Bodie State Park opens in an hour, so off to take pictures & WISH it was a place that could be dug ;)

  3. Correction to the above: Variant 3a. & 3b.

  4. Yes, the one Richard has is the same open pontil J.F. that was in the Redding collection.

  5. Off the main topic of Cutters, but following on in regards to your comment about Bodie...

    The town proper and the park itself are verboten. Get caught and you draw the "go directly to jail / don't pass go" card. But don't discount the surrounding area. The Bodie - Aurora Road over the top, and down into Nevada has produced some amazing glass. I purchased a significant collection that had belonged to a Bridgeport digger a few years back. Got his digging diaries and maps as part of the package. One cabin site that had belonged to a wood cutter who supplied charcoal to the mills in Bodie was especially productive. One sketch shows a dugout hovel next to a creek. The notes show that a Bennetts Wild Cherry Bitters and a damaged Chalmers Catawba Wine Bitters were dug on one side and a large oval Millers pint on the other.

    Wished gas wasn't $4~ a gallon as this digging trip is on my bucket list.

  6. While we are on the Bodie - Aurora area, been there done that 25 + years ago. Aurora was hammered by, I believe, The Reno Bottle club and every digger in western Nevada and eastern California.
    Of course there is still stuff left, but you would have a hard time even finding the building sites anymore.

    The area Kentucky Gem is mentioning is south of Bodie and west of hwy 395,a small tent - rock cabin settlement, in a gulch that held some gold.

    Aurora is 180 degrees and 30 some miles in the other direction.

  7. Bodie was a lot of fun. There are a number of suspicious looking sinkouts all over that must be holding. They have a few decent bottles on display, the best being 2 different sizes of the A.B. Stewart pharmacies. They have two pieces of a Bodie hutch, a later Sole Agents Circle Cutter, labeled Jesse Moore fifth, and some labeled G. Venard's spices...not much else. Lots of crown top and "Federal Law Prohibits..." junk bottles. I even saw a labeled Dos Equis bottle on top of one of the bar displays. It's sad just how little the CA State Parks system knows about bottles and a portion of the History that makes up Bodie.

  8. I believe I know the woodcutter rock foundation structure you are both referring to. It seems to fit the descriptions quite well. I did manage to stop there with my wife to look around. It was my fourth trip going there. In previous trips I had seen later trash from the 1920's-1940's, the oldest piece was from an 1890 era O.K. Cutter. This time I found much earlier pieces of blacks, champagnes, stone-wear ales, etc. You can tell the place has been hammered in, around, above, & below the foundation and surrounding area by a number of previous diggers. But it's still fun to look around and find some inspiring old glass shards.

  9. I dug a privy at Sunshine Station and once spent a week in Aurora. Not much in the way of "good" bottles, but some plaino beer and minerals, plus some nice Indian artifacts. I also was expelled from Bodie one day long ago for probing those sinkers. Some are holding heavily, others are false alarms, but we'll never be able to find out for sure.

    Back in the day, the Bodie dump kicked out some great stuff. It's over the hill north of the cemetery. Also, we found a bunch of aqua Cal Elec insulators from the Bodie to Lundy telegraph line by pulling the old iron wire up from the sagebrush. Much fun back in the late '60s and early '70s. Probably no-can-do these days, but I'll wager that there are still plenty of bottles laying around in the brush to this day.

  10. Beautiful Star in Shields .. M.E. !!

    I can't get past that ol' barrel top in green. Nice. Oh well, maybe I can land one ... someday.
    Rumor has it that there is another greenish barrel top waiting in the wings. To show it's true shade it needs a good cleaning. It has a nice "birdswing" so cleaning the interior is currently out of the question.

    J.F., you have taken these varieties to a new level. Are you heading to Dville?

  11. Great info on the Bodie area K.G., Rick, & Mike! The surrounding area is hammered indeed, but no one ever gets 100% of an entire area, especially out in the rural country, desert, or hills. I've even missed numerous holes & trash pits on small city lots with defined property lines....only to go back several more times before finding another hole.
    Sole Agent~ My younger brother & I are flying up to SAC & staying in D-Ville Thursday night into Saturday morning. Hopefully we'll see you at the BBQ & Show. I'll be bringing a few nice fifths for show, sale, or trade. Possibly a Bear, Blake's, J. Moore, & yellow-green large design Miller's flask. Anyone have a Green J.F. for trade?

  12. You have to be careful where you wander around the Bodie area. State Park Rangers, although smaller in number than they once were, are especially protective of the Bodie surrounds. It's always best to approach from a place that is out of sight of the town site proper. A low profile is necessary. I have learned this from many years of outlaw Indian artifact hunting in the eastern CA and western NV deserts.

    Hope you all have a great time in D-ville; it pains me to miss it, but plans is plans and you can't change something that effects 20 other friends and family to suit yourself. Well, I can't, anyway.


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