Sunday, April 15, 2012


Can I offer you whiskey or gin?   Yes please!!

I think we should start a club of Jockey Club collectors ...   you can jump in with both feet this month,  just a nominal investment with Jeff at ABA.

Seriously,  what beautiful bottles.   There have been several posts about both the Chesley Jockey Club whiskey bottles and the Jockey Clubhouse Gins on this blog and the Western Bitters blog.   Currently a great post on the Peachridge Glass website.   


  1. Ahhh; brings back memories of the most memorable Don Adams quote from the 60's TV program Get Smart. "Missed it by that much..."

    My diggin' partner Tom & I were working our way up a steep ravine just below the Steamboat Mine off of Brush Creek back in the late 70's. Buck brush, a near 90* angle and tailings like marbles made our ascent "challenging". 90* in the shade with sweat pouring off our foreheads and into our eye's were icing on the cake. I spotted a sparkle in the brush about the same time that TC hollered that he'd found a bottle. I plucked my find off of the surface amidst the base of a small scrub brush (a crude half gallon ca. 1870's fire aqua assayers acid bottle) and scurried over to my partners find. Interesting indeed! An amber glop top, obviously a whiskey, and neck were teasing us. With the skill of both surgeon and archeologist, I gently worked the tailing rubble away, ever so slowly peeling away the layers of 100+ years of entombment. Embossing appeared, slowly at first, J O C K E Y C L U B.... W H I S K E Y.... Then faster G W C H E S L E Y & C O... S. F . As the dirt and pebbles peeled away, it was obvious that it was the real deal. Intact and close to the Holy Grail; at least for Southern Oregon. Tom was a novice, I wasn't and the excitement was contagious!

    That was until I free it and the base dropped out along the bottom mold seam. One too many Oregon winters had taken their toll. I've still go the acid bottle. Not sure what Tom or his wife did with the JC. But I've still got the memories of another amazing day digging. And "Missed it by that much..."

  2. What ever became of the supposed top example that was sold in the last Ameican Bottle auction ? It was described as mint, yet contained a crack when the buy received it. Did the auction house damage the bottle ? Did someone at the show drop it ? Oh dear me, what becaame of it ?

    1. Auction 55, Page 31, Lot 149. It's a "retread" in the latest Am. Glass Auction. Read the description. Jeff took his creative writing to new limits.

    2. Be advised, the Jockey Club sixthe does indead has a fresh crack in the base.I'd advise everyone to make a trip to Sacramentao to inspect it themselves.

  3. You can add the tin GW Chesley sign to your collection as well ! This Sat at there is one up for bids. I think it was estimated to bring 3 to 4k

  4. Although I have dug all but the later Chesley's Jockey Club fifth, none remain in my collection at this time. All went to new "homes" over the ensuing decades. I recall that Jockey Club in the last auction, both after Ken dug it and when it sat on the shelf at ABA. It did not have any issues other than my fingerprints when I last examined it. Who knows what happened at Auburn.

  5. Would anyone have any comment on this “CHESLEY’S JOCKEY CLUB WHISKEY” poster or a picture of it? It was found several years ago inside a wall during a remodel project of and old house in Fort Bragg.

  6. Great write-up Sole Agent!

    The Jockey Club bottles are fantastic, especially the early and very rare western 6th. I figure I would clarify some of the previous comments and share my personal account to prevent any rumors about the Jockey Club 6th currently listed with ABA.

    A Jockey Club sixth had been at the top of my wish list for many years until I was fortunate to make a trade at last year’s D-Ville show with Roger T. for a nice medium-amber example.

    As nice as my amber one is, I liked this Jockey better. I immediately began selling a number of quality bottles right off my shelf to have a shot at winning it. To my surprise, I won it! After I won the bottle, I listed my amber example on eBay to help foot the bulk of the sticker price….It was steadily climbing along on eBay until a bigger surprise gave way….

    I received the bottle in the mail and opened it. Within 20 seconds of looking over the bottle I spotted an approx. ½” S-curved crack in the base. My heart sank, as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I handed the bottle to two other collectors without pointing out the damage. They noticed the same thing.

    ***My opinion only: I do not believe the issue existed while the bottle resided in the collections of two prominent western collectors. I don’t know with certainty how it happened, but my guess is the base edge bumped another bottle just before, at, or right after the Auburn show. Numerous collectors handled the bottle during this timeframe and it only takes a slight hit to cause damage to a thin area of glass. I personally don’t see eye to eye with the description in the ABA catalogue, as annealing checks usually don’t curve in multiple places. In addition, fractures and annealing checks go into or through the glass, if it doesn’t it’s called a scratch. This isn’t any sort of scratch/surface issue. I also noticed a tiny white mark near the crack, which seemed to be from some type of impact, rather than manufacturing.***

    To each his own, condition is in the eye of the beholder. If the issue wasn’t there I wouldn’t hesitate to call it THE TOP EXAMPLE. As for now, I will cherish the amber example I acquired in trade from Roger and hope for a mutually beneficial outcome for ABA and the winning bidder. I do highly advise any interested parties to view the bottle in-person, in good lighting, with good eyes (or a loop) to by crystal clear about the condition prior to bidding. Jeff does a wonderful job with sharing auction items at shows or his SAC office, so this is a lesson for me to carefully inspect any future purchases in person prior to bidding, and if possible, pick the bottle up in-person at payment.

    When contacting Jeff about this bottle he honored his word, giving me a full refund (with few questions asked). I have always known Jeff to be fair in all dealings, and believe he is a class act. Bid with responsibility & confidence.

  7. The video for the Jockey Club certainly shows something, hard to focus on it with the bottle moving around. I agree that any serious bidders should try to view the bottle in person. It is so beautiful, I hope it can find a loving home.
    G.P., are you refering to the framed poster in my post, the E.A.Fargo & Co., or the sign A.P. was refering to?

  8. I'm not really sure what it looked like. I heard about it a few months after it was found and had already traded hands. It was in color with the horse and rider pictured. I always wondered what it looked like and may even be the one pictured in this post. Does anyone know?

  9. I looked that bottle over again on Friday and even used a 10X loupe. I'll be danged if I could see anything remotely resembling a crack. There is a tiny in-making "fissure" on the base but it is most certainly a not crack. It is surface only and appears to be only a minute fold in the glass. annealing checks and fissures are quite common in old bottles and if you look closely enough with magnification you will find them on just about any specimen. You have to consider that any dug bottles can't be "sparkling mint". That title can only be reserved for those examples that were never buried or had contact with any other bottles.

  10. You don't need a loop to notice the issue on the Jockey. But I also used several different loops to get a different view. That's a pretty loose definition of a "fissure" to me. Did you see how it refracts when you tilt the bottle? It definitly flashes in the light. I love dug bottles, but there's a difference between manufacturing issues & a bottle that bumped other bottles (post-manufacturing). Hopefully the buyer will have the chance to see it in person before bidding & not mind it if winning. That's all that really matters at this point.


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