Sunday, December 29, 2013

Green Whittled Sixth

Nice Green Sixth, Heavy on the Whittle, from the West.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

J.F. Cutter

Here is my current little family of J. F. Cutter fifths.    I have three of the old variant 1 (type a) bottles.  Otherwise known by various names... stovepipe top, barrel top, fat boy.    The fat boy on the left was my obsession for a few years,  and yes it is quite green.   The center example will be closer to the one in the ABA auction,  I think. 

They are close in color for sure,  but the stovepipes fall just a bit short on the green o meter to a few examples of the (type b) tapered tops that I have seen over the years.   Lance has a great example!

My old (type b) in a similar color to Lance's is resting comfortably with a collector that posts here on occasion.   Maybe he will chime in...      It was dug high in the mtns. above Salt Lake City.               It needs to come back home


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Colored Cutters

Merry Christmas to all, from the Cutter Family!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gold Rush Buckles and Belts

Friendships are the most important
part of our hobby. 
I've been losing a little weight,  and had to pick up a new belt.     I don't know if it will look as good on me as on this dandy.    It does have an adjuster.. which might come in handy after all the holiday treats and goodies.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The PIONEER Idaho Bottle or Nevada Bottle - a little of both.

These F. C. Brown and company sodas are pretty scarce.   They are a interesting link to significant mining booms that occurred in the Boise Basin District (Idaho City 'placer gold') and White Pine District (Hamilton/Treasure City 'silver chloride'). 

Brown followed the crowd into Idaho and set up his soda business in 1867.   The bottles were ordered and blown by either the Pacific G.W. or the San Fran. G.W.   He must have placed a fairly large order,  possibly more than one order,  as examples are known in 3 fairly distinctive colors and with somewhat different top styling.    A number of years ago,  we traveled to Idaho City and met with an interesting gent. that dug some bottles in that area in the early 1970's.   This was my first awakening as to the early 'western connection' of the Boise area.  This guy had a yellow Lacours, S.H.M. fifths,  Pacific Glass Works "star" pickle,  other embossed fifths and S.F. sodas.  He also had 3 or 4 of these Pioneer sodas.    I didn't pay attention to them,  probably could have picked one up from him at the time.  No,  I was drooling all over the Lacours. 

This ex-digger had flown choppers in Vietnam and that was his occupation in the mid 1970's if I remember correctly,  flying fire fighters around the thickly wooded region during the fire season.
He was involved in helicopter crash and had torn up his back pretty bad.  Done with digging,  but he had some great stories.   We were sitting out in the back yard listening to the stories as he went through the daily pain killing process.   His rock garden was full of interesting shards and topless bottles and I bet there were a dozen broken Pioneers in the pile.   Anyway,  he passed away shortly after our visit with him.   His sister was very active in the Idaho City Historical group and that is where his bottles are now.  Another museum to deal with!

Brown's Idaho City business declined in 1868/1869 and he decided to relocate in eastern Nevada. 
He had caught White Pine Fever and joined the rush to Hamilton,  taking his embossed bottles with him.   Several examples have been dug in the White Pine area.   White Pine was short lived,  by mid- 1869 people were rushing back to where they had come from.   Not sure where Mr. Brown headed to after Hamilton,  but his bottles have been found in Virginia City, and in California.  

A very good account of F.C. Brown and the Pioneer soda can be found in Fred Holabird's book on Nevada Bottles V.1.   Did I miss volume 2 or is it still coming?  

An interesting bottle and another early product of the west coast glass works.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Since we are talking Miller's
thought I would bring back this old post about the Boukofsky brothers.
Utah has produced more than it's share of Miller's flasks.  Both large and small embossing circle variations.  Also it has produced many, many J.F. Cutter Extra (Star in Shield) fifths.   Nelson and Edward Boukofsky ads first appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune in 1871. 

The Boukofsky's were probably the largest (most successful) of the 4 major dealers of San Francisco whiskies in the Utah Territory market.   If the number of embossed containers is any indication,  they certainly were the most successful.  Miller's Extra and J.F. Extra was shipped throughout the state.  Every early town/ mining district I have poked around has remains of these containers scattered about. 

They were also the Utah agents for Baldwin's Superior Hand Made Old Bourbon (S.H.M.)  and McKennas.

It didn't take long for the E.Martin (J.F. Cutter) / A.P. Hotaling (J.H. Cutter)  feud  to show up in the local Utah papers.  Early in 1872 Cunnington and the Boukofsky's started taking potshots at each other as to which was the "true and genuine' Cutter whiskey.

It is interesting to try and calculate the survival rate of some of these bottles.  Cunnington's ad indicates Hotaling's purported warehouse inventory of J.H. Old Bourbon in early 1872.  Besides all the barrels and casks,  5000 cases of bottled product!    I don't think these would be circle cutters... early 1872! 


Boukofsky's owned the market in Alta, Utah.  At least 30 intact star/shield fifths have been found in this lofty mining town.  Probably over 20 Millers flasks.   Cunnington did a pretty good job early on as the early J.H.Cutters with and without crown are found here.
The more famous Utah dealers, the Walker Bros.,  had a hard time selling whiskey in Alta.   They made their pile at the Emma and Prince of Wales mines,  but when they gained access to an early mining claim that basically included the entire business district of Alta,  and threatened to make townsfolk re-purchase their lots or move... that didn't go over real big!
Very few circle Cutters in here,  just a couple of shards of Suits.  Alta was all Boukofsky after 1872.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gold Rush Gins

My collecting goals are constantly in flux it seems.   I have really grown to appreciate these Booth and Sedgwick bottles.   All of the early embossed squares are appealing to me.  It's that darn gold rush thing. 

The Jockey Club House gins are so pricey now,  some of the others might be "little more affordable".    

It is really difficult to find nice, mint, pontiled squares.   Seems like everyone is after them.

                   I brought these two home from Roseville.    I love em!!


  Added them to my other two,  and I have a decent little start of a grouping.    The large   size  comes in quite a few different colors,  so I have a long way to go.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Picked up a mate to my yellowish Thos. Taylor during my trip to Roseville. 

I need to find a green sixth to go with this mini-run if anyone knows where I can pick one up... cheap.   :)

I owned this dark one for a few minutes back in 2005,  and happy to get it back.   Super whittled, with play-doh embossing,  if you know what I mean.


Had a great show,  will post a couple of more newps.

Miller Time!

Some of the finds from a mid 1870's to early 1880's era outhouse. I've always wanted to dig a Miller's flask, as much as any bottle for some reason. Bucket List: Check!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Whiskies Rising From the Ground.............

Whiskies arisen from the ground……like the mythical bird

Yes, you guessed it!  The Phoenix… and not just one.   This was a party, now and 133 yrs ago !!  We were having a whiskey dig party , feeling as high as the mythical bird itself could fly,  with disbelief as one after another Phoenix Sole Agent fifth rapidly arose in succession from the hole.  We were the privileged privy diggers to uncover this long forgotten party, where a case of these rare birds was tossed all at once, down one side of a giant 6x6x 10’ deep privy.  

It started out as any ordinary Nov. winter spot, with normal expectations, mainly being, just hoping to find any pre-1890's privy to dig.  There were 2 early houses now occupying a single property.  We had obtained permission and located and dug a very empty 1880’s pit a week before that  yielded only 2 unembossed 1880’s pint beers.  With hopes of finding the 70’s or earlier pit for this drinker, or maybe an early pit for the other  house, we went back to probe more extensively.  After an hour of full penetration probing, we were bummed that no other pits could be located by any of the 3 of us.  We started talking about packing up and heading to a different house.  As we walked towards the gate to leave, for some odd reason Andrew decided to probe right in front of the gate, an area that we all thought had been previously probed, and obviously an area that we had all walked right over numerous times.  It turns out, that this area had been probed, but not thoroughly, since it had quite a bit of bricks and rocks in the first couple of feet.  This time, Andrew got the probe to go in farther than anywhere else.   I noticed the drop from where I was standing about 20’ away.  He asked for the long probe.  Towards the end of the long probe, it came to a sudden stop,,,,no, not bottom, but on a solid glass object. I could tell it was on a bottle.  He repeated the probing one more time, and the results were the same.   I commented that I had a feeling this hole was going to be a “bottle hole”  and very different from the dud we dug there the week before.   No one really got their hopes up though, as we all know that the majority of privies yield junk or  broken stuff.

Ned commenced immediately opening up the cap, seemingly eager with his new military boots.  I assisted from the top until he got to the point where only one person could dig inside the hole.   Ned powered thru the rubble with ease, enjoying the power and comfort  of switching from Tennis shoes to boots.  I jumped in and dug it down another couple of feet to just above where the probe hits were.  Time for a fresh digger to get in and  start pulling bottles !  Andrew jumped in and took one side down to touch the layer. In a matter of minutes he had his first hit.  As he uncovered it, Ned and I could see it  from the top of the hole, before Andrew yelled out  “it’s a fifth !! “.   Next thing he’s saying it’s a green Phoenix !!  We couldn’t believe it !  Normally, we dig Cutters or unembossed fifths.  He handed the bottle up and I “classified” it immediately.  Before I could finish that menial but important task, he yelled up that he had 3 more whiskies showing !  Within minutes, they rose from the ashes of the outhouse, like mythical birds….. 2 more Phoenix Sole Agent fifths and a Cutter OK.  We took a moment to reflect and look at each other in disbelief.  Andrew then asked me what the standing Phoenix fifth record was, since he was aware of my famous Phoenix fifth dig back in 1982, and as if he intended for us to break that record with this party.  I told him I believed my dig  of 6 intact (5 mint and 1 damaged) from that dig was the record.  Andrew then commenced to more digging and carefully scraping in the layer with an improvised digging stick that Ned found laying nearby and gave him to protect any fifth from a metal tool mark.  He continued on the same side of the privy where the whiskies were coming out.  After clearing a little more soil and finding shards of 3 more Phoenix’s, he looked up and told us he had 2 more whole fifths showing.  Ned and I looked at each other in awe,,,, myself wondering if even more Phoenix’s would rise from this layer.  Both fifths were indeed Phoenix’s !!  We were now at 5 intact  Sole Agent globby Phoenix’s !!  Incredible !! I was “classifying” as fast as I could, and Ned agreed tp take the full bucket of  fifths to the vehicle to further secure them.  In the meantime. Andrew pulled 2 more badly damaged Phoenix’s, one with a large neck crack and a chunk out of the mouth, and another with just a stub left of the neck.  At this point, we had only dug on one side of the layer and thought that maybe across the entire pit it could be laden with bourbons.  Ned then surmised that there had been a party, and a case was dumped all at once down one side of the privy.  Andrew continued to dig, and for awhile it looked like our party was over too.  Then, just as we thought it was over, he turns his head up and says, I’ve got a fifth showing.  Yes, it was another Phoenix,,,, the last one from their party 133 yrs ago, and what turned out to be the last one for our dig party as well.

Ned jumped in the hole to relieve Andrew.  After digging for about an hour along  2 of the other sides, only medicines  were coming out.  There was one wall left to dig, the back wall, which is usually the best side of the privy. I jumped in, and dug about 10 bottles. For a minute, I thought I had a Miller’s flask showing, but it turned out to be a slick.  We were so amped at this point, we wouldn’t have  been surprised if the flask had been embossed, but alas,,, the ole counting your chickens before they hatch”  got the best of  us with the flask !

Fast forward to later in the week,,,,, looking at the bottles.   The Phoenix Sole Agent glop-top tally was 6 intact, 2 badly damaged, and 4 broken. 12 Phoenix’s were tossed into that privy, and they are all the earlier varient, glop-tops and older style embossing.  Ned’s party theory was right.  We had found the remnants of exactly one case of Phoenix fifths !  Now, the best part is, that this case was a mixed batch from the glass factory and from Naber. Alfs & Brune’s warehouse.  The color breakdown on the intact examples is as follows:  1 light olive-amber with good whittle, 1 honey amber w/ touch of olive; 1 dark chocolate red amber; 2 light rootbeer amber;  1 light orange-amber (flashes).  Five out of the six intact examples are near mint to mint,,,,, same as in the 1982 Phoenix dig.  Welcome to the Phoenix Zone......

History does seem to repeat, as just a little  over 30 yrs ago I had dug the other 6 intact Phoenix’s.  Seems like as they say at NASA, "The Phoenix has landed”…..hmm… again, this time 2013 !  Thirty one yrs later, 6 more,  only for this party,  the color variety was even better !!  Both occasions were when we least expected something good to come out…..crappy spots low on the priority list.  Goes to show you, that if you just go out and do it for fun, and don’t expect a pot of gold,  you might just find that pot of  good fifths or any type  every once in awhile !!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Teakettle Old Bourbon

I believe that one of the best whiskey bottles which typifies the old west is the Teakettle. When one considers all that these bottles have going for them, ie: Fantastic full face embossing, a picture, and often crudity, and nice color, these bottles simply have it all...except for rarity, but when compared to other collectibles, they really are "rare". If one goes by the examples available, they are also "rare". Other than the Gold Dust fifths, the Teakettle is a bottle which seems designed to have everything a collector 130 plus years later would find attractive. There are whiskey collectors who have a "run" of these, and even those who have moved their whiskey collections along typically hang on to a teakettle or two. I am one of them as even though the western bitters are a strong passion for me, I cannot ignore the beauty of the Teakettle.
 Can you imagine the early days of digging in Nevada where these appeared to be everywhere? Were it not for Virginia City, the epicenter of these fifths, the Teakettle might be in the top 10 or even top 5 of western whiskeys. It is only the numbers known keeping them from the top of the list. They are definitely in my personal top 5. Let's hear it for the Teakettle!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lilienthal Distillers

Here is a nice little half pint flask which was recently found during a house remodel in Washington. it was found in the ceiling/floorboards in a house built in the 1880s. Man I never get this lucky. It was completely covered in a black soot type substance, but washed up to gem mint condition!
 These Lilienthal's are not exactly exotic or rare, but with a large glob top in the half pint, they are not easy to find. The color is nice, and it has  very bold embossing which is tough to find on these. I would say there are about 12-15 applied top half pints in collections. I have seen them in a super light lemon yellow color, but they are usually very weakly embossed...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Old Figment? Not!


Above dated 2/14/1875



Above dated 3/01/1875




Above from 1876 Langley's S. F. Directory~


According to John Thomas, Kirkpatrick removed himself from the liquor business due to his involvement in S.F. politics and his  appointment to the position as chief of police.
However, it was actually McCue who abrubtly departed from the wholesale liquor scene in 1875.

So where is an intact bottle?!!!

 And, could there be a variant with the mold slugged to read Kirkpatrick & Gentry?

It documents the existence of at least pieces of the bottle.