California Clubhouse Whiskey bottle soars to $30,240 A medium chocolate amber California Clubhouse Whiskey bottle, made circa 1872-1874 and one of only nine known, sold for $30,240 in an Internet and catalog auction held by American Bottle Auctions.
News-Antique.com - Aug 31,2009 - (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – A medium chocolate amber California Clubhouse Whiskey bottle, made circa 1872-74 and one of only nine examples known, soared to $30,240 in an Internet and catalog auction held Aug. 10-21 by American Bottle Auctions (americanbottle.com). The bottle, highly prized by collectors, boasted a fancy monogram in the center, a gorgeous embossing pattern and a 9.5 grading.
“Time and time again, when votes are taken for the most desirable western fifth, the California Clubhouse comes out on top,” said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. “For whiskey bottle collectors, it is the Holy Grail. They were only produced for three years, and the one just sold is the first example ever offered at auction, in any color or condition. It was last purchased at a show in the 1970s.”
The California Clubhouse bottle was the top lot of the more than 260 bottles that changed hands in a sale that grossed just under $250,000. “The results of this auction told me that the antique bottle market is very strong despite a weak economy,” Mr. Wichmann said. “Bitters, rare flasks and hard-to-find pieces did beautifully, realizing higher prices than I even hoped for. Overall, it was a great auction.”
The vast majority of the action took place online (although phone, fax and absentee bids were also accepted). Fully 85 percent of all bids were placed by registered online bidders, whose ranks totaled 292 people. About 1,250 bids were submitted online (vs. 210 by all other means combined, submitted on behalf of 61 bidders). The winning bid was submitted by an online bidder around 82 percent of the time.
All of the bottles were vintage, with most of them made between 1850 and1900 (the period most coveted by collectors, when superior embossing techniques were employed). Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices include a 12 percent buyer’s premium.
Two other bottles topped the $10,000 mark. One was a bourbon whiskey bitters, straw or wheat in color and with an applied top in light yellow, loads of whittle and an amazing light color. The bottle, graded Mint 9.2, coasted to $10,640. The other was an original concentric ring eagle flask (the GII-76A variant), in nearly perfect condition except for some high-point wear. Graded Mint 9.3, it made $10,080.
A brilliant green H.P. Herb Wild Cherry bitters bottle with an embossed cherry tree, cabin-shaped with a tool top and generally perfect with a 9.5 grade, rose to $7,840; a Southern Aromoatic Cock Tail (sic) bitters bottle, by J. Grossman of New Orleans, with a long sleek neck, achieved $6,160; and an almond hair wash bottle by W. Herd, beautiful sky blue and loaded with bubbles, earned $5,600.
Three lots all realized identical prices of $5,376. They were a London Jockey Clubhouse Gin bottle with embossed horse and rider, applied top, great iron pontil and a grade of 9.8; a teal-colored Lediard’s Celebrated Stomach bitters bottle with applied double tapered top with iron pontil, graded 9.7; and a W & Company