Historical flasks, western whiskeys to be sold in online auction, Dec. 9-18 An incredible selection of rare, high-end western whiskey bottles and historical flasks will be sold in an Internet and catalog auction that begins Dec. 9 and ends Dec. 18 by American Bottle Auctions.
News-Antique.com - Nov 03,2011 - (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – An incredible selection of rare, high-end western whiskey bottles and historical flasks will be sold in an Internet and catalog auction that begins Dec. 9 and will conclude Dec. 18 by American Bottle Auctions (www.americanbottle.com). Some of the whiskeys are the most desirable specimens known; some flasks are in never-before-seen colors.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large group of rare and desirable whiskeys and flasks in one auction in my many years of collecting and auctioning vintage bottles,” remarked Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. “There are easily thirty bottles in this sale that could sell for tens of thousands of dollars each. Any one of them would be the star lot in another sale.”
Mr. Wichmann said he was contacted by a gentleman handling an estate that included numerous items, to include a hoard of flasks and other rare bottles that had been sitting in boxes, undisturbed, since the deceased’s passing – in 1954. “His wife just boxed everything up and brought the bottles with her wherever she went,” Mr. Wichmann said. “It’s a real treasure trove.”
The boxes contained historical flasks that are so rare some are considered one-of-a-kinds. Many are in colors that have never been seen before. The western whiskeys, meanwhile, are just as scarce. “Among the whiskeys are a half-dozen specimens that are the finest I’ve ever seen or sold,” Wichmann said, “and they come from some of the most important collections out there.”
Historical flasks and western whiskeys have been considered highly collectible bottles since as far back as 1900, when Edward A. Barber wrote about these interesting and beautiful pieces in his 112-page book, titled American Glassware. The main focus of the book was the American glasshouses of the day that produced these creations. The book even had a few photos.
Mr. Barber spent a good amount of time in the book talking about early American flasks, explaining there are two kinds: historical flasks (which commemorate something or someone, like George Washington, who was a favorite among bottle makers); and thematic flasks, which might show an embossed cornucopia (to symbolize achievement) or a proud American eagle.
The glasshouses often embossed the reverse sides of these bottles with the name of their company, or maybe a railroad car, or even another eagle. The Masonic symbol – adopted by the mighty group of architects and builders in the early days of the nation’s emergence in the 19th century – was often seen on flasks. It was as much an advertisement as it was commemorative.
Another book, titled American Bottles and Flasks, by Helen McKearin, laid out the very system of categorizing bottles that is still in use today. Under McKearin’s system, there are 15 different groupings of flasks, from the Washington flasks to the lettered flasks (which simply stated something factual, like the name of the glasshouse that manufactured that particular flask).
A list of the more important early historical flasks must include the George Washington examples (or portrait)