St. Drake's Plantation bitters bottle realizes $37,950 at American Bottle Auctions' sale #58 A St. Drake’s Plantation 1860 X bitters bottle, made circa 1862-1872 and one of only a few known in the blue-green color, soared to $37,950 at American Bottle Auctions’ Internet and catalog sale #58.
News-Antique.com - Jul 02,2013 - (SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – A St. Drake’s Plantation 1860 X bitters bottle, made circa 1862-1872 and one of only a few known in the blue-green color, soared to $37,950 at American Bottle Auctions’ Internet and catalog sale #58, which went online June 21 and ended June 30. It wasn’t the most ever paid for that bottle in that color, but it was very close – a tribute to its rarity.
In all, 165 vintage and highly collectible bottles – many of them premium whiskeys and scarce high-condition handled whiskeys – came up for bid in an auction that totaled right around $290,000, making it one of American Bottle Auctions’ best sales ever. Several records fell and many bottles sailed past their high estimates. Participation was also higher than in any prior sale.
The St. Drakes Plantation X Bitters was the top lot of the auction. “Of the three or four blue-green examples known, this one may be the prettiest,” said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. “In fact it might be the best colored bottle of any type out there. It’s also one of the finest bottles we’ve ever sold. It has all three elements: color, condition and of course rarity.”
The bulk of the bidding was done online, as 263 people registered to bid via the American Bottle Auctions website (www.americanbottle.com), accounting for 1,353 bids and an 89 percent sell-through. The other 11 percent was divided up between phone, absentee and fax’d bids. But they totaled just 35 bidders, proving that most people prefer a screen over a gallery.
Mr. Wichmann attributed the success of the sale to several factors, including “a couple of great collections that came to us at the last minute, plus a fine range of bottles, with something for everyone in all price ranges. They say cream rises, and the better lots did fetch high dollars. There’s no telling what someone will pay for a bottle once he decides he’s just got to have it.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Two other bottles topped the $15,000 mark, and both were new world auction records. One was a brilliant deep blue quart scroll flask (probably GIX-2), 9 inches tall, graded a near-perfect 9.8 out of 10 for condition ($19,550; a new record for a quart scroll flask). The other was an Ira Harvey (Providence, R.I.) tepee-shaped blue soda bottle ($16,100; a record for a soda).
A large, uniquely shaped J.H. Cutter Old Bourbon bottle (A.P. Hotaling, Sole Agents), made circa 1869-1871 and one of the few western whiskeys made in green, graded 9.8, brought $14,400, shattering the previous record for this bottle; and a St. Drake’s 1860 Plantation bitters, the only one known in the “cherry Coke” color, made circa 1862-1872, graded 9.9, hit $13,225.
Three other bottles made it past $5,000. The first was an OK Old Kirk Bourbon Whiskey label on an unembossed bottle (A.P. Hotaling & Co.), with original porcelain stopper and giving