Rare Dr. R. Parker western medicine bottle finishes at $23,100 at American Bottle Auctions Nov. 6-15 A California Clubhouse western whiskey fifth and a Dr. R. Parker western medicine posted identical selling prices of $23,100 each at American Bottle Auctions' Nov. 6-15 internet and catalog auction.
News-Antique.com - Nov 18,2015 - SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A California Clubhouse western whiskey fifth and a Dr. R. Parker western medicine posted identical selling prices of $23,100 each at Auction #62, an internet and catalog auction held Nov. 6-15 by American Bottle Auctions (www.americanbottle.com). In all, 199 lots (totaling 350 bottles) changed hands in an auction that grossed a little under $225,000.
“The California Clubhouse is truly a great bottle and one of the top western fifths out there,” said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. “The Dr. R. Parker bottle (Indian TLA-Quillaugh’s Balsam, San Francisco) is so rare that a lot of western bottle collectors don’t even know it exists. This was just the third one we’ve sold. Two minor blemishes didn’t seem to deter bidders at all.”
The auction featured the Heinemann collection of whiskey bottles, rare San Francisco pieces, a collection of early handled whiskeys, bitters, medicines, sodas and miscellaneous bottles. Nearly 224 people registered to bid online, placing 1,325 online bids. Only six percent of lots were won by collectors not participating online. Many bottles sold for more than even their high estimates.
“The sale was a good sign for some and not so much for others,” Wichmann said. “We had 76 lots that sold for below the low estimates, but they were mostly the less desirable pieces. Their combined total was only around $14,000. But 36 lots sold above the high estimates, for around $43,000. A lot of the western whiskey bottles did well. That’s the way of the western whiskey.”
A very early (and therefore rare) example of a common J. F. Cutter Star & Shield whiskey bottle brought $6,050 – a high price to pay, but the bottle exhibited great color, with lots of crudity and character. Also, a Jesse Moore whiskey flask in amber, nearly flawless, earned the respect of bidders who engaged in a battle of wills until a winner finally emerged, paying a stout $7,700.
Bitters were “unspectacular but solid,” Wichmann said. “We had some rare but rather lackluster examples that sold in the medium range. It was like people wanted them, but only for a decent price.” The top achiever of the category was a Wonser’s Indian Root Bitters. It was in excellent condition, fetching $8,800, a bargain, considering that bottle in that shape routinely hits $10,000.
A rare blue soda bottle – an H & G with walking bear graphic – notched a respectable $17,600. “That was a good, solid price,” Wichmann remarked. “It was a common bottle, but rare to see in aqua, and this one was in mint condition. Not a lot of superb, non-pontiled western sodas come up for bid these days, so it’s tough to guess what one will do at auction. I guess we found out.”
In summary, Wichmann said, “I guess you could look at this sale and pretty much say that the rare western items were the runaway favorites. But because we didn’t have a lot of super-rare eastern glass it looked a little more like