The western fifth was the top lot of 144 bottles that changed hands. The sale grossed $250,000+

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – A Trademark Barkhouse Bros. & Co. Gold Dust Kentucky Bourbon bottle, one of the most popular western fifths and one of the finest known to exist, sold for $28,000 in an Internet and catalog auction held Dec. 9-18 by American Bottle Auctions. The bottle was the top seller of the 144 western whiskeys and historical flasks that changed hands.

The auction set numerous records and did well in virtually every category of bottle, and that prompted Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions to declare it “one of the strongest auctions we’ve ever had,” adding, “The bottles averaged around $1,700 each, and that includes the lesser pieces that brought less than $200.” Overall, the auction grossed just over $250,000.

“The western whiskeys did particularly well and the historical flasks were also very strong,” Mr. Wichmann remarked. “There were really no disappointments, as many lots soared past their high estimates. It helped that most pieces were graded 9.5 and higher (out of 10) for condition. The hobby is very strong, with eager buyers from every area of bottle collecting.”

The Gold Dust western fifth excited bidders for several reasons. It boasted loads of embossing, even with an embossed horse (which happened to depict a famous race horse of its time). It had a beautiful yellow olive coloration, with a ton of whittle and an applied top. The Gold Dust has become a “must-have” western fifth for serious collectors able to afford one.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the 12 percent buyer’s premium.

A Lafeyette / Masonic half-pint flask, 6 ½ inches tall and made circa 1815-1830, had an unusual light to medium green color so far outside the standard olives and ambers it pushed the final price to a record $15,120. Also, a J. Moore Old Bourbon western fifth (E. Chielovich & Co., Sole Agents), made circa mid-1870s and with whittle even on the antlers, brought $14,000.

An O.P.S. Bourbon bottle, graded 9.8 and almost legendary in its place among western fifths, with unsurpassed whittle, super strike, wonderful color and perfect condition, went to a determined bidder for $12,880. Also, a C. W. Stewart’s Extra Kentucky Whisky bottle, also graded 9.8, circa 1875-1883, one of about ten known and amber-reddish in color, hit $11,760.

A light golden amber Wm. H. Spears & Co. Old Pioneer whiskey bottle with embossed walking bear, circa 1878-1881, one of the top specimen two-name bear containers known, with exceptional strike and overall patina, garnered $7,840. Also, a Jockey Club Whiskey sixth-sized bottle, circa 1873-1878, graded 9.7 with an olive amber hue and loads of bubbles, rose to $6,160.

A beautiful olive green Masonic / Eagle flask, 7 ¼ inches tall, circa 1815-1830, with an exceptional applied top exhibiting no highpoint wear and virtually no scratching or wear of any kind, breezed to $5,600. Also, a 6 ½ inch tall pattern molded flask, at first thought to merely be a Midwestern pocket flask but later determined to be a 19th century Amelung bottle, made $5,376.

Two lots realized identical prices of $4,928. The first was a salt glazed ovoid stoneware flask (possibly made by Henry Remmey, circa 1860), with hand-painted blue floral decorations on the front and back. The other was a beautiful light to medium amber Kane, O’Leary & Co. half-pint flask, very early and one of only three known, in remarkable condition, graded 9.7.

An Eagle / Eagle quart flask, 8 inches tall, circa 1845-1860, in a brilliant yellow green (or citron) color, very crude, with hardly any highpoint wear or any distractions alt all, went for $4,480. Also, a Lacour’s Bitters Sarsapariphere 9 ¼ inch tall third variant bottle with applied top, circa 1874-1875, in a light to medium amber color and with a perfect top, commanded $3,856.

An Gardner & Brown 8 ¾ inch torpedo bottle with nasty applied top, colored a brilliant yellow green and sporting loads of whittle and little bubbles, graded 9.3, changed hands for $3,808. Also, a Greeley’s Bourbon Bitters bottle, 9 inches tall, with applied top, made circa 1860-1880 and colored a nice medium green, very crude, in great condition, coasted to $3,584.

A fairly scarce and quite early Sunburst two-pint flask, 7 ¼ inches tall and made in New England around 1815-1830, moss green in color and graded a near-mint 9.9, knocked down at $2,912. Also, a beautiful, medium amber Wormser Bros. (San Francisco) 9 ¼ inch barrel bottle with applied top, made circa 1869, with some light whittle and graded 9.6, achieved $2,702.

Rounding out the sale’s top lots is a wonderful early Lafayette Coventry 6-inch half-pint flask with liberty stars and stripes and a row of stars on the reverse. Made circa 1815-1830 and colored a nice medium amber, the bottle sold for $1,792. American Bottle Auctions’ next catalog and Internet sale is slated for spring 2012. Some fine pieces from Nevada are already consigned.

American Bottle Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single bottle or an entire collection, you may call them toll-free, at 1-800-806-7722; or, you can e-mail them, at [email protected] To learn more about American Bottle Auctions and the company’s next Internet and catalog sale, log on to

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