EAST GREENVILLE, Pa. — More than 550 bottles, flasks and stoneware were offered in Glass Works Jan. 21-Feb. 18 two-part online ‘Cabin Fever’ Auction.
The highlight of the sale was a common bitters bottle in a rare color. Lot 12, A ‘St. Drake’s Plantation Bitters’ with a presale estimate of $30,000-$40,000 sold for $46,000. “We probably sell over 50 Drake’s Plantation Bitters bottles every year in the commonly seen shades of amber and puce. So when we received a phone call asking if we wanted to auction one in blue-green we knew this was something special,” said Jim Hagenbuch, the company’s owner.
Hagenbuch commented that, “Bitters bottles have been very strong in recent years, especially those in unusual colors and forms.” Other bitters bottles that enjoyed success were lot 24, a rare ‘Royal Flush Bitters’ with an impressive label showing a Royal Flush in hearts. A number of collectors were ‘all in’ on this one, with it finally selling to a California collector for $4,880 ($2,000-$3,000) estimate. Lot 259, a rare semi-cabin form bottle embossed, ‘Napoleon Bitters – Buffalo, N.Y.’ sold for $6,900, ($3,500-$4,500) estimate.
Lot 194, an early historical flask with the likeness of George Washington on one side and General Zachary Taylor on the other, a bright yellow green color pint, sold for $8,625 ($3,500-$4,500) estimate. “It was made in Philadelphia in 1848 to commemorate the Whig Parties nomination of Zachary Taylor as their Presidential hopeful,” said Hagenbuch. “They come in a wide range of attractive colors making them very appealing to the flask collectors.
A pair of pottery inkwells made by George Ohr, the ‘Mad Potter of Mississippi,’ both exceeded expectation. “We don’t sell a lot of George Ohr pottery,” said Hagenbuch, “but when we sell his inkwells they always seem to generate a lot of excitement.” Lot 153, an inkwell in the shape of a cabin with a ‘Geo. Ohr / Biloxi’ base impression sold for $7,475 considerably above its estimate ($2,500-$3,500).
Topping that was lot 162, another Geo. Ohr pottery inkwell, this one in the shape of a Panther’s head, and with an unusual impressed base poem, sold for $8,625 ($4,000-$6,000).
In the category of black glass, lot 73, a 17th century bottle with ‘Dribur Water’ and a Coat-of-Arms on an applied seal, estimated at ($600-$800) went to a collector in Belgium for $6,900. “We knew it was a rarity, but could only guess as to its value,” said Hagenbuch. “All the bidders were European, the winner from Belgium, the underbidder from Germany.”
Other highlights included lot 178, a pre-Civil War medicine bottle embossed, ‘Dr. Wilcox’s Sarsaparilla,’ $4,887 ($4,000-$5,000).
Lot 188, a ‘Warner’s Safe Nervine’ in a rare aqua color sold for the record price of $5,462 ($1,400-$1,800).
The total for both parts of the auction was $493,383, with only 18 pieces of the 550 offered not selling. Prices include the company’s 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Glass Works Auctions’ next auction ends March 25, and contains a highly diversified offering including a number of examples from several important collections.
The entire auction can be viewed on-line at www.glswrk-auction.com. Or, for more information, contact Glass Works Auctions at 215-679-5849 or email@example.com.