PENNSBURG, PENN. – Specializing in antique bottles, glass, stoneware and related items, Glass Works Auctions closed its two-day Premiere #155 catalog auction – Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. 150 lots crossed the finish line on January 31 in the timed closing auction, and the following day another 135 lots crossed the block. The sale totaled $470,438 with only four lots passed and 149 successful bidders. “It’s because of the volume,” said company owner Jim Hagenbuch of why the auction is split into two sessions closing on successive days. “Also, you’ll notice that everything is sold by category, roughly in that order. Some categories are stronger than others, and you also get a crossover of people collecting more than one category. So normally what we’re going to do is put several of the strong categories on day one and some on day two. But if you’re looking for bottles, you’re only going to bid one day. Same thing with whiskeys.
Some 30 shippers contributed to the auction and about 10 to 12 collections were represented, Hagenbuch said. “If we were to sell an individual’s entire collection, it never sells in one auction; they are spread over a sales period.
The drugs were strong, “as they always are,” he said, probably the bottles of bitters would have been next.
The blown bottle was easily an “old” dark yellowish amber bottle labeled GW Stone’s – Liquid / Cathartic And / Family Physic – Lowell Mass. The circa 1840-1855 example found a buyer willing to part with $37,440, a record price, to put it on the shelf. Standing 9 inches tall, with an enhanced pontil and applied tapered neck mouthpiece, it was deemed a “perfect example” by the auction house, who further exclaimed, “An excellent example , a beautifully cut glass completely filled with tiny air bubbles, some so tightly knit to appear like a milky way! One of the best New England colored pontil medicine bottles ever! Hagenbuch said: “There are only a few and this was a standout example. The buyer was a customer of ours, but not someone I expected to be the winning bidder. You get a lot of wild cards in this industry.
You can see a rotating image of this rare bottle in the Virtual Museum of Historic Bottles and Glass on the web. Its shape is rectangular with beveled corners, three debossed beveled serrated panels and in a rich honey amber glass. The actual contents of the patented medicine at the time were bark, roots and seeds, and as a cathartic it was advertised to “purify the blood of all humors”, as described in an edition of 1856 of Maine Registry.
From the collection of Hagenbuch himself came the second best-selling lot of the sale, which was not a bottle but a rare and important jar lid. A piece like no other, it bore an illustration and the caption “The highest premium awarded at the great universal exhibition to / (three women in prayer) / Jules Hauel, Perfumer. Philadelphia Cream.” The circa 1855 cream colored jar and lid with black transfer was 1 ½ inches high with a diameter of 3 ½ inches. It sold for $18,720. “I used to collect these things,” Hagenbuch recalls. “At one time I had the best collection known to man, but I sold the collection about 20 years ago.” The extremely rare lid, he added, benefited from the fact that “the images are always by far the best, they’re more exciting, the graphics are great. This one in particular, I’m not sure I know of another. When you get something like that nobody has, then you are going to have the best dogs anytime.
Going for $10,530 was a pint bottle emblazoned with “General Jackson” / Bust Of Jackson – Eagle “JR / Laird. Sc. Pitts. Produced by Pittsburgh District Glass Works, Pittsburgh, Penn., It was clear glass with an amethyst tint, open pontil, sheared and machined lip. The catalog cited its very bold print and noted its rating as extremely rare and ranked at number 23 in George McKearin’s list of “most desirable bottles”.
The last time Glass Works had an auction record for a Holman’s Natures Grand Restorative was in 1994. The Ex Dr. Greer Collection, the rare example in this sale, fetched $9,360. Produced by JB Holman, Prop., Boston Mass., the circa 1840-60 bottle featured an “old” yellowish olive amber, was 6-5/8 inches tall with an open pontil and applied mouth. Possibly created when finishing the lip, there was a sized flake pinhead on the side of the lip and a 3/16 by 1/8 inch gouge type chip on the outer edge superior. Still, it was considered an outstanding example, completely full of air bubbles.
Aristocratic sensibilities were on point with an onion-shaped half-bottle of wine adorned with a crest of Pierrepont with a fox passing beneath a baron’s crown. Produced in Shropshire, England around 1695-1700, the Deep Olive Amber Bottle was 5 inches tall with a base diameter of 4 inches and fetched $7,020. The catalog indicates that the Pierrepont family home, “Holme Pierrepont”, in Nottinghamshire was built in the late 15th century. In 1976, four or five such bottles were found at a construction site for a new motorway near Shropshire. They remain the only known examples. This is one of those bottles.
Another choice flask of note was a New England Glass Works concentric ring Eagle pint flask, circa 1815-1825. Coming out at $7,020, it was light green with a yellowish tint. With a pontil-marked base, sheared and machined lip, it was characterized as nearly perfect, and its unusual shape was much sought after by bottle collectors.
One of the most impressive in the Bininger series of bottles, an example from the Charles Aprill collection went for $5,557. Circa 1860-70, the cannon-shaped bottle was marked “AM Bininger & Co. / 19 Broad St. / NY”, medium amber in color, 12 inches high with a smooth base, rough sheared and machined lip. Providentially, 95% of its original multicolored label was intact, reading: “Bininger’s Great Gun Gin, AM Bininger & Co. Established 1778, Sole Proprietors, No. 19 Broad St., NY”
The prices shown include the buyer’s commission as quoted by the auction house. The company’s next auction is a Discovery/Potpourri auction, #156. It will open for auction on February 28 and will close on March 7 and 8. More than 450 lots will be offered. For more information, www.glswrk-auction.com or 215-679-5849.
A rare bottle last recorded at a Glass Works auction in 1994, this Holman’s Natures Grand Restorative, ex-Dr. Greer collection, fetched $9,360. Produced by JB Holman, prop., Boston Mass., the circa 1840-1860 bottle featured an “old” yellowish olive amber, was 6 inches tall with an open pontil and applied mouth.
The best-selling lot of the sale, shown here in two views, was this ‘old’ dark yellowish amber bottle labeled GW Stone’s – Liquid / Cathartic And / Family Physic – Lowell Mass’, circa 1840-1855, which sold $37,440. Standing 9 inches tall, with an improved pontil and an applied tapered neck mouthpiece, it was considered a “perfect example” by the auction house.
Flask collectors love the rare shape of this New England Glass Works concentric ring Eagle flask, circa 1815-1825. The light green quarter with a yellowish tint, pontil scarred base, sheared and machined lip was offered for $7,020.
This cannon-shaped bottle of Bininger Great Gun Gin, circa 1860-1870, pictured here front and back, cost $5,557. Marked “AM Bininger & Co. / 19 Broad St. / NY” and colored a medium amber yellow, the 12¼ inch tall bottle had 95% of its original multicolored label intact.
Not a bottle but a rare and important jar lid that came from Jim Hagenbuch’s own collection, bore an illustration and the caption “The Highest Premium Awarded at The Great Worlds Fair To / (three woman priing) / Jules Hauel, Perfumer . Philadelphia Cream.” The circa 1855 cream colored jar and lid with black transfer was 1½ inches high with a diameter of 3½ inches, selling for $18,720.
Listed at number 23 on George McKearin’s “Most Desirable Bottles” list, this pint bottle emblazoned with “General Jackson” / Bust Of Jackson – Eagle “JR / Laird.” Sc. Pitts” was produced by Pittsburgh District Glass Works, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It featured clear glass with an amethyst tint, an open pontil, a sheared and machined lip and fetched $10,530.
This onion-shaped half-bottle of wine bore an aristocratic pedigree, having been discovered during a 1976 dig among four or five such bottles found at a construction site for a new motorway near Shropshire, England. England. With the Pierrepont family crest: a fox passing under a baron’s crown, the bottle circa 1695-1700, was a dark olive amber, 5¼ inches high and sold for $7,020.