THE MOST VALUABLE BITTERS BOTTLES

Of all the bottle collecting categories, bitters bottles are among the top.  Many examples command top prices.  This is because bitters collectors like the wide variety, the interesting forms, the wide range of colors and their historical significance as a uniquely American 19th century fad. Well-known, even common bitters such as the Indian Queen and the Ear of Corn bring $300-$500 and much more in odd colors.  Cabin Bitters are especially popular and aside from the Drakes Plantation and a few others they are harder to find. Barrel bitters come a great variety and color and are still available but getting pricey.

 

The most valuable bitters bottles fall into one of the following categories:

          Pontil –Early bitters usually made before 1860

          Figural – Those who shape resembles a figural such as a barrel

          Colored – Odd and unique colors bring a premium

Western – Many Western Bitters command higher prices because of the scarcity.

The least valuable bitters are the late period aqua bottles some of which are even machine made. The Atwood's Jaundice Bitters Below is rare because it not only is pontiled age 1845-1855 but it has original label and contents.  Amber square Bitters are common and other than differences in their embossing, they resemble each other so much that they tend to bring less.

Pontil Age Atwood's Bitters
Worth $200-300 with Label


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DIGGER ODELL'S BITTERS BOTTLE PRICE GUIDE 2010


  MOST VALUABLE BITTERS BOTTLES

 


Pontil Age Bryant's Bitters

Pontil Age Coleman's Bitters

Colored Pontil age Bitters Are among the most valuable.


Drake's Plantation Bitters
common cabin bitters but come in so many great colors.  This one might bring over $4000.00

Holzermann's is one of the most common cabin bitters.

One of the better Cabins is this

Kelly's are one of the most desirable cabin bitters.

So called semi-cabins are also much in demand like this Wahoo Bitters.

Figural Bitters are tops in many Bitters Collector's book. Like the common Brown's Indian Queen in any color other than typical amber they sell in the thousands.

National Bitters Ear of Corn

Simon's Centennial Bitters often reproduced.

Fisch's Bitters is very popular and in this color a top bottle.

McKeever's Army Bitters is as often reproduced.

 

Many Common Barrels can be bought for $150-200 but not in this color.  Green barrels command prices ranging from $5000-$18000

 

Pontiled Franklin Bitters like these are extremely rare and command top prices.

 

Barrel Bitters like this Favorite Bitters are very popular and valuable

 

 

COMMON SQUARE BITTERS ARE (USUALLY) LESS VALUABLE

Square bitters bottles can be found with hundreds of different embossings.  Amber and aqua are the commonly found colors. The majority were produced after 1880. 

 

Typical square bitters sell from $25-$400  

Common amber Hostetter's Stomach Bitters sell for as little as $20. But the green one above would bring closer to ten times that amount.

 

REPRODUCTIONS

Bitters high profile status has led them to be reproduced in great number. Wheaton and other modern glass companies have reproduced many of the famous bitters bottles in both large and miniature sizes.  These are often found in fantastic colors which never existed in the 19th century.  To most experienced collectors, the differences between the new and old are obvious but often the uninitiated can get fooled.

 

 

More Reproduction Bottles

 

REFERENCES

W.C. Ham & Carlyn Ring.  Bitters Bottles. William C. Ham. Downieville, CA. 1998

 

Odell, John. Digger Odell's Official Antique Bottle & Glass Price Guide Bitters   ORDER YOURS