Since last Friday and Saturday the Washington D. C. Metropolitan area was hit with a blizzard and hurricane force winds leaving snow accumulations of 3 to 4 feet. This area is definitely not used to such storms and left the areas in D.C. and surrounding areas buried. It has been so bad that the Federal Government was shut down for 4 days and yesterday and today was now on a three-hour delay.

The city and surrounding counties have done a monumental job in clearing streets both primary and secondary roads leaving however, large mounds of snow along the sides of the roads. The melting process has started and we figure that by spring the 5 to 8 foot mounds may melt. but who is to know and when. People are just beginning to get back to some type of normalcy.

This area is considered dynamic and very fluid with lots happening all the time. When the storm hit, this area was like a ghost town for several days. There were emptied snow covered streets and no one out in the blizzard. As a result businesses have been unable to conduct business, unable to get supplies of any kind. Many of our businesses that were on the edge, this may push them over, but we will have to wait and see. The financial cost of this storm both to business and the massive cleanup from the storm will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. On the government side, the cost will be passed on to the residents with higher taxes and higher costs for services as well as the reduction of programs. To the business side, this means many businesses going out of business, higher costs for products and services and a poorer quality of life and choices.

Last week we began talking about auction services particularly on the west coast introducing you to several of the auction services that auction bottles or have auctioned bottles in the past. Today, continuing on that subject, several weeks ago the blog introduced you to a report form the state of Nevada that the blog obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. This information has been and is therefore in the public domain. After having read and analyzed the report with the blog staff, we wish to present certain information from this report that the bottle world should be aware of. The blog found certain information contained in the investigation report to be eye opening, fascinating, disturbing, and timely. Any information presented by the blog comes directly from the investigation/report. Any comments given by the individuals involved in the investigation was given freely, is part of the report, and is part of the public record and therefore not subject to legal action.

The three principal figures mentioned in this report were Marty Hall, Richard Siri, and Jeff Wichmann. The report discusses the pilfering of artifacts from a designated historical site in Virginia City, Nevada that included 4 Wormser aqua bottles. Three of the bottles were undamaged and the fourth was damaged. The state of Nevada conducted an investigation about this incident that lasted 5 years, resulting in several individuals going to jail, one given immunity in exchange for testimony, and others failing to cooperate with the investigation. One of the principals went so far as to hire an attorney.

The blog will quote from the investigation report citing situations that occurred and comments made by the individuals involved in the incident itself, the events that followed and what the investigators found while investigating this incident. The blog attempted to contact the principals in this incident but they refused to discuss the matter. Since they failed to discuss the matter, the blog will take some liberties in this situation to comment and reveal certain information we know that the investigators were unaware of since they are unfamiliar with the bottle world.

This week the blog wants to introduce you to this particular example that is also shown in Volume I of the Owl Drug Handbook. The bottle is approximately 8 inches high, green in color and has a one-wing owl embossed into the glass. This bottle was produced on a limited run basis as many of the owl drug colorful bottles were during this time period of the company’s operation. The company’s strategy  was used these colorful bottles as a form of advertising to identify the company and the products within the bottles for sale. In those days this was the major way of advertising by companies. This was also a time when the Owl Drug Company was experimenting with different types of products, packaging, and the use of different types of one-wing birds. The reason the Owl Drug Company has so many different one-wing birds was because they want to capture people’s attention to buy their products. This particular green owl is considered one of their most rare bottles that was produced during this experimental time frame and contained citric of magnesia. This example is the only one of its kind that is mint, in natural condition, and contains a unique label.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


This week we begin with a discussion of the bottle auction world starting with the Charles B Gardner auction. A month to six weeks ago I spoke with Norm Heckler who was one of the principals associated with the Gardner auction. He was responsible for cataloguing the bottles, writing the descriptions, writing and compiling the auction book, and conducting the auction. The Heckler auction service is located in Woodstock Valley, Connecticut. Norm Heckler considered this experience to be a labor of love and a very rewarding experience. Another principal associated with this historic auction was Bob Skinner and the Skinner auction service. The Skinner auction service, formerly located in Bolton, Massachusetts, is currently located in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Gardner auction was considered a historic bottle auction and was the first of its kind. The auction held in 1975 contained between 3,000 and 3,200 bottles.. All of the bottles were from the collection of Charles B. Gardner and was the first of its kind to gross over one million dollars. The sale was conducted in two separate sessions. The first session was held on 25, 26, and 27 September 1975. The second session was held on 20, 21, and 22 November 1975. The auction was listed as an unreserved public auction with the high bidder being the winner.

The largest grouping in the collection was in the category of flasks and within that category with over 800 examples of Connecticut flasks. It was the Connecticut flasks that were the most favorite and most treasured by Charles Gardner. The second grouping was the bitters with over 500 examples. The perfumes and colognes were the next largest grouping with over 300 varieties. This group of bottles was part of Mrs. Gardner’s collection.

Charles Gardner started his collecting later in life at the age of 46.  To this date no one knows what methodology he used to decide what to collect or what items to reject. We do know that he liked a particular shape such as the shape of flasks and the variety of colors he preferred but no one actually knows why he fancied these shapes and colors to collect. It is totally unclear as to what motivated and drove him to collect bottle or add to his collection

Since this auction was the first of its kind, it was unclear as to how or what would happen. In fact, the entire auction was a big gamble. It was Norm Heckler who believed in the auction, in Charles Gardner’s collection and the potential for the auction to be a success, but he too has some doubts.

Norm Heckler stated that anyone attending the auction had to pay a fee to bid. That fee was $100.00 and was collected to avoid people coming to the auction just for the sake of watching what was going on, taking up space, and not participating in the bidding. It was all to ensure that proper bidding would take place. And to that end it was a success. The auction proved to be a huge success, setting the standard that we still enjoy to some degree today.

Fast forwarding to today, the standard that was set by the Gardner auction, has unfortunately been eroded and bastardized. Many bottle auctions today fail to inspect, properly identify, and properly assess the current market value of the bottle items that they put up for sale. With the proliferation of “altered” or tampered bottles, many of the auction sales today are littered with altered or tampered bottles, sometimes as much as 80% of the bottles up for sale. Unlike the Gardner auction where the bottles being sold were in their natural state, bottle auctions today are littered with “altered” or tampered bottles. Today bottle cleaning machinery and bottle cleaning services have changed the natural state of bottles to simply sparkling pretty colored bottles that have no value either historically or monetary. The buyers at auctions buy at risk. Those bottles that are altered or tampered with have lost their historical authenticity and have no monetary value and are rarely identified. Auctions today are not living up to the standard set by the Gardner auction and very often fail to perform their auction preparations and functions.

In the weeks ahead we will delve into other aspects of auctions and auction houses including what to look for in auctions sales and how to make the best selections among other things.

This week an item was listed on EBay in the Owl Drug category. The item number #321952195421 is listed as a RARE ORIGINAL EARLY 1900’S STRAIGHT SIDE “THE OWL DRUG CO.” BOTTLE.


The blog sent the seller the following question: “Has this bottle ever been cleaned, tumbled and/or polished or a combination of the three?   The seller never posted this question on his EBay sale but answered the blog directly. Therefore no one else saw the question or the answer the seller gave to the blog.

The answer the seller gave to the blog is as follows: “I don’t know if it has be cleaned or polished or tumbled it was like this when I bought it. How do you tell”?

His answer simply reinforces the concerns the blog raises all the time to our audience and the bottle world at large. This sale given the seller’s description and price, must be questioned. What standard is he using to sell this bottle? To the leadership of the FOHBC and bottle clubs and auction houses, what standard have you set that allows a sale such as this to occur and occur on a regular basis? Why has nothing been done to correct this issue or similar issues?

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

This week’s blog posting covers several topics including returning to the subject presented last week (the green Hostetter). This bottle shown below was sold on EBay recently for $1,575.55. The seller stated in his description that the bottle was never cleaned but never indicated whether the bottle had been tumbled and/or polished. That statement was a key statement in his description that people either missed, overlooked, or unaware of.s-l1600

Normally a Hostetter of this type and color sells in the $300.00 to $500.00 range with accompanying paperwork or proper documentation. In this particular case none of the documentation or paperwork or certification by an independent authority was present. Apparently this practice is common and used on a constant basis now. Items are bought and sold on the Internet, at bottle shows, bottle auctions, and between sellers without authentication of the seller’s comments or descriptions. Buyers very often fail to challenge sellers as to the veracity of their statements. When questions are asked of the seller, the seller often disregards the questions or simply fails to provide any proper information to the buyer or potential buyer. Where is the test and verify component that is so essential to buying antique bottles or antiques in general? The blog has recognized this major problem for some time. As others fails to meet this challenge or problem, the blog has set up a system within its structure to meet this problem. We can now offer certification and verification of most bottle categories to groups and individuals who wish to avail themselves of this service. There is a fee for this service. We will discuss it further in future blog postings. Was this a bogus sale? Apparently it was not a legitimate sale otherwise the bottle would never have sold for $1575.55 with no accompanying documentation or paperwork. These types of sales should never be acceptable to bottle collectors and the bottle world in general.

We return to the subject of the Sacramento bottle show sponsored by the FOHBC. Last week we talked about the forthcoming auction to be held at the show and questioned who would be the auction house or auctioneer. To this date no one from the FOHBC has had the courtesy to respond to any of the questions posed to them about the show. Where are the details related to the show from the FOHBC? They request your presence but fail to provide the necessary information other than hotel accommodations at this time or for people to sign up for tables. What about their seminars? The blog was told that all the seminars had been filled. Strange, if they have been filled then what are they and who is giving them? Since there has been no information provided about what and who are doing the seminars, it must be assumed that none have been selected. Given that information the only reason that Eric MaGuire gave the answer to the blog was because the FOHBC did not want a seminar given by David Levine about the Owl Drug Company and other related categories about Western bottles. In other words the practice of exclusion is in full force. They don’t want the blog to see up close what really goes on at their co-called show and what they write about and present to the public.

The question one must ask is how can one plan for a show in 2017 when the show in Sacramento in 2016 has not been finalized and information provided to the public? Another example of poor planning, poor execution, and a failure to put on a successful show. The stage has already been set to cajole people to participate in FOHBC activities. Most recently Ferdinand entertained Jim Hagenbuch, as he mentioned in his Chattanooga report. The question is why? What does Ferdinand want Jim to do for him or the FOHBC? I guess you can read the tealeaves and figure it out for yourself. We will watch this and see how it develops. What did Ferdinand offer Fred Holabird in his gentleman’s agreement to do the auction? Strange, since none of Fred’s staff knows anything about it the agreement or auction when the blog spoke with them on several occasions. Maybe Fred will return our phone calls and clarify the mystery of this agreement with Ferdinand for the auction in Sacramento in 2016.

Another question that must be answered has to do with why Ferdinand wrote the final Chattanooga report and not the two co-chairs of the show or even Rick Demarsh the public relations director? Why have these officers if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities for the offices they hold? Is it just to have a name on a piece of paper so it looks good that the positions are filled?
Is Ferdinand the Jack-of-All-Trades and the Master of None? Is that why they give him the big bucks or an award?

Besides the exclusions of Owl Drug Company information, what other exclusions is the FOHBC going to permit? The Owl Drug Company was o the most famous companies on the West Coast and their relations with Sun Drug, Liggett, and Rexall, just to name a few. If the show were being held in the West, it would seem logical that western bottles and drug companies would be included not excluded. Therefore one must ask are Nevada bottles, Arizona bottles, California bottles, Southwestern bottles all being excluded from the show? If the answer is yes, then why hold the show in the West at all? Lets watch this event and see what happens. Our readers are quiet cognizant of the exclusion on Owl Drug and are very concerned. It is no wonder that the FOHBC functions on the LIFE SUPPORT mentality and how much longer they exist.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


November 24, 2015

To all our readers, supporters, and others we wish you a happy Thanksgiving with family, friends, and good food. To those of you who do not celebrate Thanksgiving as we do in the United States, we hope you enjoy time with family and friends as we approach the winter season.

This week the blog is highlighting the green Hostetter that recently appeared on EBay.  The seller described the bottle as follows: “And now for something special that I’m not thrilled about parting with. We’re pleased to offer this gorgeous rare mold old “Dr. Hostetter’s / Stomach Bitters” bottle in sparkling attic mint, non-cleaned, original condition. It was hand blown into a two-part mold in a beautiful light yellow green colored glass, circa late 1860s. This is an awesome bottle with great crudity & color in a super light transparent shade with loads of character The whiskey 5th is the typical color of most Hostetter’s and being shown for color comparison only. “ The Hostetter sold for $1,575.55.
As one who collected Hostetters in my early years of collecting bottles, I know this bottle intimately, the various glass houses, the subtle variations in colors, the ones that are rare, and the ones that are not. Seeing this final price without accompanying paperwork, verifying its condition and certified by an expert leaves one to question how any buyer could purchase this item without proof of the seller’s description. One must question if the bottle world has gone mad? Where is the test and verification component for this sale?


A review of the final report of the Chattanooga bottle show that occurred in July-August 2015 is missing a great deal of information. It clearly presents a picture of a show that highlighted the information on the FOHBC board meeting prior to the show; a breakfast where 110 members of an organization consisting of approximately 1,000 members ate and voted on the increase of dues and reinstatement of life membership; one of six seminars; and loads of pictures. Of the 23 pages presented, most of the report was participant reviews and pictures. The report failed to provide essential statistics of attendance, membership rolls, and financial information. As a matter of fact most recently Ferdinand stated that the financial situation about the show had not been completed. The final article was put to print in September-October with no mention of financial issues. This blog posting is appearing on the 23rd of November 2015 and still no final totals of financial issues have been reported. Is this to be an open=ended issue to go on and on for years? When do the true facts ever come out???? Or is it just a cover-up????

Lets give you some facts that apparently Ferdinand left out about the Chattanooga bottle show. A vote on increasing the dues structure went from $30.00 a year to $40.00 per year. The vote that was taken to get this increase was questionable and manipulative by the leadership and supported by a breakfast prior to the vote. Jim Daniels and his auction service was misled by the co-chairs and apparently manipulated to do the auction. He was led to believe the auction would be one way and it turned out to be totally different than he was informed. He was totally disappointed and said he would never do another auction for the FOHBC again.

Ferdinand stated that he entertained Jim Hagenbuch and his wife prior to the show along with others. Obviously Ferdinand wants Jim to do something for him. Jim as you well know is an auctioneer on the East Coast from Pennsylvania. The 2017 FOHBC national show is scheduled to be held in Springfield, Mass. Read the tealeaves! What do you think Ferdinand wants Jim to do?

Looking at the seminars, only one of six seminars was discussed in the report. The picture presented showed an attendance of that seminar as being 15– 20 people. And that is a great turnout? Is that the average number of attendees 15-20? If that was the highest number what was the attendance at the other 5 seminars that were never mentioned or discussed?

Ferdinand claims the Chattanooga show to be the best show every held, then there should have been sufficient funds to support the organization and the publication costs of their magazine. If this were true then an increase in dues would never have been necessary. And then there is no financial report on the show! Three months later and still no reporting! What can you believe? Was money misappropriated; diverted???? Is this a repeat of the Tragedy at Reno where bottles were stolen, the police were never called and a police report was never taken? To this date no resolution to that theft at Reno has ever taken place. The best way to characterize the FOHBC and their adventures in the last few years is an organization on LIFE SUPPORT!


Now to the forthcoming show in Sacramento. Who is doing the auction in Sacramento? Has a decision been made? How about sharing the information or has everyone backed out and no auction will occur? How about seminars? No mention! It is very strange that no information about the show has been shared except the lodging arrangements. No decisions made? Now that you have excluded Owl Drug, Sun Drug, Rexall, and other bottle categories from the West Coast, what is left? A lot of people will be disappointed. We are on pins and needles waiting for your decisions! We are on baited breath! We would love to know so that we can make arrangement as to whether we come or not!
Your comments, questions, and opinions are always welcome!
DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

This week the blog received many requests about owl drug bottles that people have in their possession. One such bottle, a picture of which follows, was submitted by a women who want to find out any information about the bottle that had been owned by her mother.



The blog answered this individual with the following reply: This is common clear 2-wing Owl Drug bottle that contained some type of astringent or mineral water. Because it is a common bottle it has little or no monetary value but does have historic value. It is a bottle that your mother bought at an Owl Drug store. Its true value is that it links your mother to the Owl Drug store and links you to your mother. Suggest it is better to pass the bottle along to your children and/or grandchildren as a memento of your mother.

In another aspect of Owl Drug, the Clancy Kid is back. He has added 3 new bottles to the Ebay Owl Drug site. As usual he fails to correctly and accurately describe these new items and asks unrealistic prices for them. He never describes their true condition or if the bottles have been cleaned, tumbled, and/or polished. Viewing on Ebay, they all appear to have been subjected to an altering process. If potential buyers submit questions to him, those questions never appear on the Ebay site and no answers to those questions are ever answered. Other bottles that the Clancy Kid has put up for sale on the Ebay Owl Drug site have been on the site for months to years. Apparently no one who collects Owl Drug is interested in bidding or buying his items. Obviously there is a message in this situation that our readers and others understand but that the Clancy Kid apparently fails to get.

In the last blog posting, we raised the issue of seminars that are to occur at the FOHBC Sacramento show. We shared the emails that the blog and the seminar chairman Eric MaGuire had discussing the request to do a seminar on Owl Drug. The blog was told that the seminar sessions were completely filled. If that is the case then why has there been no announcement of the seminars that will be held at the Sacramento show? In the past, announcements about the titles of the forthcoming seminars and the individuals conducting the seminars have been made. Why not now??? Is there another reason for Eric’s answer to the blog??????

The FOHBC Sacramento show boasts of an auction to be held at the show. A review of auction houses on the West Coast, particularly in Northern California shows numerous auction services available such as Bonham’s, Michaan’s, Witherell’s, Chico Auction Gallery, Clar’s, Slater’s of Sacramento, Hambrook’s, etc. Not only are there numerous auction houses in Northern California, but also Sacramento boasts of a local auction house headed by Jeff Wichmann, who is also a close friend of Ferdinand Meyer. Why is Jeff Wichmann and his auction house not conducting the auction? According to Ferdinand in his November – December presidential message, he has a “gentleman’s agreement” with Fred Holabird and his auction house.   Surprisingly Fred Holabird’s auction house is located in Reno, Nevada. Now I ask you this, isn’t this a major snub on Jeff Wichmann? What about their friendship? What about their business association? What about their friendship and business concerns? Jeff Wichmann has been a staunch supporter of the FOHBC shows, Ferdinand Meyer, and the Virtual Museum. Does Ferdinand even care? One must add, obviously not! Though he says Jeff is his friend, but how can he be a friend and a business associate while sticking a knife in his back at the same time? The next question is why would Fred Holabird want to get involved in this mess? Does he want to permanently damage his reputation? This is exactly why the blog called Fred Holabird to get a clear picture of what was truth not what was hearsay.. Unfortunately Fred never returned our call! The blog will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves and get back to our readers and supporters to let them know what is truly going on. The importance of this episode cannot be underestimated and is far reaching! Is this a game to fill up the tables or fill up the hotel?

The other day the blog had a very enlightening conversation with an individual about the Charles Gardner auction. This individual I spoke with is the most knowledgeable about the auction, the personalities involved and the sale itself. He shared with me very interesting and important insights that only someone involved in the auction process would know In the forthcoming weeks the blog will share with our readers and supporters some insights and information that I gained in that conversation with him.   I am sure you will find it very enlightening, as did I.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

Last week the blog highlighted an Owl Drug bottle that appeared on EBay for sale. The description and pictures of the bottle was presented in that posting entitled Accurate Information and Reporting dated 29 Oct 2015. The bottle’s description and associated pictures were also presented.   The bottle sold on EBay for $1,125.01.   The seller of the bottle knew very little, if anything about the bottle and obviously nothing about Owl Drug products, the company, or other relevant information. The seller was a NOVICE. It was a quick way to sell a bottle and simply hoped for the best. If the bottle was, in fact, rare as the seller so noted in his title, then the starting price on EBay would not have been $9.99 but much higher. Basically speaking, the only thing the seller knew about the item was that it an Owl Drug item and a poison because it was embossed with the Owl associated with a pestle and mortar and it had the word poison written on it. The item did not have any documents to validate or verify its authenticity, its condition, or even its rarity.

Having said all that, the blog was inundated with requests for information about the bottle. Should I bid or should I not bid? Is the bottle worth anything? How is the bottle associated with Owl Drug and poisons? When was the bottle sold and what was it used for? Is the bottle in its natural state? These were some of the questions asked.   The amazing thing is that none of these questions or any questions were ever asked of the seller before or during the bidding.   Apparently potential buyers are afraid to ask a seller any questions because they don’t want it to affect the final price of any bottle. In this particular case the bottle started at $9.99. It then went to $12.00 and then went upwards. When the bottle was at $340.00 it stayed there for some time. One particular bidder jumped the price to the 400’s and then 600’s and then same bidder then bought the item for $1,125.01. The question should be asked was this a legitimate sale given the fact that there was no information about the bottle and nothing to verify the bottle’s authenticity, condition or rarity?


Now this week we find another Owl Drug bottle up for sale as a reacion to last week Ebay item. We call this the “copycat syndrome”. It too lacks information, lacks credibility, lacks documentation and sold by a novice who knows nothing about the bottle itself other than it says Owl Drug. The following is the description on EBay provided by the seller and accompanying pictures. He too calls it super rare and then admits that he knows nothing about the bottle. How can someone define something as super rare when admitting he knows nothing about it? That is like saying the earth is square and that you will fall off the end if you travel without ever leaving his home. Or trying to tell someone that the moon is made of green cheese because when you look up at the moon is may have a greenish tinge.

SUPER RARE ! Embossed Antique Owl Drug Co. California Amber Bottle Very Detailed

Item specifics

Condition: Used: An item that has been used previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of … Read moreabout the condition Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Color: amber

Antique Owl Drug Co Embossed. Amber Bottle 19thc
Measures 7.5″ Tall x 3 ”
Very detailed and highly embossed
No damages noted some slight flea bites on letters
Serious bidders only


On Nov-04-15 at 04:46:06 PST, seller added the following information:

Just to let bidders know this bottle was purchased in a small store in Selma NC and I found on way back to Florida yesterday. It was originally purchased in California from a bottle collection few years ago.

Q: Why is the lettering clear and the bottle amber?
A: Hi it appears to be clear but its not its all amber colored



Why does the bottle world seem to have individuals who swear by the rarity of bottles when they have never researched the items or even spoken to experts about the category? They never validate their statements with facts or documentation. They simply say, what they want to say at that moment to sell the item never taking into account the truth, condition, rarity,etc. When you ask them to validate their claims, they fumble, try to avoid answering you, or simply hang up on you. That is exactly what happened yesterday with Jeff Wichmann and last week with Fred Holabird who did not have the courtesy to even return our phone calls. What is amazing is that these two gentlemen are auctioneers in the West dealing with collectibles including bottles.   According to Ferdinand Meyer and in his presidential message of November-December, it is Fred Holabird that has a gentleman’s agreement with Ferdinand to do the auction at the Sacramento FOHBC show. However, Fred Holabird has never publicly verified that the statement made by Ferdinand is true or not. That is exactly why we called him! Unfortunately he would not return our calls, so who knows if the statement is true or false. In either case this puts Fred in a very precarious situation. More to come!

Over the last several years the blog has received numerous requests to present seminars and exhibits on Owl Drug and other related bottle categories. As the author of 3 books on Owl Drug and other related West Coast bottles, and. having seen the FOHBC Sacramento Expo flyer and Eric Maguire’s request for seminar participants on western bottles, the blog’s director decided to respond to that request as a perfect venue talk about Owl Drug and also have a table at the show. The following is the request that was posted on the show: “…I am inviting anyone who has special knowledge of bottles and glass to participate in heading up a talk (we are calling them seminars) that may have interest to fellow collectors or students of glass. Many of you carry a vast amount of unique knowledge that could be lost forever, so now is your chance. I especially invite those of you whose interest in West Coast in nature. After all, this a Western Region Expo ad we need to show the rest of the county what we know about our own region. …I believe that seminars are under-rated at bottle shows and the annual Expo is really the best way…. “

The following email was sent to Eric MaGuire regarding the seminars to be held at the Sacramento Expo and Eric’s email response.


Let me introduce myself.  I am the executive director of the Owl Drug Collectors blog.  We are the largest bottle organization in the bottle world today.  Our main focus is the owl drug and have written three books on the subject to date and more will be coming out in the future.

I saw in your write up about the Sacramento show and a request for participants to conduct seminars.  We get a lot of requests particularly on the West Coast because of Owl Drug to participate in shows.  They want to meet us, talk to us and talk about Owl Drug.

Would love to discuss the seminar situation with you.  Please call us at (703) 525-4009 at your earliest convenience.  Look forward to hearing from you.

David L

David L.




Thanks for your inquiry. Of the six slots allowed for seminars, they are all committed at this time. The Owl Drug Company is a great topic for a western audience even though the bottles seem to have national appeal. Perhaps in the future.




Eric McGuire

If the request for seminar participants was put out by Eric in his Sacramento Expo bulletin and according to Eric’s email reply as shown above that the seminars have been filled, then why has he not made an announcement, through the FOHBC and/or a Sacramento Expo Bulletin, that the seminars have been filled? That announcement would also indicate what seminars will be held and who will be presenting those seminars. Does this smack on something else? Why do they not want Owl Drug, a famous Western company with bottles and other products at their Western Regional show? How could they leave out Owl Drug? And why are they doing it? If Owl Drug and other related bottle categories were important to the West then why are they leaving them out of the Western Regional show? Would someone from the FOHBC like to explain that to us?

For those of you who are collectors or potential collectors and have an interest in learning about auctions and auctions services, the blog would like to recommend several services available on the East Coast.   One such service is provided by Joel Sater Publications, in particular the Antique & Auction News. Another such newspaper is the Antique Week. Another such paper is the Antiques and The Arts Weekly, to name but a few. Within the pages of these newspapers or magazines one can find a large number of auctions taking place, giving date, place, auctioneer, and type of auction being held and the types of items being auctioned.

In future blog postings we will discuss other auctions services throughout the US that are involved in bottles and related items. This will help to enhance our readers find places to go and hunt for collectibles.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

This week’s blog posting is focused on discussing auctions, the bottle show business, and financial reporting to name just a few of our subjects.

Let us begin first with a review of the FOHBC presidents comments about the Chattanooga show, in particular the financial report by the two co-chairs of the show If you remember the Chattanooga show took place the 31st of July to the 2nd of August 2015. As of the November –December presidential message, “the financial report for the 2015 Chattanooga National is due any day now as the co-chairs John Joiner and Jack Hewitt pay the final bills, receive a few outstanding payments and balance the books. It looks like we did good and will keep you posted when the report is filed”.

A review of the comments and the circumstanced surrounding this subject leaves this writer in a quandary and begs to question some issues. 1)How can Ferdinand Meyer claim that the show looked good if there has been no financial report? On what basis can Ferdinand say it looks good? 2) How three months have passed and there is no financial report? 3) In the business world companies will allow their business partners no more than 30 days to completely pay their invoices be it from people who owe the organization money or those individuals or companies that the organization owes money to; 4) How can the FOHBC leadership and Ferdinand Meyer accept this travesty that smacks of unprofessional and improper business activities and activities that border on criminality?

In the business world those individuals would have been removed from any responsibilities and reprimanded for failing to properly file financial reports. If one says this is not the business world, it may not be a business per se, but it is a non-profit organization and all non-profit organizations operate under the same guidelines and financial requirements as businesses. Is Ferdinand’s responses to the membership about the show simply a PR function? Is this to prevent inquires from the membership? Is this to show the FOhBC leadership and the two co-chairs of this show were and are really doing something? When the leadership and the two co-chairs are called to task, they cannot substantially justify their claims in particular about the Chattanooga show.

In the September –October president’s message, Ferdinand Meyer cited statistics about tables sold (256 of 300), attendance figures (143 early admission; 365 general admission), donations to the Virtual Museum ($3000.00), and the addition of new members (44). How can anyone cite those statistics without a financial report substantiating those claims? The financial report would give direct correlation to the number of tables sold, the number of paid attendees, both early attendees and general attendance, donations received, and additional members. When the blog checked into these cited statistics, they were mere claims and not actual and accurate. The PR director Rick DeMarsh was again silent with no information. Neither the two co-chairs of the show nor Ferdinand Meyer could substantiate these claims. What conclusions can be made?

Let us now turn to the subject of auctions and auction houses. In previous articles written by Ferdinand Meyer, he stated that the national show to be held in Sacramento in 2016 would have an auction run by Jeff Wichmann and his auction house. It was only until the most recent president’s message of November-December that Ferdinand stated that he had a gentleman’s agreement with Fred Holabird and the Holabird Americana Auctions to be the auctioneer. What happened to Jeff Wichmann? Attempts have been made to contact Fred Holabird this week to verify the information and explain the so-called “gentleman’s agreement”. Fred Holabird will not return the blog’s calls. What is he afraid of? Or is this another one of Ferdinand’s comments without substance? In other words is he blowing smoke or blowing in the wind? No one , especially an auction house enters into an agreement without a written contract. Having been in the auction business on the West Coast for over ten years, this director knows full well what is entailed in conducting auction business.

Is this a last ditch effort by the FOHBC to find an auctioneer for a Sacramento show? It is quite apparent that no auction house wants to be associated with FOHBC auctions as reflected by comments made by the Daniels Auction House, Glassworks Auctions, and probably the Heckler Auction House. If Holabird Americana Auctions agrees to do the Sacramento auction for the FOBC, he may regret it the rest of his auctioneering career.

The blog regularly gets requests to identify or provide detailed information about owl drug items people have in their possession. or are interested in. One of many such requests that occurred this week pertained to an owl drug bottle that is currently for sale on Ebay. The following is the description of one such bottle along with pictures

SUPER RARE! Embossed Antique Owl Drug Co. Poison Bottle Very Detailed

Item specifics

Condition: Used: An item that has been used previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions– opens in a new window or tab Country/Region of Manufacture: United States
Color: Multi-Color

Measures 9 1/4″ Tall x 3 5/8″
Very detailed and highly embossed , owl and letters appears green and poison is of red
No damages what so ever
Serious bidders only







In this particular example, because of certain legalities and contractual restraints that the blog operates under, the blog cannot respond to the request at this time. When the auction on Ebay is concluded however, the blog can be free to talk about the item, its authenticity, monetary value and other characteristics, if we so desire.


Several weeks ago the blog put forth a challenge on the life cycle of a bottle. No one took up the challenge, a fact not surprising to the blog. Neither the FOHBC, bottle associations, nor bottle clubs provide facilities for bottle collectors to do research on bottles or bottle categories. Without research facilities or researchers, the information provided about particular bottles is, for the most part, unsubstantiated information that is neither tested nor verified. The only bottle body that currently performs thorough research is the blog. When the blog puts out information the readership recognizes that that information has been researched and verified. It is factual in nature. This is why our ranks continued to grow with a continually growing worldwide readership. The blog is the the cutting edge of the bottle world today.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.





A review of last week’s blog posting brought some interesting and enlightening views and opinions, many of them from outside the US. They included the UK, Australia, Canada, and Vietnam, etc. Some of our readership are not bottle collectors but are avid readers of our blog, interested in learning about bottle collecting, the US, and issues related to bottles, collecting, history, events occurring in the United States and about Americans.

The subject of the challenge that was presented in last week’s blog posting was a hot topic for our audience. Despite the fact the no one took up the challenge, it was a subject that perplexed a lot of people questioning what was meant by “the life cycle of a bottle”.

They understood about the life cycle of an automobile and that of a human being, but never related that concept to a bottle. Old timers in the bottle world never made any connection between collecting a bottle and finding out the history of what they are collecting. They never checked into the history, the manufacturer, changes that occurred over the years to the bottle, any changes in the locations or disappearance of the bottle category itself. They collected these bottles because someone told them this category was a good and valuable category to collect or they found they liked the shape or color of a particular bottle. In the past they never acknowledged or even checked into why the shape and/or color of a given bottle was the way it was.created. Even today these same people collect bottles without ever knowing or trying to find out any of the answers related to the why and wherefore of bottle categories or bottles themselves. Within the FOHBC organization and bottle clubs or other bottle organizations there is no position identified as research or research department. The only organization that has a research department is the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. How many in the bottle world leadership takes the time to even check out these characteristics? They accept hearsay information as fact and promote that information to others without ever verifying the authenticity of the information or the bottle. Today we have a plethora of bottles that have no historic authenticity or monetary value simply because of “altered” bottles perpetuated by bottle organizations, bottle clubs, and others, as well as many in the bottle leadership.

Several weeks ago the blog mentioned the Memphis bottle show and even posted the show advertisement. We noted that the website cited for those to visit about the Memphis bottle club was non-existent. Little information was presented at that time because none other that the ad was available. This show in fact was not a bottle show per se, but a collectibles show with very little attention paid to bottles. In fact they were a low priority at the show. The attendance at the show was low and most of the people who attended the show were not even interested in bottles. The questions one must ask are two-fold: first, why would one travel to Memphis at any expense if the show does not concentrate on bottles and has a low attendance and low number of tables related to bottles; second, how long will such a show and club continue to operate or function under their present condition? Who are they serving and Why?

Auctions have been part of the collectible process since the very beginning, including being a part of the bottle world. Have auctions run their course? Are they still relevant? Are they outdated? At the 2015 Baltimore bottle show, two well known bottle auctioneers were not only present at the show but also had tables at the show as vendors. They did not provide their auctioning services as they have done in the past. The blog was very surprised by the fact that these two auctions houses had vendor tables rather than booths promoting their auction services.

The next show was the FOHBC Chattanooga bottle show. It was here at this show that a bottle auction took place. The auction house associated with this auction was the Daniels Auction House from Georgia.   In conversations with this auction house owner, the blog learned that the auctioneer was very disappointed with the way it was sold to him and the outcome of the auction. He informed the blog that he would never do another auction for the FOHBC.

As a follow-up on this conversation, the blog contacted the owner of Glassworks Auction to get his opinion on bottle auctions especially as it relates to the FOHBC and the future. Jim stated that he will not be doing any auctions for the FOHBC. The other auction house on the East Coast that has done auctions for the FOHBC in the past is the Heckler Auction House and its owner Norm Heckler. Is this auction house also shedding its auction association with the FOHBC?

With regard to the next major “national” bottle show sponsored by the FOHBC, it has been reported in the past that Pam Selenak would play a major role in the Sacramento show. This is not true. The following information was provided in FOHBC literature on the show itself.


Posted October 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Pam Selenak no longer has any connection or association with the FOHBC. She also does not have any connection or association with the National Antique Bottle Convention to be held in Sacramento in 2016. Any questions or requests for information concerning the 2016 show should be directed to Ferdinand Meyer who is now running the show.


Posted October 23, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Also to add to above that I will also not be hosting an open house at the General’s home.


Posted October 23, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Pam Selenak will also not be hosting an open house at the general’s house on the evening of August 4th as referenced in the above article.”

The blog apologizes to the Selenak family when we reported earlier that information about her participation was incomplete and therefore hearsat. It has now been proven to be factual by these latest communications. We put Pam Selenak’s comments on this blog posting for worldwide readership to read and comment.

In the latest FOHBC presidential message of November – December, Ferdinand drops a bomb!! It was stated: “We also have a gentleman’s agreement with Fred Holabird with Holabird’s Americana Auctions to be our official Sacramento National auctioneer”. What gentleman’s agreement? What does that mean, Ferdinand?   You can count on the blog looking into this and reporting back to our readers.

The blog recently acquired the following 9 Owl Drug Company bottles. They are from the Owl Drug Company store that was located in Portland, Oregon. Our staff is currently doing research on these items.   They are a unique find. The labels are quite different and unusual. The contents of the bottles as identified on the labels are unique. Never before have we obtained bottles with this type of content.


DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


October 8, 2015

A review of last week’s mail provided the blog with some very interesting views about individuals and the Chattanooga bottle show.   The information about the Chattanooga show primarily centered on the auction and the Daniels Auction house that conducted the auction. Most people were very surprised about the reaction that Jim Daniels had about the auction, how he became involved in doing the show auction, why he was disappointed in how well the auction did, and why he would not do another auction for the FOHBC. Following my conversation with Jim Daniels, I spoke with Jim Hagenbush who runs the Glassworks Auction out of Pennsylvania.

During our conversation this past week with Jim Hagenbush centered on auctions in general and auctions associated with the FOHBC and bottles. Jim, as you might remember has, in the past, performed auctions for the FOHBC, the latest auction was in Manchester, NH.   Jim and Norm Heckler, another Auction House owner, both had tables as vendors at the Baltimore show but did not perform any services as auctioneers in Baltimore. Jim shared with the blog his insight into the auction business as it pertains to bottles. He also shared his thoughts about the FOHBC and stated that he will not be doing any auctions for the FOHBC in the future. Apparently these two auction houses have the same opinion about doing auctions for the FOHBC. They will no longer participate with that organization and its leadership.

The point of contact for the blog, assigned by Ferdinand Meyer, president of the FOHBC, is their pubic relations director – Rick DeMarsh. The blog has reported in the past month that the blog has never had a response about issues related to the FOHBC and the Chattanooga show from Rick DeMarsh. The blog has also learned that Rick DeMarsh never attended the Chattanooga bottle show, one of the biggest and most important events in the FOHBC yearly calendar. The position of public relations director in any organization is supposed to be a high status position and one in which the representative should attend major functions. Why then did Rick DeMarsh fail to attend the FOHBC bottle show in Chattanooga? Obviously it did not matter, both to the leadership and to Rick DeMarsh. What and why is he in that position? Is it just to look good on a resume or to fill a spot on the leadership board? And obviously it does not matter whether the public relations function is performed or how it is performed!

In checking into bottles shows around the country, the blog noticed that Gene Bradberry is the chairman of a forthcoming bottle show in Memphis, TN on October 10th. The information about this Memphis and Gene Bradberry’s function and participation was mentioned in a blog posting several weeks ago. In trying to find out about the Memphis bottle club itself and checking on the internet, the face book page on the club tells you the contact their website at Ok, so you try to log into the website and it is non-existent. Why publish information that does not exist? There is no way to determine who is the president of the club, how they function, how many are members of the club, etc. The only information presented is an advertisement for their bottle show. Even then there is relatively little information about the show except the admission fee, a person to contact (Gene Bradberry) and where it is being held. You have no idea how many tables will be at the show, what type of bottles etc will be shown, and any relevant details.

Memphis15ShowThis is the Memphis bottle club advertisement for the 10 October 2015 show.  This is the only information available on line about the show.

Gene Bradberry is currently and once again the 2nd Vice President of the FOHBC and has participated in the FOHBC for 40 plus years including having served as president of the organization for several times. For someone with as much experience in the bottle hobby and with the FOHBC you would think that a club where he is a member, and current chairman of their show would have more insight into how and why things should be done and the proper way to do them.  In reviewing the little bit of literature that is present about the Memphis bottle club, it is apparent that their meetings  are held once a month in people’s houses or elsewhere. They have no permanent structure or permanent location where they meet. If the club has had a show for 30 plus years you would think they would have established a permanent location to meet in such as an American Legion hall, library, school, VFW hall, church, etc rather than in a house or by chance wherever they meet.

Over the past several weeks the blog shared pictures with the audience of 2 Rexall poison bottles with labels and related box, and an Owl Drug pamphlet from the Pan American Exposition of 1901. The blog recently also acquired an Owl Drug poison bottle with label that is identical to those 2 Rexall blue cobalt one ounce bottles with a different label (Owl Drug Company label). The pamphlet was sent to a conservator for evaluation and repair. The conservator will evaluate and make a determination on how best to repair the pamphlet without diminishing its value and its condition. The conservator will get back to the blog with his/her determination.

In the near future the blog will devote several postings on the conservation versus the altering of bottles. Those examples will be used in this discussion of conversation versus altering. For those of you who read our blog who are collectors or potential collectors, this series of discussions will be most helpful and important to your collecting process.

DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

For the past few weeks, the blog has been discussing the Chattanooga bottle show and have asked numerous participants in the show to share their thoughts about the show. We also asked Rick DeMarsh, the FOHBC public relations officer to share information about the show as well. The blog has learned that the show itself did not live up to the hype given to it in some of FOHBC literature prior to the show as well as the information provided after the show by the FOHBC president in his latest presidential message. Most of the figures given in that report cannot be verified, since there is no mechanism to do so.   As of this date Rick DeMarsh has never provided any information or even replied. In all probability, he never will.   One of the individuals with whom we spoke this week was the owner of the Daniels auction house that conducted the Chattanooga bottle show auction. His comments were very candid and he stated that the show chairmen misled him. He found the experience very “distasteful”.

Despite Ferdinand Meyer’s agreement to be open and honest with the blog regarding FOHBC activities and assigning Rick DeMarsh his point of contact, there has been a failure on Rick’s part to be forthcoming and forthright. To this date he has refused to respond to any of our requests, in particular on the Chattanooga show. This show like other past shows fails to provide information that is clear, open and verifiable. Instead we are told to believe whatever Ferdinand Meyer or the show reporter chooses to report. When this information is checked, it cannot be verified. The Baltimore show was a perfect example of “distorted reporting”. When presented by the FOHBC and when checked out, it was found to be incomplete, inaccurate and unverifiable as well.

An important difference between the FOHBC and the blog centers on information and people’s behavior. The blog is open and honest in its communications and the information it presents can be checked and verified. Credibility is essential when you work with people and you do business with them. The blog strives to be accurate, provide factual information and cite examples that are credible and useful. When the blog delves into subjects or issues it uses the practice of research, historical evidence and cites examples of what it has learned and shares it with others. When the blog does not have an answer to an issue it is because all the information may not be available, but when that information becomes available it is shared. There are subject matters that are exclusive to the customer who has purchased our services and wishes their information to be kept private and confidential. That is part of doing business and the blog honors that request by its customers or potential customers to keep it private and confidential

Several weeks ago the blog shared a comment that was submitted by Rand Selenak regarding his wife Pam and her association with the FOHBC. The blog in response to Randy’s comments requested that Randy clarify and elaborate on those comments.   He never followed up on his comments. Therefore it must be concluded that what he shared with the blog was hearsay including the comments he made about Ferdinand Meyer. His comments about Ferdinand can only be described as “character assassination” and unverifiable. It is not worth the paper it was put on. This type of activity is typical of many in their bottle world today. It is not our world; we do not operate in this manner and never will.

Last week the blog shared two bottles with the audience that was described by the sellers incorrectly. One was the Clancy Kid who has a long history of misidentification, mislabeling, and over pricing items. The other seller has followed the same pattern as the Clancy Kid over pricing, improperly identifying the bottle, or failing to provide its true condition. As part of his description he stated that the bottle was rare without knowing a true definition of the condition rare as it pertains to bottles. Both individuals fail to tell prospective buyers whether these bottles have been altered from their original state and if so to what degree and how much. It is quite obvious if you look at them, they have been altered, and are not the way they would be found in their natural state or in a state for sale.

The term RARE is overused, misused, poorly used, and not used in its proper context when people describe bottles. People think by using the term RARE, they will get a higher price on the item or they can inflate the price since they don’t know what the item truly is, where it fits in, or its true market value. Many people do not want to make the connection or know how to make the connection between rarity with true market value and documentation. Believing if you just state it is RARE, then obviously it must be rare even if fails to correlate with its true market value or have documentation to prove its rarity.   The example of the green bottle that the seller claims is rare is untrue. These green bottles are more common and come up for sale often. Now if you are talking about the set of 5 bottles in that category then that is rare, but having just one and one of the more common type is not rare.

IMG_1880This is a picture of the set of 5 bottles as depicted in the Owl Drug Handbook Volume I, page 58 as written by D&G Levine, a part of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.  Having one in the set has an individual value, while having the entire set has a totally different and higher value.


DSCN2169The bottle the Clancy Kid has up for sale is one the 5 bottles in this set of Clear Owl drugs bottles.  This photo comes from the Owl Drug Handbook Volume I page 78 written by D&G Levine. a part of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

The blog was informed by several sources that Ferdinand Meyer had a bottle for sale on his vendor’s table at the Chattanooga show that was priced at $20,000.00. If that is the case then did he have the documentation to prove the asking price? Was the bottle cleaned, tumbled, and/or polished and if so, was it identified as such? How was that price justified? Was it independently evaluated and certified and if so, by whom? All that information should accompany a bottle especially if it is priced at that level. Would like to hear from you, Ferdinand! Let us know the background on the bottle and how that price came about.

The following item was recently acquired by the blog. This item is unique in the history of the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. It became a highlight event for the company at which the company won a medal at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 held in Buffalo, New York. This exposition was a worldwide event, hosting people and companies from all over the world. Buffalo won the privilege of hosting the exposition because of two reasons: Buffalo was the eighth largest city in the United States with a large population and because it had better railroad connections. The city was within a day’s travel for approximately 40 million people. Congress pledged $500,000.00 for the exposition to be held in Buffalo. The following pictures are part of the brochure that was the Owl Drug Company’s exposition pamphlet. The brochure was published by the Owl Drug Company to highlight the many diversities of the Owl Drug Company exclusively for the Pan-American Exposition.




The additional information provided to discuss the exampled brochure was obtained because of the research performed by the Owl Drug Collectors blog. This is but an example of the type of research that the blog performs for our readers, supporters, and others. This link to the brochure connects the item with an historical event, the participation of the Owl Drug Company in Buffalo, and confirms why the Owl Drug Collectors blog continues to be on the cutting edge of the bottle world today.


DISCLAIMER: All information contained within this blog is copyrighted and the sole property of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog. Reprinting or reproducing any of the information must receive prior permission from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.


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