As we returned to the office this week we found ourselves with the usual emails, phone calls, and requests that we receive on a regular basis. Several weeks ago in our blog posting we stated that we would introduce discussions about bottles and pottery from other countries around the world.   Like the United States, other countries and manufacturers produced bottles and pottery for use in their home county and elsewhere around the globe. This week we will begin this journey of foreign bottles and pottery with our neighbors to the north, Canada.

My interest in bottles from other countries started from my readings of the Antique Bottle and Glass Collector Magazine written and published by Jim Hagenbuch. Jim would periodically take groups on trips to the UK to participate in bottle shows that highlighted primarily European bottles and pottery. Once having returned from his trips, he would write articles about the bottles, the people he met, details about the trips themselves and the shows he attended. Jim should be credited with introducing foreign bottles to the American collector through his magazine and other activities.

Canada has a long history of bottles and pottery. As a commonwealth nation of Great Britain and a trading partner with Great Britain, Canada got its bottles and pottery primarily in the beginning through this trading process. This partnership began with the settlement of Canada as a colony first by the French and then by the British. Bottles for this trading market were manufactured in Great Britain, while pottery was made in Scotland and Ireland. The contents of the bottles and pottery were filled in the UK and then shipped to Canada as part of their trading agreements. The Canadians in turn shipped furs, maple syrup, raw materials for textiles, etc. to Great Britain. In the evolution of trade and business, Canadian companies or communities commissioned UK manufacturers to produce bottles and pottery with Canadian labels, and etched wordings and drawings, such the example shown from Halifax, NS.

The three most prominent categories of Canadian bottles are beer bottle/pottery, medicines, and poisons. In the category of beers the following photos are some examples both in glass and in pottery.s-l1600-3

The pottery is manufactured in Great Britain.


This beer pottery was manufactured in the UK specifically for the Halifax, NS community





These beer bottles were also manufactured in the UK for Victoria and Vancouver, BC Canada

The second category is Medicines. Several years ago there was a misconception by many that the Owl Drug Ltd located in British Columbia was associated and affiliated with the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco. As a result of research and documentation presented by the Owl Drug Collectors Blog through several blog postings it was concluded that there was and is no association or affiliation between the Canadian Owl Drug Ltd. and the Owl Drug Company of San Francisco.   Since this information was presented, the Owl Drug Collectors Blog has learned that other American drug companies did business in Canada for a period of time.



This example is of a Canadian medicine bottle.  Note the Ltd on this particular bottle.  Canadian bottles have either Ltd or Lcc that distinguishes them from American bottles.


This example is of an American company doing business in Canada as indicated on the label.

The third Canadian category is Poisons The shape and color of the poison bottles were designed to prevent people from taking poisons by mistake. The bottles were first cobalt blue in color and triangular in shape. Later the skull and cross-bones were added to the bottles along with ripples, and the words (not to be taken). All these safeguards failed to prevent adults and children from accidentally taking the poisons. Other companies and countries produced their own poison type bottles, following a similar theme as Owl Drug. They too used other safeguards on the bottles such as “not to be taken”, skull and cross bones, and ripples. These too were not successful. Finally governments intervened and banned poisons to be sold in bottles for the public market. RIGO (the Richards Glass Company) manufactured glass bottles for the Canadian market, including poison bottles. The Rigo bottles can be found in cobalt blue, green, and amber are highly sought after by bottle collectors. Of the three colors of Rigo bottles, the more common is the cobalt blue bottle. However, none of these bottles is easily found. Today the Richards Glass Company is known as the Richards Packaging Company and still manufactures glass items. Many of their glass products are imported from China.


s-l1600-10 s-l1600-11


These are photos of the RIGO poison bottle.


This is an example of an amber-colored poison bottle with skull and cross-bones.



This is an example of a green poison with the words “not to be taken”.

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.


April 15, 2016

 The most egregious seller of antique bottles, particularly Owl Drug Co bottles, is the Clancy Kid. For many years he has listed Owl Drug bottles for sale on Ebay. The descriptions that he includes in his sales have been, for the most part, incomplete, incorrect, and at times a pure fabrication of information. He continually identifies these bottles as being in excellent near mint or mint condition. When investigated this fact turns out to be totally inaccurate.   IN many cases, these bottles have gone through the altering process, cleaned, tumbled and/or polished. By doing so, the bottles become historically invalid and monetarily worthless. NO true collector would want to have any of these contaminated bottles in their collection.


This amber owl drug bottle according to the Clancy Kid in his description follows – “this bottle here is as nice as one could be found, best possible example, PRISTINE CLEAN and in perfect condition”.   NOWHERE does the seller tell you this bottle has been cleaned and polished putting it through the altering process . NO collector again would want this example in his or her collection!



Jumping over to one of the three examples of the stolen Wonser bitters bottles that Jeff Wichman sold to the Siri brothers, Dennis Fox, and Robert Frank, you will notice that there is similarity to the amber owl Drug bottle shown above. The Wonser bottle that we all know now was found in a privy having been underground for over a 100 years. NO bottle that comes out of the ground for that length of time would look like the picture shown above unless it had been put through the altering process. One must assume someone had the Wonser bottles  professionally altered, thereby making this Wonser bottle and the other Wonser examples  also historically invalid and monetarily worthless. Jeff Wichman sold these Wonser bottles for $60,000.00 to three individuals.  Jeff was paid in cash, sold privately without the involvement of his auction business, and provided no receipts for payment to avoid showing any traceability. In other words the entire event from procuring stolen goods to selling them was done fraudulently.. In the case of the Wonser bottles will Jeff Wichman ever identify that the bottles that he sold were first stolen, then altered and then sold through an illegitimate process without providing receipts or paperwork to the buyers?  Why were the authorities never notified of the sale or his business reflect his purchase or the sale of the bottles?   Having that information now, suggest Robert Frank and Dennis Fox contact Jeff Wichman to get their money back!.


Returning again to the Clancy Kid, this is but another example of a Green Citric of Magnesia Owl Drug bottle that has been up for sale on EBay. The Clancy Kid attests to the following condition in his description: “Condition:  Bottle is in SHINY CLEAN condition.  It has been professionally polished but it still retains ground wear.  Basically this means the bottle is shiny clean but still has some heavy scrapes and scratches associated with that of a dug bottle but their appearance has been minimized by the polishing.  It is a structurally sound bottle, NO cracks, chips, dings, damage, etc.  See pictures for idea of overall condition.” For the first time in many years and after many sales on EBay, he has acknowledged that one of his bottles that he has for sale has gone through the altering process. One has to question his credibility, honesty, and integrity.

11209346_10204196436951030_3826586794414522795_n OWL DRUG SCREW TOP DUG BOTTLE

This is one example of what a dug bottle looks like having been taken out of the ground after having been in the ground for many years.  Notice the top of the bottle, it is a screw top type.  The screw top has become calcified after having been in the ground for many years. The glass portions of the bottle have become stained, both inside and outside.


This is another set of examples of bottles and pottery that have been taken out of the ground after many years. Does that look like the Wonser, Amber Owl Drug or Green Citrate of Magnesia pictures shown above?  OBVIOUSLY NOT!  Some would want you to believe that these bottles and pieces of pottery are not the legitimate items.  Instead they want you to believe that the altered bottles and pottery are the legitimate items, but they are not.  Those items that have been put through the altering process have been compromised therefore destroying any and all of their legitimacy.


This is but another example of a dug bottle, one that has been taken out of the ground after many years. You will note the stain, other markings, and potential chips on the bottle that being in the ground can and does occur to a bottle. This is what can occur to a bottle depending upon where it is found in the ground and what minerals interact with the glass or other items that can change its color and appearance.  This is a bottle you want in your collection because it has not been compromised and retains its authenticity as opposed to the pretty shiny examples shown above that have been put through the altering process and thereby compromised.   Once compromised the bottle has no historic or monetary value.

Ferdinand Meyer recently announced in the Bottles and Extras magazine that the FOHBC board unanimously voted 18 to 0 that Jeff Wichman be inducted into the FOHBC Hall of Fame at the Sacramento show in August 2016 recently announced it.   NO reasons were given, no explanation given especially at this time following the series the blog did of the theft at the Piper Opera House and his participation in it. Isn’t it ironic that this announcement took place after the blog published a series of articles about the theft and sale of stolen bottles from a Nevada historical landmark that included the participation by Jeff Wichman? By making this announcement it is apparently clear that the FOHBC board members and its president sanction and support individuals who participate in criminal and illegal activities.

How can any organization support the induction of any person into their hall of fame having the knowledge of their participation in criminal and illegal activities? As the owner of an auction service that deals with bottles, and was involved in criminal and illegal activity as documented in state report that resulted in criminal prosecution and individuals going to jail, him selling bottles without paperwork and failure of record keeping, be given this type of recognition. The only conclusion one can draw, we leave it to you readers. What is he trying to hide? Are we to believe that this only time Jeff Wichman participated in a questionable activity of this nature?   Is he realy worthy of this honor?    What is the true motivation of giving Jeff Wichman this honor at this moment and time?  Isn’t it also strange that those individuals who played a part in the theft and sale of the stolen items play and have an active part in an organization that purports itself to be non-profit and in existence for the sole purpose of only promoting the hobby of bottle collecting? Is that only a joke or just words on a piece of paper?

As you can recall, within the last several years, Jeff Wichman gave a “donation” of $5,000 for the FOHBC Virtual Museum. Was it truly a donation or payback or pay forward for favors to come? Perhaps in his acceptance speech into the FOHBC Hall of Fame he will explain his role in the bottle collecting hobby and how he has helped promote altered bottles, sell stolen bottles, and promoted his auction business, legitimately or otherwise.

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.


April 7, 2016

This week the blog would like to praise the FOHBC and its leadership for their induction of Jeff Wichmann into their hall of fame. As our readers and others have learned Jeff Wichmann was one of the prime architects for the buying and selling of stolen Wonser bitters bottles from the Virginia City/Piper Opera House. It is difficult to imagine why an organization that supposedly supports the hobby of antique bottles and bottle collecting would honor such an individual who was involved in criminal activity, and who showed lack of honesty and lack of integrity In addition to honoring this individual, a visit to his auction establishment is to be included in the Sacramento show activities. It was also announced by the FOHBC that Dennis Fox, one of the recipient of one of the stolen Wonser bitters bottle sold to him by Jeff Wichmann will be in attendance at the Sacramento show. The blog suggests that Dennis bring the stolen Wonser bitters bottle that he bought from Jeff Wichmann for $20,000.00. Have it checked for legitimacy and see if it has been altered. Let us all know if the bottle has been cleaned, tumbled, and/or polished. If it has, then return it to Jeff Wichmann and get your $20,000.00 back. We know what the true condition of those stolen Wonser bottles were when they left the Virginia City Piper Opera House. The next question that must be asked is since the bottles were stolen from the Virginia City Piper Opera House site then why did these people not return them to the legal owner, knowing the bottles were stolen and who the legal owner was?

Ferdinand, perhaps you should question why your organization honors people who participate in illegal activities and behavior. Instead of honoring them why should they belong to the FOHBC? By honoring them, you condone their behavior and activities and set a fine example for others. Circling the wagons will not do much good now. The evidence is quite clear and known. Why does the FOHBC protect these individuals and reward this kind of behavior? Ferdinand, you have a lot to account for! Do you even care? Does your leadership board even care? Obviously they support a lack of ethics, integrity, honesty and condone (sanction) illegal activities and behavior. Their unanimous vote of 18 to 0 is indicative of that support. If they looked at what Jeff did, how could they honestly reward him with anything, much less honor him with induction into their hall of fame? Pretty sad – one misadventure after another!

Let us turn our attention to items and sellers of Owl Drug Company items currently seen on EBay. Two sellers have posted the same type of Owl Drug bottle for sale. They are both amber colored Owl Drug bottles. The first such bottle shown below has a current sale price of $31.00. It is 5 inches in height. Judging from the photograph this bottle has been altered.


The second such bottle shown below has a current price of $234.56. It is being sold by the Clancy Kid. This bottle is 3 and 3/8 inches in height and has also been altered (this seller apparently only sells altered bottles, but never identifies that fact in any of his descriptions).



The Clancy kid makes the claim that his bottle is very rare. In comparison to the first amber bottle shown above the 3 3/8-inch bottle cannot be justified as being rare or otherwise. He never identifies a source for his claims. His price has no legitimacy as well. He cannot justify his prices since he provides no sources. He makes a claim that the only book written about the Owl Drug Company is the Jensen book of 1968. That book has been discredited as being the sole source for Owl Drug and has been documented. Clancy Kid you are obviously mistaken and unaware of what is going on in the bottle world today. The Jensen book is about a variety of bottles with only a small section about Owl Drug. The book is outdated, incomplete, and fails to discuss the company, its history, its leadership, policies and other products of the company. The most current, reliable, and complete discussion of the Owl Drug Company can be found in the three-volume set of the Owl Drug Handbook by D. and G. Levine. All three volumes of the Handbook can be found in the United States Library of Congress and other institutions around the country. They can also be purchased as a three-volume set for $125.00 from the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.

The Clancy Kid has announced in his sale of the amber owl the following: “After all, I actually have been titled the OWL DRUG CO. guru by some of the old salt San Francisco collectors and Owl Drug collectors internationally! M.L.”

He is the guru of what? Certainly not Owl Drug, poisons or otherwise. He is notorious for incomplete and incorrect descriptions, incorrect identification of bottles; creating and pasting labels on bottles for monetary gain; and the Rigo affair that occurred between the US and Canada. All of these behaviors and activities have been discussed many times and have been posted on the Owl Drug Collectors blog numerous times. Any Owl Drug bottles being sold by the Clancy Kid must be questioned for legitimacy and reliability.

Every week, the blog receives requests both domestically and internationally on a variety of subjects. The Owl Drug Company consists of much more than just bottles. The Owl Drug Company influenced a community, a state, a region, and a nation. The Owl Drug Collectors blog is the center for Owl Drug consisting of the largest and most complete collection of items related to Owl Drug, including its history, leadership, policies, and products. In addition to being the center for Owl Drug we are experts in areas interconnected to Owl Drug such as Sun Drug, Rexall, Liggett, United Drug, “altered bottles”, aspects of poisons, and others.

In the forthcoming weeks, the blog will be discussing shows, auctions, seminars, education, and training just to name a few.

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.


March 24, 2016

We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to our many new readers of the Owl Drug Collectors Blog.  We would like to acknowledge some of the countries new to the blog in which these readers reside:  the Philippines, Nepal, Brazil, Russia and Lithuania, etc

This week the blog received a photo from one of our  readers, shown below, of an Owl Drug bottle he recently dug up from a site on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California.  “Just dug this up 20′ underground on the Sunset Strip across the street from the Rainbow Room in Hollywood, Ca”.


The bottle was seen by many on our Owl Drug collectors face book page and received numerous comments and congratulations from viewers not only from the US but from around the world.  One such viewer wrote the following on face book.  “I have one like this.  Found it in a bunch of stuff in an old building here.  I’m an Owl lover from way back.”

We share these items with our readers to show the “passion and love” many of you have for Owl Drug and its products as well as for the Owl Drug Co. of San Francisco, a true Western pioneer.  The history of Owl Drug is legendary and crosses so many borders of the early history of the West Coast.

Failure to acknowledge and recognize the importance of  Owl Drug and its contributions only demonstrates the lack of understanding and ignorance that one possesses.  The failure of leadership of those chairing and organizing the forthcoming FOHBC show in Sacramento to include Owl Drug as part of their show, exemplifies their disdain for important western bottles and products.  The Owl Drug Collectors blog not only represents Owl Drug, but also Sun Drug, Rexall, West Coast sodas, whiskeys, and bitters.

If the Sacramento show and its 6 seminars are to reflect the importance of western bottles and products, then how can one explain and justify why only one seminar deals with western themes?  A seminar on red wing ware is slated as a seminar for the Sacramento show.  Obviously, you have very little knowledge of US geography.  Red wing ware was made and emanates from Red Wing, Minnesota and is obviously named after the town in Minnesota.  To this writer’s recollection Minnesota is not located in the Western states but is part of the mid-West.

How does your show exclude the Chinese artifacts, bottles, and other items and their influence on the West as well as their contributions to the settlements of such cities as San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba city and Marysville, just to name a few?

With regard to early stoneware, what stoneware are they referring to?  Is it Indian pottery?  Otherwise early stoneware comes from the East Coast such as New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, the mid-Atlantic, or even Southern stoneware.  Again to my recollection there is no association with Western products or goods.

If your show is to highlight the West and Sacramento, in particular, you have definitely missed the mark completely and your organizers need a lesson in history and US geography!  Obviously the only reason to exclude these topics is because the chair, co-chair, and seminar organizer do not care, or the only reason seminars are included at all is because it is required by their charter to maintain their non-profit status !

We must first clarify certain issues, by defining the words museum, report, and credibility.  A museum is an institution devoted to the procurement,care, study, and display of objects of lasting interest or value (such as paintings, sculpture or scientific or historical objects).  A report is “defined as an account given of a particular matter, especially in the form of an official document, after thorough investigation or consideration by an appointed person or body”.  Credibility means someone or something that is believable, reliable, or trusted.  An example of credible is gardening advice from a master gardener.

Let us turn our attention to the most recent report presented by Jim Bender for the FOHBC on the Baltimore collectibles show.  Once again he missed the mark.  Jim, you are right, volunteers handle the show.  Do they do it for the love of the hobby?  Not at all anymore.  “We are all in the hobby to have fun”, acccording to you, Jim.  In 1998-1999  did they  do it for the love of the hobby, Jim?  They did not do it for the love of the hobby.  They did it for the love of “GREEN” – they did it for greed!  In 2012 in Reno, did they do it for the love of the hobby, Jim?  The love of the hobby is a complete joke!  Is that why the shows are filled with people who sell bottle cleaning machines, sell their bottle cleaning services and supplies, and those of you who own bottle cleaning machines and use them like you?  When you use a bottle cleaning machine are you doing it for the love of the hobby or are you destroying the hobby, Jim?

You say I am negative about the hobby.  I am not negative about the hobby, I am negative about those who manipulate and abuse the hobby, break the law, cover it up, and think they are “rewarded”! The current history of the bottle hobby is loaded with examples of individuals, organizations, and events that exhibit these kinds of behavior. The blog points them out all the time.  What do you have blinders on, you cannot see the truth or you do not want to see the truth?  How can you deny when theft occurs, stolen goods are sold, and other hobbyists, including you, turn a blind eye?  How can your organization and its leadership allow a person or persons to chair your “National” show or serve as the auctioneer in such shows when they actively participated in or knew about the illegal activities and ignored the behavior and the crime?  Jim, what are you going to do about it and what is the FOHBC going to do about?  Are you going to put your head in the sand as you have in the past and ignore or deny it never happened?  when confronted with truth and reality, you do not know what to do

Now as to your report.  You wrote and pictured a 21-page document, the first 10 pages of that report were devoted to your weekend travels with Ferdinand, his wife, your wife, and friends through the city of Baltimore and 2 museums.  What was the relevancy of those travels to the Baltimore collectibles show?    Page 11 of the 21 pages has a picture of the entire table setup and 1 paragraph and 4 sentences about attending the bottle show.   The rest of page 11 was devoted to Jim’s discussion of a forthcoming show in Springfield, Ma.  All of these comments have nothing to do with the show in Baltimore.

The remaining 10 pages present pictures of the Baltimore show with one-line captions about the photos, primarily about the people or person in the picture itself.  There is nothing presented about the bottles.  There is one example of a picture, the caption of which expresses how an individual’s health is doing.  For all the photos presented there is no discussion about what bottles were present, their conditions, their history, or their cost and whether they have been altered or not.  We do see a major picture of the Jar doctor with his machines, supplies, and equipment, and good old Jim has to tell us in the caption that he too is a “card carrying” owner of a cleaning machine and is proud of it.

Jim gives us some numbers, wondering if attendance at the show was down a bit.  If you, Jim, learned that there were 1103 paid attendees to this how, how did you learn it?  Where did the numbers come from and how did you get them?  Lastly are they credible?  You stated that there were 300 tables at the show.  Of the 300 tables what was the breakdown?  How many were with collectibles including bottles?  How many were other things, like the Jar doctor, FOHBC table, auction services, Virtual Museum table, magazine and book sales, and club membership table?  This show is billed as the biggest show on the East Coast.  By whom?  How do you assess this show?  What criteria are you using?  How do you compare it to the ones you went to in New York state?  Your report is obviously biased being that you are a member of the FOHBC leadership team.  One must question the validity and reliability of this report based on the premise of test and verify by an independent source.  In other words, where is the beef?  What you have presented is just leftover potatoes and scrambled eggs.  Instead of visiting museums in Baltimore suggest you visit the Corning Museum of Glass and the Blenko Glass Manufacturing company in Milton WVa.  This is why your organization is on life support and you, Jim, don’t even know it or care.

The blog continues to ask for a response:  what is the life cycle of a bottle?  The director of the blog has been working for the last 6 months, with a 15-year old educating him on how to build a proper bottle collection for 2016 and beyond.  In order to be able to build such a collection one must understand the life cycle of a bottle, articulate it, demonstrate it, and collect properly.  What do you say about it, Jim?  How would you advise a 15-year old how to properly collect for 2016 and beyond, given your background?  Those who are trapped in the past and do not understand how this term applies to bottle collecting, will be doomed to the past as so many are today.

In the future the blog will be discussing more in detail this collaboration, how it is working, what is going on, and what the final goal is.

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.














Let us first begin thanking our growing international readership. Readers from around the world who have expressed support and interest in the blog and the information we share with our readers. In future blogs we will discuss bottles and their historical importance from other countries beside those from the United States.

Two weeks ago the blog continued the saga of the pilfering of artifacts from the Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, Nevada with Part IV of the continuing story. This week the blog continues to delve into this saga focusing this time on what happened to the stolen Dr. Womser bitter bottles, who bought them and who resold them.

The blog already reported quoting from the investigators report that three of the Dr. Womser bitter bottles were resold by Jeff Wichmann for $20,000.00 each and sold to Dennis Fox, Ted Siri (a brother of Richard Siri), and Robert Frank. The report also stated that Wichmann sold the bottles privately without providing any paper trace. Remember these are stolen bottles and to sell them without a paper trace means the seller and the buyer knew this fact, agreed to it, and did not want the sale traced back to them with the possibility of being held for criminal activity or other legal action. These individuals knew exactly what they were doing and figured there would be no consequences legal or otherwise. They also figured that no individual or organization would ever find out. They also figured that there would never be an investigation of the pilfering of the items or the sale of these stolen items. The question one needs to ask is was this the only time such an activity of this nature has occurred in the bottle world? Was this a singular action or was this a common practice that occurred and continues to occur in the bottle world by these individuals or others? How can you trust the honesty or integrity of these individuals or others, now or in the future?

Let us fast forward to 2012 and the FOHBC Expo in Reno, Nevada that took place at the Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino. At that time the two co-chairs were Richard Siri and Marty Hall. If you remember correctly, a theft of bottles occurred at this show and was identified as the “Tragedy at Reno” by the blog. The FOHBC acknowledged the theft in an article by Pam Selenak, then Public Relations Director of the FOHBC. The blog then researched the episode and reported on it in detailed in one of several the blog’s posting that anyone can read. There never was any police involvement in the situation or a police report ever written.

According to the president of the FOHBC, at that time, Ferdinand Meyer, the matter would be handled internally. To this date there has been no resolution to the theft that occurred or explanation of the actions of the FOHBC or individuals involved. It is understandable that Ferdinand Meyer might not have been aware of the events that occurred in Virginia City, Nevada in 1998-1999 with the pilfering of artifacts and the sale and purchase of stolen goods. However, those same individuals were participants and co-chairs of Reno show. If we look ahead these same individuals are either the co-chair of the Sacramento show or participants in the show. Ferdinand, how do you reconcile these individuals participating and running your show in Sacramento and expect the public and your membership to accept this? How can you sit back and say or do nothing and allow this situation to continue.

Switching gears. We turn our attention to bottle shows, some that have already occurred and others that will occur in the future. Most recently Jim Bender reported on a 100- table show that occurred in Manville, NJ. How many of the100-table show were devoted to bottle cleaning services or bottle cleaning equipment and bottle cleaning supplies? Jim’s report centers solely on pictures at the show, but provides no details on the types of items being sold, a rundown of the dealers present, and whether this show was a bottle show or collectibles show. It seems that Jim always shares his personal relationships with the people present at the show and does not present an objective unbiased evaluation of the show itself. Why is the only table represented by an organization, the FOHBC and no other clubs, organizations, or companies? It seems portions of this report are the personal adventures and happenings of Jim Bender and nothing more. In other words, this report is simply hearsay and undocumented and therefore of little value. The chair of the show was Bob Strickhart. In the blog’s attempt to find out more about the show and get a more balanced presentation, the blog called Bob Strickhart. To this date Bob has never returned our calls. One wonders why? Couldn’t be bothered or did not want to discuss his show? Is this show in Manville NJ to become the new high point of shows on the East coast?

Fascinating that Bob Strickhart has been slated to now become a part of the FOHBC board of directors, the new East coast regional director and the co-chair of the 2017 FOHBC National show to be held in Springfield, Ma. Is his participation on the board and co-chair of the Springfield show coincidence, payback or manipulation?

Jim Bender is supposed to be the historian of the FOHBC or is it just a title on a piece of paper only. It seems he is the new “wheeler dealer” of the FOHBC and the organizer and locator of bottle shows? How did Jim decide on Springfield as the location for the FOHBC show in 2017 and Cleveland in 2018? Both cities are distressed areas with a suffering business economy and high crime areas. In fact both Springfield and Cleveland are rated in the top ten worst cities in the United States. With the selection of these cities by Jim Bender, it is obvious that the FOHBC cares very little for its members, the public, and any vendors who would wish to attend this show.

On March 13, 2016, the Baltimore bottle show is scheduled to take place. First and foremost it is not in Baltimore city or county but actually in Essex County, Maryland and is not a bottle show but a collectibles show. Also in attendance are bottle altering cleaning services, bottle altering cleaning equipment and bottle altering cleaning supplies, among other things. Baltimore has made the national headlines in the last couple of years for crime. It is ranked in the top 5 worst cities in the United States.

Last year’s show failed to take into consideration the extremely dangerous weather conditions, snow and icy roads that were present at the time of the show. In fact activities were all suspended for the weekend due to the weather conditions except for the bottle show. The community college where the show was to be held was closed and had cancelled all their weekend activities. The Baltimore bottle club leadership failed to announce any information about the show, whether it was to be held or not. They never even informed the security force at the community college whether the show was to be held. It must be said that the Baltimore bottle club leadership put a great number of people at risk.

The report that was presented by the FOHBC following the Baltimore show did not reflect the true essence of what really took place at the show. The author, Jim Bender, once again, failed to provide key and important facts about the show. Will this report be a reflection of Jim’s inability to be objective, report what was going on, what was present, and what participants were doing? Will any of the pictures provide support for what was really occurred?

Over the past few years this show has lost its objectivity, its professionalism, and its willingness to allow bottles to be the center of attraction and not items unrelated to the sale of bottles.

It has also failed to provide an atmosphere of honesty and integrity with regard to identifying bottles that have been altered and those bought and sold.   Because of these conditions, it is suggested that the public not attend or participate. Major changes must take place in Baltimore to regain the reputation this show once had. Until this takes place, going to this show is just a waste of time and money.

Currently on Ebay are three examples of Owl Drug Co bottles.




What is wrong with these bottles? Please let us know what you think. We will discuss these bottles in detail more next week.

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.

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.


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