A medium chocolate amber California Clubhouse Whiskey bottle, made circa 1872-74 and one of only nine examples known, soared to $30,240 in an Internet and catalog auction held Aug. 10-21 by American Bottle Auctions (americanbottle.com). The bottle, highly prized by collectors, boasted a fancy monogram in the center, a gorgeous embossing pattern and a 9.5 grading.
“Time and time again, when votes are taken for the most desirable western fifth, the California Clubhouse comes out on top,” said Jeff Wichmann of American Bottle Auctions. “They were only produced for three years, and the one just sold is the first example ever offered at auction, in any color or condition. It was last purchased at a show in the 1970s.”
Two other bottles topped the $10,000 mark. One was a bourbon whiskey bitters, straw or wheat in color and with an applied top in light yellow, loads of whittle and an amazing light color. The bottle, graded Mint 9.2, coasted to $10,640. The other was an original concentric ring eagle flask (the GII-76A variant), in nearly perfect condition except for some high-point wear. Graded Mint 9.3, it made $10,080.
Mr. Wichmann wrote and published The Best of the West – Antique Western Bitters Bottles, a top research guide. He has also written many articles on the subject of antique bottles.