This bottle recently caught my attention. Why not? It is puce in color, has an applied seal, an applied handle and is otherwise pretty amazing. But it is not old.
Collectors will recognize this as a somewhat faithful copy (at least in general form) of the 19th century Star Whiskey bottle. Original bottles are amber in color and have some other minor differences.
But here is the most interesting part, the marking on the base.
Look closely and you will see an indented area with the embossing “OI 1974.” I believe this to be Owens Illinois.
I am not familiar with the bottle but it was made in the 1970s, an era of great interest in bottle collecting and a time when one say many a reproduction and modern “re-interpretation” bottle being produced.
Incidentally, the bottle sold on eBay in July, and fetched $62 plus shipping.
Here is another example in amber which is currently on ebay (August 2017)
From this auction, these photos show more detail regarding the manufacturer:
Among the buzz at the recent FOHBC Show in Manchester, NH was talk about two reproduction bottles: a Drake’s Plantation Bitters and an Old Sachem Bitters barrel. Both were produced in newly made molds, in what would be rare colors for original examples and were made with a fair degree of accuracy.
Below is a close-up shot of the Drakes. Notice the crudely rendered embossing. On close inspection, the bottle does not say “ST Drakes” like the original but rather “ST FRAKIS”
One thing that would alert the experienced collector is the weight of the glass. The Drakes felt much too heavy compared to the original. However, the base looked fairly believable:
The lip finish was much too shiny and precisely executed. There were none of the usual imperfections one would expect to see on an original.
Below is a close up shot of the barrel. Like the Drake’s, the lip is applied and tooled, but the glass texture is much too perfect to be believed.
Another close up of the Drake’s (or rather Frakis) embossing:
A close up shot of the barrel embossing. Notice the jagged, wavy rendering of the embossing. The word WIGWAM looks much more like WICWAM.
A final shot of the Drake’s Plantation reproduction. It is a beautiful color and would look great in any window, but don’t be fooled.