Flea Market Find

Flea Market Find

By Eric McGuire – FOHBC Western Region Director

At the last meeting of the Northwestern Bottle Collectors Association, headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, one of our members, John Louder, presented a wicker covered bottle he recently purchased. John didn’t really know what he was purchasing except for the obvious, for he only knew it was shaped like a whiskey bottle and it was covered with wicker. After some discussion he decided to have the wicker removed to unveil what appeared to be some embossing hidden by the wicker work.

Club member Leisa Lambert volunteered to remove the wicker, first by gently cutting off the base material, with the idea of then sliding out the bottle thus retaining the integrity of the remainder of the wicker.

After that attempt was unsuccessful, Leisa tried slicing some more of the wicker along the side of the bottle.

With more of the embossing now showing the suspense was building as to what the bottle might be. That is club member Deanna Jordt, providing support for the surgical operation, along with Richard Siri in the background.

The bottle was finally released from its protective weave, which at this point was essentially trashed.

Through the dirt and grime of a hundred years in the making, Leisa attempts to decipher the embossing on the side of the bottle

Leisa Lambert with the uncovered bottle.

The bottle was revealed as brandy from the vineyards of Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, one of the few extremely successful entrepreneurs of California’s formative years.

For a little more information on the bottle check read Lucky! at Bruce Silva’s Western Whiskey Gazette web blog.

This “unveiling” proved to be a very successful and entertaining moment for all in attendance, at the expense of the wicker covering.

See San Francisco Call, Volume 105, Number 92, 2 March 1909 for his obituary, whose estate was estimated to be $25,000,000. Notice below same.

Most Noted Figure of American Turf Dies

To be a success you have to keep an eye on two ends— when to go into a deal and when to get out, and don’t waste any time doing either.” — Lucky Baldwin’s famous motto.

E. J. Baldwin, the famous racing man, hotel keeper, owner of celebrated horses, and one of the most conspicuous Californians for the last 40 years. He was known around the world as “Lucky” Baldwin.