Clear Fish Bitters Swims Past $9,000

A recent ebay auction of a WH Ware Fish Bitters brought a final hammer price of $9099.99 on September 39th. 42 bidders battled for the catch.

The seller, from Maryland, said he purchased it from a local estate sale where it had been in a long time bottle collection for decades.

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The Fish Bitters bottle is found in 3 mold variants and are listed as F44 through F46 in the Ring / Ham reference book. The bottle is of course common in amber but darn scarce in aqua, clear, yellow green, yellow olive, lime green and reddish puce. The cobalt blue example, which sold privately in 2009 for an alleged 6-figure price, is thought to be unique.

The bottle was patented in December 1866 by WH Ware (Design Patent 2522). Ware and Schmitz and later W Harrison Ware were in the wholesale whiskey business from 1870 to 1884 in Philadelphia. See for more info. This company also produced the
Van Dunck’s Genever figural bottle known as the “Coachman”

American Bottle Auctions sold a clear mint example in 2007 for $14,000.

5 Responses to “Clear Fish Bitters Swims Past $9,000”

  1. Charles Aprill

    Jane & I have a cobalt blue “Fish” bitters. W.H.Ware etc is embossed on the bottom. No embossing at the “gills”. The lip is plain, unfinished. Provenance Elvin Moody collection.
    The example you mention is one of two “unique Blue Fish.
    Sincerely, Charles Aprill

  2. on the bottom of the fichs bitters bottles that are in the shape of a fish does it state where the bottle was made? what does it or how old would it be if it were one that said made in Tawain on the bottom?

    • Christopher Woods

      No, there are no markings indicating where the original Fish Bitters was made. This is true of most 19th century bottles.

      The Made in Taiwan markings on your bottle indicates it was made in the late 20th century. What you have is a fairly common reproduction.

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