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.
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 pre-pro.com 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.