Kelly's Old Cabin bitters bottle brings $40,500 at auction

One of the rarest items for bottle collectors, a green variant of the Kelly's Old Cabin bitters, has sold in a dedicated California auction on August 26.

Keelys old cabin bitters bottle green
One of just two extant examples

Just two green examples are known to exist, both of which were discovered in a well some 40 years ago.

The bottles are so rare that when their finder took them to an auction house for appraisal, they were initially dismissed as fakes.  

Other colour varieties, such as the amber and olive-green examples, are widely available and usually sell for around $6,000 at auction.

The green specimen at auction, which was rated nine out of 10 for condition and said to be in far better shape than its partner, sold for $40,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $35,000-75,000.

"The Kelly's Old Cabin bitters is the undisputed heavyweight champ in this auction," commented the auction house's Jeff Wichman.

Following this was a beautiful blue Chalmers Catawba wine bitters bottle, one of just a select few to feature a picture of Sutter's Old Mill in California.

Believed to have been produced only in 1872 and 1873, the bottle was in remarkable condition for its age, rated 9.8 by the auction house, and boasted a strong strike with excellent colouration. With a pre-sale estimate of $7,000-15,000, the bottle sold for $11,500.

Selling at the top end of its $5,000-10,000 estimate was an unusual Wm Bodmann Cathedral pickle jar, thought to be the first of its kind produced in the US. Made circa 1842, the 11 inch tall jar had a fantastic 9.9 grading out of a possible 10, and sold for $9,500.

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more collectibles news and investment advice, whatever your area of interest.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock