Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic
Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic
0 – 46
William Goodrich, Proprietor, New Haven, Connecticut and New York City, New York
George Hunnewell, Agent, New York City, New York
Citron Figural Barrel
Provenance: Ferdinand Meyer V Collection
Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic is considered a figural barrel. The bottle is a favorite with many bitters and antique bottle collectors in general because of the form, Native American name, and the extraordinary glass color range in which the bottles can be found. The medicine was first introduced in 1858 with the cryptic slogan TS. XC. 1858 MC.
The paper label, made of three connected circles on a rare example pictured in the museum reads, “From an old Indian recipe in possession of the family of the proprietor for upwards of a century is now offered to the public as one of the most healthy and wholesale beverages extant and as a tonic is unsurpassed.”
Newspaper advertising said it was sold by principal grocers, wine merchants, druggists and hotels throughout the union. Testimonials appeared in the ads that said the bitters were endorsed by “Prof. B. Silliman of Yale College, and Prof. A. A. Hayes, the State Assayer of Massachusetts, and hundreds of others.”
Old Sachem Bitters And Wigwam Tonic is usually about 9 ½ inches tall with a smooth base. Height variations are due to the neck height. The bottle is also known with a blowpipe pontil in 9 ½ and 9 ¾ inch heights, as well as a 10 ¼ inch aquamarine variant. Our museum example is embossed in the center portion of the barrel form in four lines in a sans serif typestyle ‘OLD SACHEM’ (top line soft convex arch down), ‘BITTERS’ (second straight line horizontal), ‘AND’ (third straight line horizontal) and ‘WIGWAM TONIC’ (bottom line soft concave arch upward). There are variants of the typography. The reverse of the bottle is blank and is where the proprietor would have placed a paper label.
The listing in Bitters Bottles and Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 is as follows:
O 46 OLD SACHEM (au) / BITTERS / AND / WIGWAM TONIC ( ad ) // c //
L…Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic, Wm. Goodrich, Proprietor, George Hunnewell, Agent, 145 Water Street, New York
9 ½″ x 2 ¼ (8 1/8)
Round Barrel, 10-10, NSC, Applied mouth, Amber, Puce, Apricot, and Plum, Common, Yellow and Amethyst, Rare; Green, Very Rare, Aqua with and without Rough pontil mark, Very rare; Aqua with Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare; Amber and Gold with Rough pontil mark, Very rare.
See O 45 and O 46 in Bitters Bottles and sO 46. See s2O 46, s2p187, s2p279, s2p281-282, and s2p410-412
There is a famous broadside of Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic created by the great Sarony, Major & Knapp lithography house in New York. The print shows a Native American man, probably a chief, full-length portrait, standing, facing right, holding a spear in his left hand; in the background are the tee-pees of a Native village during an assault on the village. Above the illustration reads, “Geo. Hunnewell, Agent, New York,” and below, “Wm. Goodrich, New York.” Just under the picture in small print is Lith. of Sarony, Major & Knapp, 449 Broadway, N. York.” Also in cursive writing in the lower margin is Deposited in Clerk’s Office, Southern Dist., New York, Aug. 5, 1859,” and then stamped “25 Nov. 1859.”
The museum imaged the rare sage green example below. Both the citron and sage green examples placed in the top three “Old Sachem Bitters” shootout competition at the FOHBC Reno 2022 National Antique Bottle Convention.
Primary Image: Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic in citron imaged by Alan DeMaison at the FOHBC Reno 2022 National Antique Bottle Convention mobile imaging station.
Secondary Spinning Image: Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic in sage green imaged by Alan DeMaison at the FOHBC Reno 2022 National Antique Bottle Convention mobile imaging station.
Support: Reference to Barrel Series – Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic, PeachridgeGlass.com, Ferdinand Meyer V, July 2012.
Support: Secondary Old Sachem Bitters and Wigwam Tonic images from Heckler Auctions and the Ferdinand Meyer V collection unless noted otherwise.
Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles Supplement 3 by Ring, Ham & Meyer. Use of Bitters illustration courtesy Bill Ham.
Support Image: Auction Lot 180: “OLD SACHEM / BITTERS / AND / WIGWAM TONIC”, (Ring/Ham, O-46), New York, ca. 1860 – 1870, ginger ale color barrel, 9 3/4”h, smooth base, applied mouth, 95% original multicolored label shows an American Indian in traditional clothing. etc. A ‘4 Cent’ tax stamp ‘1864’ stamped on it. The bottle is in perfect condition and in an exceptionally rare and eye appealing lighter color. A few Greeley’s Bitters barrels exist with a label, but this is the first Old Sachem we’ve auctioned to have one! Label aside, this is a ‘top shelf’ example and an important addition to any collection of barrel bitters! – Jim Hagenbuch, Glass Works Auctions, December 2020.
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