GI-32 • “Washington” And Bust – “Jackson” And Bust Portrait Flask

Provenance: Richard S. Ciralli Collection

We are looking at a beautiful GI-32 aquamarine “Washington and Bust – Jackson and Bust pint portrait flask.” The flask is one of only two known complete and undamaged examples blown in this aqua glass color. Both reside in prominent New England glass collections.

Our subject GI-32 flask was acquired at one of the Coventry, Connecticut tailgate bottle shows back in 2010. It was sitting on a sales table of an old-time dealer from Rhode Island. A respected dealer from Vermont saw the flask and put it back down possibly thinking it was the much more common mold from the Bridgeton Glass Works in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

At some point during the show, another respected dealer from New Hampshire saw the flask and acquired it. When our museum consignor found out about this particular flask he said, “I couldn’t think straight as I knew exactly what it was because I had studied and handled the example in the Vuono collection.” The consignor also consulted historical flask authority Jim Chebalo, who confirmed, based on records he kept, that there were about five examples known and that all had damage except the Vuono one, and this outstanding museum example. This now made six examples of the GI-32 aquamarine portrait flask. The consignor eventually did some old-fashioned horse-trading and acquired this rarity.

The aquamarine GI-32 is listed as an unknown glassmaker, but New England and specifically Connecticut glass authorities feel it is a product of Coventry Glass Works. The charted GI-31 (nicknamed the “Bozo nose”) is attributed to Keene Glass Works, in New Hampshire as the GI-33 and the only known half-pint of a GI-34 Washington-Jackson portrait flask mold is attributed to Coventry Glass Works in Coventry, Connecticut. According to the consignor, if you study the details of those molds, you can see the resemblance of the Washington bust to our subject aqua GI-32 mold. The rich aqua glass is an exact match to another rarity known to have been made at Coventry which is an aquamarine tumbler (pictured below) which is shown in New England Glass and Glassmaking by Kenneth M. Wilson, 1972.

See the museum example of a GI-34 “Washington” and Bust – “Jackson” and Bust portrait flask

GI -32 Portrait Flask

The obverse side of our museum aquamarine pint portrait flask has a prominent embossed profile of General George Washington facing left with a long queue. He is in uniform with an epaulet on his coat shoulder. He does not have any bars on the lapel of his coat as the GI-31 portrait flask depicts. The embossed copy ‘WASHINGTON’ in a serifed typestyle appears above the bust in a semicircle.

George Washington was immortalized in glass more than any other distinguished American. Flasks with his portrait contained hard liquor such as whiskey or bourbon. In many cases, the image depicts Washington as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Armies liberating our country. Many others depict him as a statesman and first president of the United States.

The reverse side of the flask has a prominent embossed profile of General Andrew Jackson facing left. He is in uniform with an epaulet on his shoulder. He does not have any bars on the lapel of his coat as the GI-31 portrait flask depicts. The embossed copy ‘JACKSON,’ in a serifed typestyle, appears above the bust in a semicircle. Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767–June 8, 1845) was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

The edge of our flask has three vertical ribs with a heavy medial rib. The flask is found with a plain lip and pontil mark and is attributed to Coventry Glass Works, Coventry Connecticut from 1830 to 1850. In this strong aquamarine glass, the flask is considered extremely rare.

The GI-32 portrait flask, in other glass colors, is comparatively scarce. These colors include amber, olive-amber, dark olive-green, yellow-olive, and olive green.

Primary Image: The GI-32 Washington” and Bust – “Jackson” and Bust portrait flask imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support Image: Auction Lot 121: “Washington” and Bust – “Jackson” and Bust Portrait Flask, New England, 1830-1850. Medium yellow olive, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear). GI-32. A crude flask with an attractive and unusual “orange peel” exterior surface. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #132

Support Image: Auction Lot 213: “Washington” and Bust – “Jackson” and Bust Portrait Flask, probably New England, 1830-1850. Bright yellow-olive, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear). GI-32 A comparatively scarce flask in a good bright color. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #157

Support Image: Auction Lot 159: WASHINGTON/JACKSON GI-32. Pint. Sheared lip and open pontil. A brilliant amber leaning a bit toward golden in the pint-size. The strike is important on this flask and this one is about average. It’s certainly easy enough to tell the difference between the other variant. There is quite a bit of crudity and overall is a busy flask. Upon closer inspection, after the catalog was printed we found a tiny nick that looks like someone tried to buff out. Very tiny but we’ll show you up close and personal in the video. Some wear on the portrait’s highpoints. Grades an 8.4. – Jeff Wichmann, American Bottle Auctions, August 2012

Support Image: Auction Lot 142: WASHINGTON / JACKSON. GI-32. Sheared Lip. Open Pontil. Pint. Here is a beautiful olive with a touch of yellow example. With a strong strike and just a smidgen of wear, this is a very appealing flask. We’ve seen these with very poor strikes. No discernable wear, a nice one. Lots of bubbles and did we mention the strike? Grades a 9.7. – Jeff Wichmann, American Bottle Auctions, March 2013

Support Image: Image of subject GI-32 “Washington” and bust – “Jackson” and bust portrait flask sitting on an indoor table provided by Rick Ciralli.

Support Image: Image of subject GI-32 “Washington” and bust – “Jackson” and bust portrait flask and related tumbler provided by Rick Ciralli.

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