OPS Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon Whiskey From A. P. Hotaling’s Private Stock
Red Amber Fifth
Anson P. Hotaling, San Francisco, California
Provenance: Ken Schwartz Collection
What makes this bottle extremely rare is that it is missing the embossed word ‘OLD’.
Back in 1878 or so, when these bottles were first made, Anson P. Hotaling most likely placed an initial order for bottles like our museum example with a prominent embossed monogram ‘OPS.’ Beneath the monogram is embossed ‘BOURBON WHISKEY FROM A. P. HOTALING’S PRIVATE STOCK’ and ‘SAN FRANCISCO.’ After a short production run, he ordered new bottles reading, ‘OLD PRIVATE STOCK’ instead of ‘PRIVATE STOCK.’ Obviously the central monogram OPS means Old Private Stock.
For years, only shards of this bottle existed until a full example was dug in Virginia City, Nevada in 1973. Our example is crude, has an applied mouth, was blown in a full face two-piece mold, and is found in amber.
Anson Parsons Hotaling was a San Francisco merchant and real estate developer. Born and raised in rural New York, he sailed for San Francisco in 1852 on the Racehound. The route at that time was around Cape Horn, and his ship put into several South American cities for provisioning. He was tempted to stay in South America, but continued on to San Francisco. Once in California, he briefly tried his hand at mining but within a year returned to San Francisco and opened a wine and spirit business, owned in partnership. By 1866 his business had much expanded and he was sole owner and operator. He began a shipping venture, trading with both the South Sea islands, and the settlements on the Pacific coast of Russia. Later he expanded his trade to Australia. He bought a considerable amount of real estate throughout the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, and also invested in iron and mercury mining.
Support: Secondary bottle images courtesy Jeff Wichmann and American Bottle Auctions
Support: Whiskey Bottles of the Old West by John L. Thomas