Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) is given the credit for coining the phrase “imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” Whether that is true or not remains to be seen; however, thanks to Crownford China, the name of Warner’s Safe Kidney & LIver Cure was given somewhat of a rebirth in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, when that manufacturer issued a reproducation bottle in a variety of colors. Some of these reproductions also included a label that bore no resemblence to the original Warner’s Safe Cure Label. The Warner’s Reference Guide designates them as WRG #R1 and WRG #R2.
To Crownford’s credit, although they got the label wrong, they did a respectable job on the reproduction of the bottle. The bottles have roughly the same dimensions as the original pint Kidney & Cure. I have not seen them in any size other than a pint nor have I seen them for any of Warner’s other cures, such as Nervine, Diabetes or Rheumatic Cure. There was also another reproduction issued in the 1980’s, which did not include a label. The first reproduction appeared in aqua green and amber and appeared with a blob lip, while the later version appeared in cobalt blue and yellow with a double collar. The double collar lip on the later reproduction is hollow unlike the original double collar. The cobalt blue is particularly striking and I am sure that some collectors thought they had stumbled onto a one-of-a-kind cobalt Warner’s Safe Cure, unitl they realized it was a reproduction.
Some Warner’s collectors have added these reproductions to their collections and ironically, in recent years, several of the reproductions have well surpassed the price of the original Kidney & Liver Cure. The cobalt reproduction has fetched a price as high as $150. Go figure. If you look at the base of the early reproduced bottle, most have the name “Crownford China” embossed there. It is unclear why these reproductions were made, except that they provided a nostalgic nic nac and perhaps as a nod to one of the great patent medicine kings.
Thanks to Ed Ojea for several of the photographs included with this post and Jack Stecher for his insights.