A couple years ago, I attempted to put together a list of Warner’s Safe Cures that are the most difficult varieties to get. I called it the “A” Lists. I did this with the help of other knowledgeable Warner’s collectors. I had originally set out to do a “Top 10 List,” but I found that it was difficult to arrange the rarest Warner’s in any meaningful order and that it necessarily meant comparing apples to oranges. Instead, I settled for a list of rare Warner’s in no particular order. Since the A-List was published, I have heard from numerous collectors with suggested additions to the list as well as other improvements.
This time around, I am going to group the rare Warner’s by office and I will include a picture, either from my collection or another. This will include reference to Ed Ojea’s Warner’s Reference Guide site. As is appropriate, I will start where it all started in Rochester. Although Rochester is the source of the most ubiquitous Warner bottle, the Kidney & Liver Cure, it also produced a few rarer examples. The rarity of a Warner bottle may be as much about color as it is about type. A perfect example is the Kidney & Liver Cure. The standard K&L Cure will fetch anywhere from $18-25 depending on condition. However, if you come up with an example that is a very pale amber or has shades of green, the rarity and value is enhanced dramatically.
Turning to the Rochester variants, the best place to start is with the early Warner’s Cures packaged in bottles produced at the Chambers Works in Pittsburgh. These bottles are characterized by the “gravestone” shaped slug plate that traces the edge of the entire face of the bottle and by the acronym “A&DHC” embossed on the base of the bottle for Alexander and David H. Chambers. The K&L Cure from Chambers Works catapults to the $100-125 range. Other Warner’s bottles produced by the Chambers Works include the NERVINE, DIABETES CURE, BITTERS (Pint and Half Pint), TONIC (Pint & Half Pint) and TONIC BITTERS (Pint and Half Pint).
I have pictured several examples above (courtesy of Ed Ojea), which illustrate the typical Chambers Works bottle. Note that the pints are topped with the double collar lip, while the half pints typically have the medicine lip. Although “A&HDC” usually appears on the base, that is not true on every bottle. Of the Chambers Works Warner’s, the hardest to get are the DIABETES CURE, the NERVINE (half pint), the TONIC BITTERS (both sizes) and the BITTERS (half pint).
In the next part, I will take on some of the other Warner rarities from Rochester.