During Prohibition, newpaper reports of feds catching bootleggers were daily entertainment. Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith were famous enforcers in the early 1920s, known for using creative disguises to infiltrate their targets. Legend has it that when they were fired in 1925, it was for being too famous.
Anyhow, get this. On March 7, 1923, the New York Times reported that Izzy and Moe "...raided what is known as the William H. Anderson Garage... seizing what is known as 'cut' whisky..."
I suspect that this may be from that very same counterfeiting operation.
I would have no way to prove that, of course. But it's fun to think so, and not terribly improbable.
After all, the 1922 date on the counterfeit stamp makes perfect sense for a bottle being faked in early 1923. And, even though it's reported as "Kentucky" rye, I'd bet that either Moe or the reporter simply got that mixed up. We certainly see the same kind of of errors in whiskey reporting today. (Plus, Pikesville had always come from Maryland, and fakers of the brand would probably have known that).
SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BOTTLE?
So, I provided a nice, detailed response for the owner, explaining the bottle's history, significance, and the difficulty of assigning value. I asked if they'd be willing to part with it for a price. They sent a nice thank-you in return, and said they'd consider it.
And I never heard about it again.
Such is the lot of a Whiskey Adventurer.
Hey -- even Indiana Jones never got to keep any of his stuff. I suppose I'm in good company.
Thanks for reading.
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