Baker's Pure Rye 1847
The Label

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Bakers Pure Rye Whiskey, 1847.

There are no known surviving illustrations of how bottles of Baker's Pure Rye appeared in their day. [1] But the graphic design is appropriate for the period. And, there are surviving bottles of other W.T. Walters & Co. vintage-dated whiskeys that this can be compared against. They're privately owned so I can't show them here, but the design is consistent.

And actually, not much more can be said here, because counterfeiters love it when that's explained online. It's like, "Improve Your Forgeries! Free Tips!" But, the basics of paper analysis involve special lighting and strong magnification. We also look at things like ink, font, and printing process. And I've got the added bonus that if I get stuck on something, I can call my wife's family, who have been in the label business for three generations.

This is a sturdy rag paper, exactly as made in the mid 19th century, and every aspect is authentic to the period. 

 

You may have wondered about the horizontal lines that faintly crisscross the paper. Those actually come from cellophane tape (like Scotch tape). The prior owners had tried to “laminate” the front and back labels for protection. A Los Angeles paper conservator was consigned to remove the tape and adhesive residue.

 

Next Page: The Glass >> 

 

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[1] Whiskey barrels would've been seen somewhat commonly by any drinker, and advertisers sometimes put barrels in their ads. But to the average mid 19th century American, seeing a branded, labeled whiskey bottle would've been extremely unusual. This is discussed in more depth later.


 

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