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~1870 JB Sherrif's

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~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby Hague » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:58 pm

I came upon your site while looking into a bottle of Islay whiskey I inherited from my recently deceased father. He in turn inherited it from his father who would have purchased it in the early 1900s,

I'm hoping you can give advice on how best to find someone who would appreciate having it more than me.

It is an unopened bottle with a hand painted label marked "Sherriffs Old Islay Whiskey". I will be happy to send a picture to any interested if the one below fails to appear

The untouched lead seal is stamped "Sherriffs Old Islay Glasgow"
The label is signed "JB Sherriffs" at the bottom
It is a clear glass, machined bottles

I believe it is from the Lochindaal Distillery, Port Charlotte, Islay. JB Sherriff was proprietor 1855-1895 followed by J.B. Sherriff and Co. Ltd. until 1921. The distillery closed in 1929 but is now planned to be reopened by the Bruichladdich company.

I would estimate that with the hand-painted signed label but machined bottle, it is probably from the middle of the 1855-95 period ie ~ 1875

There is an identical second bottle but the label has fallen off. I recall seeing that label about 25 years ago in my parents house but have not yet been able to find it. I will keep looking but it could easily have been misplaced during moves to smaller houses, old-age homes, etc.

I am in Canada but assume that I would be best to seek a buyer in the British Isles. However I know little of such whiskeys or of those who collect them. I would appreciate any comments you would be kind enough to offer.


Hague
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby famork7 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:37 pm

It is almost April the First
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:57 pm

Hi Hague ,
J B Sherriff also had a distillery in Campbeltown and also owned Bowmore at one time (From 1887 till 1963 i believe ) . So it could be a Bowmore......
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:42 pm

The fact it says old Islay whisky I would reckon it is Bowmore and possibly quite valuable but I would not like to hazzzard a guess or get your hopes up.

Contact Bonhams or McTears auctioneers for a valuation. A quick google should find them.
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby adogranonthepitch » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:13 pm

Do you want to sell it?

If so, without question it needs to be sold at a specialist whisky sale.

Martin Green at Bonhams at Edinburgh ... It will cost GBP40 to send from Canada.

http://www.bonhams.com

what is worth ........ GBP1000 to GBP1500

If you can find out more about the bottle (ie history of who distilled etc) you could probably quintruple that figure

good luck

dog out
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby famork7 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:50 pm

Great to have these oddities and I am intrigued to see a bottle and its rather fresh-looking labels that might be over 100 years old.

What does the stamp on the capsule look like?

Are there any printer's marks on the body label?

What is the animal like creature behind the Sherriff's body label? (note that the family spelling is SHERRIFF) Lochindaal's Sherriff connection was 1855 to 1895 and the Bowmore link was from 1925

and what is the significance of the XXO neck label? I have only seen such labels on brandy/cognac bottles

Why would a late nineteenth century whisky want to be described (in the late nineteenth century) as an OLD Islay whisky?

Such a lot of questions!!
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby Hague » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:43 am

Good questions all

I suppose I had hoped that someone would simply recognize the bottle and perhaps they yet will but meanwhile:

The stamp says SHERRIFFS in raised letters across the middle with OLD ISLAY in an arc across the top and GLASGOW in an arc across the bottom

It appears to me that the label may have been printed or stenciled, signed JB Sherriffs in a script at the bottom and then hand painted in a translucent gold and a blue enamel. It also appears hand-cut.

The "animal-like creature" is two sheaves of, I assume, barley with the one in the foreground having some sort of loop around the stalks with a handle pointing downward

The motto reads Esse Quam Videri

The phallic thing below is just plain odd

I have no answers for your other questions but hope others may. I'll try to get a clearer picture for those interested

Sincere thanks to all for your information and advice

Hague
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:04 am

A quick google reveals ...

Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning "To be, rather than to seem".

and yes it is used by the Sherriff Family on their coat of arms. However this does not guarantee authenticity.

The use of Old was very common place in Irish Whiskey in these times. However old then is not what we would associate to old now. Back in the day young whisk(e)y was the norm so a 7yo whisk(e)y and older was considered old.

As mentioned XXO might seem like a cognac marking and probably stands for extra extra old.
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherriff's

Postby Hague » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:20 pm

March 30, 2009

The Plot Thickens:

I have now been over the label and bottle under 6x magnification and found some interesting things:

1) on the bottom of the bottle are the letters CS&Co Ld as well as 181 or 78L

2) As noted previously, the cap reads SHERRIFF'S across with OLD ISLAY on the upper curve and GLASGOW around the bottom. Outside of those are small letters: PATENT APSCIE (?) across the upper and BETTS MAKER LONDON across the lower

3) In going over the label, I have found some barely discernable printing in black in the dark blue sections. On either side of the central phallic object are TRADE and MARK while between OLD ISLAY and WHISKEY is the word BLENDED. Under WHISKEY it reads Registered in Stanurges Hall. (not sure about the n)

Why Glasgow on the cap? Why is the signature JB Sherriffs and not JB Sherriff? It seems possible that this was a bit of an early 1900s scam: canny Scots feeding the North American whiskey market. Any thoughts??

. . .Hague
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby J.Sherriff » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:08 pm

Hey there, I know this post is fairly old by now though I was just wondering about the bottle as it would be a perfect gift for my father. John B Sherriff (im led to believe his name was) is my great great grandfather. I was wondering how much (if at all) the bottle is up for sale for.

If you could reply to this post that would be brilliant
Thanks, Justin Sherriff.
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby Hague » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:35 pm

Justin: There are in fact two bottles but the label of one fell off 30-40 years ago and has been lost over the years. Still, one to keep and one to drink. They were stored upright for many years so the corks are in bad shape. I would hesitate to send them anywhere without expert advice and assistance. If we could solve this, I would be very happy to sell them as a gift for your father.

All sorts of speculative prices have been suggested though the agreement seems to be that you don't know what they are worth until offered at a specialty auction. So suggest a fair price and help me get them to you.

Easier correspondence at hague.vaughan@gmail.com
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Re: ~1870 JB Sherrif's

Postby J.Sherriff » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:26 am

Thanks for getting back to me Hague.
Sorry for the late reply.

At this stage I am still "window shopping" of sorts, although I am still very keen on getting my hands on a bottle for my father. I will need to do some research on how much a bottle this old would cost and will need to investigate more into how to tell the authenticity of a bottle this age. As you may understand I am not sure how long it will take me to gather this information, so please bear with me as is could take some time. If you happen to find some one else interested, obviously don't hold onto it for me. :)

I will reply again on this post when I have some more information.

Thanks again, Justin Sherriff
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