Antique "Casper's Whiskey" bottle

Today, I had an "Antiques Roadshow" moment.

My wife's parents live in a small North Carolina piedmont town. For as long as I've known them, there has been a bright blue bottle along with other antiques, books, photos, and mementos from past trips on a shelf in their family room. I've never asked about the bottle or examined it, as I have always assumed it once contained something other than whiskey. [Have you ever seen whiskey in a bright blue bottle]?

Today, for whatever reason, I picked the brilliant cobalt blue vessel up and read its embossed words:


I was immediately surprised, amused, and intrigued.

Thanks to Jack Sullivan, I was able to quickly identify the bottle as a c. 1890s John L. Casper product. About 120 years ago, this crazy blue bottle contained 11 year old American whiskey!

Casper, a third generation whiskey man, operated a successful mail order whiskey company from Winston-Salem, North Carolina from the 1890s until 1906 when statewide prohibition forced him to Roanoke, Virginia. 

In 1911, the Dry Movement forced him to Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked as the Atlantic Coast Distillery's director of sales. Later that year, Capser moved to Arkansas to work for the Uncle Sam Distilling Co. By 1913, the Temperance Movement destroyed his aspirations altogether. He moved to Mexico (along with many other American whiskey men/women) and died a bachelor before Repeal.

So, what's the bottle worth? Apparently between $500 and $800! These days, that might buy me two ounces of Pappy or BTAC...