Blue lip Codd for Nicholl & Co, Colchester, £3900 at BBR.

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“Someone once accused me of making up the stories behind some of the finds that come into BBR Auctions”, says proprietor Alan Blakeman. “I definitely don’t.”

His latest tale of discovery begins in February this year with the sale of a blue Codd bottle embossed Fabrica Lapureza Peru. The only one known in complete condition, it had sold for a mighty £6000.

It was not long afterwards that the vendor, in conversation in a Colchester pub, had regaled his audience with the tale of an old bottle he had found in a shed and “a bloke from Yorkshire who had got so excited about it he had sent a special box to pack it in”.

A bar companion had pricked up his ears.

He too had some old bottles in his garden shed and would made contact with BBR on his return home. Surely lightning could not strike twice?

After inspecting countless emailed images of worthless bottles, Blakeman was told of a Codd bottle with a dark blue lip made for local firm Nicholl & Co, Colchester.

This Acme Reliance Patent with a large pictorial trademark featuring the Essex town coat of arms was duly sent by bespoke packaging to Elsecar where it sold on July 2 at £3900 (plus 15% buyer's premium).

New top sums

This was one of a series of auction records set at the Summer National sale auction for 19th century English mineral water bottles.


Red lip Hamilton for J Trentham & Son of Great Bridge, £5500 at BBR.

A rare ‘red lip’ Hamilton embossed with an image of a soda syphon for J Trentham & Son of Great Bridge in the Black Country (£5500) was followed to the rostrum by an early black glass Hamilton inscribed Improved Bristol Soda Water Prepared by Fry Gibbs & Ferris Chemists, Union Street, Bristol (£7200).


Black glass Hamilton for Fry Gibbs & Ferris Chemists, Bristol, £7200 at BBR.

The latter, made in a two-piece mould, has a pontil mark and the characterful striations of an early example of the famous ‘torpedo’ shaped bottle patented in 1809.