Rare Glass Bottle Returned to Wistar Institute

By Newsroom America Staff at 13 May 2013

(Newsroom America) -- A rare glass bottle has been returned to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after being lost for more than 50 years.

The bottle was made at the first successful glass factory in the American Colonies, established by Caspar Wistar near Alloway, New Jersey, in 1739.

The bottle bears the initials of Richard Wistar, the eldest son of Caspar Wistar. It is one of only two known existing Caspar Wistar bottles with the “RW” seal.

Caspar Wistar’s bottles were made of impure green glass using a formula in use since the Middle Ages. Wistar’s bottles were designed to resemble popular European bottles of the day.

The bottle was granted to the Wistar Institute by General Isaac J. Wistar, great nephew of Caspar Wistar, in 1905. The bottle was taken from the Wistar collection without permission after 1958.

Thereafter, the bottle was purchased and sold on several occasions, without actual knowledge that it was stolen.

In 2011, the bottle was discovered in a museum exhibit, on loan from its purported owner. The purported owner ultimately agreed to its return to the Wistar Institute.

United States Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III said the return of the rare bottle to the Wistar Institute was the result of the joint efforts of his office and the FBI Art Crime Team.

"I commend all parties for their efforts in producing this positive outcome. Artifacts like this glass bottle are an important part of American history. Unfortunately, this bottle was stolen and entered the stream of commerce. I am pleased it can be returned to its rightful owner.”


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