You never know what you are going to find or where you will find it. Over the year-end holidays we took a family trip to Laughlin, Nevada. Besides checking up on the petroglyphs in Grapevine Canyon, we visited the small but interesting Colorado River Historical Society Museum across “the river” in Bullhead City, AZ. (An aside – if you are from Southern California there is only one river, the Colorado, and it is ALWAYS referred to as “the river.”) The museum has a lot of interesting local artifacts from the desert indian tribes to mining to casinos. It is well worth a visit. They also have a gift shop which includes some donated items. We purchased these bookends for $5, mostly to support a small museum, however they turned out to be really interesting.
Each bookend displays a hand-fashioned, thin-walled pottery tequila-shot cup with the words “Tequila”, “ORENDAIN”, and “Ollitas” painted on it. The base and upright are apparently of paste board covered in a handmade paper and there is a Mexican silver 10 Centavos coin fastened to each upright. The reverse side of the coin is shown with the silver content of .720 visible. The last date of manufacture for these coins is 1935. The front of the coin is not visible so we can’t positively date them. None-the-less we think these bookends were made prior to 1940.
Tequila Orendain began formally in 1926, one of its first and biggest brands was OLLITAS, which in Spanish means literally: little pottery cup. Every bottle of OLLITAS sold at that time had the “ollitas” cap as a promotional item. The company representative, who provided the picture of OLLITAS with it’s shot-sized cup, is not sure whether our bookends were a promotional item for distributors or are someone’s craft item. Either way these novelties are worth very little as bookends but make great souvenirs of a fun trip.