Sunday, October 17, 2010
Vintage Glass Bottles
In our world of continued advancement and progression there is a yearning for a time when simplicity was the norm. Sadly, nothing can take us back to that time except our memories and objects from that time. Collecting antiques is more prevalent than ever to connect us to our heritage. Recently, antique glass bottle collecting has become popular.
For some, the thrill of the hunt is almost as exciting as the find. The hunt can be easy or difficult with many places to find bottles. Flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops are easy places to start.
It’s important to remember that wherever you are bottle hunting find out if anyone owns the property and ask permission to be there. Other places that treasure hunters like to explore are old riverbeds where discarded bottles may have floated downstream. Old abandoned towns, “ghost towns” may yield some vintage glass bottle finds.
Glass hunters refer to their hobby as “bottle digging” or “privy digging.” Diggers who have ventured down old roads or hiking trails may spot a former “dump.” It’s easy to find a promising spot if you see pieces of broken glass or rusted metal poking out of the ground. This usually means there could be more items buried beneath it. Once you start digging you may find a plastic bag, Styrofoam or other trash that will date your piece as a replica.
Is it worth your time to look for these hidden treasures? Only you can decide but besides the monetary value or historical significance there’s also the nostalgia. You may have a memory of a loved one using a product from what is now a vintage bottle. If that’s not the case, then imagine your surprise when you research your find to discover it’s worth $50 or more!
There are many variables when identifying vintage glass bottles and appraising the value. They were mostly handmade and come in all shapes and sizes with very few identical characteristics. It is these unique differences that often make the piece more valuable.
Keep these criteria in mind when you are determining value:
1. Age – Bottles made before the mid 1800’s will have a mark on the bottom where the rod held the bottle while the lip was being formed and was broken off. Bottles made before 1870 had handmade lips. Bottle makers added a piece of hot glass to the molded bottle and formed the lip by hand which often produced a crude or uneven look.
2. Color – Highest value is placed on yellow, olive green, cobalt, teal blue, purple and green. Black glass refers to dark amber and olive amber colors and is most likely the earliest form of American glass. It was used to help protect the contents from spoiling.
3. Design or Embossing—Any marking that identifies a date, producer or location makes it more valuable.
4.Condition – Chips or cracks reduce the value.
5. Category – Medicine bottles, apothecary bottles, flasks, milk, alcohol and soda to name a few.
If you’re ready to get in touch with your inner treasure hunter or history addict vintage glass bottle collecting is a popular and exciting hobby to try.
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