These are just a few of my many glass bottles that I have for sale at the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta GA.
The glass bottle market has taken a sudden upswing in the market, driven somewhat by the popularity of antique television shows that illustrate the potential values of such items. Where, however, does one begin? There are all types of bottles ranging from perfume and beer to pickles and medicinal.
Additionally, there are all types of glass used in bottle creation, so some people focus on the media, not the bottle itself! If you’re just looking for pure investment medicinal and soda pop bottles retain and improve their value the best.
So, step one is to surf the internet or take yourself to the library and determine what kind of bottles you’d like to have in a collection. One good resource online is the Antique Bottle Collector’s Haven. They offer tons of pictures and values to help you begin this consideration process.
This is also a good time to ponder your personal space constraints to determine how large a collection to gather. Each type of bottle has different storage requirements. For example, medicine bottles won’t need as much space as pickling jars or milk jars.
Collecting Antique bottles is fun and the more popular jars have increased greatly in value over the last few years.
If you have pets and children you may have to create special storage areas to keep your collection safe. And, those who live in regions that experience regular earthquakes might reconsider this hobby altogether.
Once you’ve narrowed the playing field more serious collectors might wish to join a group, through whom to get on-going advice and information specific to your collection. Most such groups offer a “chat room” too where you can discuss your bottle collection with more experienced people.
As for how to get bottles, all the normal antique avenues apply with one more. Go to various sites known for bottle finds and dig! Make sure to wear sturdy boots and bring padded boxes in which to transport any finds. Or, just ask people.
Some folks have found older bottles in sheds, the walls of older homes, etc. and they’re more than happy to get rid of them at much better prices than the antique shop!
There are many places you can find antique glass bottles;flea markets, garage sales, antique stores, thrift stores, & auctions are the most commonplaces to find vintage glass bottles. Some people find bottles in unusual places, for example, when cleaning out their attics, in an old box or a shed in their backyard, in a park or beach side area, along the side of the road, or even sticking out of a construction site. A newer fad and hobby when searching for valuable glass bottles is called “bottle digging” or “privy digging. ” Diggers often find bottles when traveling down old roads or hiking and seeing signs of formers “dumps.” A tell-tale sign of a promising dig spot is pieces of broken glass, or rusted metal sticking out of the surface of the ground. Often, when there are a few discarded items in view, there are more things buried beneath it. If you happen to find bottles, you may be able to distinguish age quickly, just by taking note of other items that are buried with it. For example, a bottle may appear old, but if you find a plastic bag beside it, chances are it’s a replica and may not be worth much.
Other places these antique treasure hunters look are old riverbeds and banks where bottles may have been discarded and then floated downstream. Also, old towns that have all but been classified as “ghost towns” may have some great vintage glass bottle finds. The main thing to remember before starting to explore any property, is to find out if there is an owner and to ask permission.
Vintage glass bottles come in all shapes and sizes. Most were handmade so few are identical, with flaws that make them unique such as bubbles within the glass. It is these characteristics that often make the bottle more sought after and therefore can make it more valuable. However, there are many other factors to consider when appraising value:
1) Age - bottles that were made before 1870 had lips that were hand-made. Bottle makers would add a piece of hot glass to the already molded bottle and form the lip by hand, often making them crude and uneven. Age can also be determined by the base of the bottle. Most bottles made before the mid 1800’s will have a mark on the bottom where the rod used to hold the bottle while the lip was being formed, is broken off the bottom.
2) Color – highest value colors are yellow and olive greens, cobalt and teal blues, yellow, purple, and green. Black glass is most likely the earliest form of American glass. The dark color was beneficial in that it helped protect its contents from spoiling. The term “black” also refers to dark amber and olive-amber colors.
3) Design or Embossing – it is of more value if the embossing identifies date producer, where the bottle was made;
4) Condition – chips or cracks will devalue the bottle;5) Category – Medicine bottles, flasks, soda and alcohol bottles, druggist bottles, to name a few.
Collecting Bottles & Glass Websites!
I found a great site for bottle collectors. Check it out!
How to Start a Bottle Collection