Treasure Hunting For Antique Bottles
By David Cowley

To some, old bottles are just junk taking up space on the
windowsills of the kitchen.  They truly don't appreciate the
craftsmanship that typically went into making these items, which
was usually done by hand.  Of course there are other reasons why
someone would be interested in antique bottles, and it has to do
with more than just how the bottles were made.

Antique bottles are truly a part of history.  The different
types of bottles tell a story about a particular industry or way
of life.  For example, medicinal bottles tell us how far the
medical industry has come since many elements are now stored in
plastic bags.  Seeing an old glass IV bottle can take you back
decades.  There are antique bottles from the pharmaceutical
industry that have the name of the chemical and even poison
warnings worked right into the bottle's design.  This is so
different from items today where everything is printed on
adhesive labels and attached to the bottle itself.

It can be said too that antique bottles are a part of true
Americana.  Old Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola bottles can remind one
of the time when sodas were actually sold in glass bottles and
were enjoyed at a real soda counter.  Other types of antique
bottles that are valuable to collectors include vinegar bottles,
whiskey bottles, torpedo bottles, cosmetic bottles, and of
course beer bottles.  To collectors, a bottle that is in good
shape and that is an unusual shape or color is very valuable and
some can sell for literally tens of thousands of dollars.

There are of course antique bottles that are appreciated for
their design and workmanship.  For instance, bitters are an old
type of medicine that were made from herbs and roots and were
called that because of their bitter taste.  The bottles they
were contained in were often shaped like log cabins, ears of
corn, women's figures, or even a pig.  These types of antique
bottles are valued for their different colors as well as their
shapes.  You just don't see that much detail put into a bottle
any longer!  If you can imagine a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's
syrup, you have an idea of what old bitters bottles were shaped

Antique bottles can be found all across the United States.
Good locations include ghost towns, old dumps, old houses, old
homesteads, antique stores and the campsites on the trails that
the early pioneers used to cross the United States.  

Before you start treasure hunting for these valuable antiques I
suggest that you pay a visit to the National Bottle Museum at 76
Milton Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY, to learn the early bottle
making methods.  The museum sponsors a antique bottle show every
June and dealers and collectors from all over the world attend.
At the very least you can visit the museums web site.  

Many of the more valuable bottles were produced in the 1800s
and were handmade and no two are exactly alike.  Bottles are
appreciated for their look and for the visual appeal they have.
Lining colored bottles up against windows can really reflect
sunlight and brighten up a kitchen.  But more than just visually
appealing, antique bottles are truly part of history.  For
antique lovers, bottles are an important part of any collection
and can be very valuable.

Happy Treasure Hunting.

About the Author: David Cowley has created numerous articles on
Treasure Hunting.  He has also created a Web Site dedicated to
Treasure Hunting. Visit


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